Historical program ties Freeport to Hamilton

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FREEPORT — Alexander Hamilton is coming to town April 20.

The strong-willed man recalled for his Founding Father status and as the victim of an infamous duel on July 11, 1804, will take center stage at the Freeport Community Library.

“The Great Hamilton,” written and performed by New England native Charles Stockbridge, is set for 7 p.m. at 10 Library Drive. The program is free and open to the public.

Stockbridge is an experienced lecturer who loves telling the story of America’s first secretary of the Treasury. 

There is more to Hamilton than the circumstances of his birth and the duel he fought, and lost, with 1800 presidential candidate Aaron Burr. 

Stockbridge draws from his knowledge of financing and his passion for history. And, from his family’s Freeport lineage.

Generations ago, Revolutionary War veteran Lt. John Stockbridge moved from southeastern Massachusetts to what is now Freeport. Land grants were awarded to Continental Army soldiers, and John Stockbridge headed north, to land still under Massachusetts domain. Maine became its own state in 1820, and a free state.

Micah Stockbridge settled in Freeport and raised a family. Gravesites commemorate this, Charles Stockbridge said. 

Generations later, some Stockbridge family members would travel south again, to Massachusetts’ South Shore. 

Charles Stockbridge is a son of the American Revolution and clearly knows his family’s genealogical history. He draws from his knowledge of financing and his passion for how America developed economically as a nation. 

“I really love history,” he said. “I thought I should lecture on the establishment of U.S. currency.”

What Stockbridge started in 2000 or 2002 as a way to combine speaking about investments to large groups evolved into his Hamilton historical presentations.

Family and business contacts led to him being given an early book on Hamilton’s work establishing the first bank of America. Stockbridge incorporates all of what he’s learned on Hamilton and the late 18th and early 19th centuries into his performances.

The April 20 lecture is akin to a play with three parts. Hamilton appears first and speaks to the audience, and then bids goodbye. Stockbridge appears and continues the program. The last part deals with the duel, for which Stockbridge will provide more information. It wasn’t a case, simply, of one man shooting another, he explained. 

Burr and Hamilton had similar backgrounds. Each man grew up without an intact family. Each man’s parents died young and they were shuttled between relatives.  

Both men pulled themselves up by the bootstraps, Stockbridge said. 

Program attendees also will learn about Eliza Hamilton, Alexander’s widow. She lived until age 97, dying in 1854.

Hamilton had integrity, courage, and financial acumen, Stockbridge, said, “yet he was a human being and had his follies and foibles.”

Lisa D. Connell can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or lconnell@theforecaster.net. Follow Lisa on Twitter: @connell_ld.

Alexander Hamilton lives on in a historical presentation by Charles Stockbridge, who will be in Freeport April 20.