Octavia Walton Le Vert was born at her maternal grandmother’s home, Belle Vue, near Augusta, Ga. She spent her early years in Georgia and was educated by her mother and paternal grandmother. In 1821, her family moved to Pensacola, Fla., where Le Vert learned French, Spanish, and the local Seminole dialect. While traveling with her mother and brother in 1832, Le Vert shared an Alabama stagecoach with writer Washington Irving, who encouraged her to begin keeping a journal. The following year, she made her social debut in Washington, D.C. She also attended Congressional debates and became friends with Sen. Henry Clay. In 1835, Le Vert’s family moved from Pensacola to Mobile, Ala., and she met and married a local doctor. The couple entertained widely, including in their circle theatrical and literary figures such as poet A. B. Meek.
Le Vert made two trips to Europe in the mid-1850s. Some of her letters about her experiences were published in newspapers, and Le Vert was persuaded by friends to create a book from her letters and journal entries. Souvenirs of Travel was published in 1857. Le Vert was opposed to Alabama’s secession from the United States, but she remained in Mobile throughout the Civil War, even after her husband’s death in 1864. At the end of the war, she socialized with Union officers occupying Mobile. For this, Le Vert was ostracized by Mobile society, and she soon left to visit friends in the North. In 1869, she moved to Georgia to live with relatives in her birthplace, Belle Vue. Le Vert spent several years in the mid-1870s traveling as a public lecturer, but she returned to Belle Vue in 1876 and she died there of pneumonia the following year.
Octavia Walton Le Vert’s Souvenirs of Travel describes her trips to Europe and her encounters with famous people.
Please check your local library for these materials. If items are not available locally, your librarian can help you borrow them through the InterLibrary Loan program. Your librarian can also help you find other information about this author.
There may be more information available through the databases in the Alabama Virtual Library. If you are an Alabama citizen, AVL can be used at your public library or school library media center. You can also get a username and password from your librarian to use AVL at home.
Photo courtesy of the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame.
Last updated on Oct 10, 2009.