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Waddington Historical Society

A Small Town with a Big History

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Waddington's Connection to America's Founding Fathers

Alexander Hamilton was a native of the West Indies who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1772 and moved to New York City. He was born to parents who were not married. An avid reader with a brilliant mind, he was able to garner support for immigration to the American Colonies and attended King’s College, now Columbia University. Even before the Revolutionary War, he actively wrote anonymous pamphlets advocating for freedom from the British.

During the revolutionary war, he moved from leading combat troops as a captain to serving as George Washington’s chief aid and helped lead the evacuation of New York City during the British invasion. Returning to New York after the British were defeated, he became one of the founding fathers of New York City and our country. He served in the first Congress before the Constitutional Convention. During that time, he defended Joshua Waddington, one of our founding fathers, in court. The plaintiff, Elizabeth Rutgers, owned a large brewery and alehouse that she was forced to abandon during the British occupation of New York City. Rutgers demanded rent by the sum of £8,000 from Joshua Waddington,  who was running the brewery ever since it had been abandoned.

Hamilton defended Waddington in the suit despite being a patriot because he knew that allowing lawsuits like this would violate the Treaty of Paris that officially ended the war. The treaty required that Loyalists not be punished for acts during the war and the British occupation.

Despite very significant social differences, Gouverneur Morris and Alexander Hamilton were extremely close. Both shared a passion for federalism, with the goal of establishing a true federal government as opposed to a confederacy of states.  They both worked closely together to ensure that the Constitutional Convention gave more power to the Federal government.  Hamilton served as the first Treasury Secretary, founded the Bank of New York with Joshua Waddington, founded the New York Post, and was named Major General of the U.S. Army in 1798.  Hamilton’s legacy continues in the Army to this day. Battery D, 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery, 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized), traces its lineage to Hamilton’s Revolutionary War artillery company and is the oldest serving unit in the Regular Army.  He was actively engaged in politics and played a role in Aaron Burr’s failure to become President.

This led to the duel with Hamilton not firing directly at Burr, as was a gentleman’s custom at the time, and Burr firing at him directly. Both David Ogden and Gouverneur Morris were with Hamilton’s family as Hamilton was dying. David Ogden wrote letters about his experience with his uncle and Hamilton’s family. He watched as Eliza sat devotedly at her husband’s bedside, fanning his feverish face. Ogden wrote a friend that “it is but two years since her eldest son was killed in the same manner. Gracious God! What must be her feelings?” Both David and Gouverneur were devastated by Hamilton’s death.

All three of Waddington’s founding fathers had relationships with two of the America’s founding fathers who drove the creation of our Constitution.

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