Saturday, June 11, 2011
The Ideal Southern Belle
Lucy Petway Holcombe Pickens was the daughter of Beverly LaFayette and Eugenia Dorothea [Hunt] Holcombe. She was born June 11th 1832 at the family plantation near Le Grange, Tennessee. Pickens went to a Female Academy in Le Grange, and then finishing school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The family moved to Marshall, Texas in 1848, living in the Capitol Hotel there until their plantation “Wyalucing” was finished.
She married Colonel Francis Wilkinson Pickens an United States ambassador to Russia in 1858. She became popular with members of the Russian court, including Tsar Alexander II and his wife Maria Alexandrovna. The Pickens family moved back to South Carolina in 1860.
Pickens was the only woman to be pictured on Confederate States of America’s money. Many considered her to be the ideal Southern Belle. In April 1861 she watched from a roof in Charleston, South Carolina as the confederacy shelled Fort Sumter. The Holcombe Legion formed in November 1861 was named in Pickens honor, and she designed and sewed the company flag. There is a claim that Pickens sold jewelry given to her by the Russian Tsar to buy the equipment needed by this Confederate unit.
Pickens died August 19th 1899.