Eliza Hamilton Holly
November 20, 1799
New York City, New York
|Died||October 17, 1859 (aged 59)|
|Resting place||Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Sleepy Hollow, New York|
Sidney Augustus Holly
(m. 1825; his death 1842)
Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton
|Relatives||See Hamilton family|
Eliza Hamilton Holly (November 20, 1799 – October 17, 1859) was the seventh child and second daughter of Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, and his wife, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton.
Eliza was born in New York City, New York on November 20, 1799 to Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton. Unlike her mother (who was called Eliza as a nickname), her name was Eliza, not Elizabeth; the first name Eliza was given on her baptismal and marriage records.
She was a sick infant, about whom Hamilton troubled himself as he began to find solace in his family in the late 1790s. While home with the children in his wife's absence, Hamilton wrote of his three-year-old daughter, "Eliza pouts and plays, and displays more and more her ample stock of Caprice."
Eliza was only four years old when her father engaged in the duel with Aaron Burr that ended his life. She was one of more than twenty friends and family members of Hamilton to see him in his last hours, and was one of the last sights Hamilton saw, as his wife lined all seven of their living children at the foot of the bed so Hamilton could see them before he died. She and her mother were not a part of Hamilton's funeral processions.
Eliza married Sidney Augustus Holly on July 19, 1825, and they remained married until his death in 1842. Holly, a merchant in New York City, was one of eight children of David Holly (1768–1843), a large land owner in Stamford, Connecticut. Holly's family, descended from one of Stamford's earliest settlers in 1642, was prominent in business and local government.
Prior to 1833, Eliza and her husband lived at The Grange (now the Hamilton Grange National Memorial) with her mother, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton. Eliza and her mother remained very close for all her life. In a letter written by her mother in December 1832, Eliza was described as being like her father: "You don't know how important you are to me. You step in the steps of your father's kindness, and the more you are with me, the more I see that you are like him."
From 1833 to 1842, Eliza and Sidney Holly continued to live with her mother in an East Village, Manhattan townhouse at 4 St. Mark's Place (now known as the Hamilton-Holly House), together with Eliza's brother Alexander Hamilton Jr. and his wife Eliza P. Knox Hamilton. Alexander Jr. had purchased the townhouse for their mother in 1833, using proceeds from the sale of The Grange.
Eliza was widowed on June 26, 1842. That year, she moved with her mother to 63 Prince Street in Lower Manhattan, which had previously been the home of President James Monroe and Samuel L. Gouverneur.
In 1848, she and her mother moved to Washington, D.C. They lived near the White House in a house on H Street, where they entertained many guests. On New Year's Day of 1853 alone, their visitors included General Winfield Scott, New York Senator William H. Seward, and President Millard Fillmore. A month after their first meeting with President Fillmore in their house, Eliza and her mother dined at the White House with Fillmore and his wife.
Eliza continued to care for her mother until 1854, when her mother died at the age of 97. After her mother's death, it is believed possible that Eliza influenced or expedited the creation of the biography of her father by her brother John Church Hamilton, as she chastised him for his overdue writing based upon their mother's imperative that "Justice shall be done to the memory of my Hamilton."
Eliza Hamilton Holly died in Washington, D.C. on October 17, 1859. She and her husband left no descendants. She was buried in Westchester County, New York at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where her sister Angelica Hamilton had been buried two years earlier; in 1878, their brother James Alexander Hamilton was also buried there.