250th Anniversary of Hamilton's Arrival to St. Croix
Alexander Hamilton's childhood in the Caribbean profoundly molded him for his future role as a leading statesman and Founding Father of the United States. At only eight years old, Alexander Hamilton, along with his father, mother, and brother James, moved from the island of Nevis to St. Croix in the late spring or early summer of 1765.
It was on St. Croix that Alexander Hamilton would work for a mercantile firm, a job that would create a firm foundation for his future role in shaping financial systems and trade policy in the fledgling United States. It was also a job that gave him the connections to pursue an education in the US shortly before the outbreak of the Revolutionary War - the rest, as they say, was history.
On June 14, 2015, members of the AHA Society visited the island of St. Croix for a full day celebration of the 250th anniversary of the Hamilton family's arrival to the island.
See below for pictures, articles and more from the 250th Anniversary event.
See the original e-flyer for the 250th anniversary events.
Community Roundtable for Alexander Hamilton in St. Croix
In the morning, historians and local community leaders gathered for a round-table discussion on how to make Alexander Hamilton's more prominent on St. Croix and a greater part of the historic interpretation of Christiansted.
The round-table meeting was hosted by the National Park Service in the Danish Custom House and attended by 18 people, including leaders of history, culture, tourism, education, and library services on St. Croix; representatives of the AHA Society; Executive Director Evelyn Henville of Nevis Historical & Conservation Society (including Hamilton’s birthplace and museum); Bob White, President of the Alexander Hamilton Society of St. Croix; a youth author; and others.
During the meeting, the AHA Society presented book display stands to Ingrid Bough, the USVI Territorial Director of Libraries, Archives & Musuems, who announced she would use the stands to display Alexander Hamilton books. Appropriately, advance copies of the book Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years were also presented to Christiansted National Historic Site as a gift on behalf of the author, Michael E. Newton. The books provide extensive information on Alexander Hamilton's time on St. Croix.
An additional part of the roundtable was the public announcement of an exciting collaborative discovery - the original will of Peter Lavien, Alexander Hamilton's half-brother. The will, which was found stored at the archives of Keane University via Liberty Hall Museum in Union, New Jersey, details the amount left to Lavien's half-brothers upon his death. The document sheds new light on the relationship between the two Hamilton brothers and their older half-brother.
Port Arrival and Proclamations
The main festivities commemorating the 250th anniversary were held at 1 pm at the port of Christiansted National Historic Site.
Opening up the commemoration was a reenactment of the Hamilton family arriving to St. Croix, as represented by diginitaries from the island of Nevis. Nevis is the island where Alexander Hamilton spent the first eight years of his life, so it was very meaningful to have his birth island represented during this historic anniversary. To recreate the moment of the Hamilton family arriving into the Christiansted port 250 years ago, the Senior Minister of Nevis, the Hon. Alexis Jeffers, and Executive Director Evelyn Henville of Nevis Historical & Conservation Society arrived into the port aboard a sailing sloop, proudly flying the flag of St. Kitts and Nevis.
For the second part of the 250th commemoration, the crowd moved from the docks to the gazebo in the park of Christiansted National Historic Park, with a backdrop of Fort Christiansvaern.
From the gazebo, a three-way phone call was made from St. Croix to the Hamilton birthplace on Nevis and Hamilton's home the Grange in New York. This phone connection, made for the first time ever, also signified Hamilton's connection with the three islands that were the most significant in his life: Nevis, where he was born on January 11, 1757 and spent his childhood until the spring of 1765; St. Croix, where he spent his youth and gained critical insight into international trade from spring of 1765 to fall of 1772; and Manhattan in New York, where Hamilton received a college education, fought in the military, became a leading lawyer, participated in state and national government, and raised a family.
In addition to the three-way phone connection, diginitaries from all three islands, as well as representatives of the US Coast Guard and Hamilton descendants had sent proclamations and letters noting the significance of the 250th anniversary and Hamilton's Caribbean roots. The Coast Guard's participation also celebrated the 225th anniversary of its founding by Alexander Hamilton. To see a full list of the proclamations and letters read, including the names of the representatives, see the "Presentations and Letters" section below.
Historical sites and Estate Grange Visit
After the outdoor commemoration events, the AHA Society and other key leaders were led on a tour of locations where Hamilton lived, worked, and worshipped in historic Christiansted. This was followed by a gracious invitation to tour the lovely Estate Grange by Trustee Becky Merwin.
Estate Grange was the property owned by Alexander Hamilton's maternal aunt and uncle, though the Lyttons had to sell it just before Hamilton's arrival to St. Croix. It is the location, however, where Alexander Hamilton’s mother, Rachael, was married to her first husband, and where her body was laid to rest in February of 1768.
Proclamations and Letters
A list of the proclamations and letters shared during the 250th commemoration.
Click on the ones that are listed in blue to see the original letters.
More letters will be added shortly.
1. Christiansted National Historical Site Superintendant Joel Tutein
Read by Dr. David Goldstein, NPS Chief of Interpretation and Education
2. US Virgin Islands Governor, the Honorable Kenneth Mapp
(Plus remarks by US Virgin Islands Chief Economist Dr. Simon Jones-Hendrickson)
Read by Dr. David Goldstein, NPS Chief of Interpretation and Education
Read by the Senior Minister of the Nevis Island Administration, the Honorable Alexis Jeffers
5. US Coast Guard, Sector San Juan, District #7
Read by Lieutenant Joshua Love
Read by AHA Society Vice-President Nicole Scholet
Additional Remarks made by: Michael Henville from the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society and NPS Ranger Vladimir Merzlyakov from Hamilton Grange National Memorial Page 1
Official Photo Album
See the official AHA Society Facebook album from the 250th anniversary program. The album includes photos from the community roundtable, the reenactment arrival into the Christiansted port, special representatives speaking at Christiansted National Historic Site, and visits to historic sites, including Estate Grange.
Note: By clicking on the picture at left, you will be directed to The AHA Society Facebook page, where our photo albums are posted. You do not have to be a member of Facebook to browse the pictures. (But if you are, we welcome 'likes' and 'comments'!)
All Places Hamilton - Christiansted, St. Croix
All Places Hamilton is a database on AllThingsHamilton.com of historic locations in which Alexander Hamilton was physically present. See the All Places Hamilton page for Christiansted, St. Croix to learn about Hamilton's connection to the island, plus historic locations that are visitable today.
Media and Print Coverage
June 14, 2015
"Celebration Marks 250th Anniversary of Hamilton's Arrival on St. Croix" - See news article
June 15, 2015
"Alexander Hamilton's 250th Anniversary Commemorated in Christiansted" - See news article
250th Anniversary Videos
(For larger screen viewing, click on the YouTube icon, or the gray boxes in the lower right-hand corner of the video player)