Mary Ashley Townsend (1832-1901), was born Mary Ashley Voorhis, in Lyons, New York. In 1865 she married Gideon Townsend, a wealthy merchant and banker in New Orleans. In 1870 were produced "Georgia Volunteer" and the first collection of poems by "Xariffa". She contributed to the Picayune, for which she was best known. She also wrote "The Brother Clerks, a tale of New Orleans, which was published in 1859. Her ultimate poem and public appearance were in honor of the birthday of Robert E. Lee.