She came from a very wealthy family, and she married into an equally important family, when she got married to 19-year-old Stephen Van Rensselaer III, when she was 25 years old. By 1789, Peggy and her husband had three kids, but unfortunately, only one survived to adulthood.
And Peggy’s life was cut short, too. By the time 1801 rolled around, Peggy had been sick for two years with an unknown illness. Obviously, they didn’t have the same ways to diagnose illness and disease back then, and her health went back and forth.
Hamilton would frequently write to his wife, Eliza, to fill her in on how her sister was doing. “Your Sister Peggy has gradually grown worse & is now in a situation that her dissolution in the opinion of the Doctor is not likely to be long delayed,” he wrote, according to documents recovered. She hung in and surprised her family who thought she had turned the corner and would be OK, but things changed.
Just a few months later, Hamilton shared the devastating news that Peggy Schuyler had died. On March 16, he wrote to Eliza to say her sister, who was only 42 years old, had died.
“On Saturday, My Dear Eliza, your sister took leave of her sufferings and friends, I trust, to find repose and happiness in a better country. … Viewing all that she had endured for so long a time, I could not but feel a relief in the termination of the scene. She was sensible to the last and resigned to the important change,” he continued.
“I long to come to console and comfort you my darling Betsey,” he added. “Adieu my sweet angel. Remember the duty of Christian Resignation. Ever Yrs, A H.”