Mary Randolph Gravesite – Arlington, Virginia - Atlas Obscura

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Mary Randolph Gravesite

Recorded as the first person buried in Arlington Cemetery.  


Mary Randolph, the first recorded person buried in Arlington Cemetery was born in 1762 in Chesterfield County, Virginia, just south of Richmond.

Randolph’s family tree is quite extraordinary. Her ancestors include the famed Native American princess Pocahontas and her husband Jamestown settler John Rolfe. She was a cousin of George Washington Parke Custis and his wife, and godmother to their daughter Mary Anna Randolph Custis who married Robert E. Lee.

Randolph married her first cousin, David Meade Randolph, who was an officer in the Revolutionary War. He was appointed United States Marshall of Virginia by George Washington.

In 1824, Randolph published The Virginia House-Wife, which featured around 500 recipes for southern cuisine.

Her personal goals were scuttled when her youngest son was injured during a naval accident. She put aside her own life to care for his needs. It’s said that her tireless efforts on his behalf hastened her own death.

She is buried within a four-walled, enclosed brick structure designed to keep the cattle away from her final resting place. 

Know Before You Go

Taking the Custis Walk downhill to the left when leaving Arlington House, Mary Randolph's grave is located on the right side of the path and includes a historical marker that includes details of her life.

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August 25, 2021

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