James Alexander Hamilton was born in New York, April 14, 1788, the third son of Alexander (1755-1804) and Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton. After graduating from Columbia College in 1805, he studied for the law, earning admittance to the New York bar in 1809. In the following year, Hamilton established a law practice in Hudson, N.Y., and in October, 1810, married Mary, the daughter of Robert Morris and granddaughter of former New York chief justice, Richard Morris.
Following military service in the War of 1812, Hamilton returned to private law practice with vigor. An easy-mannered, slick-talking and ambitious man, he jockeyed for political position, slowly working his way into the most influential Democratic circles of the day, developing a particularly close professional relationship with Martin Van Buren. For several years, Hamilton co-published the New York American, a newspaper reflecting Clintonian Democrat sympathies. As part of Andrew Jackson's "so-called Appointing Council" in 1829, he helped to secure Martin Van Buren's appointment as Secretary of State, but soon had a falling out with the administration. Although he had had a hand in choosing Jackson's cabinet, he became its most caustic critic, later calling it "the most unintellectual and uneducated cabinet we ever had." Nevertheless, over Van Buren's protests, Jackson appointed Hamilton as District Attorney for the Southern District of New York, an office which he resigned in 1833.
A staunch defender of his father's conservative fiscal policies, Hamilton prepared a plan for a bank operated by the Treasury Department. Although Jackson had requested the plan, it was never adopted. The demise of the Bank of the United States and the Panic of 1837 changed Hamilton's political leanings, and in 1840 he supported Harrison, and from that time forward, was identified with the Whig and, later, the Republican Parties.
Although he withdrew from direct political activity after 1833, Hamilton continued to act as informal adviser to many politicians. An ardent nationalist, he disapproved of abolition on the grounds that the Constitution protected slavery. At every war between 1833 and 1861 he offered his services to his country, even urging emancipation as a military measure during the Civil War. He published several pamphlets during his lifetime and a lengthy autobiography appeared in 1869. Hamilton died in New York City at the age of ninety on September 24, 1878.
George Lee Schuyler, son of Philip Jeremiah (b. 1768) and Mary Ann Sawyer Schuyler, was born at Rhinebeck, N.Y., on June 9, 1811, the youngest of eight children. He grew up in comfortable, if not lavish circumstances, and graduated from Columbia College. He married twice, first to Eliza Hamilton, the daughter of his cousin James Alexander Hamilton, by whom he had three children: Philip, Louisa Lee (1837-1926) and Georgina (1840-1923). After his wife died in 1863, he married her younger sister, Mary Morris Hamilton (b. 1828). A civil engineer by profession, he worked with his half-brother Robert in New York City for several years. A yachtsman by avocation, he was one of the organizers in 1844 of the New York Yacht Club and participated in the team which captured the America's Cup trophy in England, 1851. As the last surviving member of this team, he donated the cup to the New York Yacht Club in 1887.
In the 1850s, Schuyler was known to have his patriot grandfather's papers at his New York City office, and in 1867 he published Correspondence & Remarks upon Bancroft's History of the Northern Campaign of 1777, and the Character of Major-General Philip Schuyler in an attempt to rehabilitate Schuyler's military career from Bancroft's aspersions. George L. Schuyler died of a heart attack July 31, 1890, in his stateroom aboard Elbridge T. Gerry's steam yacht Electra moored at Newport, R.I. His three children all survived him.
George Schuyler's daughter, Louisa Lee Schuyler, was born on October 26, 1837, the second of three children. She grew up "in a home of unpretentious wealth," spending vacations at her grandfather James Alexander Hamilton's country home near Dobbs Ferry. At the age of twenty-three, she made her first inroads into what would later be called welfare work, as a volunteer teacher for the Children's Aid Society. With the outbreak of the Civil War, she helped organize the Woman's Central Relief Association, the parent body of the United States Sanitary Commission, under the directorship of the famed Unitarian clergyman, Henry W. Bellows. Entering avidly into this work, Louisa so exhausted herself that she spent several years after the war recuperating in Europe and Egypt. Upon her return to New York in 1871, she again took up the challenge of social work, organizing the State Charities Aid Association, which encouraged private citizens to inspect public institutions. The tide of public sentiment fostered by this plan was instrumental in establishing the nation's first nurses' training school at Bellvue Hospital in 1874. Miss Schuyler championed the cause of humane care of the insane, and in 1890, arranged for the transfer of insane inmates from county almshouses to state hospitals. In later years she worked in the cause of blindness prevention, but ironically became blind herself at the end of her long life. Characterized as a woman who had "the mind of a lawyer and the will-power of a captain of industry," she died at her home in New York City on October 10, 1926, nearly eighty-nine years old.