book reviews, reading

Hamilton Fun Facts from the Play and Ron Chernow’s Book

Recently, I started reading Chernow’s Hamilton. Of course, the inspiration to read this came from watching the infamous Broadway play on Disney+ this past July. I am only 18% through the book according to my Kindle, but there are so many fun facts I have learned already, so I thought I would share some with you.

1. Peggy Schuyler was not a dud

In the play, Peggy is the sister that whine and complains and seems a little naïve and trying to hold her sister back from the fun, complaining about daddy saying no to them going into the city. In the book I just learned that Peggy was actually pretty brave and kickass! At one point, while Hamilton was away, Peggy and her father and mother and siblings were at home when British and Indian forces broke into their mansion. Everyone cowered in the bedroom when they realized they left the youngest, just a baby, in the bassinet by the front door (why you would place a baby’s crib by the front door is beyond me, but they did). Peggy gathered her courage, snuck downstairs and saved her sibling from harm. Enemies found her and demanded she tell them where her father was. Quick thinking, she said he had climbed out the window to alert troops of the invasion, which scared the opposing forces away. Peggy turned to run up the stairs with her baby sibling and that’s when an Indian threw a tomahawk at her, narrowly missing her head and lodging into the bannister on the stairs, which the marks can still be seen today. Peggy is a hero!

But if you like the dud Peggy you’ll enjoy Weird Al Yankovic’s “Hamilton Polka”. It’s hilarious!

2. The World Turned Upside Down was a real song

This was a British wartime song sung when Corwallis surrendered at the battle of Yorktown. It was first published in 1643 and was meant to be sung to the tune “When the King Enjoys his Own Again”. The original song, played with fife and drum, is more jaunty than the Broadway play’s haunting version.

3. Hamilton’s Father was the son of a Scottish Laird

There was a lot about Hamilton’s real father and it turns out he was the son of the Scottish Laird of Grange. He was the fourth son so he was not in line to take over the lairdship when his father passed, leaving him to prove himself to the world. He was not so good at business and had one misfortune after another that left him the black sheep of the family. He moved to the West Indies to make his fortune in sugar cane, but did not succeed. Even after being abandoned by his father, though, Hamilton kept in touch through letters throughout his life with his estranged father.

Portrait of the handsome Hamilton

4. Hamilton’s Mother, Rachel Fawcett Lavien, was rumored to be half-black

There was rumors abundant about Hamilton’s lineage. Some claim his mother was half-black. Some claim James Hamilton was not his real father. His mother was not married to him when Hamilton was born, only living with him, and it was rumored that she had affairs that included her landlord who hired Hamilton after his father left and mother died, and even that she had affairs with her slaves. There is much mystery behind Hamilton’s heritage, but it is possible her was British, Scottish, and African-American.

There you have it. The little interesting facts about Hamilton that I only learned by reading the book. I recommend both the play and the book, amazing in their own ways. I’m sure I will be posting more to come as I read further. Enjoy!

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