Varina Davis (Howell)

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Varina Banks Davis (Howell)

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Natchez, Adams, Mississippi, United States
Death: Died in New York, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of William Burr Howell and Margaret Louisa Howell
Wife of Jefferson Davis, President, CSA
Mother of Samuel Emory Davis; Margaret Howell Hayes; Jefferson Davis, Jr.; Joseph Evan Davis; William Howell Davis and 2 others
Sister of Eliza Eanes

Managed by: David Plauché Cain
Last Updated:

About Varina Banks Davis (Howell)

From Wikipedia 2007-09-28

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varina_Howell_Davis

Varina Howell Davis (May 7, 1826 – October 16, 1905) was an American author best known as the second wife of Confederate President Jefferson Davis during the American Civil War.

She was born to William B. Howell and Margaret Kempe. In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census for Biloxi, Mississippi, Varina Howell's place of birth was listed as Louisiana; her father's place of birth was listed as New Jersey, and her mother's as Virginia. Her grandfather, Richard Howell, was Governor of New Jersey for numerous terms.

Varina attended Madame Greenland's school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1844, when she was 17 years old, Varina met 36-year-old Jefferson Davis. In 1845, the two married at the Briars, her parents' home in Natchez. Jefferson Davis served in both houses of the U.S. Congress as a Representative and a Senator and was the United States Secretary of War in the cabinet of President Franklin Pierce.

She became the First Lady of the Confederate States of America, when Jefferson Davis became the President of the Confederate States. In May 1861, they moved to Richmond, Virginia, and lived in the White House of the Confederacy, during the American Civil War (1861-1865).

After the war, her husband was imprisoned at Fort Monroe in Phoebus, Virginia for two years. Although eventually released on bail, and never tried, Jefferson Davis lost his home in Mississippi and his U.S. citizenship as well (his U.S. citizenship was posthumously restored in the 20th century). In the early 1870s, with the help and aide of a friend, Sarah Doherty, Jefferson and Varina purchased Beauvoir, the beachfront Mississippi estate to which they had retired.

Following her husband's death in 1889, Varina published Jefferson Davis, A Memoir (ISBN 1-877853-06-2) in 1890. She then moved to New York City in 1891 to pursue a literary career, and gave Beauvoir to the state of Mississippi as a Confederate veterans' home.

Varina Howell Davis died in New York City on October 16, 1905, aged 79, survived by only one of her six children.

The former "First Lady of the Confederacy" is interred at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia adjacent to the tomb of her famous husband.

There is a portrait of Mrs Davis (known as the 'Widow of the Confederacy') by the Swiss-born American artist Adolfo Müller-Ury (1862-1947) painted in 1895 at the museum at Beauvoir, and a profile portrait by Müller-Ury of her daughter Winnie Davis, painted in 1897-8, which the artist donated in 1918 to the Confederate Museum in Richmond, Virginia.

On August 23, 2005, Beauvoir, which housed the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library, was nearly destroyed when it took the full brunt of wind and water damage from Hurricane Katrina. As recently as the fall of 2006, the house remained largely in disrepair.

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Varina Davis (Howell)'s Timeline

1826
May 7, 1826
Natchez, Adams, Mississippi, United States
1845
February 26, 1845
Age 18
Natchez, Mississippi
1852
July 30, 1852
Age 26
1855
February 25, 1855
Age 28
1857
January 16, 1857
Age 30
Briarfield Plantation, Warren, Mississippi, United States
1859
April 18, 1859
Age 32
1861
December 6, 1861
Age 35
1864
June 27, 1864
Age 38
1906
October 16, 1906
Age 80
New York, New York, United States
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