Was Alexander Hamilton a freed slave?

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,688
He was illegitimate and from an island that was 95% black. There were slaves that were almost all white and looked white. Was he really a slave freed by his father?
 
Mar 2015
915
Europe
He was illegitimate and from an island that was 95% black. There were slaves that were almost all white and looked white. Was he really a slave freed by his father?
Definitely not.
The speculations of Rachel Faucette having been mixed race are persistent but unconfirmed. She certainly acted as a free woman well before meeting Hamilton´s father: married a Johann Lavien on Saint Croix, then left her husband and son and moved to Saint Kitts, then Nevis. On Nevis, Rachel had property inherited from her father.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,561
SoCal
He was illegitimate and from an island that was 95% black. There were slaves that were almost all white and looked white. Was he really a slave freed by his father?
Are you sure that the white-looking slaves weren't simply albinos? Anyway, Alexander Hamilton (or AHammy, as I like to call him) certainly doesn't look like an albino:



In contrast, here are photos of a couple of albinos:



 
Mar 2015
915
Europe
Are you sure that the white-looking slaves weren't simply albinos? Anyway, Alexander Hamilton (or AHammy, as I like to call him) certainly doesn't look like an albino:
But Alexander Hamilton´s free ancestry is attested to his grandparents at least. Father, a Hamilton from Scotland; mother, Rachel Faucette, born in 1729, in marriage; maternal grandfather, a French Huguenot physician and plantation owner; maternal grandmother English. If there was a freed slave in Alexander´s ancestry, it must have been his grandparent or earlier. How far beyond can Rachel´s ancestry be traced?
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,561
SoCal
But Alexander Hamilton´s free ancestry is attested to his grandparents at least. Father, a Hamilton from Scotland; mother, Rachel Faucette, born in 1729, in marriage; maternal grandfather, a French Huguenot physician and plantation owner; maternal grandmother English. If there was a freed slave in Alexander´s ancestry, it must have been his grandparent or earlier. How far beyond can Rachel´s ancestry be traced?
FTR, I actually agree with your analysis here.
 
Mar 2015
915
Europe
The paper trail of John Faucett goes back to 1720, when he gave evidence about French invasion of Nevis in 1706. In 1720, John was about 36 years old, so born about 1684. By 1706 (then about 22 years old) he had been resident on Nevis and a landowner there. Said to have been a Huguenot emigrating from France with his parents after 1685, so no time to be black.
Mary Uppington is less attested, because she is not mentioned outside her connection with John Faucett. By 1723, she was married to John and had a sister named Margaret Cressy.
 
Feb 2019
909
Pennsylvania, US
He was illegitimate and from an island that was 95% black. There were slaves that were almost all white and looked white. Was he really a slave freed by his father?
The most interesting facet to this question is... how would Hamilton be regarded if he were of mixed race now in terms of the push for historical revisionism ... how about in the mid 1800's ... or the 1960's?

(*If* it were true that Hamilton was of mixed race - @chornedsnorkack makes a compelling case for why it most likely isn't true).
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,688
Mixed race isn't totally accurate. There were many slaves who looked completely white. Below is a picture of Jefferson Davis' wife, who many thought had black ancestry.
Varina_Howell_Davis_by_John_Wood_Dodge.jpg

Picture of young white looking New Orleans slaves

5badaa6a1f0000390122b9ffaaaaa.jpg
 
Feb 2019
909
Pennsylvania, US
Mixed race isn't totally accurate. There were many slaves who looked completely white. Below is a picture of Jefferson Davis' wife, who many thought had black ancestry.
View attachment 26497

Picture of young white looking New Orleans slaves

View attachment 26498
Of this I am aware... as the term "high yellow" more often used in the past (now only really seen in allusions in certain songs like "The Yellow Rose of Texas") referred to pale skinned people of African descent (white with an olive undertone)... so it was a common enough occurance.

My hypothetical question is what do you think would change if Hamilton was mixed race - and appeared white?
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,741
Las Vegas, NV USA
The racial definitions in slave states varied by state and over time. I've read everything from one black great grandparent (octoroon) or more up to one great great great grandparent or more. The latter was to account for the often unknown status of the ancestors. Clearly it just shows how ridiculous this kind of profiling is. A true octaroon could easily pass for white so outside of looks, one could only rely on an established family tree. If you don't have a sufficient family tree, then you just might be black.