WAYNESBORO—A birthday celebration for Alexander Hamilton—the local resident, not the one on the ten-dollar bill—was held recently at Burns Hill Cemetery.
The namesake of the Alexander Hamilton Memorial Free Library is buried in the graveyard and members of the community united to celebrate the anniversary of what would’ve been his 229th birthday.
Born in 1793 in Brandywine Manor, Chester County, to James Hamilton Sr. and Martha Wilson Hamilton, Hamilton moved to Waynesboro in 1817 after a fire claimed his home.
Arriving in town with jut the items he could carry, he built a brick home and carriage shop on Mechanic Street (now Church Street).
Hamilton married his neighbor’s daughter, Jane Besore, and began to invest in real estate, purchasing the Mansion House, which is today’s library, in 1841 for $1,800 and later purchasing an entire block’s worth of properties.
Hamilton went on to father 12 children (nine survived) and become the wealthiest man in Waynesboro. His son, John, painted the portraits of his parents that hang in the library.
The eighth child, Jemima, married George Stover in 1857 and had and had three children—William, Jane and Mary. Jane married I.E. Yost and they willed the house to the town to be used as a library.
Alexander died in 1874 at the age of 81.
Following the program, the library provided birthday refreshments and activities throughout the day in his honor.