© Posted on March 30, 2021, by Michael E. Newton.
According to local tradition, Alexander Hamilton’s mother, Rachel Faucett, inherited a house from her father, John Faucett, in Charlestown on the British West Indian island of Nevis. The tradition also states that it was in this house that Alexander Hamilton was born. This house, or rather a replacement built on the ruins of the original, is now known as the Hamilton House and currently serves as a museum and the Nevis House of Assembly. While tradition has held for over a century that this was Hamilton’s birthplace, no evidence has ever been presented that he was born at this location or that this house had in any way been associated with Alexander Hamilton or his mother and grandfather.
Last year, as part of the Endangered Archives Programme, the British Library made the Nevis Court Records, dating back to 1705, available online.
Digging into these archives, David Small (Sometime Honorary Research Associate, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Bristol) and Christine Eickelmann (Honorary Research Associate, Department of History at the University of Bristol) researched whether Alexander Hamilton was born in the so-called Hamilton House in Charlestown on Nevis and whether it has any connection at all to Alexander Hamilton or the Faucetts. They have published their findings in ‘Hamilton House’, Charlestown, Nevis: Is it connected with Alexander Hamilton’s family?
While we “must assume that Hamilton was born on Nevis like he apparently told friends and family,” the evidence, as brought forward by Small and Eickelmann, indicates that Alexander Hamilton was not born in the so-called Hamilton House, or in any previous building at that location, as asserted by local legend. Small and Eickelmann find that the Hamilton House, and the yard in which it sits, have no known connection to Alexander Hamilton or the Faucetts beyond local lore. Instead, it was connected to another family named Hamilton, who were unrelated and purchased the property some years after the Faucetts and Alexander Hamilton had left Nevis.
The groundbreaking research by Small and Eickelmann shows that the Hamilton House of Charlestown, Nevis, has no known connection to Alexander Hamilton or to his mother’s family, the Faucetts, and that there is no reason to believe that Alexander Hamilton was born in this house or in another house on the same property.
Small and Eickelmann’s essay can be read at ‘Hamilton House’, Charlestown, Nevis: Is it connected with Alexander Hamilton’s family?