Jefferson Davis mulatto children

My great-aunt, a starched Episcopalian genealogist and school-teacher from south Louisiana told me several stories regarding two mulatto daughters of Jefferson Davis. The two women owned a ran a grocery store. Neither ever married. My aunt (born around 1890) knew both women, and said that neither ever married. They were rejected by both racial communities. Is there any information about this? I am curous that I have never seen any references to the two daughters.
 

AndyHall

Colonel
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Dec 13, 2011
jeffdavisslavequarters.png

Slave quarters on Jefferson Davis’ plantation, Library of Congress.


There were a number of rumors circulated widely during the war alleging that Davis fathered mixed-race children. Most of them are sort of free-floating, tabloid-y allegations that can't be linked to anything solid. Like the story about Davis being captured wearing a dress, they are the sort of story that would be told and believed about him, regardless of the truth.

There was one story, however, about a son, some facts of which can be corroborated in independent sources not easily available in the 19th century. The young man that was said to be Davis' son definitely existed, and was identified as Davis' offspring by his own mother. That doesn't prove he was Davis' son, but there's more to that one than just vague, idle gossip.
 
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diane

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It would be interesting to do some DNA testing in some of the old South's black families. Nearly everybody in the CW is said to have had mulatto children somewhere - some thought Lincoln himself was mulatto. But it reminds me of the Indian family name of Grant downriver, who for generations completely believed U S Grant was their grandpappy. Finally some testing was done and their grandpappy was a private named Robert Grant, who had used U S as his name as that Grant was significantly higher in rank - which sweetened the marriage deal for the girl's family. There was some tantalizing info, too, that seemed to support their belief - the name Hiram was a family name as was Sam. But, research showed that both Sam and Hiram became family names after the CW, when Grant was famous and even river Indians had heard of him!
 

CSA Today

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It would be interesting to do some DNA testing in some of the old South's black families. Nearly everybody in the CW is said to have had mulatto children somewhere - some thought Lincoln himself was mulatto. But it reminds me of the Indian family name of Grant downriver, who for generations completely believed U S Grant was their grandpappy. Finally some testing was done and their grandpappy was a private named Robert Grant, who had used U S as his name as that Grant was significantly higher in rank - which sweetened the marriage deal for the girl's family. There was some tantalizing info, too, that seemed to support their belief - the name Hiram was a family name as was Sam. But, research showed that both Sam and Hiram became family names after the CW, when Grant was famous and even river Indians had heard of him!

Ah, wartime rumors and propaganda. I remember reading years ago an article from a wartime Charleston newspaper where Abraham Lincoln was described as a “snuff complexioned Mulatto.”

"Abraham Lincoln is the Christ-figure of the Nationalist Narrative, and the Lincoln gospel goes something like this: God led English Puritans to the City Upon the Hill on the Banks of Massachusetts Bay, but these budding Americans ruined paradise by allowing slavery to gain a foothold in North America. After many years of wandering in the Great American Desert and watching slavery flourish among the Southern descendants of Cain, Americans were awakened when John “The Baptist” Brown burst onto the scene, preparing the way for the Lord, who appeared, lying in a log cabin, in the little town of Somewhere, Kentucky."
Stephen M. Klugewicz
 

diane

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During the war the papers started those same kind of rumors about Forrest - slave trader, after all! But it's unlikely. His slaves moved in and out fast and that sort of thing wouldn't do for the market value, if nothing else. Abused slaves didn't bring top dollar. Catherine, the household slave who took care of his wife, was rumored to be his black wife but probably nothing occurred. She had been in a very ugly situation, having had 3 babies before she was 17, and asked him to buy her so she could keep the last baby. He did that, and put her in his name only - not because he had himself a concubine but to protect her. Nobody could sell her but him and nobody was going to mess with his personal property. She had a husband and two more children, and they stayed on with the Forrests for several years after slavery ended. Then the family couldn't afford them any more and they went off, where the record loses track of them. But, some people will always figure she was his mistress and the kids were his!
 

leftyhunter

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jeffdavisslavequarters.png

Slave quarters on Jefferson Davis’ plantation, Library of Congress.


There were a number of rumors circulated widely during the war alleging that Davis fathered mixed-race children. Most of them are sort of free-floating, tabloid-y allegations that can't be linked to anything solid. Like the story about Davis being captured wearing a dress, they are the sort of story that would be told and believed about him, regardless of the truth.

There was one story, however, about a son, some facts of which can be corroborated in independent sources not easily available in the 19th century. The young man that was said to be Davis' son definitely existed, and was identified as Davis' offspring by his own mother. That doesn't prove he was Davis' son, but there's more to that one than just vague, idle gossip.
Hi @Cavalry Charger and @AshleyMel
You might enjoy this thread. I stand by Davis being a Good husband based on my having to hear uncountable hours listening to testimony from men convicted of California Penal code section 273.5 defining domestic violence. Yes Davis was a good husband but maybe not perfect. Then again not everyone is a Saint.
Leftyhunter
 

dburrell

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Interesting question but one that I will readily admit I know nothing about due to lack of studying Davis's personal life. However, now you have me curious about it so guess my summer reading list will include a biography on his life between my other "fun" reading. However, living that I do just about 45 minutes from his capture site can I say even they have "markers" telling how Davis was captured wearing a dress while trying to escape.
 

Drew

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Oct 22, 2012
I heard a rumor that said Abe Lincoln had children by African American, Chinese and Mulatto women as a young man, during his trips down the Mississippi River. That would explain wife Mary's rage at him, but there's really no evidence....
 
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mo
I heard a rumor that said Abe Lincoln had children by African American, Chinese and Mulatto women as a young man, during his trips down the Mississippi River. That would explain wife Mary's rage at him, but there's really no evidence....
Well in river lore, the flatboatmen are considered a rowdy wild lot, most river towns had the 'Below the Hill" section
 
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Drew

Major
Joined
Oct 22, 2012
Honestly, I'm kidding about Honest Abe.

Seriously, though, if we're going to ascribe rumor to Jeff Davis we owe it to Lincoln as well.

Now, you all ought to here what was said of William Seward in New York at the time....
 

Joshism

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Just to complicate matters, Varina Davis was alledged by some to be Creole or mulatto. (We had a thread about this last year.) So if you believed Jeff Davis married a mulatto then technically all his legitimate kids would be mulattos too.
 

CSA Today

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Just to complicate matters, Varina Davis was alledged by some to be Creole or mulatto. (We had a thread about this last year.) So if you believed Jeff Davis married a mulatto then technically all his legitimate kids would be mulattos too.

Assuming Davis was white and his wife a mulatto their children would be quadroons.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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I stopped believing this stuff when it became clear a very good profit could be extracted from ' juicy ' tidbits about people who are not around any more. Laws kinda-sorta protect those of us still ticking over ( if you can afford to have them enforced ), but no one does anything but publish the nonsense about historical figures.

Heck, we have voices from the time, like Varina's correction on Davis's ' dress'. That's just one of quite a few. Must be more fun ( or whatever it is ) wasting time believing this stuff than ensuring we get it right.
 
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