By Felicia Persaud
News Americas, CHARLESTOWN, Nevis, Fri. Oct. 26, 2012: In Charlestown, Nevis, the struggle is on to preserve what is the last edifice on the birthplace of history’s greatest immigrant, Alexander Hamilton, who ventured to another land to save it from ruin and sent it on its path of destiny to become the most powerful and prosperous nation on earth.
Since 2008, keeping the Alexander Hamilton Museum open has been a challenge for Evelyn Henville and her small staff in Nevis, West Indies. Getting the approximately US$10,000 is a test monthly, says Henville, and while the government of the tiny island has pitched in $4,000, the Nevis Historical And Conservation Society, which runs the Museum, has used an overdraft at a local bank for the past two months, to make up the difference.
Yet, the basement foundation is all that remains of the family home where the man who was one of the important pioneers in the early formation of the American government and the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, was born.
The present brick structure, which currently houses the Alexander Hamilton Museum, the Nevis House of Parliament and the NHCS’ administrative offices, is built on the remaining foundation of the carriage house that once belonged to the mother of America’s former Secretary of the Treasury.
And while the exhibits to celebrate Hamilton are largely static and nothing extraordinary, it is here that you learn of the early struggles of a child, who was born out of wedlock and who faced discrimination early by being unable to attend the local church school because he was considered illegitimate.
Alexander was the second son born to his mother, Rachel Fawcett Lavien and father, James Hamilton, the fourth son of a Scottish Duke. But they were never married even though their liaison lasted about 15 years.
At the Hamilton House and surrounding lands that overlook the sea, you stand under a flamboyant tree and think about the little Alexander running around the land as a serious lad, as Henville describes him.
But the Hamilton House needs US$400,000 to ensure its legacy is maintained.
April 2014 is the date by which NHCS has to make its final payment to the former owners, who sold the property to the Trust for $500,000. But so far the Society has only managed to pay US$100,000.
Henville is worried that if they are not able to raise the money, investors will buy the property from under their nose and the last vestige of Hamilton’s birth will be gone forever.
Her hope is that the U.S. government and other Hamilton loving donors will pitch in and help preserve the property as the “Hamilton House – Future Nevis Heritage Centre,” and expand it to house all Hamilton exhibits and truly develop and support his life story and educate children more properly on this son of Nevis.
“”Despite adversity Alexander Hamilton triumphed and left his mark,” said Henville.
To help the Nevis Historical And Conservation Society, send donations to the 501 (c) 3 NEVKIT Foundation, c/o: NHCS, Alexander Hamilton Museum, P.O. Box 563, Charlestown, Nevis, St. Kitts & Nevis or call 869-469-5786.