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Like most Dutch families of the area, her family belonged to the Reformed Dutch Church of Albany, which still survives, though the original 1715 building where Elizabeth was baptized and attended services was demolished in 1806.Her upbringing instilled in her a strong and unwavering faith she would retain throughout her life.Alexander had heard of Earl's predicament and asked if Eliza might be willing to sit for him, to allow him to make some money and eventually buy his way out of prison, which he subsequently did.At this time, she now had three young children (her third, Alexander, was born in May 1786) and may have been pregnant at the time with her fourth, James Alexander, who would be born the following April.This possibly coincided with the discovery that she was pregnant with her first child, who would be born the next January and named Philip, for her father.
In October that year, Angelica wrote to Alexander, "All the graces you have been pleased to adorn me with fade before the generous and benevolent action of my sister in taking the orphan Antle [sic] under her protection." After Alexander became Treasury Secretary in 1789, her social duties only increased: "Mrs. Meanwhile, she continued to raise her children (a fifth, John Church Hamilton, had been born in August 1792) and maintain their household throughout multiple moves between New York, Philadelphia, and Albany.In September that year, Eliza learned that Major John André, head of the British Secret Service, had been captured in a foiled plot concocted by General Benedict Arnold to surrender the fort of West Point to the British.André had once been a houseguest in the Schuyler Mansion in Albany as a prisoner of war on route to Pennsylvania in 1775; Eliza, then seventeen, might have had a juvenile crush on the young British officer who had once sketched for her.Like many landowners of the time, Philip Schuyler owned slaves, and Eliza would have grown up around slavery.Despite the unrest of the French and Indian War, which her father served in and which was fought in part very near her childhood home, Eliza's childhood was spent comfortably, learning to read and sew from her mother.
She only came back to her marital house in New York in early September 1797 because the local doctor had been unable to cure their eldest son Philip, who had accompanied her to Albany and contracted typhus.