Beach Week: Finding Alice Flagg

All Saints chapel, Pawleys Island SC

A week at Pawleys Island, SC is generally not complete without at least one tribute to Alice Flagg. Who is Alice Flagg, you ask? The story lies at the end, after we show you pictures of (you won’t believe this) a cemetery!

We usually get off the beach at least once to travel to All Saints Church Cemetery in Pawleys Island every time we go to the beach. Sometimes we’re taking someone who’s never been. Sometimes we want to do a little more research on who’s buried there. And sometimes we just want to pay tribute to Alice Flagg.

Although Anglican services began in 1737, it was not until 1767 that All Saints Parish was created as the third Anglican parish in Georgetown County, and, even though the original church has been rebuilt and refurbished, many of the early movers and shakers of Pawleys Island “reside” in All Saints Cemetery.

Some people may find it odd that anyone would just roam through a cemetery, but we’ve loved this one for its century-old live oaks dripping with moss . . .

and the venerable headstones of many well-known families in town like the Alstons, Dieters, Lachicottes, and LaBruces.

Some families lie together in plots marked by iron fencing around the perimeter, and occasionally we see an infant grave among the adult ones.

Notable headstones dot the landscape of this lovely abode for the dearly departed, and we almost always find something of interest on the stones whether they lay flat on the ground or assume a stately pose among the mossy trees.

But really, it’s Alice that we come to see. You see, Pawleys has two well-known legends that have been passed down through generations — one is of the Gray Man whose presence along the beach portends the onset of inclement weather, and the other is of Alice Flagg.

As the story goes, in the early 19th century, Alice Flagg, born into an upper class family, fell in love with a young man in a social class below that of her family’s stature. Her brother, a doctor, discovered the romance and demanded that she never see the young man again. Alice continued the romance, becoming secretly engaged, and she wore a necklace bearing the ring given to her by the young man. When her parents discovered the necklace and the secret betrothal, they sent Alice away to boarding school to separate the two lovers. Alice became ill with malaria and was returned home where her brother discovered that she was still wearing the ring. He angrily ripped it from her neck and threw it away. Alice begged everyone she knew to keep looking for the ring, but even as did, she grew weaker and weaker, and eventually died. Alice was buried in the Flagg family plot at All Saints Church in a plain grave bearing only her first name. Some say she is still searching for that ring!

The grave is beyond the All Saints Chapel near the back of the cemetery, a plain stone with worn ground surrounding it. Legend has it that if you walk six times one way around the grave and then six times the other way, a wish will be granted. But we’ve also heard that you must walk backwards 13 times around the grave to be so rewarded. Even though we’ve never heard of any wishes actually being granted, we’ve seen people walking in circles, hoping for gratification. As they do, they leave trinkets, coins, even flowers on the grave as a tribute to the sad young lady who never married the love of her life.

So, for the beauty and mystique of seeing a lovely old cemetery or just to pay your respects to Alice, you may do as we do and visit All Saints Cemetery in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. It makes for an interesting Beach Week, possibly unlike any other you’ve ever had!

Travel inquisively,

Rusha & Bert

Note: All Saints Church is located at 3560 Kings River Road, Pawleys Island, SC 29585. The chapel and cemetery are across the street from the church.

Thanks for joining us in this series on vacationing at Pawleys Island, SC. Other posts in the series include the following:

19 thoughts on “Beach Week: Finding Alice Flagg

  1. Pat

    We have been known to stop at old cemeteries in out-of-the way places. Just to walk around to read the grave stones and wonder about the lives of the people who are buried there.

  2. WanderingCanadians

    Those mossy oak trees certainly are worth a visit to the cemetery! I love walking through old cemeteries and reading the old family names and seeing the different styles of headstones used hundreds of years ago. It’s neat hearing stories too of some of the people in the cemetery, like poor Alice.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks so much. We find ourselves in old cemeteries every now and then, especially if someone famous is buried there! And sometimes we just look at the masonry or epitaphs. Thanks for taking a look and commenting.

      1. Sue

        No, not a tip, I was commenting on the one you visited, dunno where the word Wharton’s came from….I typed what a great cemetery…..

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