The Heartbreaking Disappearance of Theodosia Burr Alston
She was the famous daughter of American villain, Aaron Burr, and became one of our country’s oldest and most perplexing unsolved mysteries
From her first breath, Theodosia Bartow Burr was her father, Aaron Burr Jr’s pride and joy. She was born on June 21, 1783, in Albany, New York, and named after her mother, Theodosia Stillwell Bartow Prevost Burr. Aaron Burr not so secretly courted the elder Theodosia, a mother of five, and the wife of British officer Jacques Marcus Prevost. Jacques died in 1781. Aaron married his one true love on July 2, 1782, at her family’s estate in New Jersey, The Hermitage.
The marriage was amicable but short and marred with tragedy. Theodosia, the mother, delivered three stillborn sons and suffered many miscarriages. Mr. and Mrs. Burr had one other daughter, Sarah who was called Sally, who died of an illness in 1788. Regarding the death of their youngest daughter, Mrs. Burr wrote:
“Variegated have been my scenes of anguish, but this exceeds them all…She passed gently from me to the region of bliss…My Sally, she is gone.”
Six short years later, Mrs. Burr passed away, likely of uterine cancer. Aaron Burr was heartbroken. In his despair, he resolved to provide a stable and loving childhood for his beloved remaining daughter. As a feminist, he desired to educate Theodosia as well as any son.
Her Father’s Daughter
Theodosia was a charming child who inherited her father’s brilliant mind and her mother’s beauty. She possessed an aptitude for language, art, and arithmetic. Aaron Burr had a busy law practice throughout Theodosia’s childhood, and then came politics.
Theodosia came of age in a new country, where her father was Vice President. There was no shortage of suitors eager to court Aaron Burr’s beautiful prodigy of a…