About James A. Hamilton
A drifting trader, father of Alexander Hamilton.
Alexander Hamilton was born in Charlestown, the capital of Nevis in the British West Indies. He was born out of wedlock to Rachel Faucett Lavien, of partial French Huguenot descent, and James A. Hamilton, the fourth son of Scottish laird Alexander Hamilton of Grange, Ayrshire.
Hamilton's mother had been separated previously from Johann Michael Lavien of St. Croix, a much older German Jewish merchant-planter. To escape an unhappy marriage, Rachel left her husband and first son for St. Kitts in 1750, where she met James. They moved together to Rachel's birthplace of Nevis, where she had inherited property from her father. Their two sons were James, Jr., and Alexander. Because Hamilton's parents were not legally married, the Church of England denied him membership or education in the church school. Instead, he received "individual tutoring" and classes in a private Jewish school. Hamilton supplemented his education with a family library of thirty-four books, including Greek and Roman classics.
James then abandoned Rachel and their two sons, allegedly to "spar[e] [Rachel] a charge of bigamy . . . [after finding out that her first husband] intend[ed] to divorce her under Danish law on grounds of adultery and desertion."