Lucy H. Pickens
(June 11, 1832 - Aug 8, 1899)
Lucy Pickens was born (Lucy Petway Holcombe) near La Grange, Tennessee. She married Francis Wilkinson Pickens, the U.S. Ambassador to Russia in 1856. Francis was elected governor of South Carolina in 1860. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Lucy Pickens reputedly sold her jewels to help outfit the Confederate Army unit that bore her name, the Lucy Pickens Legion.
The only woman
to have her image printed on Confederate paper currency.
Lucy Holcombe was regarded as one of the most beautiful and brilliant women of the old South. She was known as the "Queen of the Confederacy," and her picture was placed on the Confederate money issues during the first days of the war. She was perhaps the most celebrated of all Southern beauties.
Her life was full of romance. She met Mr. Pickens, the distinguished politician who later became "War Governor" of South Carolina, at Green Brier, White Sulphur Springs, Virginia. It was rumored at the time that Mr. Pickens had been offered the appointment as minister to England, and had refused to accept it. But he had in the meantime fallen deeply in love with the beautiful Lucy Holcombe, and he had made it known to her. She told him that if he had accepted the position as minister to England she would have married him. Thereupon he hurried to Washington to withdraw his refusal, but found that the place had been filled. But he was appointed minister to Russia, and in a few weeks Mr. Pickens had married the beautiful La Grange girl, and they were on their way to St. Petersburg.
This position Mr. Pickens filled with satisfaction and honor to his country, and at the same time the members of the Pickens family became the intimate friends of Alexander II and the Czarina; it was in their winter palace that the Pickens household was honored by the appearance of a daughter, their first born. At the baptism of the child the Czar and Czarina stood as godfather and godmother, and the Czar gave her the name of Olga Neva Francesca Eugenia Dorothea Pickens. The Czar also gave her the pet name of Douschka, which is the Russian term for 'my darling.'
After her return home in America, once every year the Czar wrote her a personal letter, and after he fell victim to a fatal explosion in the dining room of his winter palace, his son, who succeeded him to the throne, by the law of Russia also succeeded to the obligations of the godfather to Douschka. He kept up the letter writing until the death of the child. At the marriage of Miss Pickens to George Dugar, he sent her a beautiful set of diamonds.
On the return of Mr. and Mrs. Pickens to America, Mr. Pickens was elected Governor of South Carolina, and it was said at the time that his election was due largely to the superior political management of his wife. They afterward made their home at Edgewood, near Edgefield, South Carolina.
Lucy's likeness appeared on certain Confederate bills because C. G. Memminger was Secretary of the Treasury for the Confederacy and was a great admirer of the Pickens couple. It was his decision to use her picture copied from the likeness of a marble bust done of her in Rome, and now preserved at the University of South Carolina.