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Nevis, St. Kitts
|February 19, 1768 at age 39
Christiansted, St. Croix
|Saint Kitts and Nevis
|Rachel Faucett, Rachel Faucett Hamilton, Rachel Hamilton
|Saint Kitts and Nevis
|Store owner and operator
|Raising Alexander Hamilton and his brother James Jr. as a single mother until an untimely death.
|Incarcerated by her first husband for several months for refusing to live in his home
Rachael Fawcett was the mother of founding father of the United States of America, Alexander Hamilton. She raised Alexander and his brother James as a single mother in the 18th century Caribbean until her early death of yellow fever.
Born in 1729 to a British mother and a French Huguenot physician father, Rachael was raised in a large family in the Caribbean. In 1736, three of Rachael’s siblings died in an apparent epidemic, sisters Frances and Elizabeth, and brother Peter.
Inspired by the flashy appearance of wealth of Johann Lavien, Rachael’s parents encouraged her to marry the businessman in 1745, at age 16. A year later, she gave birth to a son, Peter. However, the marriage would not last. In 1750, Rachael refused to live with Lavien any longer, which was punishable by imprisonment under Danish law at that time. She spent several months in a 10 by 13 foot cell with one small window, in the Fort in Christiansted, St. Croix
Soon after being released, she fled to the British West Indies, where she met James Hamilton. Hamilton and Fawcett moved together to her birthplace, Nevis, and had two sons together, James Jr. and Alexander. Rachael abandoned her son Peter to his father in the process. Lavien divorced Rachael in 1759 on grounds of adultery and desertion, which left her legally unable to remarry.
During the period after Lavien sued for a divorce, Rachael was in a common law marriage with James Hamilton. Possibly to avoid the possibility of bigamy, Hamilton then abandoned Rachael and their sons in 1765. Rachael moved with James Jr. and Alexander to Christiansted, where she opened a store and the small family lived above. Her store was near to the main port in Christiansted and this allowed for trade with ocean going vessels. She provided an education to her two sons, in both English and French. Their possessions also included a personal library of 34 books.
Rachael died of yellow fever after fighting the illness for several days. She died in the early hours of February 19, 1768, at the age of 39. James, Jr. and Alexander were left orphaned. Rachael was buried in Mr. Tuite’s Grainge Plantation.
After learning of Fawcett’s death in 1768, Lavien used the 1759 divorce decree in probate court to prevent James Jr. and Alexander Hamilton from inheriting any of her property, due to their illegitimate birth. Her entire estate went instead to her first son, Peter.
- Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
- "Christiansted National Historic Site (U.S. National Park Service)". www.nps.gov.
- Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years, By Michael E. Newton
- Atherton, Gertrude (1902). "The Hunt for Hamilton's Mother". The North American Review. 175 (549): 229–242. JSTOR 25119289 – via JSTOR.
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