Susanna Pinckney [pseud. Miss McPherson], nineteenth-century romantic novelist, daughter of Thomas Shubrick and Carolene (Finney) Pinckney, was born near Fields Store in what is now Waller County, Texas, on February 25, 1843. When she was five her parents sent her to live with relatives in Charleston, South Carolina, for education in southern culture. She returned to Fields Store at the age of thirteen. She never married, having rejected a proposal from a man named Groce Lawrence because her father disliked his use of alcohol. Lawrence enlisted in the Confederate Army as a member of Hood's Texas Brigade and died in the Wilderness Fight in Virginia in May 1864. The Civil War, in which two of Susanna's younger brothers fought, served as the central influence upon her writing career. Pinckney published a few short stories in Texas newspapers before she was forty-nine. In 1892 the Nixon-Jones Printing Company of St. Louis printed her first novel, Douglas; Tender and True. In 1906 the Neale Publishing Company printed In the Southland, which contained two novelettes: "Disinherited" and "White Violets." During the same year Neale also published Darcy Pinckney. Susanna may also have written two or three other books, but no record of those publications survives.
Portions of her novels were set on the Texas frontier, where buffalo, Comanches, and Mexican bandits roam. "White Violets" is about three Texas sisters and their love affairs. Pinckney's writing extolled the antebellum South and the lost cause of the Civil War. Her characters frequently were Confederate colonels and southern belles, who either traveled abroad meeting members of the European aristocracy or worked as military nurses during the war. She refers to Hood's brigade as young soldiers who protected Gen. Robert E. Lee during the wilderness fight only to lose their own lives. Her most tragic characters were jilted male or female lovers; often the heroine saved the hero from the depredations of alcoholism. One critic analyzes the Pinckneian oeuvre as an escape from the drudgery of daily life to a glorious aristocratic life.
Miss McPherson moved from Fields Store to nearby Hempstead, probably sometime after the Civil War. There she lived with her brother John M. Pinckney, whom she inspired to study law; he entered politics and in 1903 became a member of the United States House of Representatives. Susanna moved to Washington with John after his election. After John and another brother, Thomas, were murdered at Hempstead in 1905, she moved to Houston, where she lived with a niece. Susanna Pinckney was a member of the Episcopal Church and the Texas Press Club. She was a prohibitionist. She died on November 23, 1909, and was buried in the Hempstead City Cemetery.
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Elizabeth Brooks, Prominent Women of Texas (Akron, Ohio: Werner, 1896). C. L. Sonnichsen, "Miss Sue Pinckney and Her Private World," Southwest Review 29 (Autumn 1943). C. L. Sonnichsen, Pilgrim in the Sun (El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1988). C. L. Sonnichsen, Ten Texas Feuds (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1957; rpt. 1971). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
Dramatists and Novelists
Authors and Writers
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Paul M. Lucko,
“Pinckney, Susanna Shubrick Hayne,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 22, 2022,
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