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Miss 'Gusta Gets Married

Col. Lorenzo Wilson was a native of Maryland who moved south in the 1840s and became a successful Mobile businessman. His rank of colonel was honorary. Biographer William Perry Fidler writes that his “investments outside the South prevented him from suffering greatly from the defeat of the Confederacy, but his loyalty to the South was undoubtedly above reproach, or such an arch-rebel as Miss ‘Gusta Evans would never have accepted him in marriage.”

Wilson’s Ashland estate was very near Georgia Cottage; Augusta had visited at Ashland and nursed Lorenzo’s wife through her long illness. When he became a widow he and Augusta became closer friends. He was nearing sixty – older than Augusta’s father; she was thirty-two. Like the heroines of her novels, Augusta became sucessful, then sought the companionship of an older man. They decided to be married but delayed the wedding until after Matthew Evans’ death in 1868. On his deathbed he had refused to give his consent for the marriage.

Fidler’s biography of Augusta paints the portrait of a happy couple and a bustling household in which Augusta was a loving and devoted wife to her husband. She placed a flower in his lapel before he went to work each day, made sure he had beaten biscuits for breakfast and ran an efficient home for her new family. Although Susan Reynolds sees Augusta as accepting the more limited role of a Victorian woman, deferring to male dominance in politics and business, she steadfastly maintained her independence in matters of the mind.