Sarah Knox Davis

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Sarah Knox Davis (Taylor)

Also Known As: "Knoxie", "Sallie"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Petit Rocher, Ft. Knox II, Vincennes, Knox County, Indiana Territory, United States
Death: September 15, 1835 (21)
Saint Francisville, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, United States (Bilious Fever*)
Place of Burial: St Francisville, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Zachary Taylor, 12th President of the United States and Margaret Mackall Taylor
Wife of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States
Sister of Ann Margaret Mackall Wood; Octavia Pannel Taylor; Margaret Smith Taylor; Mary Elizabeth Bliss; Lt. Gen. Richard Strother Taylor, (CSA) and 1 other
Half sister of Margaret Smith Taylor

Managed by: Noel Clark Bush
Last Updated:

About Sarah Knox Davis

(from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Knox_Taylor)

Zachary Taylor and Margaret Mackall Smith Taylor

  • Anne Margaret Mackall Taylor Wood (April 9, 1811 – December 2, 1875)

m. Robert C. Wood, 4 children

  • Sarah "Knox” Taylor Davis (March 6, 1814 – September 15, 1835)

m. Jefferson Davis, no children together

  • Octavia Pannell Taylor (August 16, 1816 – July 8, 1820), died from malaria
  • Margaret Smith Taylor (July 27, 1819 – October 22, 1820), died from malaria
  • Mary Elizabeth Taylor Bliss Dandridge (April 20, 1824 – July 26, 1909)

m. Major William Wallace Smith Bliss, no children
m. Philip Dandridge, no children

  • Richard Strother Taylor (January 27, 1826 – April 12, 1879)

m. Louise Marie Myrthe Bringier, 5 children

Sarah Knox Taylor (birth March 6, 1814, Vincennes, Indiana - death September 15, 1835, St. Francisville, Louisiana) was the daughter of General Zachary Taylor, later President of the United States and Margaret Taylor, and was married to Jefferson Davis before he became President of the Confederate States of America.

While living at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin where her father commanded Fort Crawford and fought Black Hawk War, Sarah met and fell in love with her father's second in command, Jefferson Davis, later President of the Confederate States of America. Davis was a recent graduate of the United States Military Academy and a lieutenant at the time.

Taylor admired Davis for his soldiering skills, but opposed the romantic match. He and his wife, whose older daughter had already married Army surgeon Robert C. Wood, and was raising three young children in a desolate frontier outpost, felt that frontier Army life would be too harsh for Sarah.

Complying with Taylor's wish, Davis resigned from the Army and married Sarah Knox Taylor on June 17, 1835 at the home of her aunt, near Louisville, Kentucky. Both of the newlyweds contracted malaria, and she died three months later at the Louisiana home of his sister.

Sarah Knox Taylor

Sarah Knox Taylor was the second daughter of our distant but direct relation Zachary Taylor and his wife Margaret Mackall Smith. It makes Sarah our 5th cousin four times removed*.

Sarah was born on March 6, 1814 in Petit Rocher/Ft. Knox II, Vincennes, Knox County, Indiana Territory. Her middle name was related to the place where she was born: Fort Knox.

When Sarah was a teenage girl, she fell in love with Mr. Jefferson Davis who was the deputy of her father - commander of the fort where they all lived. The affection was mutual - young Jefferson fell for Sarah as well. Although Sarah's father regarded Mr. Davis as a good officer, he was not very keen on their plans to be together. Mr. Taylor's older daughter Ann Mackall had already been married to an army man (Dr. Robert Crooke Wood) and the father did not want Sarah to marry a soldier as well. Mr. Taylor wanted Sarah to have a peaceful and happy life. Being a wife of an officer meant moving from place to place and life in harsh conditions.

Jefferson Davis was transferred to a different post in St. Louis. However, it did not stop his relationship with Sarah. The young ones stayed in touch via letters. Soon, Jefferson decided to quit his military carrier. He was given some land by his brother in Mississippi and was willing to develop a plantation.

21-year-old Sarah and (six years older) Jefferson got married on 17 June 1835 in Kentucky, at Sarah's aunt's place. Later, the newlyweds went on a trip as they planned to visit Jeff's sister in Louisiana.

Unfortunately, the young couple got seriously ill during their honeymoon - they both contracted malaria. Sadly, Sarah did not make it and died on September 13, 1835. Sarah and Jefferson had only been married for about three months. Sarah's spouse survived and recovered. Young Sarah was buried at the nearby cemetery which is now known as Locust Grove State Historic Site .

  • Bilious fever

Bilious fever was a medical diagnosis of fever associated with excessive bile or bilirubin in the blood stream and tissues, causing jaundice. The most common cause was malaria. Viral hepatitis and bacterial infections of the blood stream may have caused a few of the deaths reported as bilious fever. Wikipedia
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Mr. Jefferson Davis remarried ten years later.

Louisiana was an unlucky place for the Taylors' family. Not only Sarah but also two youger sisters of Sarah's - Octavia Pannell (4) and Margaret Smith (1) - died of some feverish illness there in 1920.

You can read more about Sarah's life (including a letter written to her by her fiance Jefferson Davis) here.

From Wikipedia 2007-09-28

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

Sarah Knox "Knoxie" Taylor (June 3, 1814 in Vincennes, Indiana - September 15, 1835 in St. Francisville, Louisiana) was the daughter of General Zachary Taylor, later President of the United States, and Margaret Taylor.

Davis was devastated by the death of his young wife, as were her parents. Her death caused years of enmity between the two, which was finally resolved in a chance meeting between Davis and Taylor in 1845 on a Mississippi steamboat.

Recovering from his own illness, and in need of respite from the loss of his wife, Davis sailed to Havana, Cuba, and then to New York City. In 1836, he retired to Brierfield Plantation in Warren County, Mississippi.

Davis remarried in 1845, and served in the Mexican-American War with distinction under Taylor at the Battle of Buena Vista. Later he became a Senator from Mississippi, Secretary of War, and finally President of the Confederate States of America in 18

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

Recovering from his own illness, and in need of respite from the loss of his wife, Davis sailed to Havana, Cuba, and then to New York City. In 1836, he retired to the Brierfield Plantation in Warren County, Mississippi.

Sarah Knox Taylor is listed in R. Whitney Tucker's "The Descendants of the Presidents", Delmar Printing Company, Charlotte, N.C. (©1975), Chapter XII. Zachary Taylor. Page 103, Second generation Descendant XII-2. (Sarah Knox Taylor, born at Ft. Knox, Missouri Terretory, March 6, 1814; married Lt. Jefferson Davis (1808-89)( Later President of the Confederate States; see Appendix A) on June 17, 1835; died September 15, 1835, near St. Francisville, La.)



Married in 1835. Married for only 3 months. Both contracted malaria.

GEDCOM Source

Edmund West, comp. Family Data Collection - Births Name: Ancestry.com Operations Inc; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2001; @R1@

GEDCOM Source

Birth date: 6 March 1814 Birth place: Vincennes, IN, USA

GEDCOM Source

Yates Publishing U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 Name: Ancestry.com Operations Inc; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2004; @R1@

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Source number: ; Source type: ; Number of Pages: ; Submitter Code: . Birth date: 1814 Birth place: IN Marriage date: 1835 Marriage place: KY

GEDCOM Source

Edmund West, comp. Family Data Collection - Individual Records Name: Ancestry.com Operations Inc; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2000; @R1@

GEDCOM Source

Birth year: 1814; Birth city: Vincennes; Birth state: IN. Birth date: 6 March 1814 Birth place: Vincennes, IN Death date: 15 September 1835 Death place: West Feliciana Par, LA Marriage date: 17 June 1835 Marriage place: Lexington, KY

GEDCOM Source

Ancestry.com Web: Louisiana, Find A Grave Index, 1700-2012 Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2012; @R2@ <i>Find A Grave</i>. Find A Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi: accessed 15 February 2013.

GEDCOM Source

Birth date: 6 Mar 1814 Birth place: Death date: 15 Sep 1835 Death place:

GEDCOM Source

Edmund West, comp. Family Data Collection - Individual Records Name: Ancestry.com Operations Inc; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2000; @R1@

GEDCOM Source

Birth year: 1814; Birth city: Vincennes; Birth state: IN. Birth date: 6 March 1814 Birth place: Vincennes, IN Death date: 15 September 1835 Death place: West Feliciana Par, LA Marriage date: 17 June 1835 Marriage place: Lexington, KY

GEDCOM Source

Ancestry.com Web: Louisiana, Find A Grave Index, 1700-2012 Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2012; @R2@ <i>Find A Grave</i>. Find A Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi: accessed 15 February 2013.

GEDCOM Source

Birth date: 6 Mar 1814 Birth place: Death date: 15 Sep 1835 Death place:

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Ancestry Family Trees Name: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com. Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members.; @R1@ This information comes from 1 or more individual Ancestry Family Tree files. This source citation points you to a current version of those files. Note: The owners of these tree files may have removed or changed information since this source citation was created.

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Ancestry Family Trees http://trees.ancestry.com/pt/AMTCitationRedir.aspx?tid=15094190&amp...

GEDCOM Source

Edmund West, comp. Family Data Collection - Births Name: Ancestry.com Operations Inc; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2001; @R1@

GEDCOM Source

Birth date: 6 March 1814 Birth place: Vincennes, IN, USA

GEDCOM Source

Yates Publishing U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 Name: Ancestry.com Operations Inc; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2004; @R1@

GEDCOM Source

Source number: ; Source type: ; Number of Pages: ; Submitter Code: . Birth date: 1814 Birth place: IN Marriage date: 1835 Marriage place: KY

GEDCOM Source

Edmund West, comp. Family Data Collection - Individual Records Name: Ancestry.com Operations Inc; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2000; @R1@

GEDCOM Source

Birth year: 1814; Birth city: Vincennes; Birth state: IN. Birth date: 6 March 1814 Birth place: Vincennes, IN Death date: 15 September 1835 Death place: West Feliciana Par, LA Marriage date: 17 June 1835 Marriage place: Lexington, KY

GEDCOM Source

Ancestry.com Web: Louisiana, Find A Grave Index, 1700-2012 Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2012; @R2@ <i>Find A Grave</i>. Find A Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi: accessed 15 February 2013.

GEDCOM Source

  • Birth date: 6 Mar 1814
  • Birth place: Petit Rocher, Fort Knox II, Vincennes, Knox County, Indiana Territory
  • Death date: 15 Sep 1835
  • Death place: Saint Francisville, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana

Folk Figure. The daughter of President Zachary Taylor, she is remembered as the first wife of future Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Raised in the itinerant lifestyle of an 'Army brat', she got her nickname from the Army post where she was born and during her growing-up years was educated in Kentucky and Ohio while undoubtedly experiencing at least some degree of the deference commonly shown to the children of senior officers. Knoxie met then-Lieutenant Davis, a West Point graduate serving under General Taylor's command, in 1832 at Fort Crawford, Wisconsin, during the Black Hawk War. The two formed an attachment which Taylor opposed, whether because of some personal antipathy to Davis or because he simply did not want his girl to have the difficult life of a soldier's wife, being unclear. Knoxie and Davis remained in contact via exchange of letters, however, and after Davis resigned from the Army to run his Mississippi plantation Taylor relaxed his position, at least to some extent. Knoxie married Jeff on June 17, 1835, at Beechland, her aunt Elizabeth's Louisville, Kentucky, home, apparently with the General's blessing though without his presence at the ceremony. The couple headed South on their honeymoon and at some point on the trip to visit Davis' sister Anna in Louisiana both contracted malaria; Knoxie died three months after the wedding and while her husband recovered he was afflicted with recurrent symptoms for the rest of his long life. In the aftermath, Davis became a recluse for a number of years while Taylor blamed his son-in-law for taking his daughter to a malarial swamp. On February 26, 1845, Davis married his one day First Lady Varina Banks Howell (1826-1906) and during the honeymoon took her to visit Knoxie's grave; later that same year a chance meeting on a Mississippi riverboat enabled him to patch up differences with General Taylor, a reconciliation that paved the way for his Mexican War service as a Colonel in Taylor's command. Elected President in 1848, Zachary Taylor died in 1850. Returning to Mississippi, Jeff Davis was a Congressman and Senator, served as Secretary of War under Franklin Pierce, in 1861 became President of the Confederate States of America, and died in 1889. The correspondence between Jeff and Knoxie was initially preserved at Davis' plantation but was lost to history when it was destroyed in an 1863 Union raid. Today Knoxie remains the only daughter of one American President married to another.

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Sarah Knox Davis's Timeline

1814
March 6, 1814
Petit Rocher, Ft. Knox II, Vincennes, Knox County, Indiana Territory, United States
1835
September 15, 1835
Age 21
Saint Francisville, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, United States
September 1835
Age 21
Locust Grove Cemetery, St Francisville, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, United States