Q  u     e     e     n    o f    t h e    L     o     s     t
    ...Often called the “Queen of the Confederacy,” Lucy Holcombe Pickens memorialized in print a martyred Freemason who tried to free Cuba; she married a once-wealthy, dispossessed governor of the Confederacy; attracted a czar who would be assassinated by those he freed; and was a friend of those who succumbed to the dying embers of the Civil War.    

    Lucy, with her flamboyant father’s violet eyes and her devout mother’s melancholia, always wanted to be center stage, even in the draconian days of Reconstruction. A deep-voiced beauty, she used her seductive eyes to leave state and world leaders in her wake, from her back-water homes of West Tennessee to East Texas, from New Orleans to St. Petersburg, Russia, from the seats of the Confederacy to the most-written-about South Carolina village, Edgefield. Among those she enchanted were Tsar Alexander II and Tolstoy.

    Dreams of being an actress were thwarted by the mores of the times, so life became Lucy’s stage. Playing starring roles with Cuban mercenaries, political figures, royalty and unreconstructed Rebels, however, were little defense against her bouts of depression.

    Surrounded by her formidable slave-turned-servant and rich characters of the day – such as her rake of a brother who could always win enough for a drink, the swarthy South American who wanted to liberate Cuba, and a one-legged, aristocratic Scotsman from North Carolina, Lucy’s story portends the legacies of racial tensions her generation left to the South.

    Lucy spent much of the first half of her life trying to win her mother’s praise, the second half having an extravagantly good time, and her whole life never quite finding enough love to overcome her narcissism.
She was 
the queen 
the lost...
Lucy Holcombe Pickens
Photo Courtesy of Edgefield County Historical Society

   As the plantation mistress holding court, she never really lied about her liaisons in the Russian court or New Orleans, but her coy smile left her admirers to draw their own conclusions. Hence, the legends about Lucy – most of them highly overdrawn or downright wrong – live on, popping up like a lone daylily blooming at the edge of an abandoned Southern field.

    A small-town editor takes on the challenge of finding out what this woman and her world were like and takes note of how Lucy’s spirit lingered over Edgefield for a hundred years.