The Life of Colonel William Stephen Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton's Forgotten Son
Published by: Indiana University Press
Solider, politician, miner, pioneer, scion of a Founding Father, William Stephen Hamilton led a prolific life. Rough Diamond: The Life of Colonel William Stephen Hamilton examines the tumultuous early Republic period of American history through the life of Alexander Hamilton's son.
Born in New York in 1797, the fifth son of Alexander Hamilton, he was only seven when his father was infamously killed in a duel with Vice President Aaron Burr. After resigning from West Point, Hamilton moved to frontier Illinois in 1817. The famous name of Hamilton that may have acquired him rank and prestige at one time was meaningless in a Midwestern frontier society driven by the Jacksonians. Yet, despite being hurled into a clash of economic, political, and cultural cultures, Hamilton determined to live his life by his own rules. A veteran of the Winnebago and Black Hawk Wars, Hamilton was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives before moving to the Wisconsin territory, where he founded the mining town of Hamilton's Diggings (Wiota, WI). When gold was discovered in California in 1848, he traveled west, where he would die in Sacramento in 1850.
In Rough Diamond: The Life of Colonel William Stephen Hamilton, author A. K. Fielding expands the story of the Hamilton family. Hamilton's life offers a firsthand account of the formation of the Midwestern states, the realities of life on the frontier, and mass migration caused by the California Gold Rush.
1. Broken Beginnings
2. The Man
3. Life in Illinois
4. Black Hawk War
5. Gray Gold
6. Taming the Frontier
7. El Dorado
8. Dead End
"William Hamilton's legacy begins with mystery—whose portrait is that—and his life compounds our wonder. Here is the fascinating story, not told in more than a century, of a son of perhaps the nation's most fascinating Founder. It ventures from early New York City to Lincoln's Springfield to wild Wisconsin, then on to the California Gold Rush; and William's mother Elizabeth (Alexander's wife) was along for some of it. A. K. Fielding shows how Revolutionary culture and daring were translated into the Old Northwest and Far West by this astonishing, self-reliant, overlooked man."~James M. Cornelius, former Curator of the Lincoln Presidential Library.
"All the children of Alexander and Elizabeth Hamilton have something interesting to tell about their life. We knew William went to West Point, fought in the Black Hawk War, was a lead miner in Wisconsin and died in Sacramento looking for gold. A. K. Fielding has also been looking for gold and has done a lot of panning through the internet, old books, manuscripts and letters to reveal the shiny golden nuggets in the life of William Stephen Hamilton. There is gold in this Rough Diamond."~Douglas Hamilton, 5x great-grandson of Alexander Hamilton
"Author A.K. Fielding uncovers fascinating new information on Alexander and Elizabeth Hamilton through the eyes and documents of their son William Stephen Hamilton. Like his father, William finds a life far from his childhood home–in this case, the Midwest, and then on to California. Readers will enjoy immersing themselves in William's unique life journey, from coast to coast."~Rand Scholet, Founder, The Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society
"Who tells your story? A. K. Fielding tells William Stephen Hamilton's–a poignant and all-American tale of privilege, pioneer spirit, and tragedy."~Richard Brookhiser, author Give Me Liberty: A History of America's Exceptional Idea