Beneath the Oaks

The following paragraphs are excerpted from the introduction of
Beneath the Oaks of Ivy Hill,
compiled over several years and published in 1982
by Virginia Irene Sullivan Bruch and Josephine Elizabeth Sullivan.
The book, and this website, are dedicated
To Those Who Sleep Beneath the Oaks of Ivy Hill

"Alexandria's history is closely associated with Ivy Hill Cemetery, for many of the prominent families who helped to shape the town's destiny have been buried here. There are many other cemeteries around Alexandra, some older, but few are so well preserved as Ivy Hill.

Located on King Street extended, west of the Masonic Temple, Ivy Hill is on a series of gentle, sloping hills,  resembling a country churchyard.  The  graves  are  scattered beneath beautiful old trees and cover over twenty-four acres.   It is a  non-profit,  non-denominational cemetery, still in use today, and in the process of expansion...

Interments date as far back as 1811, when Ivy Hill was a family burial ground. Some of the birth dates listed on the stones are mid-eighteenth century. As the result of the settlement of an estate, Ivy Hill was established as a community burial ground in 1856. According to the Alexandria Gazette, in May of 1866, subscriptions were solicited for the purpose of enclosing the grounds, and a committee was to ask remuneration from the federal government for damage sustained by the cemetery from Federal troops...

As in most of the small towns in America, in the early days of our country, cemeteries were a favorite visiting place on Sunday afternoons in the spring and summer...the ladies would decorate the graves with flowers...(and) the adults would talk and visit together while the children played among the stones.

As we were reading the stones, we observed how many visitors came and went. Children, young adults, couples young and old, all ...strolled through Ivy Hill and read the epitaphs. How akin we are to those...who...visited here generations ago! We are all drawn together by the common bond of mortality.

To walk through Ivy Hill is to study nature, to observe the seasons in all their beauty, as they change and pass. It is to feel the continuity of life and our kinship with the past. It is also to study history, as one reflects on the generations that have come and gone, and the events of the times (in which they lived)...(here) are  the  descendants of Thomas Jefferson, Bryan, the  8th Lord Fairfax and Richard Bland Lee. The (family) names (on the inscriptions) read like a "Who's Who" of early Alexandria: Arnold, Ashby, Bayne, Boush, Bryant, Burke, Carlin, Cary, Corse, Dawson, Du Val, Eaches, Funsten, Green, Herbert, Harrison, Hooe, Hoxton, Hume, Janney, Leadbeater, Lloyd, Meade, Payne, Randolph, Reed, Rust, Smith, Smoot, Stabler, Stringfellow, Stuart, Trist, Uhler, Vandergrift, Vansant and Wheat, to name only a few..."

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Ivy Hill Communications
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Alexandria, Virginia
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