The Marshall Lions Club met Tuesday, Feb. 18 at the Panola-Harrison meeting room, 410 East Houston. A luncheon of grilled chicken and baked potatoes was served by Catfish Express Catering. President Robert Wood called the meeting to order and welcomed Lions with a reminder to turn off or silence cell phones. Lion Robert asked Lion Kent Reeves to open the meeting with prayer, followed the Pledges of Allegiance to the US and Texas flags led by Lion Tim Young. ”Home on the Range” and “America” were sung with gusto, led by song leader Lion Cody Holloway, and accompanied on the piano by Lion Stacy Bowen.
Lion Tamer Patrick Owens welcomed all to the meeting. He asked if everyone was enjoying the rain…he remarked that it will be with us all week! Guests included Randal Mays, guest of Lion Ed Hoffman; Dr. Jim Harris and Kevin Neu, guests of Lion Chris Horsley; and Alex Keith, who has applied for membership. The count for the day in the Den is 27. The Thought for the Day is: “Books that you enjoy reading are a pleasure – Books that make you think are necessary!”
Tail Twister Chris Horsley levied several fines. He told a couple of jokes, one of which was “When a pirate loses a hand, where can he get a hook? At the second-hand store, of course!” Chris asked Bob Swanson and Stacy Bowen to the front for a game of “Family Feud” He asked questions and they were to voice a buzzer sound to answer. The question? Where can anyone go to donate used glasses? Several in the Club knew the answers: Dr. Hall’s office; the Life Center; the Courthouse; Walmart and Meadowbrook Funeral Home. Lion Chris auctioned a leather briefcase from the estate of long-time Lion Ben Bane. This brought $13.00. Lion Chris reported that there were tw0 birthday this week – former Lion Lindsey Spiller and Nancy Young, spouse of Lion Tim Young. We also learned that our caterers, Randy and Betsy Cox were celebrating their 36th Anniversary! Lion Chris appointed Lion Tim Young to lead the club in our “Happy Song” to them in the key of “A” for Anniversary!
President Wood asked Lion Dudley Swofford to introduce the program speakers in the absence of Program Chair for February, Lion James Thompson. He introduced Sam Moseley, prominent attorney in Marshall, now retired, and Rebecca Palmer, Director of the Marshall Historical Museum, located at the Historical Courthouse in the center of Peter Whetstone Square. Sam began by telling Lions that there are lots of buildings in Marshall of historical import, most still standing, but one that was not saved, that “slipped through the cracks” was Wyalucing Plantation House, located at the end of West Burleson Street.
Wyalucing was built in 1848, finished in 1850, by Beverly Lafayette Holcomb, whose father, Philemon, fought in the Revolutionary War with General Harry “Lighthorse” Lee and General Lafayette. Beverly and his wife Eugenia came to Marshall when he suffered financial setbacks in his home state. He built up his land and at one time there were several outbuildings, including a kitchen and a smaller residence. Holcomb also had acreage around Caddo Lake where he raised cotton. The name “Wyalucing” is American Indian in origin and means “home of the friendless.” In the Lenape language of the Delaware people who lived in the area, it means “home of the Warrior.”
Wyalucing had exterior stairs, because any interior stairs were heavily taxed. There were 5 rooms downstairs, with double doors to the porches, which completely encircled the house. There were 9,200 square feet and the upstairs consisted of a central hallway with 5 rooms, with floor to ceiling windows. The Holcombs entertained people from all walks of life. Beverly and Eugenia had four children; Lucy Petway Pickens; Anna Eliza Holcombe; John Theodor Holcombe and Markeleta Holcombe, who died at 14 years of age.
Lucy Holcomb was very beautiful and popular with both men and women. She left Marshall and went to South Carolina with her mother In 1856, while on an annual summer visit to White Sulphur Springs, Virginia, Lucy Holcombe met Colonel Francis Wilkinson Pickens, a lawyer and secessionist, twice widowed and twice her age. In spite of being 27 years her senior, he pursued her and finally she consented to marry him. People from all over came to their wedding and Pickens was appointed to be Ambassador to Russia under Tsar Alexander and Empress Eugenia. Sam reminded us that Tsar Alexander was the one who sold Alaska to the United States. While there, Lucy became pregnant and Empress Eugenia insisted that the couple move into the palace until the baby was born. At her christening at the Palace Chapel, she was named Frances Eugenia Olga Neva Pickens. Empress Eugenia named her “Douschka” and she was called that the rest of her life.
As the South moved toward secession, Colonel Pickens decided to return home and lend his support to the Southern cause. Shortly after his return, he was elected governor of South Carolina. Lucy Pickens joined the Confederate effort, selling jewels given to her by the Russian royal family in order to outfit the “Lucy Holcombe Legion.” She became known as “Lady Lucy,” and her likeness appeared on three issues of Confederate currency making her one of the few women whose likeness has appeared on a national currency, a tribute usually reserved for heads of state. That is one of the reasons she has been called the “uncrowned queen of the Confederacy.”
Francis Pickens died in 1869 at his home, “Edgewood” in Edgefield, South Carolina. Lucy Pickens continued to live there, while managing three plantations with the help of her brother John, until her death in 1899.
President Robert Wood presented Sam and Rebecca with a Lions writing pen and thanked them for a very interesting program. He asked Lion P. A. Almquist to dismiss with a prayer and adjourned the meeting.