Discussion Was Varina Howell Davis, Wife of Jefferson Davis Créole?

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FedericoFCavada

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Under the "one drop rule" the quarteron or "quadroon" or "octeron" octeroon became simply "black" albeit a mulato/mulata or "high yeller" like the "yellow rose" of Texas.

I'm wondering if Varina Howell Davis is thought of by some folks as a black Confederate?
 

WJC

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This thread asks a serious question about a major Southern figure. Please stay on-topic, and avoid Modern political or social issues.
 

Saint Jude

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Why is the word "creole" synonymous with "mulatto"? The Spanish word "criollo" simple meant a Spaniard born in the New World. Just wondering.
 
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valeriek

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From my studies,i think her family were Scot-Irish, from Northern Ireland(mostly Scot I would think) her dark good looks was probably 'Celtic'(with, perhaps a 'Black' Irish anbcestor or two thrown in).
It's a great thread, Dede! Let me call someone who may have some information? At least on Creole ancestry- if not Varina. Rats. Will go dig around because this came up somewhere here. @18thVirginia , can you help, please?

Varina was lovely, wasn't she? I've always found it so odd, 150 years later there's still speculation the marriage was some loveless affair. Like she could not have chosen anyone. Varina was a catch.

Boy am I behind on this topic. Always thought she was of Creole ancestry and it was not a secret?
I have posted here before that I am a descendant of Varina's family. My grandmother Harriett was a Howell, who had olive skin and black hair. Likely Varina was a GGG aunt of mine, according to my late mother who was from Mississippi and working on the family tree. Varina's family came from Wales, where a number of residents have dark coloring. They say that is from Iberian influence. My family always thought she was lovely and very brave, after hearing her story. Varina might have been a 'catch' but for the poor financial state of the family due to some bad decisions, which deterred many suitors. The family was greatly relieved when Jefferson Davis came along, relieved that Varina would marry well, despite the great difference in age. The southern belles, many of whom felt she did not have the proper appearance of a southern lady, spread rumors that she was a mulatto. My sisters and I after hearing all the 'Creole' talk decided to have our DNA done, intrigued that we might have some exotic blood in us. However, the DNA shows that all 3 of us have Welsh, Scottish, Irish, English, French and German roots, and I have 2% Russian as well. I should add that originally my DNA results summary showed traces of Pakistani and Berber but that was later corrected to Russian.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

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I have posted here before that I am a descendant of Varina's family. My grandmother Harriett was a Howell, who had olive skin and black hair. Likely Varina was a GGG aunt of mine, according to my late mother who was from Mississippi and working on the family tree. Varina's family came from Wales, where a number of residents have dark coloring. They say that is from Iberian influence. My family always thought she was lovely and very brave, after hearing her story. Varina might have been a 'catch' but for the poor financial state of the family due to some bad decisions, which deterred many suitors. The family was greatly relieved when Jefferson Davis came along, relieved that Varina would marry well, despite the great difference in age. The southern belles, many of whom felt she did not have the proper appearance of a southern lady, spread rumors that she was a mulatto. My sisters and I after hearing all the 'Creole' talk decided to have our DNA done, intrigued that we might have some exotic blood in us. However, the DNA shows that all 3 of us have Welsh, Scottish, Irish, English, French and German roots, and I have 2% Russian as well. I should add that originally my DNA results summary showed traces of Pakistani and Berber but that was later corrected to Russian.
Welcome to the forum and whoa, thanks for joining! I'm not sure we've ever had one of Varina's descendants here. I hear your confusion for one thing- DNA originally showed some high percentage of Greek ancestry. Greek? We're so annoyingly WASPy, trapsing here pretty much on the same path from pretty much the same place it's a snore. Who in blazes was Greek?? Spent 2 years tracking every suspect, who strayed? Two years spent trying to make Baclava ( I can't even spell it ) then that OOPS sorry notice. No Greek, you're back to being a genetic snore.

Thanks very much for more on Varina. Interesting! I'd had an idea her ancestry may well have been Welsh somewhere- I knew a few people across the Pond whose dark skin and very light eyes made me envious of Welsh ancestry. We lived right across the Bristol Channel from Wales, bound to have been quite a few Welsh in the area.

Been interested in Varina for awhile. We do this ' thing ' to a LOT of wives of famous men. Varina, Mary Lincoln and Mary Lee all suffer from husbands who apparently aren't allowed to have happy marriages. There's this weird need to seperate the couple, can't quite put my finger on it. I don't know. It's like the men are rock star crushes for preteen girls and everyone has to find excuses why that pesky wife doesn't belong there.

Knowing more of Varina's story is very helpful, especially since it's from a family source. Thank you! Families pass down things by word of mouth, it's amazing how accurately. Heck, one connection we have from the late 1600's was spoken of by my great grandmother. I thought it some vague myth, just a nice family story? Looked into it and she had it alllll exactly right.
 
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