The All Saints Church cemetery in Pawleys Island, South Carolina (USA) is the resting place for many well-known coastal residents. Prosperous rice plantation owners, a poet, novelist and playwright, former beloved governor and Confederate heroes have found their home here. However, the most visited marker at All Saints Church belongs to Ms. Alice Belin Flagg, a tragically, heartbroken, Southern belle in search of her lost ring.
Alice lived at her home, The Hermitage in Murrells Inlet, SC, with her widowed mother and brother, Dr. Allard Flagg. In 1849, she was a beautiful 16-year-old with long, flowing auburn hair and deep brown eyes.
During a shopping trip into town, Alice met and became smitten with a lumberjack. Her family did not approve of her relationship with a common tradesman. Despite their demands for Alice to end the relationship, she accepted an engagement ring from the man she loved.
Dr. Flagg forbid his sister from wearing the ring. She reluctantly agreed to give it back to her love, but kept it, and continued her secretive relationship. She concealed the ring’s presence by looping a ribbon through it and wearing it around her neck.
The family thought it was best to banish her from the area and any possible encounters with her love. Broken from the continued battles and controlling abuse, Alice was sent to live in Charleston, SC, where she would continue her schooling. The loneliness and depression took its toll weakening her spirit. She complained of throbbing on the left side of her head, then a high fever. Alice soon became delusional and word was sent back to The Hermitage that she had contracted malaria.
Within four days her brother had arrived by horse-drawn carriage. The trip home was rough for Alice, leaving on a stormy night and crossing several rivers by ferry. She arrived in poor health. Drifting in and out of consciousness she clutched her chest where she knew the ring was hanging. Dr. Flagg discovered it and threw it into the marsh. Alice died crying for the ring.
She was buried in her favorite, white ball gown, under a simple marble slab, at All Saints Church in Pawleys Island. The grave is marked only by the single word, “ALICE.”
Throughout the years many gifts have been left by well wishers on Alice’s grave. Rings, flowers, and ribbons are frequent tokens for Alice and her story of true love. Many ladies have reported a feeling of a tug, or pull on their rings as they approach the grave.
Alice’s ghost has also been observed in her flowing white dress, clutching her chest, while walking through All Saints Church cemetery. It is said that her persistent pacing prevents the grass from growing around her grave. She can also been seen in Murrells Inlet, searching the marsh for her ring.