About James Hamilton
James Hamilton (circa 1711 in Accomac County(?), Virginia –14 August 1783, New York, New York), son of the well-known Philadelphia lawyer Andrew Hamilton, was a prominent lawyer and governmental figure in colonial Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.
Hamilton was educated in Philadelphia and England before becoming a practising lawyer in 1731. When on December 28, 1733 his father resigned as prothonotary of the supreme court of Pennsylvania, he was appointed to the office.
In May 1734 James’ father Andrew Hamilton sold him the town site of Lancaster, Pennsylvania for 5 shillings. Later that month, on May 21, James secured a patent from the Penn family for his grant on the Lancaster land.
After the death of Andrew Hamilton on August 4, 1741, James Hamilton inherited his 150-acre estate known as Bush Hill north of the city. He assisted his brother-in-law, William Allen, in the administration of lands purchased by his father to be used for the state house and surrounding public space.
Elected to the provincial assembly in 1745, Hamilton was re-elected five times.
He served as mayor of Philadelphia for one year from October 1745.
Hamilton became a member of the provincial council in 1746, and was commissioned by the sons of William Penn as lieutenant-governor, as which he served until 1754, then again from 1759 to 1763, then briefly also in 1771 and 1773.
On September 13, 1761 James Hamilton and William Allen conveyed Lot no. 1 and the other pieces of property obtained by Andrew Hamilton and William Allen to Isaac Norris II and the other trustees in charge of purchasing property for the Philadelphia state house. The conveyance of this land completed the area of the Yard: property that contained the state house and the public spaces surrounding it.
Hamilton was active in founding several institutions in Philadelphia, serving as president of the board of trustees of the College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania) and as the head of the American Philosophical Society.
As he did not have a surviving son, his nephew William Hamilton inherited his estate of Bush Hill. During the period that the federal capital was located in Philadelphia, Hamilton was on an extended stay in England and rented the property for use by the vice-president as his residence. During the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793, outbuildings were adapted for use as a fever hospital for several months.