Presbyterian Cemetery: Distinguished Stories

The establishment of the Presbyterian Cemetery directly responded to the devastating yellow fever epidemic that ravaged Alexandria in 1803. This tragic event claimed the lives of hundreds of the town’s residents, quickly overwhelming the capacity of the existing town and church burial sites.

Recognizing the pressing need for a solution, the town’s local council swiftly took action in 1804, enacting a regulation that halted the sale of more burial plots within the town after March of that year. Recognizing the sustained risk and the necessity for long-term planning, by 1809, a stricter law was put into place, which outright banned any new burials within the town’s boundaries. This led to the establishment of larger and more organized cemeteries on the outskirts of town, ensuring the respectful resting of those who passed while safeguarding the health and well-being of the living.

Over 2,400 individuals have found their final resting place in the historic 1809 Presbyterian Cemetery & Columbarium in Alexandria, Virginia. Presented below is a selection of those interred. This list is not exhaustive; we will continuously update it with new names. Should you know any intriguing tales or notable names that merit inclusion, don’t hesitate to contact Gravestone Stories.

Click on this blog post [The Presbyterian Cemetery: a Historic Burial Ground Dating Back to 1809 in Alexandria, Virginia] to read about the cemetery’s history.

To view a map of the different sections of the cemetery, click [here].

Table of Contents


John Adam (1781 – September 30, 1843) was the Worshipful Master of Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 in 1833-1834.

Worshipful Master of Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 (1833-1834). Image sourced from Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 Archives.

John Adam, the eldest son of the distinguished Robert Adam (1731 – 1789), carried his family’s legacy in Alexandria. Born into a lineage of prominence, John’s father, Robert, arrived in Alexandria in 1755 and quickly became a community pillar. Robert was not only a close friend of George Washington but also the Worshipful Master of Alexandria’s inaugural Masonic Lodge, predating Washington’s Lodge No. 22. He further solidified his stature by signing The Fairfax Resolves and residing at the renowned “Fairfax House” or “Adam House” at 207 Prince Street. His entrepreneurial ventures included managing a wharf and warehouse and owning a grist mill, a store, a tannery, an iron foundry, and a bakery. As a town trustee, Adam took an active role in local civic affairs, notably participating in the 1767 repair of a schoolhouse.

For more information about Robert Adam’s life and contributions, you can read our blog post [here].

Growing up in such an illustrious household, John Adams became a notable figure in Alexandria. His commitment to the community was evident through his various roles and contributions. In 1817, he served on the Church Committee and later took on the congregation’s collector and treasurer responsibilities. Although he attended a pivotal meeting in March 1817 about the formation of the Second, he chose not to join. His generosity shone when he funded the installation of the first Meeting House organ. By 1810, John’s name was associated with the St. Andrew’s Society, as highlighted in the Alexandria Gazette and Virginia Advertiser. His Masonic ties mirrored his father’s, being a Masonic Lodge No. 22 member and holding the revered title of Worshipful Master. The Common Council, recognizing his dedication, appointed him as a trustee of the Poor House in 1820. John’s life of service and leadership culminated in his final resting place, marked by an obelisk in plot 41:14.

An image showcasing the Adam family obelisk on March 16, 2024, moments after a new plaque was revealed to commemorate Robert Adam’s contribution as a signer of The Fairfax Resolves.
In memoriam
within these sacred
precints lie the
departed members of
the ADAM
beloved daughter of
born Sept. 12, 1819
died May 29, 1909
daughter of ROBERT
died Jan. 23, 1873
aged 89 years
widow of CHARLES
lost at sea July 1811
son of
died Jan. 1823
aged 5 years
son of
died Jan. 19, 1879
eldest son of
First Wor. Master of
the Alexandria
Washington Lodge
of Masons
Grandson of the
of Kilbride, Scotland
died Sept. 30, 1843
aged 62 years
widow of JOHN ADAM
died Jan. 29, 1873
of Belfast, Ireland
The faithful
guardian of JOHN ADAM
died Sept. 5, 1822 

John Adam (1775 – August 4, 1848)

John Adam was a renowned silversmith in Alexandria. Contrary to popular belief, he was not the son of Robert Adam, as mentioned above, but rather his cousin, as noted in Hollan’s Alexandria Silver catalog. John operated a shop on King Street, which unfortunately suffered damage during the great fire of 1827. Additionally, he owned a three-story brick house on Fairfax Street. This residence, occupied by Joseph Dodds as his shoe store and his family, also faced significant losses, as detailed in Miller’s “PEN PORTRAITS” (pages 112-114).

John’s craftsmanship in Alexandria extended until approximately 1829. While he is primarily credited with crafting exquisite tea services and silverware, one of his unique creations—a pair of sunglasses—is now a prized possession of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association. Other items made by Adam can be viewed in the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum, located at 201 S. Washington Street.

Departed this life
Augt. 4, 1848
ages 73 years
It may truly be said he was
the noblest work of God, an
honest man

John Park Agnew (1819-1892): An Industrious Life of Coal and Community.

John Park Custis Agnew, commonly known as Jno. P. Agnew, or John P. Agnew, was a prominent figure born in 1819 in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania. His parents were John Agnew and Elizabeth Park. Agnew’s life was largely tied to the coal industry, reflecting his roots in Cumberland, Maryland—a notable coal region. In June 1860, he was formally recognized by the church, and from 1865 until the dissolution of the congregation, he devotedly served as an elder at the Meeting House.

Agnew was deeply involved in church affairs, notably serving on the Meeting House Church Committee from December 1860. He held the community’s trust and was appointed trustee by a legal document authored by U.S. Circuit Court Judge Westel Willoughby. Many recognized his leadership within the church, including Rev. James I. Vance, who referred to him as part of the “entire session” and ruling body of the First Presbyterian Church.

His influence extended beyond the church, as he was a mediator in local disputes, such as one at Beulah Baptist Church in 1876. Agnew resided at various prestigious addresses in Alexandria, Virginia, and his home eventually made way for St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church parking.

Professionally, Agnew was a successful coal shipper, with his business located at the heart of Alexandria’s waterfront. He operated John P. Agnew & Co., becoming a significant figure in coal dealing along the Potomac River and representing several coal companies from the 1870s. His entrepreneurial ventures also led him to purchase or establish major shipbuilding companies, contributing significantly to Alexandria’s maritime industry.

Agnew’s business acumen was recognized city-wide, with his firm being one of Washington’s principal business firms by 1890. Despite the challenges like the great flood of 1889, his shipyard sustained minimal damage, continuing operations, including constructing a four-masted schooner in 1882. Over the years, his shipyard launched many vessels, further solidifying his status as a major shipbuilder.

His leadership roles extended to financial institutions, serving on the Board of Directors for the Alexandria Cooperative Building Association and the Citizens National Bank. He was also the president of the Perpetual Building Association of Alexandria.

John Park Agnew is riding in a carriage at Mt. Zephyr, formerly George Washington’s Muddy Hole Farm, purchased by Agnew in 1886. His son later sold the farm to a developer in 1938, and it has since been transformed into a subdivision located south of Alexandria, Virginia. This photograph was kindly provided by his descendant, Ann Agnew.

John P. Agnew passed away in 1892 and was buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery, leaving behind a legacy of industry, leadership, and community service. His life was shared with his wife, Matilda Elizabeth Thomas Agnew, and their ten children, who continued to influence and shape their communities. Their lives, too, were marked by service and contributions to various sectors, from real estate to the chemical industry, and their legacy persisted through the generations that followed.

For an in-depth exploration of his son’s life, kindly refer to our detailed blog on Park Agnew. [Park Agnew: A Stalwart of Alexandria’s Industrial and Political Landscape (1847-1910)]

In Memory of
born in Ebensburg, Pa.
December 25, 1819
died in Alexandria, VA
June 7, 1892
He shall dwell before God
In memory of
beloved wife of
1823 – 1917
Blessed are the pure in heart
for they shall see GOD.

Sarah Maude Downham Aitcheson (July 19, 1877 – June 17, 1964): A Regular Guest at the Lee-Fendall House, Her Brother’s Historic Home.

Sarah Maude Downham, an alumna of Miss Baird’s Home School for Girls in Norwalk, Connecticut, wed Benjamin Meknew Aitcheson, the head mechanic of the pattern shop at Washington Navy Yard, on April 29, 1907. They resided at 411 North Washington Street, near her brother, a distinguished liquor merchant in Alexandria. His residence was at 429 North Washington Street, now recognized as 614 Oronoco Street, and currently known as the Lee-Fendall House.

Photograph of Sarah Maude Downham Aitcheson during her student days at Miss Baird’s Home School for Girls, Norwalk, Connecticut. Provided by the Lee-Fendall House Museum and Gardens.

On the house’s second floor, the bedroom in the Southwest corner offers a unique glimpse into history. Alongside the photograph of Sarah from her time at Miss Baird’s displayed above the bed, an intriguing feature of the room is the window overlooking the garden. Here, visitors can observe etchings in the glass panes, including the names of Myra Lee Civalier, her dog, and a friend named Mary Lee. These etchings serve as a charming and personal connection to the past, further enriching the historical ambiance of the room.

Beloved Husband
S. Maude Downham
1870 – 1920
Beloved Wife
Benjamin M. Aitcheson
1877 – 1964
Section 25 Plot 22, Obelisk

Robert Allison, Jr. (1787 – September 5, 1814) – Fatality in the 1814 Battle of the White House

Gravestone of Robert Allison, Jr. Photo by D. Heiby
In Memory
who fell
in battle on the 5th Septr. 1814
at the white house
in gallantly defending his country
aged 27 years
Our lives belong to God, & our country
He was a dutiful son
an affectionate Brother
conciliating in manners
beloved by all

erected by his kinsman

A member of the Meeting House was killed on September 5, 1814, during the Battle of the White House. Another member, Samuel Bowman, was also killed. Unfortunately, the exact location of his grave is no longer known. This incident happened while they were serving in the 1st Regiment of the District of Columbia Militia. The battle occurred when seven British ships attacked and looted Alexandria between August 29 and September 1.

Read The Battle of the White House blog for the rest of the story.

George David Appich (December 28, 1833 – November 17, 1855) – Volunteer Firefighter Among Seven Lost in the Line of Duty at the Dowell China Shop Fire, November 17, 1855

On the evening of November 17, 1855, a tragic event unfolded: a member of the Star Fire Company, one among seven brave men, lost his life while attempting to quell the flames that consumed J. T. Dowell’s China Shop, situated on the 200 Blk of King Street. Although the structure has long since vanished from the landscape, the memory of this firefighter remains indelible.

A solemn inscription bearing his name is etched on the Fire Fighters Obelisk, standing guard at the entrance of Ivy Hill Cemetery on King Street. This monument is a touching tribute to the firefighters who, over the years, have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. The overwhelming outpouring of grief and respect from the community at the time is evident from the fact that over 4,000 souls attended his funeral, bearing witness to his profound impact and the deep-seated appreciation of the citizenry.

Every fall, in a moving ceremony, the community comes together to remember this courageous firefighter and others who gave their lives in service, including those who fell on 9/11. These commemorative moments serve as a heart-rending testament to the perils firefighters confront daily and their unwavering commitment to the safety of the communities they serve.

G. David Appich Obelisk. Photo by D. Heiby
In memory of
born December 28th, 1833
was killed while discharging his duty as a Fireman
November 17th, 1855
Dearest David, thou hast left us
here thy loss we deeply feel
But tis God who has bereft us
He can all our sorrows heal.


William Bartleman (1767 – December 21, 1842) A Multifaceted Legacy: Merchant, Mason, and Valiant Veteran of the War of 1812

Also, see William Gregory.

William Bartleman was born in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland. He emigrated to the United States at 14 in 1784, along with his brother John. They settled in Alexandria, Virginia.

To read the rest of his incredible story, click on this blog [William Bartleman: Uncovering the Resilient Life Journey of a Scottish Merchant, Mason, and War of 1812 Veteran].

Robert Bell, Sr. (1809 – July 15, 1885) – Prominent Literary Merchant and Esteemed Elder in the Presbyterian Church

From Christmas Day 1844 until his passing in 1885, he served as a Ruling Elder at the Meeting House in Alexandria. Known for his role as a prominent bookseller and printer in the area, he left a lasting impact on the community through his dedicated service.

To read more, please visit this blog: Robert W. Bell: a Tale of Resilience, Community Engagement, and Entrepreneurship in 19th Century Alexandria.

born in the
Isle of Ely, England
1809 – 1885
Called and chosen
and faithful
born in Lancashire
1816 – 1891
aged 90 years
43:122, obelisk

Captain David Black (1762-1831)

Captain David Black (1762-1831) was a distinguished figure in the historic town of Alexandria, celebrated for his maritime prowess and deep-rooted civic dedication. Before his prominence as a ship captain, Black bravely served as a drummer boy during the Revolutionary War. For five pivotal years, he was part of the First, Second, Third, and Fourth New York Regiments, serving under the esteemed leadership of Colonel Philip Van Cortland. This military service laid a foundation of discipline and commitment he carried into his later endeavors.

In the bustling seaport of Alexandria, Captain Black’s maritime knowledge was unparalleled, and he generously imparted this wisdom to budding sailors and merchants. His pivotal store, located at the corner of King and Washington Streets, was a hub of activity, facilitating trade and connecting the community. He conducted business between Alexandria and Norfolk aboard the fast sailing vessel, the Mary Kitty, transporting freight and passengers using Vowell’s Wharf. Captain Black also lived on Pitt Street, integrating his personal and professional life within the heart of the town. Beyond the seas, he was a central figure in Alexandria’s commerce and an active member of the Relief Fire Co., showcasing his unwavering commitment to public welfare. His affiliations with prestigious groups like the Masonic Lodge and the St. Andrew’s Society further underscored his stature and influence in elite circles, reflecting the time and the moral choices made within that context.

Yet, Captain Black’s legacy is multifaceted. The 1810 census reveals that he owned four slaves, casting a shadow over his contributions and prompting introspection about the prevailing societal norms and ethical decisions of that period.

In reflecting upon Captain David Black’s life in early 19th-century Alexandria, one witnesses a tapestry of maritime triumphs, civic duties, societal affiliations, and moral dilemmas. His narrative offers a nuanced understanding of the times, emphasizing his commendable deeds and the more contentious aspects of his legacy. Through his story, we are reminded of the intricate layers of history and the individuals who have intricately woven the fabric of our present world.

In memory of
his wife

Sacred to the memory of
aged 9 mos. and VIRGINIA, aged 22
mos. who died the same hour, Aug.
21, 1834
They sleep on the remains of their grandfather
and lie side by the side of their sister
MARY JANE who died Aug. 29th,
1839 aged 11 years, 8 mos. and their
who died Sept 11th, 1840 aged 5 years
2 mos. 23 days, and HENRY JAMES
who died May 23, 1842, aged 9 mos. 22 days.


41:11 (note the gravestone is illegible)

In a significant addition to this legacy, on February 26, 2024, Alexandria-based archeologist Mark Ludlow, using ground penetrating radar (GPR) and guided by Wesley Pippenger’s book Tombstone Inscriptions of Alexandria, VA (Volume 1), made a groundbreaking discovery. Ludlow pinpointed the exact location of Captain David Black’s burial within the family plot. This plot, notable for its central gravestone listing many of those buried alongside Captain Black and marked by four small stones installed posthumously, holds the remains of Captain Black, his son David (1799 – 1827), Eliza (1777 – 1850), and Helen Ann (1812 – 1845). This discovery adds a tangible connection to the historical narrative of Captain Black, providing a deeper insight into the final resting place of a man who left an indelible mark on Alexandria and its history.

The image captures a northward view of Burial Lot 41:11, located within the Presbyterian Church Cemetery, established in 1809, part of the Wilkes Street Cemetery Complex in Alexandria, Virginia. A yellow arrow points to the second tombstone from the north, identifying the final resting place of Captain David Black, a noted American Revolutionary War hero, with his initials “D B” and the dates “Born 1762/Died 1831” inscribed on the marker. Adjacent to the north lies his son, David Black, marked by a tombstone bearing the initials “D M B” and the life span “Born 1799 Died 1827.” A red arrow indicates the second tombstone from the south, obscured by another marker dedicated to Eliza Black, Captain Black’s spouse. Her tombstone, engraved with “E B” and the dates “Born 1777/Died 1850,” denotes her memorial. This photograph was taken by Mark Michael Ludlow, RPA, on February 27, 2024.

Samuel Bowen (? – September 5, 1814): A Soldier’s Final Rest and Legacy in the War of 1812

Samuel Bowen, alternatively known as Robert Bowen, was a historical figure whose life and death are intricately tied to the War of 1812. His exact birth date remains unknown, but his death was notably recorded in 1814. His name appears in the “Burials of War of 1812” as Samuel Bowen, and he is also mentioned under the name Robert Bowen in various historical records.

Reverend James Muir noted Bowen’s death in his funeral register, where he was described as “6 September 1814 Bowen, — killed in battle.” This entry indicates that Bowen died in a skirmish, specifically in the “Battle of the White House” near Fort Belvoir. In this battle, he and Robert Allison, both hailing from Alexandria, were killed. You can read more about the battle at this blog: [].

The historical narrative provided by Mary Gregory Powell in her “History of Alexandria” further sheds light on Bowen’s military involvement. He served under the command of Captain Charles McKnight, a distinguished soldier and veteran of the War of 1812. Captain McKnight was the commander of the Alexandria Independent Blues, the last military unit reviewed by General Washington before his passing. Samuel Bowen, alongside Robert Allison, met their end while serving in this unit.

After his death, Samuel Bowen was buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery in Alexandria. This cemetery, established in 1809 on Hamilton Lane, became his final resting place as the churchyard burial ground had been formally closed to burials by that time. His grave, however, remains unmarked, a silent testament to his service and sacrifice.

Bowen’s death and burial, coupled with his service under Captain McKnight, a figure closely associated with General Washington, paint a picture of a man who played a role, albeit small, in the shaping of early American history. His connection to the War of 1812 and his ultimate sacrifice in battle contribute to the rich tapestry of stories from this tumultuous period in American history.

Robert Brockett, Sr. (1752 – March 28, 1829) – Master Brick Mason Behind Alexandria’s Architectural Icons, including Gadsby’s Tavern

Hailing from Lanarkshire, Scotland, Brockett settled in Alexandria in 1784. As a renowned master builder and brick mason, he imprinted his legacy on the town’s architectural landscape with numerous brick edifices. Among his crowning achievements is the 1787-built Meeting House Flounder House. Furthermore, his handiwork graces other landmarks in Alexandria, including Gadsby’s Tavern and the structures at 301, 303, 305, and 307 N. Washington Street.

For more in-depth information about Brockett and his contributions to Alexandria’s architectural heritage, you can visit a comprehensive site dedicated to him at [ link].

Beneath this tomb
is deposited the mortal remains of
a native of
Lanark Shire, Scotland
who departed this life on March 29th, 1829
aged 78
During a residence of 45 years in Alexandria, he maintained the character of a worthy citizen & honest man. 
41:9, boxtomb

Major Robert Brockett (1792 – June 22, 1867) War of 1812 Veteran and Distinguished City Council Member for Over Two Decades

Major Brockett served with distinction during the War of 1812. Initially, he joined Captain Moreland’s unit as a regular soldier before being promoted to lieutenant under Captain McKnight. As a leader, he led the Company of Independent Volunteers at the Battle of the White House. Read more about the battle at this [link].

Born to Robert Brockett, a master builder and brick mason, Major Brockett succeeded his father in the construction business. He became well-known in Alexandria for building numerous homes, carrying the family legacy.

Major Brockett and Dr. James Carson, who lived from 1773 to September 9, 1855, and rests at Christ Church Episcopal Cemetery, were both members of the Brooke Lodge of the Masons. They notably played a key role in organizing a grand welcome for Lafayette during his visit to Alexandria in October 1824.

In addition to his other accomplishments, Major Brockett was chosen to represent Alexandria as a special Commissioner. This responsibility took him to Virginia’s General Assembly in 1846-47 and the United States Congress, where he discussed the potential return of Alexandria and Alexandria County to Virginia.

On the personal front, Major Brockett wed Elizabeth (Betsy) Edgar Longden on December 14, 1815. Elizabeth came from a family with its historical significance – her grandfather, Thomas Longden, tragically lost his life in the Battle of the Monongahela on July 9, 1755. This battle was a part of General Edward Braddock’s ill-fated campaign to capture the French-controlled Fort Duquesne, which stands where Pittsburgh, PA, is today. Major and Mrs. Brockett were blessed with ten children, some of whom are detailed below.


Walter Burnett Brockett (1828-1889)

Brockett was Captain in the Infantry of the Confederate States of America (C.S.A.) in Louisiana and was laid to rest in the Presbyterian Cemetery. He served on the staff of Confederate Brigadier General William B. Taliferro. In 1862, he was appointed Captain in the Confederate Quartermaster Department, and his dedication led to a promotion to Major. Notably, he assumed the role of President for the board of assessors in the State of Louisiana during Governor McHenry’s tenure. Tragically, he suffered a stroke and passed away upon his return to Alexandria in 1889.


Franklin Longden Brockett (December 16, 1822- May 30, 1891) Noteworthy Author: Chronicles of Alexandria and the Insights into Masonic Lodge No. 22

Brockett played a prominent role as The City of Alexandria’s editor from 1876 to 1885, leaving an indelible mark on the history of Alexandria, Virginia. Renowned for his authorship of two pivotal books centered around the city’s history and its local commercial landscape, Brockett’s contributions are noteworthy.

The first of his literary endeavors, “A Concise History of the City of Alexandria, Virginia 1669 to 1883, with a Directory of Reliable Business Houses in the City,” is a testament to his dedication. Collaborating with George W. Rock, Brockett co-authored this publication, which chronicles Alexandria’s historical journey and offers a comprehensive directory of trustworthy local businesses. His co-author, George W. Rock, born in 1825, passed away on January 22, 1886, and found his final resting place in Christ Church Episcopal Cemetery.

Brockett’s second notable work, “The Lodge of Washington: A History of the Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22, A. F. and A. M. of Alexandria, Va. 1783-1876,” delves into the historical narrative of the Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22—a Freemason lodge nestled in Alexandria, Virginia. Drawing inspiration from the original records of the lodge, Brockett meticulously compiled this account of its history. Enriching the content further, he included an insightful appendix, extending the lodge’s story into the late nineteenth century.

These two books hold immense significance in their role as historical archives, ensuring the preservation of Alexandria’s past and the stories of its inhabitants during the respective timeframes. Brockett’s diligent efforts offer a window into the city’s evolution, capturing its growth and transformation over the years. Moreover, by spotlighting the Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22, Brockett highlights the notable contributions of the Freemason community to the local heritage, enriching the broader cultural and societal tapestry.

In a different context, Brockett’s association with the 12th Virginia Infantry Regiment and Company D of the Third Local Defense Troops adds another layer to his multifaceted persona. As the proprietor of a store in Petersburg, Virginia, Brockett’s establishment was a hub for a diverse range of fashionable goods, becoming a significant retail presence in the area.


John Turpin Brooks (1755 – January 26, 1821)

Captain John T. Brooks, also known as John Turpin Brooks or John T. Brooke, was a multifaceted individual of his time. A dedicated serviceman, he served in the 2nd Virginia Regiment of the Continental Army. Beyond his military service, Brooks was an active member of his community. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge as per the 1810 Roster and took on civic responsibilities as a member of the City Council during the War of 1812, as documented by Miller in 1992.

In the realm of business, Captain Brooks showcased his entrepreneurial spirit. He was the proud owner of the second largest ship registered at Alexandria, the 342-ton Potomac, as noted by Netherton. Furthermore, he ventured into the vinegar business, placing advertisements in local newspapers promoting his vinegar yard located on the east side of Fairfax street, opposite the Presbyterian church. Here, he offered “Choice Cider Vinegar” for sale, ensuring a consistent supply to meet the demands of his customers.

Additionally, Captain Brooks associated with the Meeting House, collecting pew rents as mentioned in the church minutes on 7 January 1817. His diverse roles and contributions paint a picture of a man deeply involved in his community and business endeavors.

Member of the Baptist Church
in Alexandria
Was called from time into Eternity
January 26, 1821
aged 66 years
At midnight the cry came
Behold the Bride groom cometh; go
Ye out to meet him
Blessed is that Servant who when his
Lord cometh shall be found watching
Section 42 Plot 71


Anthony Charles Cazenove (April 6, 1775 – October 16, 1852) – Exemplary Civic Leader: American Swiss Federal Diet Consul, Escort of Marquis de Lafayette to Washington’s Grave

Anthony Charles Cazenove, born on April 6, 1775, and passed away on October 16, 1852, was an exceptional individual who played significant roles throughout his life. His final resting place is Alexandria’s Presbyterian Cemetery. Cazenove was widely respected, and even foreign nations highly regarded him. An example of this respect was demonstrated when the Swiss Federal Diet chose him to represent the middle and southern states.

He resided at 117 King Street while serving as an agent for Victor duPont, the son of Pierre Samuel DuPont. Subsequently, he relocated further west on King Street, settling at 915-917 King Street as early as 1816, and also owned properties at 900, 907, and 1007 King Street. His trade primarily involved goods from the British Isles, including umbrellas, Swiss chintz, kid gloves, jewelry, and pianos. However, his inventory was diverse, ranging from a framed print of George Washington with a gilt frame to bales of Calcutta goods, Buenos Aires ox hides, and Spanish cigars.

One of Cazenove’s most notable accomplishments was being part of an important historical event during his visit to America 1824. He had the privilege of accompanying the Marquis de Lafayette to the burial site of George Washington at Mount Vernon. This event marked the reunion of two key figures from the American Revolutionary War and was a momentous occasion in American history.

Throughout his life, Anthony Charles Cazenove left a lasting impact as an impressive individual and a representative of nations in significant diplomatic events. His contributions to history and his esteemed reputation are remembered with respect and admiration, making him an essential figure in the annals of history.

Read more about Cazenove at this blog: Anthony Charles Cazenove: an Influential Citizen, Swiss Consul, and Accompanier of Marque De Lafayette to George Washington’s Grave.

Most of Alexandria’s Cazenove family members are buried in the family plot filled with Obelisks. Image by D Heiby.
In memory of
a native of Geneva
but for nearly 60 years
an esteemed citizen
of Alexandria
where he departed
the life
on Saturday the
16th day of Oct. 1852
in the 78th year
of his age
respected and beloved
born in Geneva
April 5th, 1775
lived for nearly 60
years in Alex. Va.
The spirit shall return
unto God who gave it. 

James O’Hara Cazenove (March 25, 1880 – November 5, 1971): The Final Member of the Historic Cazenove Family in Alexandria

Louis Albert Cazenove, Jr., born in the historic Lee-Fendall House in 1852, was his father.

son of
March 25, 1880 – November 5, 1971
Because I live you shall live also

Harriot E. Stuart & and Louis Albert Cazenove. Sr. – Steward of the Lee-Fendall House: Great-Granddaughter of a Signer of the Declaration of Independence

Louis Albert Cazenove (1807-1852), the sixth of ten children born to Anthony and Ann Cazenove, embarked on a life that intertwined personal achievements with family tragedies. His journey began in Alexandria, but his education took him to Geneva, shaping his early years with a blend of local roots and international exposure.

In 1829, Louis joined his father’s company, marking the start of a significant career that saw him managing branches, including a notable stint in Maine from 1830 to 1840. It was during this period in Maine that he married Frances (Fanny) Ansley (1820-1847) from St. John, New Brunswick, Canada, in 1837. The couple welcomed three children: Frances (Fanny), Charlotte, and Eleuthera. However, their happiness was short-lived as Fanny and their youngest child, Eleuthera, passed away in 1847, Eleuthera at the age of three. This loss occurred against the backdrop of the Cazenove company reaching its peak and family responsibilities beckoning Louis back to Alexandria around 1842-1843.

The death of Louis’ mother in July 1843 added to his reasons for returning to Virginia, possibly to take over the company as his father aged and to support his family through their time of loss.

In a new chapter of his life, Louis married Harriet Turberville Stuart (1823-1896) in 1850, linking him to the legacy of Richard Henry Lee, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. This union was celebrated at Chantilly, and the couple settled in Alexandria, marking a continuation of Louis’ prominence in both business and social circles.

The wedding portraits of Harriot and Louis Cazenove grace the front parlor of Alexandria’s historic Lee-Fendall House, offering visitors a glimpse into this prominent couple’s personal history and elegance.

Charlotte, Louis’ surviving child with Frances, went on to marry John Berryman, M.D., and had a daughter, Fannie Ansely Massie, further extending the family’s lineage. The Presbyterian Cemetery holds significant familial connections, serving as the final resting place for Louis, his wives, and his descendants, highlighting the cemetery’s importance to the Cazenove family narrative.

Louis’ professional endeavors as a partner at Cazenove & Co., a leading flour exporting company, contributed to his wealth and the family’s standing in the community until his death in 1852. The legacy of Louis Cazenove is a testament to his business acumen, familial dedication, and the deep historical ties that connect his descendants to the early fabric of American society.

Following Louis’ death, Harriot honored him by renaming their son to Louis Albert Cazenove, ensuring the name’s legacy continued. Harriot’s own death in 1896 and her burial in the Presbyterian Cemetery alongside her family members encapsulate the enduring legacy of the Cazenove family, rooted in both their contributions to business and their storied place in American history..

Louis Cazenove’s gravestone is in the Presbyterian Cemetery, Alexandria, VA- photo by D. Heiby.

Read more about them at this blog: [Discover the Fascinating History of Louis Cazenove and Harriot E. Tuberville Stuart at the Lee-Fendall House].

William Carter Cazenove (October 27, 1819-August 8, 1877)

Also, see Gazaway Buggs Lamar

Reverend Muir baptized him on December 7, 1819. During the Civil War, he was elected multiple times to the Virginia House of Delegates. His terms in office were from 2 December 1861 to 31 March 1862, 1 April 1862 to 14 May 1862, 15 September 1862 to 3 October 1862, and 7 January 1863 to 31 March 1863. His election to the House of Delegates took place on Thursday, 24 May 1861, the same day the vote to separate from the Union was held.

He was a Captain in the Office of Quartermaster General for the Confederate States of America (C.S.A). He and his wife were regular pew renters at Christ Church, specifically a “free pew for strangers.” He held several significant roles in various institutions, including being the Director of the Bank of Old Dominion, an Incorporation board member of Alexandria Savings Institution, and an incorporation of Alexandria Gas Light Co. in 1850. During the Civil War, his residence at 301 South St. Asaph, known as Lafayette House, was taken.

After suddenly succumbing to heart disease, he passed away at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, on Wednesday, 8 August 1877, at 57.

to the memory of
born / October 27, 1819
died August 8, 1877
Believe in the Lord
Jesus Christ and thee shall be saved. 
43:107, obelisk

Sea Captain Robert Conway (1790-1837)

Conway was a prominent figure in early 19th-century Virginia. Born in Northumberland County, he was the son of Robert Conway and became a notable sea captain involved in the fishing industry north of town. Conway was not only a seafarer but also a businessman; he was a partner in the firm Yeaton and Conway and played a significant role in various civic enterprises. He advocated for economic development, evidenced by signing a petition to establish the Bank of Alexandria in 1792.

His service to his country was marked by his participation as an ensign in the War of 1812, where he fought at the Battle of the White House. His involvement with the Masonic community was significant; he attended a Masonic banquet honoring Lafayette in 1825 before his departure to France and was a member of Masonic Lodge No. 22. Conway also held positions of leadership in his community, serving as a mayor, justice of the peace, and was a charter member of the Alexandria Library Company.

His entrepreneurial spirit was further demonstrated when he organized the Alexandria and Leesburg Turnpike Company in 1813. However, like many of his contemporaries, Conway’s life and legacy are complicated by his role as a slaveowner, a reflection of the era’s grim realities.

In his personal life, Robert Conway married Margaret Sweet Conway, the daughter of Captain Sweet, in 1809. The couple had several children, including Richard, baptized in 1811, and Robert, baptized in 1815. Tragedy struck the family with the death of an infant son in 1820. Captain Conway passed away in 1837 and was laid to rest in the Presbyterian Cemetery, leaving behind a multifaceted legacy of maritime prowess, community service, and the complexities of his time.

to the memory of
who departed this life
the former on the 1st of January 1837
the latter on the 22nd Septr. 1832
44:131, tablet

The Unsolved Murder of George R. Curtin: A Tragedy that Shocked Alexandria

George R. McCurtin, born into an Irish family originally surnamed McCurtin, married Louisa “Lula” Dudley in 1896 and became the father of two sons: Christopher Columbus Curtin Jr. (d. 1912) and William James Curtin (d. 1972). After immigrating to the United States, the family dropped the “Mc” from their surname, adopting “Curtin” instead. However, George preferred his family’s original surname and chose to use “McCurtin,” which is the name inscribed on his gravestone.

On December 24, 1905, George R. McCurtin was brutally murdered, but his body remained undiscovered until it was found in a river in January 1906. The murder sent shockwaves through the community of Alexandria and remains unsolved to this day.

Nearly six months after the tragic event, on May 6, 1906, George R. McCurtin’s remains were finally laid to rest. His body was removed from the vault where it had been kept since its discovery and buried in Section 13 of the Presbyterian Cemetery, where many members of the Curtin family are also interred. The interment was a private affair, with no services held.

The murder of George R. McCurtin left a lasting impact on his family and the community of Alexandria. Despite the passage of time, the case remains a mystery, and the identity of his killer has never been discovered. Today, George rests alongside his relatives in Section 13 of the Presbyterian Cemetery, a tragic reminder of the unsolved crime that took his life. His gravestone, bearing his preferred surname of McCurtin, is a testament to his Irish heritage and the family’s journey to America.

1875 – 1906
13: 9


Josiah Hewes Davis (1783-1862): A Legacy of Service and Enterprise in Early America

Josiah Hewes Davis (1783-1862), also known as J. H. Davis, was a significant figure in early 19th-century America, notable for his military, business, and civic contributions. A private in the 34th U.S. Infantry during the War of 1812, Davis was recognized for his service and is commemorated in the Burials of the War of 1812.

In religious and community affairs, Davis was active in the local church community. He attended a congregational meeting in 1817 but did not join the Second Presbyterian Church then. However, his engagement with the church deepened as he was elected to the Church Committee in 1836. He faced financial challenges, as indicated by his pew rents being in arrears in 1850.

Davis’s civic engagement included serving as a member of the Common Council and owning a tavern on Strand, a key location in the Robinson Terminal Property History with WATERFRONT. His business acumen was further demonstrated in his lumber and ship chandlery business at The Strand, a site formerly occupied by William Harper and Co. in 1815.

An important aspect of Davis’s business was his ropemaking enterprise. A plaque at Jones Point, installed in the summer of 2012, provides information about the Davis 400-yard long two-story ropewalk. This ropewalk was a significant feature of the area’s maritime industry.

This excerpt from the 1862 United States Coast Survey Map of Alexandria highlights the Rope Walk at Jones Point, graciously provided by the Library of Congress.

Davis resided at 213 South Pitt Street, a location marked by a plaque detailing the history of the Stabler-Leadbeater House. This house, built around 1818 by Davis, later became significant in the history of the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Shop when William Stabler purchased it in 1847.

Davis is believed to have owned 321 S. Lee Street, a property he acquired in December 1823 for $180, as documented in a deed of trust from January 1850, which describes the site as a ‘tenement and lot of ground'(Cox, 1976, p. 82).

In addition to his business and civic activities, Davis leased a house on Fairfax Street near the First Presbyterian Church in 1829. He was also associated with Gen. Lewis Nichola, who died at his home. (Nichola is historically remembered for suggesting to Washington the idea of Washington taking on the role of a monarch, effectively becoming a king. Read this blog for the rest of the story: The Soldier Who Proposed a Crown: The Life and Legacy of Lewis Nicola.)

His marriages and children marked Josiah Davis’s family life. He married Sally M. __ Davis (1795-1841), his first wife, and later Sarah M. Harper Long Davis (1795-1861), a widow and daughter of Edward Harper. Davis and Sarah were married by Rev. Muir on June 30, 1815. They had several children, including Thomas Vowell Davis (1824-1868), John or Josiah Hewes Davis (1826-1852), Charlotte Vowell Davis (1820-1897), Elizabeth Knox Davis (1822-1901), and Rose Davis.

Josiah Hewes Davis passed away in 1862 and was buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery, alongside many members of his family, marking the end of an era defined by his contributions to his community and country.

born Dec. 31, 1783
died April 30, 1862
his wife
born Feb. 22, 1824
died Jan. 10, 1868
in her 58 year
son of J. H. & S.M. DAVIS
born Feb. 3, 1826
died April 3, 1852
born Sept. 2, 1816
died June 17, 1871
wife of J. H. DAVIS
born March 12, 1795
died Feb. 11, 1861
daughter of
J.H. & S. M. DAVIS
born Feb. 20. 1815
died Feb. 12, 1845

Joseph Dean (1763 – April 21, 1818): A Pillar of Early American Community and Commerce

Joseph Dean, also known as Joseph Deane (1763-1818), was a notable figure in early American history, deeply involved in community and business affairs. Born in 1763, Dean’s legacy is intertwined with the development of his hometown and civic activities.

Dean was a respected Meeting House Church Committee member, joining in January 1816. His death was reported in May 1818. His commitment to his community was further demonstrated through his role as a trustee in the 1809 incorporation papers and the acquisition of property for the Presbyterian Cemetery in 1813. His family’s continued membership in the church by 1817 underscores their deep-rooted connection to the community.

In his professional life, Dean was a warehouse merchant. He owned a significant warehouse on Union Street, between Duke and Prince Streets, which unfortunately burnt down during a fire in September 1810. Despite this setback, a three-story brick warehouse belonging to his estate, located on Union Street in the block south of Prince Street, was notable until it burned in 1827.

Joseph Dean’s civic engagement was prominent in his roles as an Alexandria City Council member and President of the Little River Turnpike Company in 1814. His active participation in public affairs is notably marked by his involvement as a member of the Committee of Vigilance during the War of 1812. A significant moment in this period was the 1814 negotiations with the British, culminating in the surrender of Alexandria to Commodore James Alexander Gordon’s Potomac Squadron on August 28th. For more insights into this historical event, you can explore further at The Battle of the White House.

The citizens of Alexandria, Virginia, are ridiculed in this scene for their lack of serious resistance against the British seizure of the city in 1814. At left two frightened gentlemen kneel with hands folded, pleading, “Pray Mr. Bull don’t be too hard with us — You know we were always friendly, even in the time of our Embargo!” In the center stands a bull in English seaman’s clothes, holding out a long list of “Terms of Capitulation” to the Alexandrians. He says, “I must have all your Flour — All your Tobacco — All your Provisions — All your Ships — All your Merchandize — every thing except your Porter and Perry — keep them out of my sight, I’ve had enough of them already.” His allusion is to American Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry and Captain David Porter. At right, a soldier and sailor carry off spirits, saying: “Push on Jack, the yankeys are not all so Cowardly as these Fellows here — let’s make the best of our time.” and “Huzza boys!!! More Rum more Tobacco!” Charles, W. (1814) Johnny Bull and the Alexandrians / Wm Charles, Ssc. United States Alexandria Virginia, 1814. Philada.: Pubd, and sold wholesale by Wm. Charles. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

His contributions to the community were multifaceted. In 1799, he was a member of the Relief Fire Co., demonstrating his commitment to public safety and service. Moreover, he was a contractor, a role that likely contributed to the infrastructure and development of the area.

Dean resided at 215 Jefferson Street, a fact noted in historical records. He was buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery, a testament to his lasting connection to the community he served.

In a more controversial aspect of his life, records from the 1810 census list Joseph Dean as owning two slaves, reflecting the complex and often troubling social and economic structures of his time.

Overall, Joseph Dean’s life paints a picture of a man deeply involved in the fabric of his community, contributing to its development and welfare through various roles, spanning religious, civic, and commercial spheres.

died April 21, 1818
aged 55 years
died Feb. 6, 1843
Aged 76 years
died April 11, 1846
aged 47 years

April 15, 1844
aged 6 years & 9 months
died June 7, 1844
aged 4 months
WM. H[enry]. DEAN
died April 14, 1851
aged 5 years & 10 months
wife of WM. DEAN
died August 1, 1854
aged 41 years
died January 7, 1863
aged 20 years
& 5 months
Section 42:75

Emanuel Ethelbert Downham (E.E.) (March 23, 1839 – September 17, 1921) Prosperous Spirits Distributor, Civic Leader, and Mayor: Instrumental in Fundraising for Masonic Memorial

Born in New Jersey. Came to Alexandria in 1862, selling whiskey to Union Troops. In 1865, he got married to Sarah Miranda Price (April 2, 1845 – November 10, 1937), who was the daughter of Alexandria merchant/shoemaker George E. Price (September 3, 1806 – July 17, 1860) and Mary A. Price (January 14, 1814 – April 30, 1890) both born in 42:18. He ran a store where he sold alcohol in large and small quantities at the bottom part of King Street. He was on the city council twice before being elected to the Board of Aldermen for five consecutive two-year terms. When John Smoot, the mayor of Alexandria, died from a heart attack on Christmas Eve, 1887, he was chosen to be the temporary mayor. He was officially elected in 1890 and served four years before stepping down.

E.E. Downham & Co. Advertisement. Images courtesy of the Lee-Fendall House Museum

Read more about him at this blog [E.E. Downham: a Prominent Figure in Alexandria’s History and Development]

beloved husband of
1839 – 1921
P.M. of A. J. Lodge No. 120, A.F. & A. M.
P.G.C. of Grand Commander, VA
Rep. of Acca Temple 23 years
Emeritus member of the
Imperial Council of A.A.O.N.M.S
of North America
beloved wife of
1845 – 1937
Obelisk section 25:22

John Dundas (1759 – August 29, 1813)

John Dundas’s life encapsulated a dynamic blend of civic engagement, business acumen, and community connection. Born in 1759, he left a lasting impact on Alexandria’s history until his passing in 1813. Serving as Alexandria’s Mayor, he exemplified civic leadership and participated in the city council, actively endorsing important petitions like the 1785 Memorial & Remonstrance and advocating for the extension of the Bank of Alexandria’s charter. His partnership with William Hepburn in business, marked by shared warehouses and properties, showcased his entrepreneurial prowess.

Dundas was associated with notable properties, including the eerie yet historic Dundas Castle (or Castle Thunder) near the Mount Vernon Cotton Factory. His business ventures included erecting the Washington Tavern at King and Pitt, later known as the Marshall House, during the Civil War. He contributed to the city by constructing Commerce Street and owning property on Pitt at Queen Street, although some were seized during the Civil War.

His personal life was marked by his marriage to Agnes Hepburn Dundas, leading to several children: John Jr., Mary, Newton Keene Jr., Sophia Matilda, and others. John Jr. lived through pivotal periods in American history, while Sophia Matilda’s marriage to Thomas West Peyton was noteworthy. John Dundas’s death in 1813 and Agnes’s death in 1820 concluded their life stories. As a slave owner, John Dundas had eight slaves, as recorded in the 1810 census.

The legacy of the Dundas family within Alexandria is a multifaceted narrative encompassing leadership, entrepreneurship, community involvement, and personal trials. Their story reverberates as a reflection of the values and challenges of their time. John Dundas’s role as a civic leader, businessman, and family man has left an enduring impact, offering insights and lessons that resonate with contemporary readers. The Dundas family’s historical significance is a testament to a bygone era, yet their influence remains relevant, serving as a source of guidance even today.

John and his wife Agnes are believed to have been interred in Section 42, Plot 69, with their weatherbeaten obelisk now illegible.

to the memory of
who departed this life
May 23, 1820
Inscription on the North side of the four-sided obelisk in Section 42: 69, which has been eroded by weather.

William Dunlap (1771-1827) & Ann Greer Crawford Dunlap (1774-1811)

William, a native of Armagh County, Northern Ireland, was a merchant in Alexandria. He dealt in various goods, including Irish linens, candles, and soap. By 1810, William owned three enslaved people. He was a private in the Fourth Regiment during the War of 1812. William was also a Brooke Masonic Lodge No. 47 member.

Ann and William shared a deep bond, evidenced by their five children. While they were officially married in 1811 by Rev. Muir, it appears they had a “common-law” marriage before this formal union. Tragically, just two days after their official wedding, Ann passed away. She was buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery. Their children testify to their enduring relationship, which spanned years before their formal wedding ceremony.

To the memory of
ANN, the affectionate wife
who departed this life
on the 11th of March, 1811, in the
37th year of her age
Her tender anxiety and Persevering exertions
for her family & welfare, will ever be cherished
in found remembrance by her Husband, who with
five surviving children she hath left to lament
their irreparable loss
Both are buried in 41:23


The Resilient Life of James Albert English: A Civil War Era Story

James Albert English’s life (October 8, 1816 – July 26, 1868) was deeply intertwined with the tumultuous times of the American Civil War. Originating from Warrenton, he relocated to Alexandria with his family in 1848, establishing a thriving business on King Street. Tragedy struck in the early 1850s, with the loss of his youngest son followed by the death of his wife, Maria, after giving birth to their 10th child. English moved his family to 220 S. Royal Street, seeking a fresh start.

His role as magistrate brought him into the historical spotlight when, in 1861, he presided over an inquiry following the controversial death of James Jackson by federal troops, a significant event that underscored the escalating tensions of the era. Despite being displaced from his position as City Auditor by Union forces later that year, English’s commitment to his community remained unwavering. He spearheaded a relief society to aid the families of Confederate soldiers, demonstrating his dedication to his neighbors and principles, even at personal risk.

English’s imprisonment for his charitable actions, under the accusation of aiding the Confederate cause, marked a period of great trial. His eventual release, following a forced Parole of Honor, did not dampen his spirit; he was later subjected to further intimidation, including being placed on Union supply trains targeted by Mosby’s Rangers, a strategy meant to deter attacks. It is not known if English was tied to the “cowcatcher,” as was Jamieson Asby, owner of Oakwood, a Mosby safe house near the village of Piedmont Station (now Delaplane), who died when a train was attacked in October 1864 by Mosby’s men.1

After the war, English’s resilience and leadership were recognized. He was reinstated as City Auditor and elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. Although he declined a nomination for Mayor, his legacy as a steadfast supporter of his community and a figure of integrity during one of America’s most challenging periods was cemented. James Albert English’s passing in 1868, likely due to the hardships endured during his imprisonment, marked the end of a life characterized by an unwavering commitment to his principles and community amidst the divided nation.

In memory of
July 26, 1868
aged 51 years
wife of
died December 13, 1853
aged 37 years. Our child
son of JAME A.
died June 16, 1852
aged 11 most. & 16 days
44:151, obelisk

Acknowledgments: My deepest gratitude goes to Sherry Hulfish Brown for sharing the rich history and facts about James Albert English in October 2023. It’s worth noting that Mrs. Brown has many ancestors interred in The Presbyterian Cemetery, including members of the Davidson, Hulfish, and English families. Their fascinating stories, which are a testament to our shared history, will be explored in future posts. Mrs. Brown’s contributions are invaluable, not only in commemorating the life of James Albert English but also in preserving the legacy of these families for future generations.


Thomas M. Fairfax (1840 – May 26, 1912): A Soldier’s Legacy and Life Story

Thomas M. Fairfax, born in 1840, was a soldier in Company H of the Fifteenth Virginia Cavalry and Company H of the Forty-Third Virginia Cavalry, famously known as Mosby’s Rangers. The son of John H. and Mary Fairfax, he experienced a military career during a tumultuous period in American history.

After the Civil War, Fairfax’s life took a more personal turn. He was paroled in Winchester on April 27, 1865, marking the end of his military service. On December 21 of the same year, he married Lucinda Susan “Lucy” Davis. Unfortunately, their union was short-lived as Lucy passed away in 1869. Fairfax found love again, marrying Lucy’s sister, Susanna Smoot Coulter Davis.

Fairfax’s life story took an interesting twist in modern media. In the PBS miniseries “Mercy Street,” he was inaccurately portrayed as a member of the 17th Virginia Infantry, shown as a prisoner of war in a federal hospital, and depicted as a character who succumbs to stress by committing suicide. However, historical records do not support these dramatized events, particularly his association with the 17th Virginia.

Thomas Fairfax’s life came to a peaceful end at his residence at 507 Prince Street. He died of a stroke on May 26, 1912, and was laid to rest in The Presbyterian Cemetery. He left behind a legacy through his wife and three children, remembered not just for his military service but also for the rich personal history that followed.

1840 – 1912
Section 25 , Row 8, Plot 1

Philip Richard Fendall (December 18, 1794 – February 16, 1868) – Contributor to the Washington Monument’s Construction; Met with Resistance when Attempting to Pay Tax on The Arlington House

Also, see Robert Young.

Philip Richard Fendall II, the son of Philip Richard Fendall, was laid to rest in the Presbyterian Cemetery. He spent his formative years in the Lee-Fendall House, a historic residence constructed by his father in 1785. Philip Richard Fendall, the father, was notable as a delegate to a meeting held in Maryland in 1775, and he was also esteemed for his close friendship with none other than George Washington.

The Fendall family’s legacy continued through Philip Richard Fendall II’s distinguished career. A lawyer by profession, he graduated from the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University, before moving to the District of Columbia. Fendall Jr. served as a Lieutenant in the Fourth Regiment of the Maryland Militia and was a member of the Preiclean Society, showcasing his commitment to both legal and intellectual pursuits.

In April 1833, Fendall Jr. took on the role of assistant secretary to the American Colonization Society in Washington, D.C., where he played a pivotal role in formulating the Society’s goals, advocating for the establishment of a colony outside of America for free slaves to enjoy freedom and land ownership.

Philip Richard Fendall II’s union with Mary Elizabeth Young, daughter of the late General Robert Young, further solidified the family’s prominence. Their descendants continued the family’s legacy, with notable figures such as Mary Lee Fendall, Philip Richard Fendall III, and William “Willie” Young Fendall, each contributing to their community and country in various ways.

The Fendall family’s involvement in the Civil War brought about both unity and division. While Philip Richard Fendall II tried to pay taxes on properties, including Arlington House, owned by his cousin Mary Lee, authorities refused to accept the payment. This refusal led to the confiscation of the property, which was subsequently used as a federal cemetery after 1864.2

(Read the blog Rebuffed in Attempt to Pay Tax on Arlington House for the rest of the story.)

Amidst these tumultuous times, James Robert Young Fendall (1838-1869), brother of Philip Richard Fendall II, served as a Lieutenant in the Confederate Marine Corps during the Civil War. His decision to fight for the South contrasted with his brother’s service in the Union Marine Corps, highlighting the complexities and divisions within families during this pivotal period in American history.

James Fendall, born in 1838 in Washington, D.C., was heavily influenced by his uncle, Gov. Albert Gallatin Brown, a prominent figure in Mississippi politics known for his advocacy for education. Fendall likely acquired his political views from Brown, who had served as governor and senator for Mississippi and was known for his support of secession. Fendall’s involvement in the Civil War began when he joined The Brown Rebels, a volunteer company led by his uncle, and later enlisted in the Confederate States Marine Corps.

Lt. James Robert Young Fendall (1838-1869) served in the Confederate States Navy during the Civil War. He was the son of Philip Richard Fendall II (1794-1868).

During his service, Fendall saw action at the First Battle of Manassas and participated in several engagements, including the Battles of Hampton Roads and Fort Blakely. He was captured at Fort Gaines in 1864 but managed to escape with fellow officers and eventually returned to duty. After the war, disillusioned and dispirited, Fendall drifted to New Orleans, where he lived as a recluse and died in 1867. His final resting place was disturbed when the cemetery he was buried in was demolished in 1957, and he was re-interred at the Hope Mausoleum.

This connection holds personal significance for the owner of, as some of his family members are buried in the Hope Mausoleum.

(Source: Information from various sources, including David M. Sullivan’s article in the “Marine Corps Gazette,” August 1977, Vol. 61, No. 8.)

The Fendall family’s story is one of service, distinction, and influence, spanning generations and leaving an enduring mark on American history.

Philip Richard Fendall II & Philip Richard Fendall III. Images courtesy of the Lee-Fendall House Museum.
born 18 December 1794
16 Feb. 1868
born 7 October 1804
died 7 October 1859
second child of
born 8 August 1829
died 13 June 1832
42:53 obelisk
Maj. U. S. Marine Corps
in Washington, D.C.
Feb. 23, 1832
in Portsmouth, N. H.
March 21, 1879

Thomas, John, and Mary Lee FlemingRemembering Those Lost in the 1922 Knickerbocker Theater Disaster

The Lee-Fendall House has historical ties to the Fleming family as well. Among its members were Thomas Fleming (January 25, 1851 – January 28, 1922), John Paton Fleming (April 14, 1898 – January 28, 1922), and Mary Lee Fleming (April 7, 1892 – January 28, 1922). Tragically, their lives were cut short in the Knickerbocker Theater Disaster on January 28, 1922, in Washington, DC. Following the disaster, they were interred in the Presbyterian Cemetery. Interestingly, all three were descendants of Dr. Robert Fleming Fleming (November 18, 1816 – August 19, 187), a notable aspect of the family’s naming tradition, who was also the fourth owner of the Lee-Fendall House.

Dr. Robert Fleming Fleming and Mary Elizabeth Lee Fleming (August 19, 1827 – April 20, 1902) found their final resting place in Philadelphia’s Laurel Hill Cemetery. The couple acquired the Lee-Fendall House in 1870. Mary Elizabeth’s father, Richard Bland Lee (July 20, 1797 – August 2, 1875), rests in Ivy Hill Cemetery. He served as a U.S. Army officer from 1817 until 1861, when he resigned to join the Southern cause. Notably, the Flemings assert their kinship to Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States.

Read the blog The 1922 Killer Snow Storm of Washington, D.C., for the rest of the story.

Jacob Fortney: A Blacksmith’s Legacy in Old Town Alexandria

Jacob Fortney (c.1743-1816), also known by the surname spelling “Forteney,” was a prominent blacksmith in Alexandria, Virginia, during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He resided in a notable frame house at 207 N. Royal St., which he inherited from his father. Fortney was involved in civic matters, as evidenced by signing a 1787 petition to establish Overseers of the Poor.

A headstone in Alexandria commemorates Jacob Fortney (circa 1743-1816), a blacksmith renowned for his expertise.

Fortney was married twice. His first wife was Catherine Fortney (c.1747-1814), with whom he had a daughter, Elizabeth (c.1778-1814), and a son, Jacob Fortney, Jr. After Catherine’s death, he married Priscilla Hickey Fortney in 1816 when he was 72 and she was 32. Fortney died on December 16, 1816, and Priscilla gave birth to their son, Edwin W. Forteney, two months later.

The headstone in the Presbyterian Cemetery of Catherine Fortney (circa 1747-1814), beloved spouse of Jacob Fortney.

Fortney was an enslaver, a fact documented in several instances between 1787 and 1810. In 1792, he was one of dozens of men, including Dennis Ramsay, The Reverend James Muir, and Brewer Andrew Wales, who petitioned the Governor to pardon a slave named Will, who had been sentenced to death. The governor granted the pardon, and Will was shipped to the West Indies. After Fortney’s death, his estate sold several enslaved people, including two blacksmiths.

The headstone of Elizabeth Fortney (circa 1778-1814), long obscured beneath the soil, was recently uncovered in the family plot after a visit from a direct descendant in 2024. The gravestone’s unusual length is noteworthy. It will remain in its original position, oriented along a north-south axis.

Jacob Fortney’s life and family ties were deeply intertwined with Alexandria’s socio-economic fabric during his time, reflecting the complexities and contradictions of the era.

In memory of
who departed this life December 16th, 1816
aged 72 years
In memory of
wife of
who departed this life
June 17th, 1814
aged 67 years
In memory of
daughter of JACOB and
who departed this life
June 17th, 1814, aged
36 years.
Plot 42:67

Lt. John Fowle (November 3, 1789 – April 25, 1838) – Tragic Demise in the Notable Steamship Explosion on the Ohio River

Lt. John Fowle was a notable figure who served as the leader of West Point Military Academy from 1833 to 1837. Tragically, his life was cut short due to the steamship Moselle accident on April 25, 1838, while the vessel was sailing on the Ohio River. The explosion during this incident claimed his life, marking a somber historical event.

The Explosion of the steamship Moselle on the Ohio River, April 25, 1838 – image from the Cincinnati Whig newspaper.

The explosion’s devastation was vividly captured in the Cincinnati Whig newspaper’s report: “The explosion was a scene of utter destruction and profound sorrow. … In every direction, one could witness the gruesome sight of heads, limbs, bodies, and blood being hurled through the air, accompanied by the chilling cries and moans of those injured and dying.” Out of approximately 250 individuals on board, around 150 lost their lives.

The magnitude of the explosion and its tragic toll on lives sent shockwaves across the nation. This catastrophic event prompted the government to establish stringent regulations concerning steam boilers, which remain relevant and enforced to this day.

John Fowles’s gravestone. Photo by D. Heiby
born Nov. 3, 1789
at Watertown, Mass.
Killed by the explosion
of the steamboat Moselle
at Cincinnatti 
April 23, 1838



Captain Herbert Cornelius Graves (August 17, 1869 – July 16, 1919) A Landmark Name: An Alaska Island Named in His Honor

Buried 19:2 lies the resting place of Captain Herbert Cornelius Graves, who was born on August 17, 1869, and departed on July 16, 1919. He died in England shortly after the curtain fell on World War I while dutifully engaged in a diplomatic mission. A testament to his legacy, Herbert Graves Island graces the landscape in Alaska, a picturesque location named to pay homage to the captain. For deeper insights into this remarkable island, visit this [link]. His wife, Clara E. Graves, is buried in the same plot.

born Alex. Va.
Aug. 17, 1869
died Winsford, Eng.
July 26, 1919
born in Georgetown, D.C.
Dec. 14, 1873
died in Washington, D.C.
Jan. 17, 1966.

Lucy Mariah Graves (1871 – 1946) Aide to Clara Barton, Visionary Founder of the American Red Cross

In the same plot rests Captain Graves’ sister, Lucy Mariah Graves (1871 – 1946), a direct descendant of Captain Myles Standish, a prominent figure in the Plymouth Colony’s establishment in Massachusetts back in 1620. Miss Graves played an integral role as a private secretary to Clara Barton, the visionary behind the Red Cross, during and after the tumultuous Spanish-American War. Her dedication took her alongside Barton to both Cuba and Europe.

Lucy Mariah Graves had her beginnings and upbringing in the family abode at 623 S. Fairfax Street in Old Town Alexandria. It was within these walls that her life story unfolded. Eventually, she was laid to rest in the tranquil embrace of section 19:2, her final resting place.

GRAVES, Lucy Mariah 
The righteous shall be
in everlasting remembrance.

Willard Purdy Graves (1838 – January 11, 1922) was a Civil War Veteran and Renowned Grocer in Alexandria’s History

In the same hallowed ground lies Captain Graves and Lucy’s father, Willard Purdy Graves (1838 – January 11, 1922), a man whose life was intertwined with the pages of history. As the Civil War ignited, he cast his lot with the 11th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment, standing at the forefront of conflict in the Western campaigns. His journey led him to the post of Battery Rodgers, a federal bastion perched on the banks of the Potomac, nestled between today’s Greene and Jefferson Streets in Alexandria.

Despite his valor, illness beckoned, leading him to retire from military service. With resilience, he transitioned into the role of Sutler, providing sustenance and spirits to Union soldiers. Amidst the chaos of war, he found love and companionship in the form of Lucy Libby (1838 – 1912), a nurse hailing from Maine. Their fates were sealed in matrimony on the wintry eve of December 19, 1864. A testament to their union, they bore six children, a lineage that includes the notable Lucy and Herbert previously mentioned.

The family tapestry also holds William Purdy, Jr. (1878 – June 20, 1913) and Mryritta Melvina Graves (March 4, 1868 – December 7, 1939), two of their cherished offspring. Their stories, woven into the fabric of time, find their resting place within this same plot, a space resonating with generations of history and familial bonds.

The Graves owned a grocery store at their home, 623 S. Fairfax Street.

Ad for W.P. Graves market in A Concise History of Alexandria, VA. Pg. 89

William Gregory III (March 3, 1789 – July 13, 1875) – Prominent Merchant of Alexandria’s Historical Landscape

Also, see William Bartleman, Mary Gregory Craufurd Powell

He was born in Kilmarnock, Scotland, and immigrated to the United States in 1807, where he was a merchant for several years. He was also the President of the Alexandria branch of Farmer’s Merchant Bank from 1847 to 1866. He was the last surviving member of the Alexandria Blues who fought at the Battle of the White House.

Visit the blog Discover the Fascinating Life of William Gregory: from Scottish Roots to Alexandria Legacy to read more.

William Gregory III’s obelisk in the Presbyterian Cemetery. Photo by D. Heiby
born in
Kilmarnock, Scotland
March 3, 1789
Died July 13, 1875
Section 44, plot 141


Captain William Harper (April 14, 1761 – April 18, 1829), Multifaceted Patriot: Revolutionary War Veteran, Rope Maker, City Council Member, and Commander of Artillery at Washington’s Funeral

Hailing from Philadelphia, he tied the knot with Mary Scull Harper (1763 – 1842) on June 14, 1781. Their union bore fruit in the form of a son named Dr. William Harper (as mentioned in the details below).

A participant in the Battle of Trenton and a winter survivor of Valley Forge, Captain Harper marched alongside Washington, braving the icy Delaware River during the New Jersey campaigns of December 1776 and January 1777.

His enterprise specialized in crafting ropes, likely situated at Jones Point. In 1810, Alexandria hosted three establishments dedicated to rope production, churning over 400 tons of this essential commodity.

This excerpt from the 1862 United States Coast Survey Map of Alexandria highlights the Rope Walk at Jones Point, graciously provided by the Library of Congress.

Harper’s affiliations extended to the Masonic Lodge, where he held membership, and he stood as a prominent member of the Relief Fire Co. Notably, he commanded the Alexandria Artillery during the commemoration of Washington’s Birthday in 1799, as well as during the somber procession for Washington’s funeral at Mount Vernon on December 18, 1799.

Furthermore, he assumed the lead of the Artillery Company, orchestrating their role in the reception of President Thomas Jefferson upon his visit to Alexandria in 1801. The rendezvous occurred at Gadsby’s Tavern on Saturday, March 14, 1801, and witnessed the presence of President Jefferson, the Vice President, the Secretary of War, the Attorney General, and Major General Wilkinson. (Source: Michael Miller, Pen Portraits Alexandria, Virginia, 1739-1900, Pg. 49.)

Harper’s inclusion as one of President John Adams’ selections for the Justice of the Peace role, known as the “midnight appointments,” drew contention. This appointment was pivotal in the Marbury v. Madison case in the U.S. Supreme Court. Intriguingly, Harper, despite his nomination, never actually assumed the position. Chief Justice John Marshall’s ruling on the case cemented the doctrine of judicial review. This doctrine, an integral component of the “checks and balances” system, prevents any branch of the Federal Government from amassing unchecked power.

Buried in Section 42, Row 43, Plot 8.

Dr. William Harper (April 23, 1787- October 7, 1852) Defender in War and Faith: War of 1812 Veteran and Esteemed Ruling Elder of the Second Presbyterian Church

The son of Captain William Harper (April 14, 1761 – April 18, 1829) and Mary Scull Harper (1763 – 1842) was laid to rest in location 42:43. Captain Harper actively participated in the Second Presbyterian Church of Alexandria, which is not present anymore.

William Harper was ordained and installed as a Ruling Elder of the Second Presbyterian Church on June 26, 1842.

Harper and Mary Thomas Newton married on October 17, 1810, near Leesburg, Virginia. They had ten children, including Wells Andrew Harper, who was born on September 2, 1818, and passed away on December 7, 1876. Wells served as a member of the city council from 1860 to 1861. Another son, John Newton Harper, was born on March 25, 1823, and died on August 3, 1907. He fought for the Confederacy as a Company G, 23rd Virginia member.

During the War of 1812, Harper served as a soldier in the Sixtieth Regiment of the Virginia Militia. He fought in the Battle of the White House.

Dr. Harper died on October 7, 1852, and is buried in section 43:111. A large obelisk with a shroud on top marks his grave, along with his wife and several of their children.


The Reverend Elias Harrison (January 22, 1790 – February 13, 1863) – Dedicated Meeting House Pastor: Succumbed to a Broken Heart after Years of Service

Dr. Elias Harrison (1790-1863) served as the associate pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Alexandria from 1817 to 1820. He then took on the role of Pastor in 1820 and continued in this position until his passing in 1863.

Served as the Associate Pastor of the Meeting House from March 17, 1818, and then Pastor from 1820 until 1863. During his time, the first Meeting House burned down on July 26, 1835. After rebuilding it in 1837, he continued serving until his death on February 13, 1863. He died of extreme sadness. He couldn’t perform weddings or funerals when the Federal Government occupied Alexandria during the Civil War because he didn’t want to promise loyalty to the United States. Most Meeting House members who died during the war were buried in Ivy Hill Cemetery on King Street. There is a memorial dedicated to Reverend Harrison on the south wall of the Meeting House.

Plaque is located on the South wall of the Presbyterian Meeting House in Alexandria, Virginia, with both Rev. Elias Harrison’s and Robert Bell, Sr.’s names. Photo by D. Heiby
born in Orange Co., New York
and for 41 years Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Alexandria
departed this life Feb. 13th, 1863, aged 73 years.
He was a good man and full of the Holy Ghost
and of faith; and much people was added unto the Lord.
Acts 11th Chap. 24th Ver.
Sacred to the memory of
ELIZABETH the beloved wife of the
who departed __ this life __ __, 
of a good hope through ___.  May the 6th
A.D. 1824, in the 26th year of her age.
Perfect she was not, else she had not been
mortal yet what she was and whence she
would hardly be disposed to memory.
A winning openness of manner
a sincerity without smile a disposition
amiable and affectionate a piety modest
and ___ her a
grateful measurable and th___
the ___ sweet.
The heart of her husband could solely
trust in her for looking well in the way
of her household and has long…
___ ___
the days of her life. ___
43:93 tablet

Alva Lee Harvey (May 22, 1900 – December 1, 1992) – Trailblazing Aviator: Honored with the Distinguished Service Medal

Harvey, a person from Texas, is famous for his actions as a U.S. Army Air Service member during the 1924 First Flight Around the World. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his participation. He led groups of bombers in the Pacific region in World War II.

Read the blog The First Around-the-World Air Flight for the rest of the story.

He was buried in Section 3, plot 21, with his wife, Lillian.

The gravestone in the Presbyterian Cemetery is of Colonel Alva Lee Harvey and his wife, Lillian. Photo by D. Heiby. 3:21:1

Sherman Curtis Hildreth (November 9, 1917 – February 11, 2012)

Mr. Hildreth was a member of the Cemetery Board of Directors. Buried in 2:2:5.


James Irwin (1757-1822): A Life of Service and Industry

James Irwin, also known as James Irvin or James Irvine, was a prominent figure in early American history, born in 1757 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He immigrated to the United States and became deeply involved in civic and religious communities.

Irwin was an elder and active participant in the Presbyterian Church, serving multiple times as a commissioner from the Presbytery of Baltimore to the General Assembly between 1790 and 1822. His commitment to his church was further demonstrated through his involvement in various committees, including the Meeting House Church Committee and the Church Committee responsible for a lottery to fund a bell tower and steeple in 1790.

Aside from his religious endeavors, Irwin was a respected member of the Alexandria, Virginia community. He was a Justice of the Peace in 1796, a member of the City Council, and contributed significantly to the local economy and culture. As a charter member of the Alexandria Library Company in 1794 and a member of the St. Andrew’s Society, he helped foster community and learning.

Irwin’s business acumen was evident in his role as a ropemaker, an important trade in the maritime economy of Alexandria. He was also a commissioner of the Domestic Manufacturing Company, a director of Farmer’s Bank, and involved in other ventures, including the Bank of Alexandria and the Bank of Virginia. His entrepreneurial spirit was further exemplified by establishing a ropewalk on his property, Mount Erin/Mount Airy, a testament to his ingenuity and industry.

Antique Map Depicting Alexandria with the Rope Walk at Jones Point Highlighted

His engagement with civic duties did not stop there. He was a member of the Relief Fire Co., and a signer of significant documents such as the deed for Presbyterian Cemetery property and the incorporation papers for the congregation in 1809. He also served as a vestryman and helped establish Bellevue plantation (now the location of Marina Towers, 501 Slater Lane).

His role marked Irwin’s personal life as a family man and a slaveowner, a common practice among his contemporaries. He was a guardian to the orphaned Adam children and diligently managed their affairs.

A notable acknowledgment of Irwin’s service is his inclusion on the cemetery plaque that lists veterans of the Revolutionary War, commemorating his contribution to the nation’s fight for independence.

Sadly, Irwin’s life came to an end on September 5, 1822, after a bout with fever. He was 65 years old. His death was mourned by many, and he was laid to rest in the Presbyterian Cemetery, an area he had helped secure years earlier. His legacy as a community leader, devout church member, and industrious businessman remains significant in early American history.

of Belfast, Ireland
the faithful
Guardian of JOHN ADAM
died Sept. 5, 1822
Section 41:13, obelisk


Andrew Jamieson (1749 – July 6, 1823) – Internationally Renowned Biscuit Artisan

During the Quasi-War with France, which unfolded between 1798 and 1800, primarily in the Caribbean and off the East Coast of the United States, Jamison, along with other bakers from Alexandria, played a vital role. Together, they supplied more than 40,000 pounds of bread to the United States Navy stationed in Philadelphia and Boston.

The Jamieson Bakery, initially established by Andrew Jamieson in 1785 at Ramsay’s Wharf, later relocated to a three-story brick building in Alexandria by 1836. Alongside his son, Robert Jamieson (April 29, 1796 – April 10, 1862), they founded the renowned Jamieson Steam Bakery at the intersection of Lee and Oronoco Streets in Alexandria. Known for producing high-quality crackers, the bakery gained renown, with Queen Victoria importing their products for the Royal table. By 1850, the bakery boasted twelve employees and a significant capital investment. Despite the addition of steam-driven machinery, the business faced challenges in subsequent years.

During the Civil War, it’s uncertain whether the Union army utilized the bakery. After the war, a fire damaged the building, but it continued operating until 1873 when George R. Hill bought it and resumed cracker production. The bakery was eventually torn down in 1888 to make way for wholesale warehouses. Archaeological excavations revealed the brick footings of the warehouses and the stone foundations of the bakery. The bakery included three rooms, a well, and a cistern, likely used for baking and operating the steam engine (Reber, 2010).

The Jamieson Bakery, initially established by Andrew Jamieson in 1785 at Ramsay’s Wharf, later relocated to a three-story brick building in Alexandria by 1836. Alongside his son, Robert Jamieson (April 29, 1796 – April 10, 1862), they founded the renowned Jamieson Steam Bakery at the intersection of Lee and Oronoco Streets in Alexandria. Known for producing high-quality crackers, the bakery gained renown, with Queen Victoria importing their products for the Royal table. By 1850, the bakery boasted twelve employees and a significant capital investment. Despite the addition of steam-driven machinery, the business faced challenges in subsequent years (Reber, 2010).

Andrew, serving as a trustee of the Meeting House and a signatory on the 1809 deed for the Presbyterian Cemetery, was interred in grave number 41:28. Robert, also buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery, contributed significantly to the family’s legacy. Furthermore, Jamison Avenue, located just north of the Wilkes Street Cemetery Complex, is named after the Jamieson family, underscoring their enduring impact on the area.

Ad for the George R. Hill Steam Manufacturers. From Alexandria Archeology Publication No. 22. Published 1999.
In memory of
a native of Scotland
who departed this life
on the 6th July, 1823
in the 74th year of his age
Marth the perfect man and behold the upright;
for the end of that man is peace
Psalm 37 Ch. 37 V.
41:28 tablet

Samuel Richard Johnston (March 16, 1833 – December 24, 1899) Subject of Contention: Linked by “Lost Cause” Adherents to Lee’s Gettysburg Defeat

Sam Johnston. Quarter-plate tintype by an anonymous photographer. Dave Batalo Collection. From Military Images Digital

Samuel Richard Johnston was born on March 16, 1833, in West Grove, now the Belle Haven Golf Course and Country Club site in Fairfax County, Virginia. On June 21, 1859, he married Mary G. Ege, born on February 4, 1832, and passed away on January 28, 1879.

On July 2, 1863, during the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, he was woken up at 4:00 a.m. and sent to Lee’s headquarters near the Lutheran Seminary. Lee ordered him to “check out the enemy’s left side and give a report as quickly as you can.”

Read the blog of Samuel Richard Johnston, Lee’s Reconnaissance Officer at Gettysburg, for the rest of the story.

Johnston’s obelisk in the Presbyterian Cemetery. Photo by D. Heiby.

He is buried in Section 44, Plot 161, with his first and second wives.



Gazaway Bugg Lamar (October 3, 1798 – October 5, 1874) Versatile Entrepreneur: Flourished as a Banker, Cotton Merchant, Shipbuilder, Steamship Pioneer, and Patron of Blockade Runners; United through Marriage with the Cazenove Family

Gazaway Bugg Lamar. Image from the Public Domain.

Lamar was born in Georgia and became very rich during his lifetime. He started his businesses in Augusta, Georgia, his birthplace, and later moved to Savannah, Georgia. He was known for being a smart and successful businessman.

Please read the blog Gazaway Bugg Lamar: The Wealthy Banker, Cotton Merchant, and Steamship Pioneer Buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery for the rest of his story.

He was buried in 43:107 with his wife, Harriet.

Thomas Boyd Leadbeater (May 7, 1895 – September 14, 1913) was the grandson of William Gregory III.

A Gregory and Leadbeater family member, affectionately known as “Boyd,” sadly passed away on September 14, 1913. He was interred in Section 41, Plot 25.

The Leadbeater family were partners with the Stabler family in the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary shop on South Royal Street, now a museum.


Christina D. J. Copper Marsteller (1773 – January 5, 1815) Co-owner of the Spring Garden Farm

Buried either in Section 41:29 or Section 42, Christian and her husband, Philip Godhelp Marsteller (1770 – 1842), owned the Spring Garden Farm that eventually became the Wilkes Street Cemetery Complex. Philip was a member of the Relief Fire Company in 1795, attended Washington’s funeral, and was a member of Christ Church who left to organize St. Paul’s Church, which he gave land for their sanctuary. His father was Lieutenant Colonel Philip B. Marsteller (1741/2-1804), who was the Mayor of Alexandria, 1791 – 92, a charter member of the Alexandria Library Company in 1794, and was an honorary pallbearer at Washington’s funeral on December 18, 1799. The elder Marseller is buried at Christ Church.

Lewis McKenzie (October 7, 1810 – June 28, 1895) – Distinguished Civic Figure: Mayor, Congressman, and Key Contributor to the Formation of West Virginia

Read more about his remarkable life at this blog [Lewis McKenzie (1810-1895): A Civic Figure of Remarkable Influence].

Lewis McKenzie
Image from Harold Hurst’s book Alexandria on the Potomac.

Captain Charles McKnight (April 7, 1774 – March 11, 1853) Innkeeper of McKnight’s Tavern, Commanding Captain of the Independent Blues in the Battle of the White House

Also see Robert Allison, Jr., William Bartleman, and The Battle of the White House blog.

McKnight was a man who never got married. He led a group of soldiers called the Alexandria Blues during the Battle of the White House. After his father passed away, he owned the family tavern on the northwest corner of King and Royal Streets. He changed the tavern’s name to The Eagle Tavern (also known as Spread Eagle Tavern). As a result, that part of the town started being referred to as McKnight’s Corner.

He served as a judge from 1837 to 1853. He was also a member of Masonic Lodge 22 and wrote a book called “Captain Jack, or Old Fort Duquesne and Our Western Border One Hundred Years Ago.”

Portrait of Captain Charles McKnight from the booklet Our Town 1749-1865 At Gadsby’s Tavern, April 12 – May 12, 1956.

He is buried in Section 41:20.

John McKnight (July 2, 1769 – February 7, 1834) Sea Captain’s Odyssey: Captured Repeatedly by the French, Later Served as Alexandria’s Harbor Master

Born to William and Martha Bryan McKnight and a sibling to Captain Charles McKnight, he embarked on his journey as a ship captain at 19.

They were blessed with a dozen children in a union with Catherine Piercy from Philadelphia on October 29, 1799. Tragedy struck Catherine’s family during the harrowing Yellow Fever outbreak of 1793, which claimed the lives of 5,000 individuals in Philadelphia, including her father and one of her brothers. This epidemic shadowed the newly established United States government, as Philadelphia temporarily served as the capital. Following her familial losses, Catherine sought refuge with her Uncle on Prince Street in Alexandria, where she resided until her marriage to McKnight.

Encounters with French privateers punctuated McKnight’s maritime career during the Quasi-War with France, a conflict from 1792 to 1801. This turbulent period witnessed the French capture of over 1500 American ships.

In 1792, he was overhauled in the English Channel by the French privateer “L’Insurgente,” during the chase, McKnight was wounded in the leg by the privateer’s fire. He and his crew endured two years of captivity in Nantes, France. The ordeal exposed him to the grim realities of imprisonment, including arbitrary executions of fellow prisoners. He and his companions ingeniously fashioned makeshift ropes from blankets to scale the prison walls, facilitating their escape. (Source: Alexandria Historical Society, Fall 2009 Newsletter, Page 4)

Subsequently, he faced capture twice more while commanding the ship “Polly & Nancy.” The first incident occurred near the Capes of Virginia in 1797, and the second occurred near Cadiz in 1798. Following his release from captivity, a hurricane ravaged the “Polly & Nancy’s” masts as they journeyed back to Alexandria. Forced to part with the vessel, McKnight sold it in St. John’s, Antigua, the nearest port. This event marked the conclusion of his career as a ship captain. He also held partial ownership of another vessel named the “Adventure.”

On February 8th, 1834, the Alexandria Gazette featured the following entry:

McKnight is buried in Section 41:20. His wife died in 1867 and was buried next to McKnight in the cemetery.

William McKnight (1732 – July 25, 1812): Fort Duquesne Conqueror during the French and Indian War and Founder of McKnight’s Tavern

William, Captain in the First Battalion of the Pennsylvania Provincials as detailed in ‘Officers and Soldiers in the Service of the Province of Pennsylvania, 1744-1765’ (p. 20), played a pivotal role in capturing Fort Duquesne, later renamed Fort Pitt, during the French and Indian War. In 1775, he relocated to Alexandria, where he opened a tavern. 3

The tavern, a wooden structure at the intersection of King and Royal Streets, boasted a distinctive feature: the “Long Room” on the second floor, often employed by Washington for discreet gatherings. Additionally, the establishment served as a favored venue for Alexandria’s St. Andrews Society meetings. Interestingly, the contemporary successor of this society now orchestrates the annual Scottish Christmas Walk parade in Alexandria, held on the first Saturday of December.

William was initially wedded to Martha Bryan (1745 – June 3, 1775), with whom he had two sons, John and William Henry. Martha found her resting place in Section 41, Plot 20, with her tablet gravestone, one of the oldest in the Presbyterian Cemetery.

Following Martha’s passing, William entered into matrimony with Susannah Evans (September 19, 1746 – November 10, 1836). All are buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery.

to the memory of
who departed this life
on the 25th of July 1812
in the 80th year of his life
Wife of
departed this life
JUNE 3, 1775
aged 30 years
41:20, box tomb

William Henry McKnight (August 24, 1800 – December 29, 1887) Master Builder and Carpenter: Oversaw Lumber Measurement, Endured Civil War Arrest and Imprisonment in Old Capitol Prison in Washington, D.C.

William McKnight’s son was a skilled carpenter who established workshops in several locations over the years. In 1834, he set up a shop on Union Street near Gibbon Street. However, in 1852, he relocated the shop to Union Street near Prince Street. Tragically, this shop was destroyed by fire in 1854. He also managed workshops on St. Asaph Street and Prince Street. His business partner was David Price, and together, they repurposed bricks from the original St. Mary’s Chapel to build the Lyceum. Additionally, they constructed houses at 523-529 and 531 South Lee Street between 1831 and 1865. 1859, they constructed the Depot Building for the New York and Virginia Steamship Co. Following the fire that consumed the Market House in 1871, they erected a warehouse near the market house for William Gregory, Beach, and Brill. Finally, in 1870, McKnight built his residence at 208 South St. Asaph Street.

During the Civil War, the U.S. Army arrested him and other Alexandrians in February 1862 for allegedly supporting the rebels by aiding the families of those absent in the Confederate army. He spent a month in the Old Capitol Prison, previously the Old Brick Capitol, serving as the temporary U.S. Capitol from 1815 to 1819 and later as a prison for Southern loyalists during the Civil War. The building was demolished in 1929, and the U.S. Supreme Court now stands on its site.

William McKnight married Margaret Jacobs on January 28, 1802. Margaret Jacobs passed away on February 7, 1888. Together, they had five children, three buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery. The names of their children were Elizabeth Chew McKnight (born April 2, 1833, died November 16, 1911), William Presley McKnight (born June 12, 1838, died October 24, 1927), and Charles Henry McKnight (born April 21, 1840, died August 15, 1916).

Brothers in Arms and Beyond: The Civil War and Post-War Lives of William (June 12, 1838 – October 24, 1927) and Charles McKnight (April 21, 1840 – August 15, 1916).

William (Willie) Presley McKnight (1838-1927) led a life deeply intertwined with the American Civil War and its aftermath. Born in 1838, McKnight never married; instead, he dedicated his life to military and professional endeavors.

In 1861, McKnight enlisted in the Mount Vernon Guards, which later became part of the 17th Virginia Regiment, Fourth Brigade, in the Confederate States of America’s Army of the Potomac. Significant events marked his military service, including being captured at Frayer’s Farm and Antietam. In a harrowing incident in May 1862, he was wounded and taken prisoner aboard a steamer fleeing Fort Monroe.

McKnight rose to Lieutenant in Company E of the 17th Virginia Infantry Regiment. His military exploits and experiences are documented in various sources, including the Alexandria Gazette and historical works by Morrill and Hakenson.

His brother, Charles Henry McKnight, had a different pre-war life, having been educated at the Mechanics Hall Institute and working as a teacher in Fauquier County. Charles enlisted on July 2, 1861, and faced a harrowing experience during the war. He was wounded and captured at Williamsburg, leading to the amputation of his arm on May 5, 1862. Charles received a medical discharge on September 10, 1862, and was a clerk at the Bureau of Ordinance until 1865. His post-war journey was adventurous as he traveled extensively through Europe and Asia.

After the Civil War, William McKnight transitioned to a civilian career, becoming the business manager of the Alexandria Gazette. This role marked a significant shift from his military life, positioning him as a notable figure in post-war business and society.

William McKnight’s and his brother Charles’s stories provide a compelling narrative of two siblings deeply involved in the Civil War, each taking different paths in its aftermath. Their experiences are further explored in “The American Civil War Letters of William and Charles McKnight of Alexandria, Virginia,” edited by Allan W. Robbins, and Jean Elliot’s “McKnights of Alexandria” in “A Composite History of Alexandria,” offering a detailed look into their lives during one of America’s most tumultuous periods.”

Neither of the brothers ever married. Regrettably, the McKnight family, which had roots in 1774 in Alexandria, ended with William’s passing. The family’s final resting place is Section 41, Plot 20.

born June 12, 1838
died Oct. 24, 1927
son of
born April 21, 1840
died November 16, 1911
He giveth his beloved sleep

Legacy of Craftsmanship and Enterprise: The Muir Family of Alexandria

In the late 18th century, a skilled craftsman named John Muir emigrated from Scotland to the United States, choosing Alexandria, Virginia, as his new home. His arrival, around 1790, marked the beginning of a legacy that would intertwine with the city’s history. Although there is mention of a John Muir in earlier census records and another Muir active in the region, their connections, if any, to our John Muir remain a historical ambiguity.

John Muir, together with his wife Mary Lang Muir, also a Scot, raised a family of six children in Alexandria. Their lives and fortunes were deeply intertwined with the fabric of the city. Their daughter Jane married into another prominent furniture-making family, tying the knot with James Green (see Ivy Hill Cemetery where he and Jane are buried), son of William Green, a pioneer in Alexandria’s furniture manufacturing.

John Muir’s professional journey was marked by ambition and collaboration. In 1794, he and a partner named Buckland embarked on a venture as cabinet and chair manufacturers on Fairfax Street. They aspired to match the standards of Philadelphia and Baltimore’s finest. However, by 1797, this partnership had dissolved, leading Muir to continue his craft on Royal Street. His advertisments for apprentices and mahogany, coupled with various local records, paint a picture of a man deeply engaged in his community until his demise in 1815.

Surviving account books housed in the Local History/Special Collections at the Kate Waller Barrett Branch Library, covering the years 1807 to 1815, illuminate the diversity and intricacy of John Muir’s craftsmanship. His workshop produced a wide range of items, from coffins to elegant sideboards, high-post beds, and practical tables, catering to various needs. Muir’s clientele, including Alexandria’s elite such as Judge Bushrod Washington and Dr. Craik, highlights his reputation for quality and skill. His Masonic ties, particularly with Brooke Lodge No. 47, and the mentorship of apprentices William and Walter Hannon, further underscore the lasting impact of his work and legacy.

John Muir’s personal life was marked by both typical and complex facets of the era. He owned a slave, as recorded in the 1810 census, a common yet somber aspect of his time. After his death in 1815, his widow Mary carried on the business, a testament to her resilience and skill.

The legacy of John Muir’s craftsmanship extends to the present day, with surviving furniture pieces from his workshop being highly prized. These pieces, when they appear on the market, can fetch high prices, coveted by collectors and historians for their quality, beauty, and historical significance.

The Muir family’s story took dramatic turns during the Civil War. The family split in their loyalties; while Stephen Shinn, who had married Mary’s younger sister, sided with the North, James Green, Jane, and their children leaned towards the South. This dichotomy in the family was later depicted in the PBS miniseries ‘Mercy Street,’ set in the Mansion House Hospital in Alexandria, offering a glimpse into the era’s complexities.

John Muir’s influence persisted through generations. His grandson, John A. Muir, became Alexandria’s mayor, and alongside his brother James F. Muir, they continued the family’s furniture business, a legacy proudly noted in the Alexandria Gazette in 1876.

This narrative of the Muir family, from John’s arrival in Alexandria to his descendants’ contributions, weaves a rich tapestry of craftsmanship, civic duty, and the complexities of life in a changing America.

to the memory of
who departed this life
February 12, 1815
in the 45th year
of his age
My glass is run and yours are running
remember death for Judgement’s comeing
son of JOHN and MARY MUIR
departed this life July
11th 1814
in the 5th year
of his age
1849 – 1925
In Memory of
(Relict of the late
who died May 24, 1841
aged 61 years
After a Christian Experience
of 34 years she was able in life
Last struggle to exclaim
The Lord is the portion of
his people
March 5, 1814
Aug. 15 1891
Comfort ye comfort
ye my people saith
your God.
He givieth power to
the faint and to thn
that have no might he
increaseth strenght
but they that wait
upon the Lord shall
renew their strenght
they shall mount up
with wings as eagle
they shall run and
not be wear, and
they shall walk, and
not faint.
1846 – 1925
wife of WM. H. MUIR
born Aug. 7, 1822
died Jan. 27, 1862
And I heard a voice from heaven
saying unto me, write; blessed
are the dead which die in the
41:17 Tablet


Joseph Hazel Newell (April 5, 1890 – March 10, 1973) Cemetery Trustee

An active participant at the Second Presbyterian Church and dedicated cemetery trustee. Buried in 44:133.

John Thomas Newton (May 20, 1794 – July 28, 1857) – Honored Pioneer of the U.S. Navy: Congressional Silver Medal Recipient and Celebrated Commander

John Thomas Newton, born on May 20, 1794, and died on July 28, 1858, is laid to rest in Alexandria’s Presbyterian Cemetery. In the early years of the United States Navy, he was a highly regarded officer. Starting in 1809, Newton served in the US Navy for an impressive 48 years. During the War of 1812, he held the rank of Lieutenant on the USS Hornet, a ship that sank the HMS Peacock near the coast of South America. For his bravery, the US Congress honored him with a Silver Medal (Captain James Lawrence, the ship’s commander, received a Gold Medal). Furthermore, the people of Alexandria presented him with a sword to recognize his heroism during the War of 1812.

Read more about Newton at this blog: Thomas Newton: a Respected Navy Officer and Hero of the War of 1812

John Thomas Newton’s Obelisk in the Presbyterian Cemetery –  Picture by D. Heiby. 42:45, Obelisk.

William Newton (1763 – 1814) was a Revolutionary War Veteran.

He was born on either February 25, 1763 or February 26, 1765, in “Little Falls Plantation” in Stafford County, Virginia. He moved to Alexandria by at least 1786, where he embarked on a successful career as a merchant. He co-founded “William Newton and Co.” and advertised their business in the local newspaper in 1786. Later, he became a partner in the firm of Ricketts and Newton.

William Newton was a businessman and a patriot, as he served in the Revolutionary War, a fact acknowledged by the Sons of the American Revolution, who included his name on a plaque at the entrance to the Presbyterian Cemetery. He was a charter member of the Alexandria Library Company in 1794 and an active member of the Relief Fire Company in the same year. Additionally, he was a Mason in Lodge 22.

William Newton played a role in establishing the Bank of Alexandria, as evidenced by his signature on the petition dated October 9, 1792. He was also a slaveowner in 1789 and 1800, owning a single slave. In the 1810 census, he was recorded as owning five slaves.

Buried by Rev. Muir, 28 December 1814, 50 years of age. Died during an epidemic.

Our Parents
on the 26th
Decbr. 1814
in the 52nd
year of his age
The world passeth away
but he that doeth the will of
God abideth forever.

Died on the 25th Feb. 1815
in the 39th
year of her age
For the Lord shall be thine
everlasting light and the
days of thy mourning shall
be ended.
We are more than conquerors
through him that loved us.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so,
them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

Jane Barr Stuart Newton (c.1776-1815)

Jane was the daughter of William and Jane Barr Stuart, who resided at “Cameron,” located west of Alexandria. She married William Newton on February 7, 1792, in a ceremony officiated by Rev. Muir. Tragically, Jane passed away on February 25, 1815, at 39, succumbing to a decline in her health. She was buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery, with her burial also conducted by Rev. Muir.

William Newton and Jane Barr Stuart Newton were a prominent couple in Alexandria, with William’s business ventures and civic involvement contributing to the community. At the same time, Jane played her role as a daughter and wife within the social context of the time.

on the 26th
Decbr. 1814
in the 52nd
year of his age
The world passeth away
but he that doeth the will of
God abideth forever. 
Died on the 25th Feby. 1815
JANE B[arr Stuart]. NEWTON
in the 39th
year of her age
For the Lord shall be thine
everlasting light and the
days of thy mourning shall
be ended.
We are more than conquerors
through him that loved us.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so
them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 
Plot 42:445



Frederick John Paff (January 1837 – April 7, 1903) An Immigrant’s Journey: From Shoemaking Innovation to Lasting Legacy

Frederick Paff’s life journey, rooted in Elm, Hesse Cassel, Germany, began in 1837. At the tender age of fourteen, he embarked on a transformative immigration to the United States, finding his initial haven in the bustling city of Baltimore. As destiny wove its threads, Paff’s narrative intertwined with the tumultuous chapters of American history.

In 1861, Paff assumed the mantle of a private in Company E of the 17th Virginia, a role that placed him at the heart of the Civil War’s unfolding drama. His enlistment on April 17th marked a commitment to a cause larger than himself. Yet, fate had other plans, and in 1863, the young soldier’s journey took an unexpected twist as he chose to desert his post on September 13th.

Paff’s decision led him to Alexandria, where he faced capture and imprisonment in the storied confines of the old Capitol Prison in Washington, DC. Despite the challenges of captivity, he emerged from this experience, a testament to his resilience and determination.

1890, following his battlefield experiences and subsequent return to civilian life, Paff, a German immigrant, ventured into the business world. He opened the Potomac Shoe Factory within the venerable walls of the old Green Steam Furniture building at the intersection of Prince and South Fairfax streets. This enterprise quickly flourished, employing a dedicated workforce of fifty and impressively producing over a thousand pairs of shoes weekly within just a year of its establishment.

As the shoe business thrived, Paff’s legacy extended to his sons, Frederick and Charles, who actively joined the familial endeavor. With the senior Paff’s eventual retirement, the company underwent expansion. By 1902, the Paffs, now operating under the banner of the Paff Shoe Company, sought new horizons for their growing business. The decision was made to construct a fresh factory on the northeast corner of South Washington and Gibbon streets, reflecting their commitment to growth and innovation.

The shoe factory at 520 South Washington played its chapter in Paff’s legacy. However, as the clouds of World War I loomed, the factory’s operations ceased. Over the ensuing quarter-century, the property underwent a series of transformations. In the 1920s, the former factory building found new life as an annex to the Roberts Memorial Chapel, serving as a church extension. The 1940s witnessed the space housing a furniture store, further diversifying its usage.

Photograph of the Paff Shoe Company building, currently the location of Demaine’s Funeral Home on South Washington Street in Old Town. Originally published in A. J. Wedderburn’s “Souvenir Virginia ter centennial of historic Alexandria, Va., past and present” (1907). Image obtained from the Library of Congress.

Yet, since the late 1940s, the building has taken on a solemn and dignified purpose as the hallowed grounds of the Demaine Funeral Home. It has transformed from a hub of the industry to a space of reflection, where lives are celebrated and memories are honored, marking a continuation of Frederick Paff’s enduring legacy in an evolving world.

his wife
Let not your heart be
wife of
wife of
14:5 Obelisk

Charles Pascoe (June 1786 – October 23, 1806), William Pascoe (April 1801 – February 10, 1805), and William Pascoe (February 1806 – August 12, 1807). Eternally United: Siblings Commemorated with a Distinctive Gravestone

“In memory of/ Three Children of CHAs. and /HONORE PASCOE/ WILLIAM died 10th of Feby. 1805/ aged 3 years and 9 months/ Charles, died the 23rd of Oct. 1806/ aged 2 years and 7 months/ William, died the 12th of Augt. 1807 / aged 11 months/ Here lies three children sweet asleep, Which brings fresh to our mind That die we must, and come to dust and leave this world behind. Weep not for us our parents dear, We are not dead but sleeping here God took us home as he thought best And now in heaven our souls doth rest”

Gravestone of the Pascoe children. Notice the unique craving at the top of the stone, which has been hand-carved into the stone—photo by D. Heiby. 41:26.
Close up the carving in the Pascoe children’s stone, which symbolizes that no one can escape death—photo by D. Heiby.

The origin of the children’s burial in the cemetery remains a mystery. Their identities are absent from the Register of Baptisms, Marriage, and Funerals, which encompasses the period of Reverend Dr. James Muir’s ministry at the Presbyterian Church of Alexandria, D.C. Muir, who presided over the Meeting House, officiated from May 1789 until his passing in 1820.

Although historical documents do not specify the circumstances, we can speculate that the children’s demise might have resulted from either yellow or typhoid fever. They were likely interred during the interim period when burials were temporarily suspended at the Meeting House’s 18th-century burial grounds. Subsequently, the Presbyterian Cemetery formally opened its gates in 1809.

Robert F. Prettyman (June 12, 1821 – January 26, 1892) – Architect of History: Constructor of the Friendship Fire House’s Historic Hose-Reel Carriage

He was a well-known coachmaker in Alexandria who, in 1858 constructed a hose-reel carriage for the Friendship Fire Company, of which he was also a proud member.

Immaculately restored hose-reel carriage on display outside the historic Friendship Firehouse, Alexandria, VA.

Read more about Robert Prettyman and his hose-reel carriage at this blog [Discover the Remarkable Craftsmanship of Robert F. Prettyman’s Hose-Reel Carriage at Friendship Firehouse Museum}

Robert Prettyman’s gravestone in section 44. Image courtesy of D. Heiby.
In Memory of 
June 21, 1821
January 26, 1892
44:143, Footstone has “R. F. P.”

Mary Gregory Craufurd Powell (January 12, 1847 – December 18, 1928) Chronicler of the Past: Local Historian and Accomplished Author

Also, see William Gregory.

A local historian and member of the Mount Vernon Chapter of the Daughters of the Revolutionary War. She was crucial in ensuring that a gravestone was placed at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from the American Revolutionary War. The soldier’s grave is in the 18th-century burial ground of the Old Presbyterian Meeting House. You can read more about her family at this [link].

Dr. Robert Conrad Powell (August 1, 1838 – May 9, 1890): Resilience in Service

Buried in the same plot as his wife, is Dr. Robert Conrad Powell, a man of remarkable resilience and dedication in his medical and military pursuits. Born into a lineage of medical professionals on August 1, 1838, Powell faced physical challenges at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in 1854, leading to his resignation. Undeterred, he pursued his medical education at the University of Pennsylvania before answering the call of duty to join the Confederate Army in 1861, foregoing his graduation.

Amidst health issues, Powell transitioned to a role as a hospital steward within the 17th VA Infantry, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to medicine. His dedication led him to pass the Confederate Navy Board of Medical Examination, earning him the title of Assistant Surgeon in the Confederate States Navy. Serving aboard vessels such as the CSS Tuscaloosa and CSS Missouri, Powell honed his medical skills amidst the challenges of wartime naval service.

Following the war, Powell continued his medical career as a Navy surgeon in South America before obtaining an M.D. degree from Washington University School of Medicine in 1869. Returning to the United States, he settled in Alexandria, Virginia, where he married Mary Craufurd Gregory in 1876. A prominent local historian, Mary enriched their community with her passion for history, complementing Powell’s dedication to medicine.

Together, they led a life dedicated to service and scholarship, leaving an enduring legacy in their beloved city. Despite facing numerous challenges, Dr. Robert Conrad Powell remained steadfast in his commitment to medicine and service until his passing on May 9, 1890, leaving behind a legacy of resilience and dedication in the military and medical spheres.

born Aug. 1, 1838
died May 9, 1890
his wife
born Jan. 12, 1847
died Dec. 18, 1928
born November 23, 1876
died February 2, 1900
44:141, tablet


Julia Quander (1847? – September 6, 1862) – Ancestral Legacy: Member of America’s Oldest Recorded African American Family

The Quander family is one of the earliest documented African-American lineages to have journeyed from Africa to America. Their origins trace back to Ghana, with the progenitor Nancy Carter Quander enduring enslavement at Mount Vernon. In the service of George Washington, she diligently spun cloth. Nancy’s father, Charles Quander, also experienced enslavement, toiling at Hayfield Plantation.

After the Civil War, their bonds of enslavement were shattered, affording freedom to their descendants. Many of these kin settled on land that now intersects with Quander Road, adjacent to Route 1, situated south of Alexandria. The interment of Julia in the Presbyterian Cemetery remains shrouded in mystery, lacking definitive knowledge of her arrival there.

One historical certainty emerges from the annals: Lewis McKenzie assumed proprietorship and facilitated the emancipation of Clara Quander on January 1, 1863.


Colonel Dennis Ramsay (1756 – September 1, 1810) – Mayor and Confidant of George Washington: Honored Pallbearer at His Funeral

Born as the son of William Ramsay, a founder of Alexandria and its first Mayor, Dennis Ramsay grew up in the Ramsay House, now the visitors’ center at King and N. Fairfax. He committed to his community, leaving a mark in various capacities.

Ramsay served as a Colonel in the Virginia Line during the American Revolutionary War. He became Mayor of Alexandria, contributing to local governance as a council member and alderman and fulfilling responsibilities at the Meeting House. He was a merchant and owned a tavern.

A significant event occurred during Dennis’s tenure as Mayor – he delivered a farewell address to George Washington at Wise’s Tavern before Washington assumed the presidency.

Dennis served as an Honorary Pall Bearer at George Washington’s funeral in 1799.

Appointed as one of the “Midnight Justices” by President John Adams, Ramsay’s judicial knowledge was notable. However, President Thomas Jefferson chose not to seat him.

He married Jane Allen Tayler from Ireland on November 17, 1785. They had nine children, including Eliza Johnston Ramsay Blacklock and Ann MarCarty Ramson Blacklock, who married into the Blacklock family.

George Washington Dennis Ramsay married Wilhelmina Bartleman, daughter of William Bartleman and Margaret Douglas. Both G.W. Dennis and Wilhelmina rest in the Presbyterian Cemetery.

Dennis Ramsay and his wife Jane rest side by side in plot 42:72 of the Presbyterian Cemetery.

You can read more about Dennis Ramsay at this blog.

In memory of
who died / Sep. 1st, 1810
aged 54 years.
JANE A[llen Taylor].
his wife
died Nov. 24th 1848
aged 80 years
died Sep. 23rd 1814
aged 22 years
died Oct. 18th, 1822
aged 35 years.

Catherine Cooper Reardon (March 16, 1906 – March 1, 1944) Tragic Demise: Librarian Fatally Attacked within the National Cathedral

Miss Catherine Cooper Reardon, 37. Photo from the private collection of D. Heiby.

In 1944, a tragic incident occurred involving Catherine Cooper Reardon, an assistant librarian, who lost her life within the confines of the Cathedral’s library building. The perpetrator of this heinous act was identified as Julius Fisher, who held the roles of both a handyman and a janitor. His actions were marked by brutality as he strangled Catherine, striking her with a log from the fireplace. The victim’s body was then concealed beneath the basement’s steam pipes.

Initial newspaper reports detailed Fisher’s confession, in which he disclosed that the violence was sparked by a confrontation initiated by Catherine’s critique of his cleaning efforts beneath her desk. In light of the severity of the crime, Fisher was sentenced to the death penalty, to be carried out via electrocution in the electric chair.

As the case progressed to the highest court, Fisher’s defense revolved around a claim that Catherine had used derogatory language towards him, resulting in an intense surge of anger on his part. Fisher said this emotional outburst prompted his actions, which he argued were not premeditated. Therefore, he contended that the death penalty was an unjust punishment for a crime stemming from a spontaneous emotional reaction. However, Fisher’s appeal was ultimately unsuccessful, leading to his execution by electrocution at the historic DC Jail.

Julius Fisher’s final resting place can be located in Section 16:3. If you’re interested in delving deeper into the details of this case, you can find more information at this [link].

Reardon family gravestone. Photo by D. Heiby. 16:3.

Francis Avery Reed (July 2, 1834 – August 23, 1895) Former Grand Commander of Knights Templar in Virginia: Met Tragic End by Suicide

On August 23, in Alexandria, VA, Frank A. Reed, a prominent local citizen and a well-respected figure in various Masonic organizations, committed suicide at his home. Mr. Reed’s affiliations included Past Grand Commander Knights Templar Virginia, Past Master Andrew Jackson Lodge No. 120 A.F. & A.M., Grand Senior Warden Grand Lodge of Virginia, and Past High Priest Mount Vernon Royal Arch Chapter No. 14.

The nearby post office employees were startled by a gunshot around 9 a.m. Dr. Klipstein, a neighbor, was summoned and found Mr. Reed with a fatal wound to his head.

Earlier that morning, Mr. Reed was seen around town and did not appear distressed. He returned home without alerting his family of his intentions. The first sign of trouble was the sound of the gunshot. Despite immediate medical attention, Mr. Reed’s life could not be saved, and he passed away around 11:30. His family discovered him in a pool of blood, marking a shocking and sudden end to his life. The loss of such a well-known and respected individual has undoubtedly significantly impacted the community.

born at Acton, Mass. July 2, 1834
died at Alexa., Va., Aug. 23, 1895
Past Grand Commander Knights Templar Virginia

No further seen his merits to disclose
or part his frailties from their dread abode
There they alike in trembling, hope repose
The bosom of his father and his God
Past Master Andrew Jackson Lodge No. 120 A.F. & A.M
Grand Senior Warden Grand Lodge of Virginia
Past High Priest Mount Vernon Royal Arch Chapter No. 14

Rebecca Ramsay Reese (April 22, 1870, July 19, 1955) Legacy of Leadership: Descendant of Alexandria’s Founder, Chair of the 1927 Meeting House Restoration Committee, and Member of the Original 1946 Board of Architectural Review

Born to George William Ramsay and Harriett Fawcett, she was the descendant of town founder William Ramsay, who was laid to rest in the 18th-century Christ Church burial ground.

In 1927, she assumed leadership of the Committee on Descendants for the Meeting House Restoration Committee. In 1949, she orchestrated the celebrations for Alexandria’s 200th anniversary. A founding member of the original Board of Architectural Review (BAR) for the Old and Historic Alexandria District in 1946, she played an instrumental role in crafting guidelines for preserving Alexandria’s historic structures.

Beyond her involvement with the Meeting House, she spearheaded significant restoration projects. She oversaw the meticulous repair of Gadsby’s Tavern, The Ramsay House – now the Alexandria’s Visitor Center – and the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum.

Consider watching a brief film produced by The American Film History Project that delves into the life of Rebecca Ramsey Reese at this [link]. Notably, she rests in eternal peace alongside her husband, Robert Miller Reese (February 11, 1862 – July 28, 1949), in section 41, West: 212. This final resting place also houses her parents, connecting generations in a single resting place.

Gravestone of Rebecca Ramsay Reese. Photo by D. Heiby. B:212

David Ricketts: A Pillar of Faith and Commerce in Early 19th-Century America

David Ricketts (1765-1831) was a significant figure in early 19th-century American society, particularly in the context of religious and economic developments. Born into a family with his brother John Thomas Ricketts, David played a vital role in the religious community as an elder of the Meeting House from 1816. He remained with the Meeting House during the formation of the Second in 1817, showcasing his dedication to his faith and community.

Ricketts was not just a religious figure; he was also actively involved in the economic fabric of the time. He was a signatory on the petition to establish the Bank of Alexandria on October 9, 1792. This move indicates his engagement with and influence on the financial developments of his era. In 1824, he represented the Meeting House at the first meeting of the Presbytery of Washington City, further cementing his status as a prominent religious figure.

His business acumen was evident in various ventures. In 1809, he purchased wheat from a prosperous farmer, indicating his involvement in agricultural trade. He entered a business partnership with John Stump in 1807, and by 1817, they were selling superfine flour at Cameron Mill, highlighting his entrepreneurial spirit.

David Ricketts’ personal life was also of note. He married Elisabeth Clarinda Barr Ricketts (c.1767-1853) on December 6, 1804. Elisabeth, sister of Mary Barr, was a daughter of David and Elizabeth Barr, who lived at 515 Prince Street. Together, David and Elisabeth had several children, including John Thomas Ricketts (1805-1863), Susan Wattson Ricketts (1814-1843), and Mary Elizabeth Ricketts (1808-_). His daughter Susan married Thomas Wattson (1788-1874) of Philadelphia, and Mary Elizabeth married Robert J. T. Wilson on Christmas Day 1828.

David Ricketts’ legacy is preserved in various records, including those at the Alexandria Library’s Local History Room. He was buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery, as noted in the “National Intelligencer” on November 3, 1831. His life, marked by religious dedication, economic foresight, and family, left a notable imprint on the early American societal landscape.

to the memory of
for many years a greatly esteemed
member and ruling elder of the
First Presbyterian Church in this
town who departed this life
Novr. 1 1831
in the 66 year of his age
Few men have lived with so little of
the worlds hate, few have died with
so much of its regards.
He was Israelite indeed in who
was no guile
Plot 41:6

James Herrell Rollins Jr. (September 23, 1910 – June 20, 1921) & John Lee Rollins July 20, 1912 – June 20, 1921) Tragic Waters: Siblings Who Met Their Demise in Four Mile Run

A sad story as told in the Alexandria Gazette on June 21, 1921.

Article in the Alexandria Gazette, Alexandria, Virginia
Tue, Jun 21, 1921 · Page 1.

The two siblings find their final resting place in Section 16, Plot 11, where they rest beside their parents, James Herrell Rollins Sr. (born July 4, 1877, died March 31, 1956) and Marie Adam Rollins (born November 19, 1886, died January 19, 1978).

The two brother’s gravestones are in the Presbyterian Cemetery—image provided by D. Heiby. 16:11.

The article references the Town of Potomac, founded in 1908, encompassing the Del Ray, St. Elmo, Mt. Ida, and Hume neighborhoods. Initially situated in Arlington County, it became part of Alexandria in 1930.

The moniker “Four Mile Run” originates four miles upstream from the mouth of the Great Hunting Creek along the Potomac River.

Dr. Henry Rose (Unknown DOB – February 4, 1810): A Life of Service and Scholarship

Dr. Henry Rose was a prominent figure in early American history, known for his diverse contributions to his community and the nation. He lived during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, passing away on February 4, 1810, in Occoquan, Virginia. His funeral, held on February 6, 1810, was conducted with Masonic honors, reflecting his involvement with the Freemasons.

Rose was a well-educated individual, holding a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. His academic pursuits included a thesis titled “Effects of Passion Upon the Body,” demonstrating his interest in the intersection of emotions and physical health. Beyond his medical career, Rose was actively involved in various civic duties and organizations. He was a visitor (examiner) to the Washington Free School in 1796, part of the Alexandria Academy, indicating his commitment to education.

His public service continued as a member of the Sun Fire Company during 1793, 1794, and 1796. He also played a political role, potentially serving in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1801 to 1802. Rose’s political alignment was with the Jeffersonian Democrats, as evidenced by his appointment as a Major in the Second Legion, DC Militia, by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802.

He was deeply involved in local governance and public health in Alexandria, Virginia. Rose was elected to the Common Council from Ward No. 2 and later became its President. His concern for public welfare was further highlighted by his roles as the Health Officer of the Port of Alexandria, Superintendent of Quarantine between 1806 and 1807, and Trustee of the Poor and Work House. Additionally, he served as a Physician to the Alexandria Dispensary, established in 1805.

Dr. Rose was also a member of the St. Andrew’s Society and held the position of physician within the organization. His Masonic affiliations were significant as an Alexandria-Washington Masonic Lodge No. 22 member.

Aside from his professional and civic engagements, Dr. Rose was a property owner with significant land holdings in Fairfax County and Amherst County, Virginia. He resided at 208 North Royal Street in Alexandria, a property owned by Robert Patton, and lived at “Union Hill” in Fairfax County.

Dr. Henry Rose’s life was marked by a commitment to medicine, education, public service, and community involvement, making him a notable figure in early American history. His legacy is preserved in historical records, including in “Artisans and Merchants” by T. Michael Miller.

Regrettably, the exact location of Dr. Rose’s grave within the cemetery remains a mystery. Nonetheless, his legacy is honored with his name inscribed on the bronze plaque near the north entrance gate, commemorating those who served in the American Revolutionary War.


William Randolph Sengel (April 27, 1923 – October 18, 2011) – Spiritual Leader and Civil Rights Advocate: Guided Old Presbyterian Meeting House Congregation, Stood with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma to Montgomery March, and Delivered Eulogy at Alexandria’s Memorial Service

Between 1960 and 1986, Sengel held the position of Pastor at the Meeting House. Over this period, he delivered over 1000 sermons and presided over 700 weddings, 400 baptisms, and 200 funerals. Notably, Sengel attended the memorial service for Reverend James J. Reeb, a former ordained Presbyterian pastor who tragically lost his life due to injuries sustained during the “Bloody Sunday” events on March 7, 1968. This event involved a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, to protest white individuals’ obstruction of black voter registration.

Sengel also actively participated in a second protest march that occurred from March 16 to March 25, 1968, where he was joined by the prominent figure Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. Additionally, Sengel delivered a speech at the official memorial service hosted by the City of Alexandria on April 9, 1968, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who had been tragically assassinated in Memphis, TN, just five days prior.

Noteworthy among Sengel’s achievements was his successful leadership in a year-long campaign to remove Confederate battle flags from lampposts along King Street and Washington Streets. These flags had been associated with celebrations of Confederate Memorial Day, Robert E. Lee’s birthday, and other “Southern Holidays.”

A pivotal role in church history was Sengel’s participation as one of twelve Presbyterian ministers in merging the Northern and Southern branches, leading to the formation of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1971.

Sengel’s dedication was evident in his 27-year effort to regain control of the Presbyterian Cemetery, initially established by the congregation in 1809. In 1999, the Presbyterian Cemetery was once again incorporated into the ministry of the Meeting House, reaffirming the enduring bond between the Church and the Cemetery. Throughout the 1970s, the cemetery had been managed by a court-appointed Board of Trustees. Sengel became a board member in 1972 and continued until 1999. His gravestone is near the pedestrian entrance gate, to the right (44:176).

Gravestone of Dr. William Sengel and his wife, Marion. The inscription at the bottom is the benediction he gave each Sunday after worship—a photo by D. Heiby.

Andrew Fletcher Skidmore (1826 – May 2, 1862) was Killed at Yorktown during the Civil War.

Andrew F. Skidmore’s journey through the tumultuous times of the Civil War is a testament to his dedication to duty and service. In 1859, he held the rank of Private in the Mt. Vernon Guards, a component of the Virginia State Militia. However, his commitment to his nation did not waver when the Civil War erupted.

Portrait of Pvt. Andrew F. Skidmore, Mount Vernon Guards, Company E, 17th Virginia Infantry, C.S.A. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

On April 17, 1861, Andrew Skidmore enlisted in Alexandria, Virginia, and was mustered into Captain Samuel J. DeVaughan’s Company, a unit later known as Company E of the 17th Virginia Infantry. This regiment formed part of Kemper’s Brigade within Longstreet’s Division, Army of Northern Virginia.

Tragically, Private Andrew Skidmore’s life was cut short in the line of duty. On May 2, 1862, he met his fate during the Siege of Yorktown, Virginia. Although his initial resting place was closer to the battlefield, his memory lives on through a cenotaph on the family monument in the Presbyterian Cemetery.

The enemy with long range rifles were quick to fire on anyone who raised their head above the parapet. On May 1, two of the Mount Vernon Guards were shot, Henry R. Biggs who was wounded slightly, and Andrew Skidmore, whose wound was fatal.

Wallace, L. Jr. (1990). 17th Virginia. The Virginia Regimental Histories Series (p. 29). Lynchburg, Virginia.

Andrew Skidmore’s story serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made during the Civil War, as he gave his life in the service of his country. His dedication and bravery continue to be honored and remembered.

1818 – 1865
1820 – 1893
JESSE SKIDMORE 1790 – 1854
his wife
1789 – 1865
Co. E. 17th Va.
Killed at Yorktown
1826 – 1862
1826 – 1911
13:3, obelisk

Courtland Hawkins Smith, Sr. (August 29, 1850 – July 22, 1892) and the Legacy of Torthorwald

Courtland H. Smith I (1850-1892) remains a significant figure in Alexandria’s history, not only for his impactful term as mayor from 1878 to 1881 but also for his connection to the historical Torthorwald estate. As seen in the Smith family lot, his family’s burial site in the Presbyterian Cemetery of Alexandria symbolizes the family’s enduring legacy in the region.

As a prominent member of Alexandria’s elite in the 1870s, Smith acquired land once owned by John Carlyle, a founder of Alexandria and an influential figure buried in the Old Presbyterian Meeting House 18th-Century burial ground on S. Fairfax Street. This land, part of Carlyle’s extensive estate named Torthorwald (later known as Morven) and located in what is now North Fairlington, represents a significant piece of the area’s history. Smith’s renovation of the Whiting mansion into the Hampton residence on this property further illustrates the continuity and preservation of historical estates in the area

John Carlyle’s Torthorwald, established on 640 acres around 1756, was a testament to colonial prosperity and ambition. Carlyle constructed numerous buildings on this country estate, including a three-story house with a detached kitchen, an overseer’s house, a meat house, a barn, and stables capable of housing twenty-seven horses. Additionally, there was a cow house, dairy, weaver’s shop, smithy, a grist mill, and a miller’s house. The main dwelling house, built before 1770, was a significant structure that stood until the 1930s just north of the city limits in Arlington.

Courtland H. Smith I’s tenure as mayor saw Alexandria through significant growth and change, reflecting his leadership and dedication to the city’s development. His poetic tribute to Alexandria remains a cherished part of the city’s cultural heritage.

After Smith’s untimely death, his son, Courtland H. Smith II, continued the family’s legacy. An avid fox hunter and master of the Hampton Hounds Hunt Club, he played a pivotal role in local equestrian communities, particularly in Middleburg.

The Smith family’s connection to Torthorwald adds a rich layer to their history. Torthorwald, with its extensive infrastructure and agricultural operations, was a significant part of the colonial landscape, reflecting the lifestyle and economic activities of the Virginia elite. Intertwined with the Smith family’s narrative, this historical context provides a comprehensive picture of the societal and cultural dynamics of Alexandria’s time and surrounding regions.

The Smith Family Lot in the Presbyterian Cemetery, Alexandria: Final Resting Place of Courtland H. Smith I and His Legacy
beloved son of
August 29, 1850
July 22, 1892
Gifted – Honored – Loved
Entered into Rest.

Francis Lee Smith (November 25, 1808 – May 10, 1877) – Integral Landowner: Owned the Parcel Now Housing the Contraband Cemetery; Legal Representatives for the Lee Family

Smith, Sr. (born on November 25, 1808, and passed away on May 10, 1877), was the attorney for the Lee family. He resided in the biggest house in Alexandria, located at 510 Wolfe Street, still standing today.

Francis Lee Smith, Sr. and his wife Sara left Alexandria and went to Richmond when Union soldiers took over the town on May 24, 1861. Union General John Slough, the military governor of Alexandria, used Smith’s house as a place to live or work and later as a hospital. After the war ended in 1865, the Smith family returned home. Maggie Smith, Francis Smith’s youngest child, was the last to live in the house. She died in 1926.

42:44 Obelisk
born Novr. 25, 1808
died My 10, 1877
The Memory of the just is Blessed
Love and Gratitude
his Wife
and Children
An Humble christian
a devoted husband, and
father, a zealous patriot
a faithful friend; the ardent
advocate of truth, justice
and mercy, the earnest
counsellor of peace, and
goodwill among men.
42:44, obelisk

Because he didn’t personally pay taxes on land he owned on Broomallaw Point, located south of town along Great Hunting Creek (now 1001 S. Washington Street), the land was taken away in 1864 and transformed into a burial ground for African Americans.

After the Civil War, Smith, who was related to the Lees, advised them not to try to reclaim Arlington. This is because he had also failed to regain his land where the Contraband Cemetery was situated.

Read the blog [The Contrabands and Freemans Cemetery: a Historic Burial Ground for Freedmen and Fugitive Slaves in Alexandria, Va] for the rest of the story.

Colonel Francis Lee Smith, Jr. (October 6, 1845 – August 25, 1916)– Battle-Hardened Veteran: Engaged in New Market Clash on May 15, 1864; Triumphed in Court Battle Over Arlington Estate Confiscation

Smith was a member of the VMI Corps of Cadets. He fought in the Battle of New Market on May 15, 1864. During the battle, he got injured in his jaw and shoulder.

After the war, he joined and eventually took over his father’s law firm. He believes his father is wrong about not suing the federal government for the illegal confiscation of the Lee land and files a lawsuit in April 1877 in the federal court of the Eastern District of Virginia, in Alexandria, on behalf of George Washington Custis Lee – who, as the oldest son of Mary Anna Custis Lee and Rober E. Lee, inherited his mother’s property after she died in 1873.

Read more at this blog: [Discover the Fascinating Life of Francis Lee Smith Jr: from Civil War Soldier to Prominent Lawyer]

Ad for Francis L. Smith, Jr. in the book A Concise History of the City of Alexandria, VA. Published in 1883. Page 131.

Peter Haddon Smith, Ph.D. (September 2, 1945 – May 8/9, 2008) Distinguished Historian: Notable Contributor to the City of Alexandria

He actively participated as a member of an architectural design review group and demonstrated expertise in historic buildings throughout Alexandria. Collaborating closely with fellow group member Peter Smeallie, he co-authored the book “New Construction for Older Buildings” in 1988. His engagement also extended to the Meeting House, a place of significance to him. Over more than 16 years, he served diligently within the City of Alexandria. Tragically, he passed away during the night spanning May 8th and 9th in 2008, at 62. His final resting place is within the Columbarium, commemorating his legacy.

Peter H. Smith. From the AIA Northern Virginia News. July/August 2008. Pg. 44.
Presbyterian Cemetery Columbarium, Wilkes Street Complex, Alexandria, Virginia.

Captain James Montgomery Stuart (1825/1826 – October 7, 1880) Confederate Veteran and Congressional Postmaster: Dedicated Service to the United States House of Representatives

Born in Alexandria, he embarked on a transformative journey at 18, relocating to St. Louis. A turning point came when he enthusiastically enlisted as a volunteer from Missouri in the Mexican War. Following this chapter, his path led him to California, where he achieved notable success as a mining and real estate business magnate. Unfortunately, as the Civil War dawned, his enterprises were confiscated.

Subsequently, his travels took him to Texas, where he cast his lot with the Confederacy as a valiant member of the 17th Virginia regiment. Post-war, he retraced his steps to Alexandria, assuming the role of Sheriff in 1867. This tenure lasted a mere two years, terminated by the intervention of Federal authorities during a complex reconstruction period.

With the waning of the reconstruction era, he shifted gears to become a respected Sergeant within the city’s framework. 1876 marked a pivotal moment as he ascended to the position of Postmaster for the United States House of Representatives. This distinguished role defined his trajectory until his eventual passing in 1880.

His place of abode was established at 505 Cameron Street, and upon his demise, he found his eternal resting place in Section 42, plot 60.

Judge Charles Edward Stuart (May 18, 1850 – April 16, 1889) – Legislative Luminary and Steward of Stratford Hall: Former Virginia House of Delegates Speaker from an Illustrious Family

Virginia state Delegate Charles E. Stuart during the 1886 General Assembly session. Public Domain

Charles Stuart was born at “Panorama” in King George County, Virginia. He made notable contributions to Virginian politics and the legal system during his lifetime. Serving as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1881 to 1887, he achieved the esteemed position of Speaker from 1883 to 1887. Simultaneously, he fulfilled the role of a Judge in Alexandria, beginning on January 18, 1881, and continued in this capacity until his untimely demise on April 16, 1889, at just 38.

In 1879, Charles Stuart and his brother, Dr. Richard Henry Stuart, bequeathed the historic Lee Family residence, Stratford Hall, in Westmoreland County, Virginia. This significant property was left to them through the will of their great-aunt, Elizabeth Storke. Notably, Elizabeth Storke was connected to Mary Custis, the wife of Robert E. Lee, through her cousin Julia Calvert.

Judge Stuart entered matrimony with Ruth Yeaton on October 11, 1876, in Alexandria, after which the couple relocated to Stratford Hall. Ruth was the granddaughter of Judge Gabriel Duvall, an influential figure who served as the Comptroller of the Treasury of the United States and held the esteemed position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from November 11, 1811, until January 14, 1835.

Following Judge Stuart’s passing, he found his final resting place in section B:194 at the Presbyterian Cemetery. Tragically, three of his five children were interred in the exact location. Conversely, his wife, Ruth, died in Bermuda in 1937, where she was also laid to rest.

Ad for Charles E. Stuart in the book A Concise History of the City of Alexandria, VA. Published in 1883. Page 115.

In 1929, the Honorable Charles Edward Stuart, the nephew of his uncle (his father’s brother), played a significant role in selling Stratford Hall to the Robert E. Lee Foundation. This pivotal transaction involved not only Charles’ wife, Clara but also Lydia Ann Marmaduke Stuart, the widow of his uncle mentioned above.

Judge Stuart’s father, Colonel Edward Stuart, is interred in Christ Church Cemetery. He held a significant role as the commander of the 175th Virginia Militia during John Brown’s execution on December 2, 1859, in what is now known as Charlestown, West Virginia.

Charles E. Stuart’s gravestone. Photo by D. Heiby. B:194, obelisk


Thomas Tretcher (1760 – October 15, 1815) – Mariner on Captain Cook’s Third Voyage: Commander of Merchant Ships and Voyaging Adventurer

A teenager who was an able-bodied seaman and part of the crew on the HMS Discovery went on Cook’s third voyage from 1776 to 1780. During this voyage, Europeans discovered the Sandwich Islands, now known as Hawaii. You can learn more about his interesting story by clicking this [link].

Thomas Tretcher’s gravestone in the Presbyterian Cemetery. Note his excellent life description—image courtesy of D. Heiby. 42:60.

U, V, W

John C. Vowell: A Legacy of Faith, Commerce, and Civic Duty (1766-1852)

John C. Vowell (1766-1852) was a prominent figure in early American history, known for his diverse contributions to society as a religious leader, businessman, and civic participant. Born in London, he emigrated to the USA with his brothers Thomas Vowell Jr. and Dr. John D. Vowell. Settling in Philadelphia for a time, Vowell was baptized in 1798 by Rev. Muir, a significant event marking his deep commitment to his faith.

Vowell’s religious involvement was extensive. He served as an elder and member of the session for over five decades from 1801, actively participating in numerous synods and general assemblies. However, there was a notable period from 1817-1833 when he joined the Second Presbyterian Church, leading a group that eventually returned to the original congregation in March 1833.

John C. Vowell’s life was also significantly influenced by his wife, Margaret “Peggy” Harper Vowell (1773-1806), who played a pivotal role in his personal life. Peggy was the daughter of Captain John Harper, linking Vowell to another notable family in the community.

The couple was married by Rev. Muir on October 28, 1795, as documented in the Muir Register and various early church records. This marriage was more than a union of two individuals; it represented joining two influential families within the community, further cementing Vowell’s status and connections.

Tragically, Peggy’s life was cut short by tuberculosis, a common and often deadly disease at the time. She passed away at the age of 33½ on July 26, 1806. Her burial in the Meeting House churchyard was recorded in the Muir Register, marking the end of her life but not the impact she had made during her years. (To view Peggy’s biography and gravestone in the 18th-century burial ground at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House, please visit the following [link]).

Peggy’s death would have been a significant event in Vowell’s life, affecting him personally and his social and business dealings. Her legacy continued through the properties and connections she brought into their marriage, notably the 213 Prince Street property, which was later given to their daughter, Eliza Douglas. Peggy’s influence and heritage remained a part of Vowell’s life and the broader community even after her untimely death.

Mary Jaqueline Smith Taylor Vowell played a significant role as John Cripps Vowell’s second wife. Born into the family of Augustine Smith and Margaret Boyd Smith, Mary brought her distinguished lineage into the marriage. She was the widow of Jesse Taylor, indicating a previous chapter in her life that likely influenced her perspectives and experiences.

Mary and John C. Vowell were united in matrimony on December 6, 1810, in a ceremony officiated by Rev. Muir. This marriage marked a new beginning for both, occurring four years after the death of John’s first wife, Peggy. The union was a personal and social alliance connecting two families with deep roots in the community.

Mary’s marriage to John Vowell signified her integration into his life and enterprises, potentially influencing his business decisions, social standing, and contributions to the community. Her background and experiences as a widow would have brought a unique dynamic to their relationship. Mary’s role, perhaps less documented than that of her husband, was undoubtedly supportive and significant, contributing to the fabric of their shared life and the community they were a part of.

His business acumen was equally noteworthy. Vowell co-owned the Cameron Mills and was an Alexandria Library Company charter member in 1794. He opened a store in 1822 at the corner of King and Payne Streets, dealing in various goods. His entrepreneurship extended to co-purchasing a ship named Diana in 1806 and being an incorporator of the Mount Vernon Cotton Manufacturing Company.

Vowell’s military service included participation in the War of 1812 as a private in the First Regiment, DC Militia. His civic duties were exemplified by his role as a City Councilman in 1813-14, and he even chaired Alexandria’s reception for Lafayette in 1824.

A wealthy merchant, Vowell resided in Alexandria, where he made significant contributions to the local community. He was involved in the post-1835 building committee for his church, generously leaving funds in his will for its upkeep and support of the minister.

In addition to his various roles in religious, business, and civic arenas, John C. Vowell was a substantial real estate owner in the town. His property portfolio was impressive and included several notable addresses at different times. These properties reflected not only his business acumen but also his deep integration into the community’s fabric.

Among his holdings were:

  • 429 S. Lee Street, acquired in 1806, showcasing his early establishment in the town.
  • 111 Prince Street, purchased in 1812, added to his growing real estate investments.
  • 106 Prince Street, acquired in 1838, further expanding his presence in the town.
  • 108 Prince Street, obtained in 1851, demonstrating his continuous investment in local real estate.
  • 213 Prince Street is a significant property acquired from his first wife, Peggy’s, estate. This property was notably given to their daughter, Eliza Douglas, in 1844.
  • 611 Queen Street, purchased in 1815, adding to his diverse property portfolio.
  • 213 Wilkes Street, acquired in 1805, is one of his earliest real estate investments.

Vowell’s extensive property holdings were a testament to his successful business endeavors and commitment to the town’s growth and development. His real estate investments contributed to his wealth and impacted the community’s landscape.

His legacy is marked by substantial donations to various religious and missionary organizations, reflecting his faith and commitment to philanthropy. This includes $9,500 bequeathed to different religious and mission boards, a significant sum for that era.

John Vowell passed away in 1852, leaving a rich legacy of religious devotion, business entrepreneurship, and civic engagement. He was buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery, remembered for his influential role in early American society—site: 42 Plot 44 – two gravestones.

Born in Loudon, England
Aug. 12, 1767
Died in Alexandria,
Dec. 9, 1852.
to the memory of 
beloved wife of
of Alexandria; and daughter
Shott’er Hill, Middlesex County,
VA., born Febry, 12, 1773, died 
Oct. 31, 1846, ripe in years.
and in the full assurance of 
a blessed immortality
Her record is on high
Job. 16 Chap. 19 Ver.
Calm on the bosom of thy GOD
Fair spirit rest thee now;
Even while with us, thy footsteps tread.
His soul was on thy brow.
to the memory of
born in London, England
Augt. 12th 1767
died in Alexandria, VA
Dec’r 9th, 1852
Those that be planted in the house of the
Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.
Life’s duty don as well is the day.
Light from its land the spirit flies;
while heaven and earth combine to say
How blest the righteous when he dies.

The first gravestone is an obelisk, and the second is a box tomb. Both are located in 42:44.

William Wolf Weisband (August 28, 1908 – May 14, 1967) Covert Operative in the Cold War: Infamous Soviet Union Spy

In the Presbyterian Cemetery of Alexandria, Virginia, lies 1LT Lieutenant William Wolf Weisband (August 28, 1908 – May 14, 1967). He served as an Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA) civilian during the Cold War. In this era, he stumbled upon the revelation that American cryptologists had successfully cracked the cryptographic systems of the Soviet Union, granting access to their diplomatic and intelligence communications.

Operating under the alias Zhora, Weisband functioned as a spy for the Soviet Union from as early as 1934. His pivotal moment came when he issued an alert to his handlers, prompting the Soviets to swiftly alter their encryption techniques. This had a profound impact, significantly impeding the effectiveness of American intelligence endeavors. The consequence of this sudden lack of insight into Soviet intentions was evident when North Korea’s invasion of South Korea caught the United States unprepared in June 1950.

Read the blog The Spy Buried in Alexandria: Unraveling the Tale of Lieutenant William Weisband and the Impact on American Intelligence for the rest of the story.

William Wolf Weisband gravestone in The Presbyterian Cemetery – image by D. Heiby. Section 1:11

John Westcott (c.1734-1813) was a Revolutionary War Veteran and Merchant.

John Westcott (c.1734-1813) was a prominent figure during the Revolutionary War era, serving as a Captain in a New Jersey unit. His dedication to the cause earned him recognition as a SAR Revolutionary War Patriot, and he is interred at the Presbyterian Cemetery. While there is mention of his membership in the Society of the Cincinnati, it is important to note that no direct source confirms this.

Outside of his military service, Westcott was a successful merchant dealing in wholesale goods, a fact proudly inscribed as “Merchant” on his tombstone at the Presbyterian Cemetery. This tombstone also marks the year of his passing as 1813, at the age of 79.

In addition to his mercantile pursuits, Westcott was keenly interested in the print world. He was a printer and publisher of books, contributing significantly to the local economy. Notably, between 1797 and 1802, J. D. Westcott published the “Alexandria Times and District of Columbia Daily Advertiser.” This daily newspaper, available from Monday to Saturday, was printed by John D. Westcott himself. His printing establishment was conveniently located on Royal Street, just five doors from King Street.

In memory of
merchant of this place
who departed this life November
25th 1813 in the 72nd year
of his age.
He was a native of Cumberland County,
New Jersey, was an officer in the New
Jersey line during the revolutionary
war, was an upright citizen, and
honest man
also in memory of
JAMES D. WESTCOTT who died August 5th
1799, aged 19 months and SARAH
WESTCOTT who died April 25th 1800, aged
2 days both interred in this place, chil
his wife, of Cumberland County, New
42:58, tablet; D.A.R. marker

George Wise (November 3, 1778, or 1780 – April 3, 1856) – Final Washington Bier Bearer and Esteemed Mayor of Alexandria

The final remaining individual who participated in carrying the Bier, a platform on which George Washington’s coffin was placed in 1799, was a Lieutenant in the 106th Virginia Regiment. He joined the Meeting House and subsequently became a member of the Second Presbyterian Church in 1817. Later, he held the esteemed position of Mayor of Alexandria, serving from 1836 to 1837.

A depiction of George Washington’s funeral on December 18, 1799, highlighting the bier on which his coffin rests. George Wise carried this bier, the last surviving bier bearer, who passed away on April 3, 1856.

His son, Charles James Wise, born on July 24, 1830, and who passed away on May 9, 1898, endured an unfortunate incident. He sustained injuries while bravely combating a fire at the Dowell China Shop on November 17, 1855.

The father and the son found their final resting place in section 44:132, along with their respective families.

George Wise’s gravestone. Image courtesy of D Heiby. 44:132, Obelisk

X, Y, Z

Robert Young (December 27, 1768 – October 27, 1824) Cavalry Leader at Washington’s Funeral; Constructor of 1315 Duke Street, Alexandria’s Notorious Slave Pen

Also, see Philip Richard Fendall II.

Robert Young was a prominent figure in his community, leaving an indelible mark through various roles and contributions. As a Meeting House member and Original Director of the Bank of Potomac from 1804 to 1805, he demonstrated his commitment to civic and financial matters.

Young’s involvement extended to the realm of finance, where he served as the President of the Mechanics Bank, showcasing his leadership and acumen in monetary affairs. Additionally, his prowess as a merchant, partnered with Philip Fendall and William Yeaton, facilitated his connections within trade circles.

His expertise extended beyond commerce. During Thomas Jefferson’s presidency, he was sought after as a consultant for the Port of Havana, a testament to his versatility and knowledge in international affairs.

Military service profoundly shaped Young’s legacy, particularly during the War of 1812. Holding the rank of General, he led the Second Brigade of the District of Columbia Militia, exemplifying his unwavering commitment to defending his nation in times of conflict. Notably, Young played a pivotal role in commanding the Alexandria cavalry during significant historical events, such as the Fourth of July parade in 1798, graced by the presence of George Washington. Additionally, his leadership was instrumental at George Washington’s funeral, where he ensured the solemnity and dignity of the occasion.

Furthermore, Young’s bravery was evident at the Battle of the White House Landing in September 1814, where he fought bravely, leaving a lasting mark on the annals of American military history.

Beyond his professional endeavors, Young was deeply intertwined with the fabric of his community. He was a Charter Member of the Alexandria Library Company and a Member of the St. Andrew’s Society, reflecting his commitment to education and social connections.

Young’s personal life was marked by joys and sorrows. His marriage to Elizabeth Mary Conrad Young, who outlived him, was accompanied by the loss of children. James Young, born in 1798, passed away at 8 months due to tuberculosis. Another child, also named James Young, born around 1801-1804, succumbed to croup at the age of 3.

His daughter Elizabeth Young (1804-1859) lived to adulthood, eventually marrying Philip Richard Fendall II.

In death, Young was honored with military and Masonic honors, a fitting tribute to a man who served his community, country, and family with distinction. However, the house he built at 1315 Duke Street took on a darker legacy after his passing. It became the Alexandria headquarters for the infamous slave pen operated by Franklin and Armfield, a stark reminder of the complexities of history and the enduring impact of individuals like Robert Young.

To read more about General Young, please click on this blog [A Life of Prominence and Varied Roles: the Multifaceted Legacy of General Robert Young].

General Young’s obelisk in the Fendall family plot.
to the memory of
born 27 December 1768
died 27 October 1824
Frank, upright and generous, liberal
in prosperity, patient in adversity and
sickness; a tender husband and parent
a faithful friend and accomplished
Gentleman and a sincere Christian
43:53, obelisk

Sources of Information


Brockett, F. L., & Rock, G. W. (1883). A Concise History of the City of Alexandria, VA, from 1669 to 1883 with a Directory of Reliable Business Houses in the City. Gazette Book and Job Office.

Blanton, W. B. (1931). Medicine in Virginia in the Nineteenth Century. Garrett & Massie, Inc.

McGroarty, W. B. (1940). The Old Presbyterian Meeting House at Alexandria, VA 1774 – 1874. The William Byrd Press, Inc.

Moore, G. M. (1949). Seaport in Virginia George Washington’s Alexandria. Garrett and Massie, Incorporated.

The Alexandria Association. (1956). Our Town 1749-1865 at Gadsby’s Tavern Alexandria, Virginia. The Dietz Printing Company.

Lee, C. G., Jr. (1957). Lee Chronicle Studies of the Early Generations of the Lees of Virginia. Thomson-Shore.

Cox, E. (1976). Historic Alexandria, Virginia Street by Street; A Survey of Existing Early Buildings. EPM Publications.

Miller, T. M. (1987). Pen Portraits of Alexandria, Virginia, 1739-1900. Heritage Books.

Fleming, L. B., Rhodes, E. F., & Fleming, J. E. (1981). Centennial Thomas Fleming 1881-1941. AdArt.

Miller, T. M. (1991). Artisans and Merchants of Alexandria, Virginia, 1780-1820: Volume 1. Heritage Books, Inc.

Pippenger, W. E. (1992). Tombstone Inscriptions of Alexandria, Virginia: Volume 1. Family Line Publications.

Province of Pennsylvania. (1992). Officers and Soldiers in the Service of the Province of Pennsylvania, 1744-1765.

Miller, T. M., & Smith, W. F. (2001). A Seaport Saga Portrait of Old Alexandria, Virginia. The Downing Company Publishing.

Madison, R. L. (2005). Walking with Washington. Gateway Press, Inc.

Lewellen, A. (2007, February). Discovering Torthorwald, Bridekirk, and Lymekilns through John Carlyle’s Inventory. Carlyle House Docent Dispatch. Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.

Van Horn, H. M. (2009). The Presbyterian Cemetery Alexandria, Virginia 1809 – 2009. The Arlington Press.

Gaughan, A. J. (2011). The Last Battle of the Civil War. United States Versus Lee, 1861 – 1883. Louisiana State University Press.

Hakenson, D. C. (2011). This Forgotten Land Volume II, Biographical Sketches of Confederate Veterans Buried in Alexandria, Virginia. Donald Hakenson.

Wenzel, E. T. (2015). Chronology of The Civil War in Fairfax County. Part I. Bull Run Civil War Round Table.

Peck, G. (2015). Andrew Wales: Alexandria’s First Brewer. The Alexandria Chronicle. A publication of the Alexandria Historical Society, Spring 2015(2).

Rainey, B. (2022). The Last Slave Ship. The True Story of How the Clotilda Was Found, Her Descendants, and an Extraordinary Reckoning. Simon and Schuster.

Quander, R. (2021). The Quanders, Since 1684, an Enduring African American Legacy. Christian Faith Publishing, Inc.

Hamilton, E. J. (2021). A Scottish Migration to Alexandria. Ellen J. Hamilton.

Virginia Trust for Historic Preservation. (2023). Lee-Fendall House Historic Structure Report: Final Report. SmithGroup.

Unpublished Works:

Dahmann, D. C. (2002). The Roster of Historic Congregational Members of the Old Presbyterian Meeting House.


Old Presbyterian Meeting House’s Visitor’s Guide to Alexandria’s Historic Old Presbyterian Meeting House. (n.d). Trifold pamphlet.


Official website of the Old Presbyterian Meeting House. (n.d.). Church history. URL:

Official website of the Captain Cook Society. (n.d.). Cook’s Third Voyage. URL:

Official archives website of The Washington Post. (n.d.). Dowell China Shop Fire. URL:

Official website of the City of Alexandria, Office of Historic Alexandria. (n.d.). Alexandria Times Out of the Attic. URL:

George Washington’s Mount Vernon official website. (n.d.). Ramsay’s farewell speech at Wise’s Tavern. URL:

Official website of Cincinnati Whig newspaper. (2019). Article about the Moselle. URL:

Official website of (2019). Article about the Moselle. URL:

Official website of the Friendship Firehouse Museum. (n.d.). Firehouse information. URL:

Official website of Military Images Digital. (2022). Article on Samuel Johnston. URL:

Official Blog of Gettysburg National Military Park. (2022). Blog on Capt. Samuel R. Johnston. URL:

Official website of Washingtonian Magazine. (n.d.). Article about the Mysteries of the Washington Cathedral. URL:

City of Alexandria, Virginia. (1992). Historic Preservation. In Adopted 1992 Master Plan Alexandria, Virginia.

Alexandria Archaeology Office of Historic Alexandria. (2010). Alexandria, a living history: Alexandria waterfront history plan. City of Alexandria, Virginia.

Roberts, J. (2017, November 17). Mount Zephyr. Retrieved December 15, 2023, from

Christopher H. Jones Antiques. (n.d.). John Muir Secretary – SOLD. Retrieved from

Reber, P. B. (2010). Jamieson Bakery, Alexandria Va. Retrieved from file:///Volumes/DDH%20Ext%20Dri/Jamieson%20Bakery,%20Alexandria%20Va.html

  1. Hunting the Gray Ghost TOUR 2—Playing Cat and Mouse in Mosby’s Confederacy,” Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area, 2023. ↩︎
  2. According to the Act for the Collection of Taxes in the Insurrectionary Districts (12 Stat. at L. 422), all the land in areas affected by the rebellion had to pay property tax. The act allowed appointing officials to collect the taxes and take ownership of the property if the taxes were unpaid. On February 6, 1863, the act was modified to require individuals to pay their taxes in person. In this particular case, the tax amount was $92.07. Mary Custis Lee arranged for her cousin Phillip Richard Fendall to make the payment, but the government rejected it. ↩︎
  3. Information about Fort Duquesne, including its construction, strategic importance during the Seven Years’ War and French and Indian War, and the events involving George Washington and General John Forbes, can be found in detail on George Washington’s Mount Vernon website. This source provides comprehensive historical context and accounts of the significant events and figures associated with Fort Duquesne. For a thorough understanding and in-depth information, visit the webpage: Fort Duquesne – George Washington’s Mount Vernon. ↩︎
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