Wakefield, Alabama

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Wakefield is a ghost town in Washington County, Alabama, most famous as the place where former vice president Aaron Burr was arrested in 1807.[1]


A 1904 photo of the place Burr was captured

Wakefield was in a bend of the Tombigbee River near present-day McIntosh Bluff. The settlement was named by territorial judge Harry Toulmin after Oliver Goldsmith's novel The Vicar of Wakefield. Wakefield was the county seat of Washington County from 1805 to 1809.[2]

The arrest of Aaron Burr took place in February 1807. On his way to Spanish West Florida to evade an arrest order issued by President Thomas Jefferson, Burr was spotted by a federal land agent who reported the sighting to U.S. Army Lieutenant Edmund P. Gaines. Gaines arrested Burr on February 19 near Wakefield, two miles below Colonel Henson's,[3] and detained him at Fort Stoddert. Gaines later testified at Burr's trial, which ended in acquittal.[4]

A marker placed by the Alabama Historical Association commemorates the Burr capture.[5]


  1. ^ Nancy Isenberg, Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr (New York, 2007), p. 320
  2. ^ Virginia O. Foscue, Place Names in Alabama (Tuscaloosa, 1989), p. 144
  3. ^ Albert James Pickett, History of Alabama
  4. ^ Stuart O. Stumpf, "The Arrest of Aaron Burr: A Documentary Record," Alabama Historical Quarterly (Fall & Winter 1980): pp. 113-23
  5. ^ Laura Hood, et al, Alabama Historical Association Markers (Bloomington, Indiana, 2006), p.317.

Coordinates: 31°22′57″N 88°00′30″W / 31.38250°N 88.00833°W / 31.38250; -88.00833