The Little Girl in the Rum Keg

Over Christmas, I went and spent some time on the coast of North Carolina. While I was there, I took about 300 pictures. Of those 300, about 90 or so were uploaded to a photo album on my Facebook page. And there was one particular picture that I’ve gotten several questions about. For Kimberli and Mary and any others who might be interested, here’s the story.

In the 1700’s, a family came from England to settle in Beaufort, NC. After some time, the father was called back to England on business and he decided that since his little girl had never seen their home country, she must go with him. She was very excited to go, but her mother was apprehensive. She begged her husband not to take her child with him, but he insisted. Seeing that there was nothing she could do to dissuade him, she made him promise that no matter what, he would bring her little girl home. He promised and then set off for England with his daughter.

On the voyage back to Beaufort, the little girl took sick and died. The father, remembering his promise to his wife, wouldn’t allow the ship’s captain to throw the child’s corpse overboard as was customary. Instead, the man bought a keg of rum from the ship’s cargo hold and put his child in it to preserve her body until he could deliver her back to her mother.

Upon their return to Beaufort, the child was buried in the rum keg in the Old Burying Ground behind Ann Street United Methodist Church. And still today, children from all over visit her and leave shells and toys at her grave.

About Sarah Salter


  1. Well now you have made me cry…That is a great story and a great picture.

  2. I saw the title and thought…yep Sarah has been hitting the rum bottle again. I had to read the story after that.

  3. Sarah Salter says:

    Dusty, that’s why you should never judge a book by its cover… Or a blog post by its title. 🙂

  4. That’s so interesting. Thanks for the story and history, Sarah.

  5. That story is so sad. It must have hurt the father so to bring her home like that…. And I’m sure when the mom said it, the word “alive” was implied, at least in her mind… so sad…

  6. Wow. How very sad, but wonderful that the child is still remembered.

  7. Hi Sarah. I’m sorry for the late reply. Twitter often fails to deliver tweets to my phone so I have to sign on and look for replies. Thank you so much for telling me this story! We went to the Old Burying Ground, but somehow missed her grave. We’ll pay our respects during our next visit.

    Thanks for posting this!

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