During her travels to Europe she was presented at the courts of several countries. She also received an audience with the Pope during her time there. Following her last European tour and return to the United States, she took on a role in the successful national campaign to purchase and restore Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington. Following the American Civil War, with her husband dead and much of her fortune gone, she returned to her birthplace of Georgia and embarked on an ultimately unsuccessful lecture tour. She was posthumously inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in 1990.
Octavia Walton was born on August 11, 1810 at her maternal grandmother's home, Belle Vue, near Augusta, Georgia. Her parent's first home, Meadow Garden, was nearby. Her parents were George Walton Jr. and Sally Minge Walker. George Walton, Jr. was educated at Princeton University, eventually becoming a prominent lawyer and Georgia state representative. Sally Minge Walker was from a socially prominent Georgia family. Octavia Walton was the oldest of two children. Her younger brother, Robert Watkins Walton, was born in 1812.
Her paternal grandparents were George Walton, Sr. and Dorothy Camber. George Walton, Sr. was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, second Governor of Georgia, and later a United States Senator. Her maternal grandparents were George Walker and Elizabeth Talbot. The Walker family plantation, Belle Vue, is now a part of Augusta University. George Walker served in the Georgia General Assembly during the late 18th century and later in the Georgia House of Representatives before dying at age thirty-eight in 1804.
Octavia was taught at home by her mother and paternal grandmother in a variety of subjects, and she and Robert were also tutored in science and Latin by a Scottish teacher. She showed a unique comprehension of languages at an early age. She mastered French and Spanish and could speak Italian before reaching puberty.
When wit, and wine, and friends have met
And laughter crowns the festive hour
In vain I struggle to forget
Still does my heart confess thy power
And fondly turn to thee!
But Octavia, do not strive to rob
My heart, of all that soothes its pain
The mournful hope that every throb
Will make it break for thee!