Grave of Alexander Hamilton, Trinity Church Cemetery
A number of prominent Americans from the 18th and 19th centuries are buried in the Trinity Church cemetery including Alexander Hamilton and his wife Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, inventor Robert Fulton, Secretary of Treasury Albert Gallatin, War of 1812 naval hero James Lawrence, and Revolutionary War General Horatio Gates in addition to many members of Congress. See Wikipedia for more detail.
Alexander Hamilton was a member of Trinity Church, but it is not known whether he attended services there. After his duel with Vice President Aaron Burr as he lay bleeding and paralyzed in a house on Greenwich Street, he called for Rev. Benjamin Moore, rector of Trinity Church, Bishop of New York, and president of Columbia College, according to the Trinity website.
According to Ron Chenow’s classic biography of Hamilton, due to his premature death, large bereaved family, and extended service to his country, there was an outpouring of sympathy from all strata of New York society at the news of his death, something that eluded him in life. This outpouring of grief was repeated in Boston and Philadelphia.
The Saturday morning of his funeral, guns fired from the Battery, church bells rang, and ships flew their colors at half-mast. According to Chernow, the funeral began around noon, with the somber thud of military drums led by New York militia units at the head of the funeral procession followed by numerous clergymen and members of the Society of the Cincinnati (Revolutionary War officers). Eight pallbearers carried Hamilton’s casket with his hat and sword pierced on top. Hamilton’s horse with Hamilton’s boots and spurs reversed in the stirrups trailed. Tearful spectators looked on as the procession wound along Beekman Street then down Pearl Street and Whitehall Street to Broadway. The procession went on for two hours before arriving at Trinity Church where Gouverneur Morris, delivered the funeral oration. Morris, who drafted large segments of the Constitution, also gave the final oration for George Washington. Chernow depicts the tragic scene as four of Hamilton’s sons aged 18, 14, 11, and 6, sat weeping at the stage near Morris.
From Chernow: “Once Morris had finished his speech, the casket was transferred to a grave site in the Trinity churchyard, not far from where Hamilton had studied and lived, practiced law and served his country. With Bishop Moore officiating, Hamilton’s remains were deposited in the heart of the district that was to become the center of American finance. At the close, troops gathered around his grave, formed a neat square, and fired three volleys at intervals into the air. Hamilton was laid to rest with full honors in a martial style that would have gratified the most florid fantasies of the adolescent clerk on St. Croix who had once prayed for a war to prove his valor. “This scene was enough to melt a monument of marble,” said Hamilton’s New-York Evening Post. Thus ended the most dramatic and improbable life among the founding fathers.”