MNN Galleries

History's top 12 dads

Indigo plant

Photo: Bottlesplus/Flickr

7 of 14

7. Lt. Col. George Lucas, circa 1700

Lucas' greatest attribute as a father was his ability to recognize greatness and stay out of the way. His daughter, Eliza Lucas (later Eliza Lucas Pinckney), showed talent from a young age. Instead of consigning her to the type of half-hearted schooling that upper-class British girls got at the time, Lucas secured Eliza a real education. She later wrote to him that it was "a more valuable fortune than any you could have given me."

When Eliza was 14, the family moved from her birthplace in Antigua to South Carolina, but Lucas had to return to the island a year later. By the time Eliza was 16, she was running the family's three plantations in South Carolina. Lucas would send her various seeds from Antigua, which she would test in South Carolina. One of these seeds was indigo. Eliza made it work, launching a crop that would become second only to rice in the amount of money it brought to South Carolina.