Pirate Jean Lafitte’s Grave - Atlas Obscura

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Pirate Jean Lafitte’s Grave

Lincolnton, North Carolina

Visit the secret grave of a legendary privateer who faked his own death. 


From 1810 to 1823, Jean Lafitte and his brother Pierre were among the most notorious and successful privateers in the Americas. Like many great pirates, Jean Lafitte’s exact origins are shrouded in mystery, but he is believed to have been born either in France or one of its Caribbean colonies, possibly Saint-Domingue (now called Haiti). He had a spectacular reputation for drinking, womanizing, and debauchery.

An equal-opportunity spy and smuggler, Lafitte lent his skills in military endeavors from the War of 1812 to the Mexican War of Independence. At various points, he worked for the British, U.S., and Spanish armies. He supposedly died in 1823—an event many scholars later believed to be a ruse. 

In fact, local researchers in Lincolnton, North Carolina, believe that the buccaneer staged his own death, changed his name to Lorenzo Ferrer, then enjoyed a quiet life free from the prying eyes of law enforcement until his actual death in 1875. He is believed to be resting peacefully in the cemetery at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

Know Before You Go

The cemetery is open to all respectful visitors.

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August 16, 2023

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