The Unofficial Philip Hamilton Wiki

Wed, 12 Sep 2018

Before the hit musical Hamilton opened in 2015, only hard-core U.S. History buffs knew anything about Philip Hamilton, the oldest child of founding father Alexander Hamilton. But although he only lived to be 19 years old, he showed great promise as a student, and might have gone on to accomplish important things if he'd had the opportunity. In this guide, we look into Philip's life, and how it was tragically cut short. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

The Life of Philip Hamilton

  • January 22nd, 1782: Philip is born to parents Elizabeth and Alexander Hamilton
  • 1791: Nine-year-old Philip is sent to boarding school
  • 1800: Philip graduates from Columbia College
  • July 4th, 1801: George Eacker gives a speech disparaging Alexander Hamilton
  • November 20th, 1801: Philip confronts Eacker and challenges him to a duel
  • November 23rd, 1801: During the duel, Philip is shot
  • November 24th, 1801: Philip dies from his wound

Philip Hamilton's Legacy

Because he died so young, Philip didn't have time to accomplish any noteworthy achievements that might have gotten him into the history books on his own terms. Mostly, he is remembered as being the son of Alexander Hamilton. Philip does have a role in the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton, in which he was originally portrayed by Anthony Ramos.

Philip Hamilton's Death vs Alexander Hamilton's Death

Philip Hamilton Alexander Hamilton
Shot in a duel Shot in a duel
Died in 1801 Died in 1804
Killed by George Eacker Killed by Aaron Burr
Shot at Weehawken Dueling Grounds Shot at Weehawken Dueling Grounds
Lived to be 19 Lived to be 49


Philip Hamilton didn't get a chance to have much of an effect on history. But with his advantages and scholastic talents, he may well have changed the world if he had lived a little longer. He certainly changed the lives of his family members when he died. His sister Angelica suffered a mental breakdown after her brother's passing. And his parents never fully recovered from the emotional impact of losing their child.

In Depth

Few people are aware of the tragic tale of Alexander Hamilton's firstborn son, Philip. The life of this young American was full of promise but sadly cut short. During his time, Philip was a rising star expected to uphold the formidable legacy of his father. He made a profound impact on both his family and community. We took a deeper look into the little known life of this enterprising man.

Philip was born to parents Alexander and Eliza Hamilton in 1782. Raised in Albany, New York, the newborn was named after his grandfather Philip Schuyler. From the beginning, Alexander had high expectations for his son. Certain of his future success, he was heavily involved in cultivating a reputable education and rigid study schedule. In a letter to his friend Richard Meade, he jokingly wrote that Philip's only flaw was that he laughed too much.

At the age of 9, Philip was sent to New Jersey to attend a prestigious boarding school. He studied under William Frazer, an Episcopal clergyman. A few years later his younger brother joined him. Philip often wrote home to his parents during his time there. He received constant encouragement in response from his father, who was in correspondence with his teachers. Already considered to be the jewel of his family, his academic achievements were often applauded.

He received constant encouragement in response from his father, who was in correspondence with his teachers.

Philip enrolled in Columbia College a few years later. His knowledge and likable manner were compared to that of his father, who had also attended the university. He graduated in 1800 with honors. With the intention of studying law, Philip adhered to a rigorous routine. Waking each morning at 6 AM, he would study for hours. With the help of Alexander, Philip was well on his way to a meteoric career.

Philip's father was a prominent figure in American politics and subsequently had many enemies. The young Hamilton was expected to navigate this world with grace while maintaining the reputation of his family name. In 1801, a Republican lawyer named George Eacker gave a fiery speech on Independence Day. He was a supporter of Thomas Jefferson, a bitter rival to Alexander Hamilton. During the address, Jefferson was praised for saving the Constitution from people like Hamilton, who was accused of trying to drag America back to a monarchy. To add insult to injury, the speech was published in the newspaper. When Philip read it, he was deeply insulted.

Months later, Philip and his friend Richard Price attended a play at Park Theater in Manhattan. By chance, George Eacker was there as well. Angry about the speech, they confronted him. The situation escalated, with the men shouting at each other and exchanging insults. Things went too far when George called the young men rascals. While that word may not mean much today, in the 1800s it was a devastating insult. To use it in public was a grave affront that had to be contested.

The situation escalated, with the men shouting at each other and exchanging insults.

Defending their honor, the men challenged each other to a duel. Back then, this was a customary way to settle affairs of pride. For the most part, the intention was simply to face each other with deadly weapons but avoid actual murder.

The men met at the Weehawken Dueling Grounds in New Jersey. Price had already faced Eacker the day before. Both men had walked away unscathed and with their honor intact. During his duel, Philip had been advised by his father to throw away his first shot. This was a way to virtuously call a truce. At the command to shoot, he refused to raise his pistol. Eacker did the same, and both men stood in this fashion for a full minute. When his adversary finally fired, Philip was hit above his right hip. He fell to the ground with the bullet lodged in his arm.

It was reported that Philip showed extraordinary poise and grace after he was shot. He was rushed across the river to his aunt's home to be cared for. Dr. David Hosack, who would later tend to the elder Hamilton after his infamous duel with Aaron Burr, was called to the house. When Alexander arrived, he was in considerable agony. He and his wife clutched their son through the night. Philip died early the next morning. He was buried in an unmarked grave in New York City, surrounded by devastated mourners.

When Alexander arrived, he was in considerable agony.

The Hamilton family was deeply affected by Philip's death. His younger sister Angelica suffered a mental breakdown from which she never recovered. When the youngest Hamilton child was born, he was named after his older brother. It was said that Alexander and Eliza were never the same. Coincidentally, the elder Hamilton would meet same fate just years later. Though he didn't have a chance to change the world like his father, Philip undoubtedly left a lasting impact on his community and relatives.