The Search Still Goes On With Chills To The Heart
Theodosia Burr Alston Born June 21, 1783 was an American socialite and the daughter of the third U.S. Vice President, Aaron Burr, and Theodosia Bartow Prevost.
The eldest child of former US Vice President Aaron Burr was who was disgraced after being formally accused of committing treason was Theodosia Burr Alston. She was also married to the South Carolina’s Governor at the time, Joseph Alston.
Five years after the fall of her father, she lost her son. Alston’s son succumbed to malaria and died on June 30, 1812, at age ten. She went into such deep mourning that it affected her health. While her father remained in exile, Alston acted as his agent in the U.S., raising money which she sent to him, and transmitting messages.
Alston wrote letters to Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin and to Dolley Madison in an effort to secure a smooth return for her father. The only bright spot for her was that her father was to be allowed to return to the US after being exiled to Europe.
In 1812, Alston boarded the Patriot, which was a schooner with an intended destination of New York. She was to be reunited with her father on that New Year’s Eve.
She traveled alone due to her husband, who had only recently been sworn in, was unable to accompany her due to his duties as governor.
However, the schooner never made it to where it was supposed to go. Some believe the vessel capsized or sank due to a major storm which had been documented to be in the area at the time and others believe it was captured by pirates. Whatever happened to it, the vessel, nor its passengers were ever seen again after her day of departure on January 2 or 3, 1813 , She was just 29 years old.
Immediately following the Patriot’s disappearance, rumors arose. The most enduring were that the Patriot had been captured by a pirate, and that something had occurred near Cape Hatteras, notorious for wreckers who lured ships into danger.
Aaron Burr refused to credit any of the rumors of his daughter’s possible capture, believing that she had died in a shipwreck. But the rumors persisted long after his death, and after around 1850, more substantial “explanations” of the mystery surfaced, usually alleging to be from the deathbed confessions of sailors and executed criminals.