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"Apropos of sin,
Did I recollect
How the wreckers wrecked
Theodosia Burr
Off this very shore?
‘Twas to punish her,
But her father more —
We don’t know what for;
There was no confession.
Things they think she wore
Still sometimes occur
In someone’s possession
Here at Kitty Hawk.”

Excerpt from “Kitty Hawk” by Robert Frost, in which the poet refers to Theodosia Burr [Alston], only daughter of Aaron Burr, the third Vice President of the United States (under Thomas Jefferson) and one of the most extraordinary characters in American history.

Theodosia Burr Alston (1783-1813) had been raised by her father for easy entry among the most privileged class in the young republic. She married a wealthy South Carolina plantation owner by whom she had a son. She was devoted to her father, who is distinctive for being the only American Vice President to be accused and tried for treason — for which he was acquitted. That, plus the fact that he killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel.

In late December 1812 Theodosia sailed aboard the Patriot, a former privateer, from Georgetown, South Carolina to see her father in New York, who had just returned from a four-year self-imposed exile to Europe following his trial for treason. Somewhere off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, the ship disappeared. Many yarns grew up around the disappearance, including its capture by bloodthirsty pirates or being wrecked by equally treacherous “bankers” — outlaw gangs who lured ships to shallow waters where their hulls would be ripped apart. Most likely, however, is that the ship was lost in a severe winter storm.

The loss of his daughter devastated Burr, who continued to believe for a long time that she had been taken alive by criminals. Even today, Theodosia’s story continues in the legends of the Carolina coast.

Portrait of Theodosia Burr by John Vanderlyn, 1802.

Posted at 10:47am and tagged with: Robert Frost, Kitty Hawk, Theodosia Burr, Aaron Burr, Cape Hatteras, legends,.

"Apropos of sin,
Did I recollect
How the wreckers wrecked
Theodosia Burr
Off this very shore?
‘Twas to punish her,
But her father more —
We don’t know what for;
There was no confession.
Things they think she wore
Still sometimes occur
In someone’s possession
Here at Kitty Hawk.”

Excerpt from “Kitty Hawk” by Robert Frost, in which the poet refers to Theodosia Burr [Alston], only daughter of Aaron Burr, the third Vice President of the United States (under Thomas Jefferson) and one of the most extraordinary characters in American history.

Theodosia Burr Alston (1783-1813) had been raised by her father for easy entry among the most privileged class in the young republic. She married a wealthy South Carolina plantation owner by whom she had a son. She was devoted to her father, who is distinctive for being the only American Vice President to be accused and tried for treason — for which he was acquitted. That, plus the fact that he killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel.

In late December 1812 Theodosia sailed aboard the Patriot, a former privateer, from Georgetown, South Carolina to see her father in New York, who had just returned from a four-year self-imposed exile to Europe following his trial for treason. Somewhere off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, the ship disappeared. Many yarns grew up around the disappearance, including its capture by bloodthirsty pirates or being wrecked by equally treacherous “bankers” — outlaw gangs who lured ships to shallow waters where their hulls would be ripped apart. Most likely, however, is that the ship was lost in a severe winter storm.

The loss of his daughter devastated Burr, who continued to believe for a long time that she had been taken alive by criminals. Even today, Theodosia’s story continues in the legends of the Carolina coast.

Portrait of Theodosia Burr by John Vanderlyn, 1802.
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