The Vice-President Who Murdered the Secretary of the Treasury


Aaron Burr v Alexander HamiltonOn February 19, 1807, Vice-President Aaron Burr was arrested in Alabama on charges of treason.

Burr was born in Newark, New Jersey on February 6, 1756. His father was the president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton) and his mother was the daughter of the well-known theologian Jonathan Edwards. Burr entered Princeton at the age of 13 and graduated with honors four years later.

After the Revolutionary War, Burr settled in New York. There, he became involved in politics and began a life-long feud with Alexander Hamilton, who became Secretary of the Treasury. In the Presidential election of 1800, Burr and Thomas Jefferson tied in Electoral College votes but Jefferson was elected President partly because of Hamilton’s influence in the House of Representatives. Burr then became Vice-President.

After a duel that killed Alexander Hamilton in 1804, Burr began concocting plans to set up a grand empire in the west that included the conquest of Mexico and the separation of the trans-Appalachian states from the Union. Although arrested for treason, Burr was acquitted after Chief Justice John Marshall ruled that acts of treason must be attested by two witnesses.

After a trip to Europe to try and re-gain his fortune, Burr returned to New York where he spent the rest of his life as a successful attorney. He died on September 14, 1836.

Do you ever wonder what your 1800 ancestor would have thought about the election and about Burr’s subsequent murder of Hamilton?

Stories Are Everywhere – Genealogy Challenge

Genealogy Stories are everywhere
It’s common to postpone writing a family history or even family stories until feeling like you’ve “done it all”. While a typical belief, I challenge it’s one that needs to be ignored 🙂

Stories are everywhere. And if you don’t capture and save a story, who will?

I chose a cemetery photo for this post because I think it’s one of the easiest places for us to find stories. I’m sure you can remember how good it felt to find an ancestor’s final resting place so why not make a record of it?

You could write a paragraph, take a photo, record an audio or video in the cemetery . . . anything to communicate the story that YOU found there. You may not even know much more about the ancestor than the vital statistics, but you definitely have a story about your search and your feelings on finding the tombstone.

My challenge to you today is to write, video, audio, or share a photo of one of your cemetery discoveries. If you’re on Twitter or Instagram, use the hashtag #cemeterystory so we can all share in your success at saving a story.


p.s. You can find my brief story over on my genealogy Facebook page.