Alexandria Is Hiding Something Interesting
Since 1816, the Grave of the Female Stranger has left both visitors and locals of Alexandria, Virginia bewildered. Theories have run rampant over the past two centuries claiming she was either the daughter of former Vice President Aaron Burr or that the unknown woman was an ill immigrant.
Legend has it, a young couple arrived in Alexandria by ship in 1816 where they rented a room at Gadsby’s Tavern (located at 138 North Royal St). The woman was gravely ill and in an effort to help, the husband called on the local doctor to ail his dying wife on the condition that he asks no questions on both him and his wife’s identities. Her condition sadly deteriorated and the woman did not recover. She passed away on October 14, 1816. The husband ended up borrowing money from local businesses for her burial in town and promised to repay them wit a note from the Bank of England which turned out to be a forgery. His deceased wife was buried in the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church where her grave still resides today.
To further add to the mystery the inscription on the grave reads:
“To the memory of a Female Stranger
Whose mortal suffering terminated
on the 14th day of October, 1816
Aged 23 years, and 8 months
This stone is erected by her discon-
solate husband in whose arms she
sighed out her latest breath, and who
under God did his utmost to soothe the
cold dull hour of death.
How loved, how honor’d once avails thee not,
To whom related or by whom begot,
A heap of dust remains of thee
‘Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be.”
The last stanza is a reference from Alexander Popes Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady.
Over the past few years, locals have suggested the idea of exhuming the remains for DNA testing, but no further actions have been taken as of yet. The grave is still well maintained and each year visitors come to pay their respects and relish in the mystery that surrounds such an oddity.