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Children of Jefferson Davis

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by donna, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Jefferson was married two times. His first wife was Sarah Knox Taylor who was the daughter of President Zachary Taylor. They were married a short ( 3 months) when she died. Davis was shattered by her death and secluded himself for years. There were no children from this marriage.

    In 1845 Jefferson Davis married Varina Howell. She and Davis had six children. Davis loved his children and had a very affectionate relationship with them. Both Davis and Lincoln shared the lost of losing young children. Both Davis and Lincoln had school age children at the time of the Civil War.

    The children were:

    Samuel Emory Davis born July 30, 1852 and died June 13, 1854.

    Margaret Howell Davis born Feb. 25, 1855 and died July 18, 1909

    Jefferson Davis Jr. born Jan. 16, 1857 and died Oct. 16, 1878

    Joseph Evan Davis born April 18, 1859 and died April 30, 1864

    William Howell Davis born Dec. 6, 1861 and died Oct. 16, 1872

    Varina Anne Davis born June 27, 1864 and died Sept. 18, 1898

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  3. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Samuel Emory Davis was the Davis's first child. He was born at Brierfield on July 30, 1852. He was named for Jefferson Davis's Father. Just short of his 2nd birthday, Samuel caught the measles and died in Washington on June 13, 1854. They say he was exposed to measles when Varina's brother, Becket was staying with the Davis family. Becket's school was closed due to measles epidemic.
    The Davises ( Jefferson and Varina ) were shattered by this lost.

    There is a likeness of Samuel, in bust of him at Beauvoir. This bust survived destruction when Union troops pillaged Davis" belongings in 1863. The property of the Davis family had been hidden in an attic. However, a slave gave way the location of the property. The only reason bust wasn't destroyed was that the man who was left to care for the home said bust was of his son.
  4. BillO

    BillO 1st Lieutenant

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    The leading Ladies in Richmond were scandalizied to find that Jefferson and Varina slept together. This is not what proper people did in those days.
  5. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Margaret Howell Davis Hayes was born in Washington on Feb. 25, 1855. She was the only one of the Davis children to marry, bear children and outlive her parents. She was known as Polly and Maggie. She was the favorite of her father and carried on correspondence with him when family in Raleigh in 1862. These letters are in the collection of Davis papers.

    Margaret was tutored at the Confederate White House and later was enrolled in schools in Montreal, London, Paris and Baltimore. On New Year's Day, 1876 she married J. Addison Hayes in Memphis.. They had five children. One died as an infant but others lived to adulthood. They lived in Memphis and then moved to Colorado Springs in 1885. There are still descendants in the area.
    Margaret's husband was a successful banker. She was very involved in charitable causes and was a leading member of society.

    She died on July 18, 1909 in Colorado Springs. Her ashes were taken to Richmond and were interred with the Davis family at Hollywood Cemetery.
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  6. BillO

    BillO 1st Lieutenant

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    As an aside, the Hollywood Cemetary is 1 of those must see sites in Richmond.
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  7. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Jefferson Davis, Jr. was born on Jan. 16, 1857. He was a rambunctious child. He enjoyed life in the Confederate White House The staff and aides indulged him and he was called "General". He also attended schools in Canada, England and Maryland. He was later enrolled in the Virginia Military Institute, but his father withdrew him because he feared he was going to be expelled.

    He was a charming fellow but not motivated as his father wished. His parents tried to help him but as Jefferson Davis said, "we do not understand the boy, and I fear never shall". He was his father's secretary at Beauvoir in 1877. In 1878 he moved to Memphis. His brother-in-law, Addison Hayes got him a job as a bank clerk. He was living with the Hayeses when he contracted yellow fever. His sister, Margaret, risked her own life to care for him.

    He died on July 18, 1909 when only 21 years old. He was buried in Memphis. In 1895 he was reinterred near his father at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.
  8. K Hale

    K Hale Colonel Civil War Photo Contest
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    One wonders just how these proper ladies came into possession of this nugget of information. Proper people don't inquire about the [ahem] sleeping habits of others.

    Non-proper people, on the other hand, love to be scandalized.
  9. Southland

    Southland Banned

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    You forgot a son- Jim Limber Davis.
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  10. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Joseph Evan Davis was born in Washington on April 18, 1859. This is when Jefferson Davis was serving in the senate. He was named for Jefferson Davis's eldest brother and his grandfather. Varina didn't like this name as she deeply resented Joseph Emory Davis.

    Joseph was called Little Joe. He was exceptionally bright and was described as the best behaved of all the Davis children. Unfortunately, his life ended tragically on April 30, 1864 when he fell from the Confederate White House porch. A servant found him, as the parents were not home. He died within an hour. The fall had fractured his skull. His parents were again shattered. Jefferson Davis refused to see visitors and was known to pace all night.
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  11. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Southland Thanks for information on other child. I will have to research that or please tell us about him.
  12. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    William Howell Davis was born in the Confederate White House on December 6, 1861. He suffered from many illnesses. He attended schools in Canada and Maryland.. He died on October 16, 1872 of diphtheria in Memphis. He is buried in Davis family plot at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.
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  13. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Varina Anne Davis was born in the Confederate White House on June 27, 1864. She was named for her Mother but was known as Winnie. This was nickname Davis had for his wife. Varnia was told Winnie was an Indian name meaning bright or sunny. ( See Davie papers). Winnie was first taught by her Mother. She later was enrolled in boarding schools in Karisruhe, Germany and in Paris. She liked to write and wrote two novels which she published under name of Varina Anne Jefferson Davis.

    She was anointed as the "Daughter of the Confederacy by John B. Gordon in 1886. In the 1880s she lived with her parents at Beauvoir and went with her father to numerous public appearances. Since she was so beloved by Veteran groups, she became an icon of the Lost Cause.

    The adoration became a burden when she fell in love with Alfred C. Wilkinson from Syracuse, N.Y. He was an attorney whose grandfather had been a leading abolitionist. The turmoil over this drove Winnie into periods of depression. However, the couple became engaged in 1890 with the blessing of her parents. They did break up. There has never been certain reason for breakup. It was said it was from the public outcry. However, recently it been said it was due more to questions about Wilkinrson's financial situation.

    Winnie moved to New York with her Mother in 1891. She died at age 34 on Sept. 18. 1898. She contacted malarial gastritis while visiting in Rhode Island. She was buried with full military honors at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.
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  14. doug rooney

    doug rooney Private

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    I tell ya, I don't know how they survived (mentally) with the deaths of all those children really not that long ago before antibiotics. My own Grandmother lost 2 sons back to back in 1922 and 1923 when they were both less than 2 years old. The sons would be my uncles and Grandma is the daughter of my CW ancestor. She died in 1965 of a stroke at age 63. I don't know how they did it.....Tough times indeed.
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  15. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    I just read on Jim Limber Davis. He was mulatto boy who was ward of Davis family from about Feb. 1864 to May 1865. He was found by Mrs. Davis when she saw man beating him. He was taken in by family and lived with them up through their fleeing Richmond. He was with them when they were captured in May 1865. There is question whether he taken by Union Army or did Mrs Davis give him to General Rufus Saxton. Jim did live with Saxton in S.C. There is book called "Jim Limber Davis A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House" Has any one on forum read this?. I am sure Southland could tell more details of Jim's story and what happened to him.

    I am sorry about leaving him out but was writing about children born to Davis family.
  16. BillO

    BillO 1st Lieutenant

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    From what I know of her personality I'd guess she enjoyed telling them! Also the Ladies drawing room is adjacent to their bedroom in the Confederate White House.
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  17. K Hale

    K Hale Colonel Civil War Photo Contest
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    Well, WELL!
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  18. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator

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    Donna, thank you for the interesting background information on the Davis family, very interesting and informative, and most of it I didn't know.
  19. Southland

    Southland Banned

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    Donna, here is the curator o the Meuseum of the Confederacy and his thoughts on Jim Limber.

    http://cwmemory.com/2008/06/20/john-coski-on-jefferson-davis-and-jim-limber/
  20. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Southland Thanks for the site. I just finished reading it. Adds a lot to little research I had done today.

    I find the human interest stories of the people in Civil War very interesting. Both the Lincolns and the Davies had tragedy when came to their children. It is so hard to lose a child. I have several friends and relatives who have. It has always left a terrible void and sorrow in their lives. I have found if they didn't have their faith they would never make it from day to day.
  21. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    Jim Limber was a black child taken in by the Davis's, supposedly to rescue him from an abusive mother.They let it be known that he was a son, but he was more a playmate/pet for the Davis children. When the family was fleeing Richmond, Varina pawned the kid off on a trusted officer. He was never again a Davis.
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