Bayard House

 

As Hamilton, Pendleton and Hosack’s barge pulled up to the dock in Manhattan, William Bayard was there to receive his friend.  A servant had seen them setting out earlier in the morning, and told Bayard, who realized where they were going. The wealthy merchant burst into tears when he saw Hamilton lying in the bottom of the boat, as did his family when they learned of the event.  At Dr. Hosack’s request, a bed was prepared in a large second floor bedroom of the Bayard mansion that used to be at 80-82 Jane Street. Today a plaque marks the location of where it was, that is, the south side of Jane between Washington and Greenwich Streets, one block in from the river at West Street

William Bayard was a director of the Bank of New York, and thus close to Hamilton and his bother-in-law John Church.  Hamilton had written the original incorporation papers for Bank of New York.  As mentioned earlier, when Aaron Burr helped found the Chase Manhattan Bank to lend to those that Bank of New York would not, Church and Burr dueled in 1799 in Weehawken, but neither was injured.

William Bayard was not a close relative of James Bayard, the Delaware Federalist delegate who changed votes after hearing Hamilton’s campaign against Burr, and consulting with Jefferson’s representatives in Washington DC.  His changed ballot cost Burr the Presidency in 1801, and gave it to Jefferson instead. James Bayard was a descendent of the Huguenot sister of Peter Stuyvesant of New York.

Hamilton was alert and composed as he lie wounded. Eliza and the seven children were summoned and arrived. So did Episcopal Bishop Benjamin Moore, rector of Trinity Church and President of Columbia College. (no relation to the paint company started in New Jersey in the late 1800’s.)  He eventually administered communion to Hamilton. French surgeons from the fleet in the harbor, experienced in treating gunshot wounds confirmed Dr. David Hosack’s diagnosis that the lead in the vertebrae was fatal.

Burr wrote to Dr. Hosack asking about Hamilton’s recovery: “He would take it very kind if the Dr. would take the trouble of calling on him as he returns from Mr. Bayard’s.” But the letter went unanswered.

At 2:00pm, 31 hours after the duel, Hamilton deceased in the Bayard bedroom. Chernow tells us “A large bloodstain soaked into the Bayard’s floor where Hamilton expired, and for many years the family refused to expunge this sacred spot.”

After his death, Hamilton’s body was moved to John and Angelica Church’s house for funeral preparation.

 

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