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Mr. Hamilton’s Mysterious Voyage
Written by Russ Hobbs   
The Diamond Shoals off of Cape Hatteras have often been referred to as the graveyard of the Atlantic.  Hundreds of ships have sunk in these turbulent waters including the Union Ironclad Monitor.  Spanish galleons, warships from many nations, pleasure craft and many commercial vessels have gone to the bottom of the sea in the waters off of Cape Hatteras.  Today most mariners try to avoid sailing into the possible perils of this location. However, mariners and sailors risk the danger because of the opportunity to catch the Northward push of the gulf stream which offers savings in both time and fuel for the voyage.
As famous as the dangerous shoals are so is the Hatteras Lighthouse, the tallest in the nation.  Some of the old “salts” of the region refer to the lighthouse as Mr. Hamilton’s light and for good reason.  
Alexander Hamilton was born in 1755 in the Danish West Indies.  Hamilton’s mother died in 1768 and he went to work for a New York merchant by the name of Nicholas Cruger in a trading firm in St Croix.  Hamilton prospered in his apprenticeship and was soon managing the business.  When a terrible hurricane nearly destroyed St. Croix, Hamilton who had a way with words wrote a description of the storm that his pastor arranged to have printed in the Danish American Gazette.  A number of merchants in the Indies read the article and were so impressed with his writing that they collected funds to assist him in studying law.  Mr. Hamilton had an interest in politics and was desirous of making law and politics his life work.  In the late fall of 1772 just a few years before the battles of Lexington and Concord, the young man boarded a ship for New York.  As his ship neared Cape Hatteras a terrible storm erupted and Alexander became so sea sick that he thought he would die.  If that weren’t enough to have to deal with and to make matters worse, the ship caught on fire.  The ship was ordered anchored in the treacherous sea and for the next 24 hours Hamilton aided the crew as part of a bucket brigade.  When the fire was brought under control and the storm had subsided so that they could set sail again, Hamilton swore an oath on the memory of his dead mother that if he should ever gain a post of significance in America he would see that a lighthouse was built to mark the dangerous place where his ship nearly was dashed to pieces on those deadly shoals of Cape Hatteras.  Of course, Hamilton became an American giant who was caught up in the American Revolution and other famous historical events.  He served in the Continental Congress and later became a member of the United State Congress.  He was a man true to his word and in 1794 he authorized the construction of the first Hatteras lighthouse.  The structure was 120 feet in height and was recognized as a monument of its day!  Although the sea eventually claimed the original structure the old foundations can still be seen by visitors.  Mr. Hamilton kept his vow.