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WILSON, AUGUSTA JANE EVANS

WILSON, AUGUSTA JANE EVANS (1835–1909). Augusta Jane Evans Wilson, author, daughter of Matthew Ryan and Sarah Skrine (Howard) Evans, was born in Columbus, Georgia, on May 8, 1835. About 1846 she moved to Texas with her parents and lived for a year in Galveston and then Houston before moving to San Antonio around 1847. Her father, a merchant, ran a store on Main Plaza near the Alamo, and the Evans family lived above the business on the second floor. Augusta was educated at home by her mother. The family left Texas in 1849, eventually settling in Mobile, Alabama. At the age of fifteen, she wrote Inez, A Tale of the Alamo. It was published anonymously by Harper and Brothers of New York in 1855. The book was a tale of romance and adventure, set in San Antonio during the Texas Revolution. It was later generally criticized by reviewers who felt that the work reflected the author's immaturity, but the novel did vividly depict scenes of the early days of San Antonio and the surrounding area. In 1859 Evans's book Beulah was published and achieved much popular success. During the Civil War she established a private hospital in Mobile, and soldiers stationed near her home called their camp Camp Beulah in honor of her novel. Evans was a staunch supporter of the Confederate cause. Her book Macaria, or Altars of Sacrifice (1864) apparently had such detrimental effect on the morale of Union soldiers that some officers ordered copies to be burned. She was also the author of St. Elmo (1866), Vashti (1869), Infelice (1875), At the Mercy of Tiberius (1887), A Speckled Bird (1902), and Devota (1907). She married Lorenzo Madison Wilson in December 1868. They had no children, and he died in 1892. She was a Methodist. She died on May 9, 1909, and was buried in Mobile.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 
Dictionary of American Biography. San Antonio Express, October 6, 1935.

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Handbook of Texas Online, "Wilson, Augusta Jane Evans," accessed December 09, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fwi49.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.