List of famous and notable burials in Ivy Hill Cemetery. The list must be completed, and new names will be added regularly. If you know of an exciting story or character that should be added, please get in touch with Gravestone Stories!
Ivy Hill Cemetery
Founded in 1856, Ivy Hill is at 2823 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22302. Click here to view Ivy Hill Cemetery on the web.
Wernher von Braun (March 23, 1912 – June 16, 1977) Early American Space Exploration Pioneer
Wernher Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun was an early pioneer of American space exploration. Born in a small town in the Kingdom of Prussia, von Braun’s family eventually moved to Berlin, where his father worked as a government official. Fascinated by space travel from a young age, von Braun obtained his doctorate in physics in 1934.
In 1939, while serving as the German army rocket program director, von Braun joined the Nazi Party. He later became a member of the SS and was awarded a rank equivalent to a Major. His work at the Army Research Center at Peenemünde was instrumental in developing Nazi Germany’s rocket program, including the V-2 missile used during World War II. Referred to as “vengeance weapons” and used under direct orders from Germany’s leader, Adolf Hitler, the V-2 guided missiles killed and wounded over 10,000 civilians and military personnel.
As Germany’s defeat loomed, von Braun and some of his fellow scientists managed to evade SS guards who had orders to execute them. They crossed Austria and surrendered to the Americans on May 2, 1945. The Americans had been actively searching for them to prevent their capture by the Russians.
Von Braun was subsequently brought to the United States as part of Operation Paperclip, a military operation that relocated over 1600 German scientists to New Mexico and Huntsville, Alabama. In the U.S., von Braun and his team played critical roles in the Cold War and the Space Race against the Soviet Union. They developed the Jupiter ballistic missile and the Redstone rocket, used in the first Mercury space missions.
Eventually joining NASA, von Braun spent over six years developing the Saturn I and Saturn V booster rockets to launch American astronauts to the Moon. Following more than two decades of service with NASA, he was awarded the Department of Defense’s Distinguished Civilian Service Award in 1969, the highest civilian award from the Department. Early in 1977, President Gerald Ford awarded him the National Medal of Science in Engineering, but von Braun was too ill with pancreatic cancer to attend the White House ceremony. His legacy as a critical figure in space exploration endures despite the controversial aspects of his earlier career.
He died on June 16, 1977, and is buried on Valley Road in Ivy Hill.
James Green (1801 – 1880)
James Green, an immigrant from England who arrived in the United States in 1817 alongside his father, underwent a significant transformation in his career. While initially pursuing cabinetmaking, his path evolved, leading him to establish himself as a respected hotel owner. In 1848, Green made a pivotal move by acquiring the Old Bank Building at the intersection of Fairfax and Cameron Streets. Over the following years, he expanded this building into the impressive Green Mansion House, which would eventually become Alexandria’s largest hotel. While successful, the expansion temporarily obscured the view of the historic Carlyle House behind it. The outbreak of the Civil War brought about further changes, as Green’s hotel transitioned into a hospital, and his furniture factory was repurposed into a prison. Remarkably, Green navigated these tumultuous times skillfully, maintaining positive relationships with Officers and avoiding taking the Oath of Allegiance. His remarkable journey concluded with his passing in 1880.
Charles Goodman (1906 – 1992)
Charles Goodman, born in 1906 in New York, earned his degree from the Armour Institute of Technology in Chicago. In 1934, he relocated to Washington, DC, joining the Public Buildings Administration. Collaborating with Robert C. Davenport, Goodman played a pivotal role in designing and site planning most of Hollin Hills, encompassing more than 14 model homes. Unlike the prevailing Colonial Revival architecture of the era, these homes stood out for their affordability, abundant natural light, and open floor plans seamlessly integrated with the surrounding landscape.
In 1941, he also designed the original terminal at the National Airport. Among his notable projects in the region, he contributed to the 1964 Unitarian Church in Arlington and the construction of Goodman House in 1954. Beyond the District, Goodman left his mark on Maryland with his designs gracing Silver Spring and Takoma Park; these structures now hold places of honor on the National Register of Historic Places.
Goodman’s influence extended to federal projects, including Post Offices in Chicago, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Kansas, and Michigan. Regrettably, he passed away in 1992, leaving a legacy of innovative architectural achievements.
Constance Cary Harrison (1843-1920)
Constance experienced a significant upheaval as the Civil War erupted. The Cary family left their estate, Vaucluse, in Alexandria at the war’s outset. The estate was eventually destroyed, compelling the family to relocate to Richmond. In this tumultuous period, Constance’s mother initiated a hospital where she and Constance devoted themselves to caring for wounded soldiers, even writing letters on their behalf to send home.
Despite the demanding responsibilities of nursing and letter-writing, Constance managed to carve out time to contribute articles and short stories to Richmond newspapers. Employing the pen name “Refugitta,” she garnered recognition for her writing, establishing herself as a respected author. The Civil War exacted a heavy toll on Constance Cary Harrison, causing the destruction of her cherished home, upending her way of life, and subjecting her to a brief period of imprisonment as a War prisoner due to her involvement in running a blockade.
Remarkably, Constance remained steadfastly focused on a cause that emerged as a positive outcome of the War: the abolition of slavery. This commitment drove her efforts to champion this cause through her writing. Interestingly, her husband, Burton Harrison, had previously served as the secretary to Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy. However, Constance and Burton’s union occurred after the War’s conclusion. The couple resided in various locations, including New York City and Bar Harbor, Maine, as they navigated their married life together.
Richard Bland Lee (1797-1875)
Born on July 20, 1797, at the Sully Plantation in Fairfax County, Virginia, Richard Bland Lee served a notable military career. He was a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point from 1814 to 1817, following which he held various roles, from garrison duties across multiple forts to ordnance and commissary duties. Notably, he was wounded twice in the skirmish near Micanopy in the Florida War of 1836 against the Seminole Indians. Lee’s military promotions were a testament to his service, progressing from a 3rd Lieutenant in the Corps of Artillery in 1817 to a Major in the Staff-Com. of Subsistence by 1841. However, his allegiance shifted during the Civil War, where he fought for the South.
Beyond his military life, Lee was the patriarch of a large family, fathering 12 children, although three tragically passed away in infancy. The surviving children were Mary Elizabeth, Julia Eustis, Evelina Prosser, Richard Blande III, Anna Cornelia, Julian Prosser, Myra Gaines, William Augustus, and Robert Fleming.
Lee passed away on August 2, 1875, in Alexandria, Virginia, at the age of 76.
He is buried in Section N, lot 153, plot 1.
Rev. Thomas E. Locke (1812-1897)
Rev. Locke completed his studies at Virginia Theological Seminary in 1837, receiving ordination as a deacon that same year, followed by priestly ordination in 1838. Serving as a dedicated minister for nearly six decades, he held a prominent role within the clergy. As his life journey ended, he held the distinction of being both the oldest clergyman in the diocese and the sole surviving member from his Seminary graduating class.
Dolly Genevieve Shepperson (1880-1970)
Dolly holds the distinction of being the pioneer woman to register for voting in Alexandria back in 1920. Despite encountering initial setbacks, she displayed remarkable determination by running for City Council on two occasions: first in 1930 and subsequently in 1934. Her notable career at the Washington Post spanned from 1905 to 1943, during which she served as the newspaper’s inaugural society columnist. Interestingly, throughout the initial 15 years of her tenure, she never set foot inside the Post Building. Instead, her column was delivered by her brother, an Alexandrian news reporter, reflecting the era’s societal norms that discouraged young women from entering certain places. She maintained memberships in various esteemed organizations, including Christ Episcopal Church, the Alexandria Business and Professional Women’s Club—later named in her honor—the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the American Newspaper Women’s Club, and the American Legion Auxiliary to Post 24.
Benjamin Stringfellow (1840-1913)
Stringfellow initially attended Episcopal High School in Alexandria. Despite being rejected by the troops for his small stature, he later joined Co. E, 4th Va. Cavalry, and served as a Confidential Scout for Gen. Robert E. Lee under JEB Stuart. Shortly before the War’s conclusion, he managed to escape Union captivity and sought refuge in Canada, which led to a substantial ten-thousand-dollar reward being offered for his recapture. Following the War, he returned to Alexandria, pursued studies at the Virginia Theological Seminary, and ultimately attained ordination as a minister. In 1898, Stringfellow enlisted as a Chaplain in the Spanish-American War, showcasing his commitment to service. He eventually passed away in 1913 due to a heart attack.
Nicholas Trist: The Diplomat Who Shaped America’s Southwest Borders
Nicholas Trist is not a household name in American history, but his contributions as a diplomat during a crucial period in U.S. history are remarkable. Born on June 2, 1800, in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trist’s journey would eventually lead him to the center stage of one of the most significant conflicts of his time—the Mexican-American War.
You can read more about him at this [blog].
Edgar Warfield Sr. (1842-1934)
Edgar Warfield Sr. (1842-1934) began his career as a Druggist before the outbreak of the Civil War. On April 17, 1861, he enlisted in Company H of the 17th Virginia Infantry in Alexandria, VA. His service continued until April 9, 1865, when he surrendered at Appomattox Court House, VA. Notably, Warfield was designated to serve with the Regiment Apothecary in 1861. Warfield was the last surviving member among the over 700 men who departed Alexandria in May 1861 to join the Confederacy.
William Yoast (1924-2019), Assistant Coach of the 1971 Alexandria City Champion football team, is memorialized in the movie “Remember the Titans.”
Herman Boone and Bill Yoast emerged as central figures during the 1971 football season at T.C. Williams High School, which has since become Alexandria City High School. This particular year marked a crucial period of integration, as it entailed amalgamating upper-grade students from two previously all-white Alexandria high schools with T.C. Williams. Yoast was the head football coach at the all-white Francis C. Hammond High School until that point. The original plan was for Yoast to assume leadership of the combined football team. However, the appointment of Herman Boone, T.C. Williams’ first African-American coach, as the head coach altered this trajectory. In a gracious move, Yoast accepted the role of assistant coach. As a result of Boone and Yoast’s collaboration, the team clinched a state title that season. Their efforts extended beyond the football field, as they were pivotal in nurturing racial harmony within the team and the wider community. This compelling tale of leadership, unity, and triumph over challenges later served as the basis for the 2000 Disney film, “Remember the Titans.”
Sources of Information
C. Weinraub, personal communication. 2023.
Wallace, L. A., Jr. (1990). 17th Virginia Infantry. H. E. Howard, Inc.
Kundahl, G. G. (2004). Alexandria goes to war: Beyond Robert E. Lee. The University of Tennessee Press.