Posts Tagged ‘Alexander Hamilton’

The sensational Manhattan well murder of 1799

May 15, 2010

It was a murder—and subsequent trial—that captivated the young city.

Levi Weeks, a carpenter and the brother of a renowned architect, was courting pretty, 21-year-old Gulielma Sands.

Nicknamed Elma, she lived in the same boarding house as Weeks did in Lispenard’s Meadows, a marshy area near Greenwich and Spring Streets.

On the night of December 22, Elma left her house. Supposedly she told her sister and a friend that she and Weeks were eloping.

She was never seen alive again. Two days later, her possessions—and her beaten body—were found at the bottom of a nearby well. Weeks was quickly indicted for her murder.

The evidence was circumstantial. A sleigh holding two men and a woman was seen by the well the night Elma disappeared; Elma’s sister said Weeks returned to the boarding house that night “pale and nervous.”

To defend himself, Weeks assembled the original dream team of lawyers, including Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. Even though most New Yorkers thought he was guilty, Burr and Hamilton got him acquitted.

Weeks left town fast and moved to Natchez, Mississippi. He became an architect and built many of the city’s loveliest homes.

The wisdom of the dead in Manhattan graveyards

January 7, 2010

Alexander Hamilton, Robert Fulton, and dozens of ordinary 18th- and 19th-century New Yorkers sleep for eternity in the cemetery behind Trinity Church, at Broadway and Wall Street. And a few blocks up Broadway, off Fulton Street, more early residents are buried in the graveyard of St. Paul’s Chapel.

Both are peaceful yet unsettling places; Trinity’s cemetery is older than the current church building itself. The jagged, weathered headstones mark the graves of men and women, Revolutionary War soldiers and seamen, and lots of young kids. It’s hard to read most of the headstones because the elements have erased the names and dates.

But many are legible. And to remind visitors of their own mortality, several of the headstones feature this eerie address:

“Behold and See as you Pass By
As You are Now so Once was I
As I am Now you Soon will Be
Prepare for Death and Follow Me”

Alexander Hamilton—or GQ model?

June 6, 2008

Mr. Hamilton is depicted as a swarthy dude in this Central Park statue; the banker, soldier, and Federalist just may be our hottest Founding Father. He left his mark all over New York and died in a house on Jane Street after his infamous duel with Aaron Burr across the Hudson in Weehawken. Ouch.

Hamilton is long gone, but his Harlem home, Hamilton Grange, survives. It’s being moved from Convent Avenue to St. Nicholas Park this week, where it will reopen in 2009.

Ephemeral update: The New York Times has this article detailing the move in today’s (6/7) paper.