Elizabeth Bashinsky: The Duchess of Troy 

Published 3:29 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2022

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”

Elizabeth Alexander Burford was born in 1867 and was a native of Dixon Springs, Tennessee. She was an honor graduate of Columbia Institute and came to Troy in 1888 as an elementary school teacher in the Troy State Normal School. In 1891, she married Leopold M. Bashinsky, a Polish immigrant who became one of Troy’s outstanding businessman.

Numerous accounts report that Mrs. Bashinsky embodied the words which mean mother, educator, church woman, writer, orator, club woman, philanthropist and lady. She was affectionally known by her friends as the “Duchess of Troy.”

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In a 1962 article in the Troy Messenger titled ‘Portrait of Gentlewoman’ you will find a review of the many achievements of Mrs. Elizabeth Burford Bashinsky. This “review reveals an imposing list which it would seem might require more than one lifetime to accomplish.

“One activity to which Mrs. Bashinsky has devoted her energies during much of her life, is United Daughters of Confederacy.” Her work with the UDC was both national and international in scope. Mrs. Bashinsky was president of the Nineteenth Century Club, historian for Troy UDC Chapter for eight years and was president for 10 years. In the UDC Chapter that was named for her, she served as president for 6 years and program chairman for 12 years. She was also chairman of the committee which placed the Confederate memorial on the town square in Troy.

She became treasurer of Alabama Division of UDC in 1909, chairman of the education committee in 1911 and president in 1913-1915. During her forty years’ chairmanship of the divisions education committee, more than 4000 boys and girls received Alabama Division scholarships.

Mrs. Bashinsky’s accomplishments during her many years of service in the the U. D. C. work in this country and Geneva, Switzerland earned her the highest honor…President General of the U. D. C. from 1930-1931.

She was a member of First Baptist Church where she taught a Bible class, many mission study classes, a Sunday School class for 40 years and several times was President of the Women’s Missionary Union. She was a passionate supporter of the Alabama Baptist Children’s Home.

Mrs. Bashinsky was a trustee of Judson College beginning in 1925 for forty years. In 1945 she was given the Algernon Sidney Sullivan Award from Judson. The same award had been bestowed on her by the University of Alabama in 1939. The award is given to a person who has done most to promote the good of the institution.

At age 90, the dynamic Mrs. Bashinsky was still going strong and serving as chairman of the UDC state educational committee raising money for scholarships for students wanting to attend Alabama Colleges.

In 1968, Elizabeth Burford Bashinsky died at the age of 100. She is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Troy. Mrs. Bashinsky was inducted in the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame posthumously in 1996.

All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger. Stay tuned for more. Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.