Ivy Hill Cemetery: Remarkable Interments

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.

Wernher von Braun at Peenemünde Army Research Center. Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1978-Anh.024-03 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

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.

The Apollo 11 Saturn V rocket launch vehicle lifts off with astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., at 9:32 a.m. EDT July 16, 1969, from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex Pad 39A. Von Braun was the chief architect of the Saturn V launch vehicle, which took the man to the Moon—photo by NASA.

He died on June 16, 1977, and is buried on Valley Road in Ivy Hill.


Philip Richard Fendall Sr.: A Legacy of Diplomacy, Love, and Enduring Ties in Revolutionary America

Philip Richard Fendall Sr., born in 1734, emerged from the prestigious Fendall family, closely linked to figures like Josias Fendall and Philip Lee. His life, characterized by service, diplomacy, and personal ventures, reflects a remarkable blend of public duty and private endeavors.

A variety of significant roles marked Fendall’s career. He served as the Clerk of Court for Charles County, demonstrating his commitment to public service. However, his most notable contribution came during the 1778 Treaty of Alliance negotiations. In this critical period, Fendall was crucial in supporting his cousin, Arthur Lee. Along with Benjamin Franklin and Silas Dean, Lee was instrumental in securing French assistance for the United States during the Revolutionary War against Britain. This assistance was vital in turning the tide in favor of the American colonies.

Despite his busy public life, Fendall also experienced a series of poignant moments in his personal life, particularly in his marital relationships. By 1780, Fendall had entered his second marriage with Elizabeth Steptoe Lee. Sadly, this union did not bear children, and Elizabeth passed away in 1789. Fendall found love again in 1791 when he married Mary “Mollie” Lee. This marriage was blessed with the birth of Philip Richard Fendall II in 1794, continuing the Fendall lineage.

The Lee-Fendall House, located in Alexandria, Virginia, was constructed by Philip Richard Fendall in 1785.

1784 marked a significant turning point for Fendall beyond his professional and personal life. It was in this year that he acquired land in Alexandria, Virginia. A year later, the construction of the Lee-Fendall House commenced. This iconic building represented Fendall’s deep ties with the city and symbolized his enduring connection with the Lee family.

Philip Richard Fendall Sr.’s life was a tapestry of dedication to his country, love for his family, and a lasting legacy in Alexandria. To read more about Philip Richard Fendall and the fascinating story of his reburial in Ivy Hill, delve into this blog, which is presented in two parts. Part 1 and Part 11.

Historian Catherine Weinraub of the Ivy Hill Historical Society indicates the unmarked grave of Philip Richard Fendall, Sr., in Section B, plot 1.
A detailed view of Historian Weinraub gesturing towards the grave.


James Green (1801 – 1880)

James Green, an English immigrant who arrived in the United States with his father in 1817, experienced a remarkable transformation in his professional life. Initially a cabinetmaker, Green shifted his career to become a distinguished hotel proprietor. In 1848, he acquired the Old Bank Building at Fairfax and Cameron Streets, which he expanded into the renowned Green Mansion House, Alexandria’s largest hotel. This expansion temporarily blocked the view of the historic Carlyle House. During the Civil War, the Green Mansion House was converted into a hospital, and his furniture factory was repurposed as a prison. Green navigated these challenging times adeptly, maintaining cordial relationships with military officers and refraining from taking the Oath of Allegiance. His extraordinary life journey ended with his death in 1880.

Mansion House Hospital, Circa 1862

On January 18, 1827, a catastrophic event known as Alexandria’s Great Fire engulfed the Green Furniture Factory. The fire broke out in its warehouse on Royal Street while the workers were on a breakfast break. Founded by William Green and his son James, who immigrated from England in 1818, the business moved from King Street to Royal Street under James’s leadership in 1824. The factory, which later became a prison during the Civil War, was passed down to James’s three sons and ceased operations in the 1880s. This family also owned the Mansion House, now a residential building on the corner of Prince and Fairfax Streets. During Alexandria’s tenure as part of the District of Columbia, the fire caused extensive damage, leading to a significant community and regional response.

Green Furniture Company, date unknown

The Great Fire profoundly impacted the community, resulting in the loss of numerous homes and properties. On Fairfax Street, the blaze consumed the homes of the Wise, Green, and Stabler families. Additionally, warehouses owned by Lloyd, Miller, and Masterson were destroyed. On Prince Street, houses and warehouses belonging to the Vowell, Fitzhugh, Fowle, and Smoot families were lost to the flames. These losses underscore the widespread devastation caused by the fire.

The collective efforts of communities, including over 300 Navy Yard Employees and other individuals, including enslaved laborers like Michael Shiner from the Navy Yard, were crucial in combating the fire. Alexandria’s fire companies were the first responders before help arrived from neighboring areas. A post-fire assessment revealed the loss of 53 buildings, including homes and warehouses, valued at over $107,000. The City Council allocated funds for repairing fire engines, and donations for relief efforts poured in from various sources, including Congress, which appropriated $20,000 for the victims. While not as widely known as other historical fires, Alexandria’s Great Fire, originating from the Green Furniture Factory, stands as a testament to the resilience and cooperation of communities in the face of disaster.

The final resting place of James Green can be found at Ivy Hill Cemetery.

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.

“Renowned Architect Charles Goodman (1906 – 1992)”

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.

Designed by Charles Goodman in 1941, the original terminal at Washington’s National Airport continues to grace the landscape, now integrated as a key component of the expansive Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

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.

Constance Cary Harrison (1843-1920): A Resilient Writer and Advocate Amidst Civil War’s Turmoil

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.

Sully Plantation is located in the western part of Fairfax County, Virginia.

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)

Reverend 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.

Final Resting Place of Dolly Genevieve Shepperson at Ivy Hill Cemetery

Benjamin Franklin Stringfellow (1840-1913)

Benjamin Franklin Stringfellow (1840-1913)

Benjamin Franklin Stringfellow, often referred to as Frank, had a small stature, standing only five feet eight inches tall and weighing 94 pounds, yet he became a legendary figure in the Civil War. Born in Alexandria, he attended Episcopal High School before teaching in Mississippi. Eager to participate in the Civil War, Stringfellow returned to Virginia but initially faced rejection from multiple units due to his size. He eventually joined the Confederate 4th Virginia Cavalry as a Captain and became the personal scout for General J.E.B. Stuart, undertaking multiple missions into Union territory. His dangerous exploits earned him a reputation as one of the most feared men in the Confederacy, with a substantial $10,000 reward offered for his capture. Stringfellow also rode with Colonel John Singleton Mosby’s 43rd Virginia Cavalry and served as a confidential scout for General Robert E. Lee.

During the war, Stringfellow disguised himself as a dental assistant in Alexandria to gather intelligence and later obtained a dental license to continue his espionage in Washington, D.C. Contrary to the portrayal in the PBS drama “Mercy Street,” he was not involved in any assassination attempts on President Abraham Lincoln.

After the war, Stringfellow refused to take the loyalty oath and fled to Canada. He returned to Alexandria in 1867, enrolled in the Virginia Theological Seminary, and married his longtime sweetheart Emma Green, whose family owned the Mansion Hotel in Alexandria and the Green furniture factory. He was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1876, serving in various Virginia parishes and as the first chaplain of the Woodberry School in Madison. Stringfellow reenlisted as a Chaplain in the Spanish-American War in 1898, demonstrating his ongoing commitment to service.

Frank Stringfellow passed away in 1913 due to a heart attack in Alexandria, where he retired. He is buried beside his wife Emma at Ivy Hill Cemetery.


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.

Gravestone of Edgar Warfield Sr. at Ivy Hill Cemetery


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

Weinraub, C. (n.d.). The Great Fire of 1827. Unpublished manuscript.

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.

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