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Title: Beauvoir: Jefferson Davis Shrine
Author: United Daughters of the Confederacy. Mississippi Division
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                               _Beauvoir_
                   FREELY TRANSLATED “BEAUTIFUL VIEW”
                         JEFFERSON DAVIS SHRINE


    [Illustration: BEAUVOIR HOUSE—LAST HOME OF JEFFERSON DAVIS]

                      ON UNITED STATES HIGHWAY 90
            MIDWAY BETWEEN BILOXI AND GULFPORT, MISSISSIPPI

    [Illustration: _Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson Davis_]



                                BEAUVOIR
                        _Jefferson Davis Shrine_


Beauvoir, freely translated “_beautiful view_,” is located on U. S.
Highway 90 about halfway between Gulfport and Biloxi on the Mississippi
Gulf Coast. It was originally part of a tract of land that James Brown,
a prosperous planter of Madison County, Mississippi bought September 2,
1848, by Contract and Agreement from John Henderson of Pass Christian,
with the right to build a family residence on it before the title was
cleared. Acting upon this legal agreement, Brown paid Henderson $900.00
in cash toward the purchase price of $2,000.00, and gave him a note for
the additional $1,100.00, which was to be paid on receipt of a deed
proving his title to the land had been cleared.

Although the residence and outlying buildings were completed by 1852,
James Brown did not obtain a deed to the property until July 16, 1855,
when he bid it in for $3,000.00 at a Harrison County Court Auction. To
this tract of land he had added, in the meantime, a small piece bought
from the Tegardens for $250.00.

James Brown was said to have been his own architect and building
superintendent for both the Mansion and the cottages he built on his new
home site. He brought slaves from his plantation in Madison County to do
much of the building; but, for the higher grade of work needed, he
employed carpenters and decorators from New Orleans. The cypress used
was from the Back Bay swamp section, with most of the timber cut at
Handsboro and on the place. The slate for the roof was imported from
England. The buildings thus planned and constructed were the Mansion, a
Louisiana plantation type house known as Beauvoir House since the time
of its occupancy by the Davis family, one cottage to the east of this
main building and one to the west. A four room cottage in the rear,
which was on the property when purchased, was used by the owner and his
family while the other buildings were being constructed, and later
became the kitchen and servants’ quarters for the families of both James
Brown and Jefferson Davis.

Information from Mrs. Hobart D. (Olive Brown) Shaw of Gulfport,
Mississippi, granddaughter of James Brown and the daughter of Joseph W.
Brown who was born in this, the family home on the Mississippi Gulf
Coast, explains the practical use her grandfather made of the two
cottages on the grounds, formerly identical in structure—the one on the
east, the plantation office, used also as a school room for the younger
children who were taught by a governess; the one on the west, the Guest
Cottage, often called the Circuit Rider’s House from the frequent use
made of it by the traveling Methodist minister in that section.

From September 2, 1848 until May 1873, James Brown was the owner of the
Mansion and its surrounding eighty-eight acres more or less, either by
Contract and Agreement or by a deed. In May of 1873, after the death of
James Brown, it was sold under a decree of the United States Court for
the Southern District of Mississippi, and was conveyed by deed of
special commissioners to Frank Johnston of Jackson, Mississippi. Through
a special warranty deed given by Frank Johnston July 7, 1873, Beauvoir
became the property of Mrs. Sarah A. Dorsey, wife of Samuel W. Dorsey.

When Mrs. Sarah A. Dorsey (Sarah Ellis Dorsey) of Tensas Parish,
Louisiana bought the Brown property, she gave it its picturesque name,
“Beauvoir”. Her ownership of this beautiful coast property was brief,
ending Feb. 19, 1879; but her use of it, for the most part, during the
years she did own it and her final disposition of it by both will and
deed caused Beauvoir to become historic Beauvoir, and made her worthy of
outstanding recognition for the splendid contribution she thus made to
the welfare of Jefferson Davis.

It was the spring of 1877 that Jefferson Davis, then 69 years old, came
back to his beloved Mississippi, seeking rest and a place to write an
authentic account of the Confederate government that he had administered
for four years as the President of the Confederate States of America. It
was fortunate for him that just at that time Mrs. Dorsey, an old
schoolmate of Mrs. Davis and one deeply appreciative of his great
service to the South, invited him for a visit to Beauvoir; for there he
found the place and the congenial atmosphere ideal for the rest he so
badly needed and for the work he had in mind. He rented the east
cottage, now called the Library Cottage, and fitted the front room with
book shelves and furniture at his own expense. He used the second room
for his bedroom and prepared the third for his son, Jefferson Davis, Jr.
His son made little use of this room, however, occupying it only a few
months in 1877, since he died of yellow fever soon afterwards in
Memphis. It was later used as a study by Varina Anne (Winnie), youngest
child of Mr. and Mrs. Davis.

    [Illustration: _Memorial Arch—Entrance to Beauvoir_]

After arrangements were made for board for himself and family, when they
could be with him, Davis began work on the history of the Confederate
government, which he felt impelled to write. Mrs. Dorsey’s recognition
of the value of such a book to the South caused her to donate her
services for the clerical help Davis had in writing a part of the first
volume of this great two volume history. By this time (April 1878) Mrs.
Davis had returned from abroad, leaving Winnie to continue her studies
in Carlsruhe, Germany. From the time of her arrival at Beauvoir, Mrs.
Davis gave her services lovingly and untiringly as her husband’s
secretary, until he finally completed the two volumes, composing “The
Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government”, and wrote also a “Short
History of the Confederate States”.

When Jefferson Davis came to Beauvoir he was, as has been said, “A
citizen of no land under the sun, proscribed, misrepresented, and
derided”; yet he kept his heart free from bitterness and used the higher
mental powers that were still his in his old age, in writing his
invaluable elucidation of the government of the Confederate States of
America from 1861 to 1865.

Twelve years Jefferson Davis lived at Beauvoir. It was in his second
year of residence there, Feb. 19, 1879, that he contracted with Mrs.
Dorsey, widow of Samuel Dorsey, to buy for $5,500.00 the Beauvoir
property, that she had owned for approximately six years. This deed of
sale is found in Book 16, Harrison County, Mississippi Record of Deeds,
pages 328-329. But, less than six months after the first payment was
made for the purchase of this property, Mrs. Dorsey died leaving a will
dated the previous year, January 4, 1878, which made Jefferson Davis
heir to all she died possessed of—Beauvoir and five plantations. But
regardless of his inheritance of Beauvoir through the terms of Mrs.
Dorsey’s will, Davis based his claim to Beauvoir on the deed, recording
his purchase of it February 19, 1879. One explanation found for this
claim is that the notes still due on the purchase price of Beauvoir were
paid in liquidating the debts against Mrs. Dorsey’s estate.

Among the Harrison County court records is a Contract and Agreement
entered into by the two parties, Mrs. Sarah A. Dorsey and Jefferson
Davis, signed March 20, 1879, which provided for their joint interest in
the Beauvoir vineyard and orange grove during their natural lives—same
to be cultivated and gathered on joint account.

The following clause of Mrs. Dorsey’s will expresses her great
admiration and reverence for the ex-President of the Confederate States
of America: “If Davis should not survive me, I give all that I have
bequeathed to him to his youngest daughter Varina. I do not intend to
share in the ingratitude of my country toward the man who is in my eyes
the highest and noblest in existence”.

This last will and testament of Mrs. Sarah Anne Dorsey was probated July
15, 1879 in the office of the Second District Court for the Parish of
Orleans, the home State of the testatrix. It is interesting to note that
there was no record made of this will in the office of the Chancery
Clerk of Harrison County, Mississippi, until Judge A. McC. Kimbrough,
acting for Mrs. Davis in the sale of Beauvoir in 1902, had the Louisiana
records of the probation of the Dorsey will made a part of Harrison
County records of wills.

Due, no doubt, to the provision in Mrs. Dorsey’s will for his youngest
daughter’s inheritance of Beauvoir if he (Davis) did not survive her,
Jefferson Davis willed this particular piece of property to his daughter
Varina Anne (Winnie). However, there is no question as to its being in
accord with his own heart’s desire to have Beauvoir pass to Winnie who
as a child had been, as he said, “His only gleam of light in that long
night” while imprisoned at Fortress Monroe; and who as a young lady had
been, as Mrs. Davis said, “The harp of their lonely hearts”.

Winnie’s ownership of Beauvoir was from her father’s death, Dec. 6, 1889
until her death, Sept. 18, 1898, when it then through her will became
the property of her mother. During the years that Winnie owned Beauvoir,
both she and her mother spent much of their time in New York, where she
used her talent as an artist and writer, and her mother, hers as a
writer, as an added source of income. The years they spent in the North
were made more interesting and enjoyable through their acquaintance and,
in some cases, friendships with certain men and women of like culture
and talents from that section.

When about to leave on a trip to Egypt, Feb. 11, 1898, Winnie wrote her
will naming her mother as heir to Beauvoir. This will was recorded in
Louisiana, Oct. 27, 1898, but was not put on record in Mississippi until
April 20, 1902.

When Mrs. Davis became the owner of Beauvoir, her failing health and her
lack of sufficient income for the upkeep of the property, and her own
needs as well, made it necessary that she sell this property, which she
and Winnie had always valued more for their treasured memories
associated with it than for its material worth. Proof of the depth of
feeling Mrs. Davis had for Beauvoir as the last and greatly loved home
of her beloved husband, the only President of the Confederate States of
America, is found in her refusal of the offer of $90,000.00 from those
planning to purchase it for hotel purposes, and her acceptance of
$10,000.00 from the Mississippi Division Sons of Confederate Veterans,
whose plans for its use were in accord with the provisions upon which
she conditioned the sale.

Regardless of how the plan originated for the conversion of Beauvoir
into a home for Confederate veterans, and their wives and widows, great
credit is due Mrs. A. McC. Kimbrough for leaving no stone unturned in
her efforts to induce the Mississippi Division Sons of Confederate
Veterans to make the offer that Mrs. Davis so readily accepted. However,
other UDC members throughout the state had a part also in influencing
the purchase of Beauvoir for a Confederate Soldiers home and in helping
raise the money for the purchase.

    [Illustration: _Reception Hall—Extends the Length of the House_]

The Mississippi Division Sons of Confederate Veterans took title to
Beauvoir on October 10, 1902, and in so doing accepted the obligation to
carry out the conditions imposed by Mrs. Davis, the most important of
which were the requirements that Beauvoir be used as a Jefferson Davis
Soldiers’ Home for ex-Confederate soldiers and sailors, their wives and
widows, orphans and slaves, as long as there was need for such a home;
and that Beauvoir House be set apart as a memorial solely to Jefferson
Davis and his family and be maintained as it was during its occupancy by
them.

As soon as the Mississippi Division Sons of Confederate Veterans
purchased Beauvoir, their organization together with the Daughters of
the Confederacy influenced the passage by the Mississippi Legislature of
Bill 179—Chapter 25 of the Laws of Mississippi of 1904, which accepted
for the State temporary control of the entire Beauvoir property, and
obligated the support and maintenance of it as a Jefferson Davis
Soldiers’ Home for Confederate veterans, their wives and widows, without
accepting Mrs. Davis’ provision for the care also of orphans and slaves.

From 1904 to July 1940 the State continued its control of Beauvoir in
accordance with the provisions set forth in the Legislative Act passed.
But during the months that intervened between the purchase of Beauvoir
by the Mississippi Division Sons of Confederate Veterans and the State’s
acceptance of control of it as a Jefferson Davis Soldiers’ Home, the
Mississippi Division United Daughters of the Confederacy was granted
permission to take over the property, furnish and manage it as a
Jefferson Davis Soldiers’ Home for those ex-Confederate soldiers,
sailors, and their wives and widows in need of immediate care.
Mississippi Division records show that $3,000.00 was expended by the
organization for this purpose, in addition to the necessary furniture
and linens donated for the most part by the Daughters on the Mississippi
Gulf Coast.

In 1903 there was a great need for the Jefferson Davis Soldiers’ Home
for Confederate veterans, their wives and widows. In 1940 that need had
so lessened that the Mississippi Division Sons of Confederate Veterans
had a bill passed by the Legislature, authorizing the conversion of
Beauvoir into a Jefferson Davis Shrine, but setting aside the southeast
grounds of the property for use by the State in its continuation of the
maintenance of the Jefferson Davis Soldiers’ Home, as long as there was
need for such an institution.

According to the decision of the State of Mississippi, the need for this
Confederate Soldiers’ Home ended June 30, 1956; so the State returned
these southeast grounds to the Mississippi Division Sons of Confederate
Veterans, and it became thereafter a part of the Jefferson Davis Shrine.

The act of the Mississippi Legislature authorizing the conversion of
Beauvoir into a Jefferson Davis Shrine, provided for the management of
the Shrine by a Board of Trustees composed of six members—two from the
Mississippi Division Sons of Confederate Veterans, two from the
Mississippi Division United Daughters of the Confederacy, and two
appointed by the Governor of the State.

In July 1940 the first Board of Trustees of the Jefferson Davis Shrine
began the work of converting Beauvoir into a shrine. In six months time,
February 8, 1941, the restoration program had progressed so rapidly the
doors were open to visitors. Five months later, June 3, 1941, the
restoration plans were completed; and Beauvoir was formally dedicated as
the Jefferson Davis Shrine.

To accomplish so much so soon and so successfully took the whole hearted
backing of the members of this first Board of Trustees and the splendid
cooperation given by others from whom information and assistance were
sought. But it must never be forgotten that the real credit for planning
and carrying to completion the program for the restoration of Beauvoir
is due the late Dr. W. A. Evans of Aberdeen, Mississippi, who was the
first Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Resident Director of the
actual work done.

A leading part in both the initial and the follow-up work necessary to
bring about this conversion of Beauvoir into a Jefferson Davis Shrine
was taken by Mr. W. K. Herrin, at that time Commander of the Mississippi
Division Sons of Confederate Veterans and Mrs. J. P. Pentecost, at the
same time President of Mississippi Division United Daughters of the
Confederacy. Honorable Maxwell Bramlett, State Senator from Wilkinson
County, was in charge of the bill which authorized the establishment of
the Shrine. He also worked untiringly with the other Sons for the
passage of the Bill, appropriating $20,000.00 for the restoration of
Beauvoir as a Jefferson Davis Shrine.

Through a per capita assessment, the general organization of the United
Daughters of the Confederacy contributed $5,482.66 toward the
restoration. However, the Mississippi Division accepted a much larger
per capita assessment, and by raising the $55,000.00 thus obligated,
paid heartfelt tribute to Mississippi’s greatest citizen, the embodiment
of Confederate ideals—the first and only President of the Confederate
States of America.

Around 1954 the Mississippi Division Sons of Confederate Veterans
changed the management of Beauvoir by placing Beauvoir property under
the over-all control of their Board of Directors, and the Shrine proper
under a Board of Trustees, appointed by and from their organization
except one member chosen by them from the Mississippi Division United
Daughters of the Confederacy.


                           _BEAUVOIR MARKERS_

The granite boulder on the Jefferson Davis Highway, marking the last
home of Jefferson Davis, was erected in June 1929. It was obtained
through the efforts of Mrs. A. McC. Kimbrough and the generosity of T.
A. McGahey of the Columbus Marble Works.

The marble Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway marker on Highway 90 was
erected in 1944 by the Mississippi Highway Department. It was dedicated
June 3, 1945.

The marker in front of Beauvoir House on Highway 90 was dedicated by the
Mississippi Historical Marker Commission on November 7, 1953.


                            _MEMORIAL ARCH_

The imposing marble Memorial Arch, serving as a gateway for the main
entrance to Beauvoir, was erected in 1917 by the Mississippi Division
United Daughters of the Confederacy.


                    _THE APPROACH TO BEAUVOIR HOUSE_

Some of the attractive features of the approach to Beauvoir House are
the huge live oak trees, festooned with gray moss; the few remaining
ancient cedars, marking the dim outline of the once circular driveway;
the flowers and shrubs, planted to simulate the use made of them in the
old days; the broad brick walk, replacing the old shell walk, leading
direct to the fan shaped steps of hand dressed cypress with hand turned
spindle bannisters; the inviting broad galleries, extending far around
on either side of the house; and the large double doors, with the upper
portion small panes of choice etched glass, serving as an artistic
entrance doorway.

    [Illustration: _Front Parlor_]

    [Illustration: _Winnie Davis’ Rosewood Knabe Piano in Front Parlor_]


              _DESCRIPTIONS of INTERIOR of BEAUVOIR HOUSE_


                             RECEPTION HALL

The spacious reception hall that extends the length of the main part of
Beauvoir House immediately claims attention by its now seldom seen
rounded corners, unusually high ceiling, and beautifully frescoed walls
and ceiling done by the German artist Meuhler, later retouched by a
talented decorator. But there is great interest also in the furnishings,
almost all of which were used by Jefferson Davis and his family during
their occupancy of Beauvoir, and either kept there or returned later.

The original pieces found here are the two hall seats, octagon in form,
built under the supervision of Mrs. Davis; the large sideboard, unusual
in design, placed here for use when the guests were too many to be
served in the regular dining room; the silver tray on the sideboard, and
the painting above it, La Bella de Tiziano from a collection of Baroness
Alphonse de Rothschild of Paris; the much admired pier mirror and
console table of rosewood, purchased in Paris by Mrs. Davis in 1870; the
large square table with its fine marble top, said to have been used by
Jefferson Davis while in the first White House of the Confederacy; and
the handsome mahogany secretary at the far end of the room. Also of
interest in this inviting hall is the painting of Joseph Davis, favorite
brother of Jefferson Davis, sent the Shrine by his great-niece from New
York.


              FIRST OF THE DOUBLE PARLORS—THE FRONT PARLOR

The Front Parlor used by the Davis family as their parlor has, as has
the back parlor or library, the same rounded corners, high ceiling, and
frescoed walls and ceiling found in the reception hall. It is furnished
almost entirely with original pieces; but the fine portrait of Jefferson
Davis made after his 81st birthday is not one of these. It was painted
by G. B. Matthews and presented to the Shrine by Mrs. Darling of New
York. At the left of the door is a portrait of Mr. Davis’ mother.

The original pieces are the rosewood Knabe piano and the music book on
it, loved possessions of Winnie Davis; the Davis Coat of Arms, painted
by Winnie; the handsome center table, never moved from Beauvoir; the
rosewood sofa and two armchairs and later the four matching little side
chairs, returned by a great-granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Davis; and the
small painting by the piano, done by Mrs. Davis of the hotel where she
last lived—Hotel Gramatan, Lawrence Park, Bronxville, New York. It was
given by a faithful servant of Mr. and Mrs. Davis to the UDC Chapter No.
858 of Chicago, and presented by the Chapter to the Shrine. The
draperies, carpet, small pecan wood chair, and harp, are not Davis
pieces.


             THE BACK PARLOR, LIBRARY FOR THE DAVIS FAMILY

The Library, used also for daily family gatherings by Mr. and Mrs.
Davis, contains the following furnishings originally in use there and
later returned to the Shrine by Davis descendants in Colorado; a pair of
sofas (gentleman’s in leather and lady’s in fabric); marble bust of two
year old Samuel Davis, first child of Mr. and Mrs. Davis; desk with
double section of drawers and the large book on the desk, Winnie’s
dictionary. Here also is the large Oriental rug just recently returned
to Beauvoir House. Other interesting pieces in the room are the cane
seated chair, used by Jefferson Davis in the United States Senate
Chamber, and the bookcases, with grilled doors of heavy wire, filling
every inch of wall space. These bookcases, copies of ones Jefferson
Davis saw in use in Washington, were built and installed under his
supervision.

    [Illustration: _View of West or Hayes Cottage, Beauvoir House and
    East or Library Cottage_]

    [Illustration: _Bedroom of Jefferson Davis_]

    [Illustration: _East Cottage or Library Where Jefferson Davis Wrote
    “The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government”_]


                       WINNIE DAVIS MEMORIAL ROOM

The front room on the right of the reception hall was, according to Mrs.
Davis’ will, the room of Miss Varina Anne (Winnie) Davis, “The Daughter
of the Confederacy”. Her request was that this room and the other rooms
of members of the family, who lived in Beauvoir House, be kept and
preserved as a memorial to each occupant. In planning to refurnish this
front room on the right as a memorial to Winnie Davis, it was found that
only a few pieces of the original furnishings were left. It was then
that the ever constant lover of Confederate ideals and the exponent of
those ideals, the late Walter Lampton of Columbia, Mississippi and the
Gulf Coast, supplied the money for certain members of the UDC to
purchase the necessary period furniture which was to be as similar as
possible to the suite of furniture formerly used by Winnie in this room.
To this period furniture was added the following original pieces already
there, or returned to the Shrine by members of the Davis family—the
washstand, washstand set, two little cane seated chairs, little slipper
chair and rocker, the table, flowers pressed by Winnie, framed and hung;
the book, “An Irish Knight”, written by Varina Anne (Winnie) Davis and
published in 1888, and one of her favorite books, “The Poetical Works of
Sir Walter Scott”.

Topping in interest the other pieces in the room is the oil painting of
Winnie hanging over the mantel. It was painted by the Swiss artist,
Rupel, for Mrs. A. McC. Kimbrough who presented it to the Shrine to make
sure that a true likeness of this favorite daughter of the South would
be preserved. In this picture Winnie is shown in the crown jewels and
robe she wore as Queen of Comus for the New Orleans Mardi Gras in 1892.
She had served as a Maid of this Court in 1884 when Mildred Lee, the
daughter of Robert E. Lee, was its Queen.


                   MARGARET DAVIS HAYES MEMORIAL ROOM

The second room on the right is a memorial to Margaret Davis Hayes. It
contains the bedroom suite of burled walnut formerly used in this room.
This furniture had been sent from Beauvoir after it was no longer the
Davis home, and thirty-nine years later it was shipped back in the same
crates with labels in Mrs. Davis’ handwriting still on them. The pillow
cases on Margaret’s bed were among the linens used by Mrs. Davis, when
newly wedded to Jefferson Davis. Grouped around the mantel in this room
are pictures of the homes, important in the lives of both Mr. and Mrs.
Davis—the one in the center, Mrs. Davis’ girlhood home, “The Briars”, in
Natchez, where she and Jefferson Davis were married; the one on the
right, “Rosemont”, at Woodville, Mississippi, Davis’ boyhood home; and
the one on the left, “Beauvoir”, the last home of Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson
Davis. The most important of the Hayes family photographs, making this
room distinctive as a memorial to Margaret Davis Hayes, is the one of
Margaret herself with her baby, Jefferson Addison Hayes, whose name was
legally changed to Jefferson Hayes Davis to make it possible for the
renowned name, “Jefferson Davis”, to be passed from son to son for years
to come.


                          JEFFERSON DAVIS ROOM

The rooms occupied by Jefferson Davis and Mrs. Davis, with a connecting
door between, form an offset on the west side of the house to the left
of the back parlor or family study. Jefferson Davis’ room faces the Gulf
and has the advantage of being entered from the front or back without
passing through any other room. The furnishings in this room, that were
there when Jefferson Davis was an occupant of it, are the large rocking
chair, the bed, the washstand and washstand set, towel rack, cigar
stand, and the leather foot locker or small trunk used by him during the
Mexican War and for trips abroad, when ex-President of the Confederate
States of America. Hanging over the bed is a framed garland of flowers
made from pieces of cloth, similar in color to the flowers copied to
make this attractive but unusual piece. On the back of it is this
explanation, written by Mrs. Davis—“Hearing Jefferson Davis was dying
and lacked comforts in Fortress Monroe, the Southern women made this
piece of work as a cushion cover and sent it to him among other things.
350 women took a few stitches on this gift sent in 1866”. The painting
over the mantel is Mrs. Davis as she was in 1898. The photograph below
on the left is Mrs. Davis as a young girl. On the right is one of Winnie
as a child, and below it, one of Jefferson Davis, Jr., in costume.

    [Illustration: _Bedroom of Mrs. Jefferson Davis_]

    [Illustration: _Floor Plan of Residential Floor_]

  1. Porch or Gallery
  2. Reception Hall
  3. Front Parlor
  4. Winnie Davis Memorial Room
  5. Back Parlor or Library
  6. Margaret Davis Hayes Memorial Room
  7. Rear Porch or Galley
  8. Jefferson Davis’ Room
  9. Mrs. Davis’ Room
  10. Dining Room
  11. Butler’s Pantry and Children’s Dining Room
  12. Inside Stairway to Museum on Ground Floor

    [Illustration: _Varina Anne “Winnie” Davis Memorial Room_]

    [Illustration: _Margaret Davis Hayes Memorial Room_]


                            MRS. DAVIS ROOM

This room, opening into Jefferson Davis’ room, has the added attraction
of having in it two of the five closets in Beauvoir House, as well as a
north window overlooking Mrs. Davis’ rose garden. The original
furnishings are the armoire, sewing machine, spool washstand table,
washstand set, the candle stand or bedside table, and a treasured book,
“Manual of Family Devotion”, presented to Mrs. Davis by Bishop C. T.
Quintard (Bishop of Tennessee—1865-1898), and inscribed as follows: “To
Mrs. Davis with God’s blessing from C. T. Quintard”. The sampler over
the mantel was made by a granddaughter out of a black alpaca dress that
belonged to Mrs. Davis. The wild turkey feather fan, displayed in a
frame, was made for and used by Mrs. Davis. Two interesting pictures in
the room are the picture of the Davis children made in 1865, and the one
of Jefferson Davis, Jr., the last one made of him before he died.


                              DINING ROOM

The table, chairs, and large sideboard in the dining room are original
Davis pieces, given to Judge and Mrs. A. McC. Kimbrough of Greenwood,
Mississippi and the Gulf Coast, when Beauvoir was dismantled. They were
kept intact by them as long as they lived, and by their family after
their deaths. Later, responding to the need of these original pieces in
making Beauvoir a Jefferson Davis Shrine, the Kimbrough family loaned
them for use in their original setting. The painting on the board,
forming a part of the mantel in this small but attractive dining room,
was done by Winnie Davis. Draperies and glass curtains are replacements.


               BUTLER’S PANTRY AND CHILDREN’S DINING ROOM

These rooms have been restored to their original state. In the
children’s dining room separated from the well arranged butler’s pantry
by a partial partition are a round oak table and chairs in a size
suitable for children. The willow ware seen on the shelves was used by
the Davis family when they lived at Beauvoir. The original kitchen, used
first by the Brown family then the Davis family, was burned about 1927.
A covered walkway connected the old kitchen with Beauvoir House, where
the back stairway led to the butler’s pantry for dining room service.


                            THE DAVIS MUSEUM

The front portion of the ground floor has been put to excellent use as a
Davis Museum. Its theme is Jefferson Davis and His Family. On this same
ground floor, just back of the museum, is a bricked-in room in which the
meat was hung and the wines stored. To the left of this room is the dry
well which served, to some extent, the purpose of a refrigerator.


                  OTHER LARGE MUSEUM PIECES ON DISPLAY

The phaeton, used by Mrs. Davis on her visiting days, has been loaned by
the Kimbrough heirs. Since Mrs. Davis was short in stature, it was
necessary to have special steps put on the phaeton for her convenience.

The buggy that belonged to Jefferson Davis was purchased by Dr. A. D.
Harmanson, and has been given to the Shrine by his daughters, Mrs. Pearl
Harmanson Atkinson of Biloxi, Mississippi and Mrs. Lillie Harmanson
Marsh of Dallas, Texas. Near the phaeton and the buggy is Winnie’s
sidesaddle, used by her on many rides on her favorite saddle horse,
Kitty.

The boat, Barbashela, is another interesting museum piece. Captain
Boland Leathers, a friend of long standing of the Davis family, built
this little boat for Winnie on the bow of his steamship, Natchez. He
gave it its Choctaw Indian name, Barbashela, meaning “friend”. It also
is on loan to the Shrine by the Kimbrough heirs.


                  _THE WEST COTTAGE or HAYES COTTAGE_

During the occupancy of Beauvoir by Jefferson Davis and his family, this
West Cottage was enlarged to serve as their Guest Cottage. But later,
because so frequently used by the elder daughter, Margaret Davis Hayes
and her family, it became known as the Hayes Cottage.

In the front room of this cottage is an attractive cottage bedroom suite
that was formerly used by Winnie Davis. The Gulfport Chapter UDC No.
1068 obtained possession of it and presented it to Beauvoir in 1907.


                 _THE LIBRARY COTTAGE or EAST COTTAGE_

This cottage, called the Pavilion by Mrs. Davis, was first used by
Jefferson Davis as both his living quarters and his library. Later, when
Mrs. Davis returned from Europe, he used it as a library and office in
combination. It was here that he wrote “The Rise and Fall of the
Confederate Government”, and a “Short History of the Confederate
States”. The office chair and desk were returned to Beauvoir by the
Davis heirs. His original desk in the left hand front corner of the room
and the desk in the center of the room were returned to Beauvoir by the
White House of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia in 1956. The easel
is the one Winnie used while painting either inside the cottage, on the
porch, or on the grounds. The book shelves were built under the
supervision of Mr. Davis. The valuable books now on these shelves are
largely Davis family books. Many of them are autographed by members of
the family. Added to this collection are Volumes I and II of the
Memorial Edition of “The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government”,
presented by the publishers, Garrett and Massie, for use in the cottage
where the manuscript for the two volumes was written. It was in regard
to Volume II of this great book, that President Davis’ friend, Judge C.
E. Fenner, said, “The whole argument of secession is practically
comprised in the fifteenth chapter of Part II of ‘The Rise and Fall of
the Confederate Government’”.

    [Illustration: _Dining Room_]

    [Illustration: _Back Parlor or Library_]

The picture of Franklin Pierce to the left of the period clock on the
mantel was given by President Pierce to Jefferson Davis, his Secretary
of War from 1853-57. The picture to the right is one of Senator Jesse
Speight whose death in 1847 created the vacancy in the United States
Senate which Jefferson Davis filled by appointment from the Governor of
Mississippi.


                         THE CONFEDERATE MUSEUM

To the east is the large building that was the hospital for the
Confederate Veterans Home during the many years it served the
Confederate veterans, and their wives and widows. Today this hospital
structure is the entranceway for the home.

This building houses a collection of valued gifts which has grown up
with the home. Many items of historic interest in this period of
history, not directly connected with the Davis family, were moved to
this museum.

Also in this building, an interesting Souvenir Shop is owned and
operated by Mrs. Salome Brady.


                     BEAUVOIR CONFEDERATE CEMETERY


     WITH A SEMI-HISTORIC GLIMPSE OF THE REAR GROUNDS OF THE SHRINE

A hallowed spot on the land, comprising the property of the Jefferson
Davis Shrine, is the Beauvoir Confederate Cemetery where about 800
inmates of the Jefferson Davis Confederate Soldiers’ Home lie buried.
The grave of Samuel Emory Davis, father of Jefferson Davis, is near the
center, the remains and marker having been moved from the Brierfield
Plantation on the Mississippi River, south of Vicksburg, Mississippi.

On the way to this secluded but loved burial ground, visitors pass along
the woodland pathway once used by Jefferson Davis in his frequent walks
around the grounds of this home of his old age. Almost daily in these
walks he would turn off, as the visitors might find it interesting to
do, to the little spring that he loved to sit by for its quietude and
surrounding natural beauty.

Somewhat as it was in Davis’ time, there are magnificent trees, some old
and many young, bamboo, palmettos, ferns, wild flowers and other native
plants which give the Beauvoir grounds today the special appeal they
have to sightseeing guests. But of late years, along with this native
growth, has been added an informal planting of azaleas, camellias,
sasanquas, loquats and other flowering shrubs close by the winding
lagoon that has replaced old Oyster Bayou. Further on toward Beauvoir
House is a mass planting of camellias and shrubs, while on the opposite
side is a pretty rose garden, significant because of its being in the
same plot used by Mrs. Davis for her loved rose garden. It is this
combination of native and cultivated spots of beauty that makes the rear
of Jefferson Davis Shrine in keeping with the front of it, widely known
for the architectural attraction of the buildings and the almost
unadorned beauty of the surroundings.


                       _LIFE OF JEFFERSON DAVIS_


                         CHRONOLOGICAL OUTLINE

1808, June 3—Born in Fairview, Kentucky; moved to Woodville, Mississippi
      when a small child.

1813-1823—First 10 years of his education: home town log-cabin school;
      St. Thomas’ Catholic College near Springfield, Kentucky, when only
      7 and 8 years old; Jefferson College near Natchez, Mississippi;
      back home to Wilkinson County Academy; and 3 years at Transylvania
      College, Lexington, Kentucky.

1824-1828—Attended West Point Military Academy 4 years, graduated at the
      age of 20; commissioned Second Lieutenant, 1st Infantry, July 1,
      1828.

1828-1835—Promoted to 1st Lieutenant during his outstanding service on
      the Western Frontier.

1835, June 17—Resigned from the U.S. Army effective June 30; married
      Colonel Zachary Taylor’s daughter, Sarah Knox Taylor, who died
      September 15.

1835-1844—Virtually a recluse for 7 years—time spent, for most part, in
      study of philosophy and Constitutional Law, then followed a period
      of travel with an enlivening interest in people and public
      affairs.

1845, February 26—Married Varina Howell of Natchez, Miss.

1845—Elected a member of the House of Representatives of the U.S.
      Congress.

1846, July 21—Resigned from the House of Representatives for volunteer
      service with the Mississippi troops in the Mexican War; appointed
      Colonel of the First Mississippi Regiment which, under his heroic
      leadership, won great renown at Monterey and Buena Vista.

1847—Received a rousing welcome on his return from Mexico; appointed to
      fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate, then elected to the Senate for
      the following full term.

1853-1857—Recognition given him for the outstanding worth of his
      services to the nation, while Secretary of War under President
      Franklin Pierce.

1857—Again elected to the United States Senate.

1861, January 21—Resigned from the Senate when Mississippi seceded from
      the Union.

1861, January 25—Commissioned Major General of the State’s Military
      Forces by J. J. Pettus, Governor of Mississippi.

1861, February 9—Elected President of the Confederate States of America
      by the legally appointed delegates to the Convention of the
      Seceding States in session at Montgomery, Alabama.

1861, February 18—Inaugurated as President of the Confederate States of
      America at Montgomery, Alabama, the first capital of the new
      nation.

1862, May 6—Baptized at the Executive Mansion and later confirmed in St.
      Paul’s Episcopal Church by Bishop John Johns.

1861-1865—Gave 4 years of dedicated service as Chief Executive of the
      Confederate States of America and Commander-in-Chief of the
      Nation’s Military Forces.

1865, May 10—Captured with some of the members of his cabinet at
      Irwinville, Georgia, while in flight from Richmond, Virginia to
      set up a temporary capital elsewhere.

1865, May 22—Imprisoned at Fortress Monroe on two charges—treason and
      taking part in a conspiracy to assassinate President Lincoln.

1867, May 13—Released from Fortress Monroe, Virginia on a bail bond
      signed by Cornelius Vanderbilt, Horace Greeley, Augustus Schell
      and others.

1867-1876—Visited relatives, friends and noted acquaintances in Canada,
      Cuba, England, Scotland, and Europe before returning to the United
      States, where he accepted the presidency of a new Life Insurance
      Company at Memphis, Tennessee.

1877—With the failure of this Life Insurance Company, he gladly accepted
      Mrs. Sarah Anne Dorsey’s solicitous offer of her home, Beauvoir,
      as the quiet, restful place needed for concentration on the books
      he was writing.

1879-1889—Significant were these last 10 years of Davis’ life—because of
      the completion of his great contribution to the history of the
      South, “The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government”; his
      satisfaction and deep-seated emotions over being the owner of
      loved Beauvoir; and his sweet contentment and reserved happiness
      in being again with his family and seeing, from time to time, his
      close friends as well as interested and admiring associates.

1889, December 6—With his wife at his bedside, died in New Orleans,
      Louisiana at the home of his dear friend, J. U. Payne—(was on his
      way back to Beauvoir from his Brierfield Plantation near
      Vicksburg, Mississippi).

1889, December 12—Body moved to City Hall, where it lay in state for
      over four days before temporary burial in Metairie Cemetery in the
      semi-underground vault of the Army of Northern Virginia,
      surmounted by the statue of Stonewall Jackson. Reporting on the
      funeral, the New Orleans Times Democrat said editorially: “This
      generation will never again look upon the like of this day’s
      funeral pageant—”.

1893, May 27—The remains of Jefferson Davis in a heavy brass trimmed oak
      casket removed from the temporary vault to Confederate Memorial
      Hall. On the following day, in a touching speech, Governor Murphy
      J. Foster of Louisiana, delivered the casket to the committee of
      Veterans from Virginia sent to receive it.

1893, May 28 to May 30—“The Great Chieftain’s Last Ride”—funeral train
      made a brief stop at Beauvoir before making three full stops for
      the body to lie in state in the capitols of Alabama, Georgia, and
      North Carolina.

1893, May 31—After lying in state in the Capitol at Richmond, Virginia
      during the morning, the funeral procession, with Mrs. Davis and
      her daughters, Margaret and Winnie, in a carriage directly back of
      the caisson drawn by six white horses, slowly made its way to
      Hollywood Cemetery, where there and along the streets leading to
      the cemetery were gathered at least 75,000 people. A 21-gun salute
      and taps were the final acts in the burial of the First and Only
      President of the Confederate States of America.


                    _THE FAMILY OF JEFFERSON DAVIS_

The following data were obtained from the Department of Archives and
History, Jackson, Mississippi, and “Jefferson Davis’—Private Papers,
1823-1889” selected and edited by Hudson Strode—1966.

Morgan Davis, ancestor of Jefferson Davis, came to Pennsylvania in 1684
from Wales—the line of descent follows: Morgan Davis, father of John
Davis; John Davis, father of Evan Davis; Evan Davis, father of Samuel
Emory Davis; Samuel Emory Davis, father of Jefferson Davis.

The children of Jefferson Davis and wife, Varina Howell Davis, follow:

  1. Samuel Emory: born July 30, 1852; died June 30, 1854.

  2. Margaret Howell: born February 25, 1855; married J. A. Hayes
  January 1, 1876; died July 19, 1909.

  3. Jefferson Davis, Jr.: born January 16, 1857; died October 10, 1878,
  unmarried.

  4. Joseph Evan: born April 18, 1859; died April 30, 1864.

  5. William Howell: born December 16, 1861; died October 16, 1872.

  6. Varina Anne (Winnie), “The Daughter of the Confederacy”: born June
  27, 1864; died September 18, 1898, unmarried.


                   PUBLICATIONS OF BEAUVOIR BOOKLETS

“Historic Beauvoir” was compiled in 1932-1933 by Mrs. A. D. Spooner and
Mrs. R. C. Herron, Group Chairmen. It was revised and reprinted in 1939
by Mrs. I. F. Galloway, Group Chairman.

“Beauvoir—The Last Home of Jefferson Davis” was revised and renamed by
the Beauvoir Historical Committee, Mrs. H. D. Lindsey, Chairman, Mrs.
Rucks Yerger, Mrs. J. W. Atkinson, Mrs. W. F. O’Donnell and Dr. Margaret
Caraway.

“Beauvoir—Jefferson Davis Shrine” was revised and renamed in 1945 by a
committee, Mrs. John L. Heiss, Chairman, Mrs. J. W. Atkinson, Mrs. J. P.
Pentecost and Mrs. George P. Hopkins.

“Beauvoir—Jefferson Davis Shrine” was republished in 1958 by Mrs. John
L. Heiss, Chairman, Mrs. Hobart D. Shaw, Mrs. Salome Brady and Mrs.
George W. Taylor.

“Beauvoir—Jefferson Davis Shrine” is again republished in 1968 by Mrs.
Salome Brady, Chairman, Mrs. E. V. Shove, Mrs. J. L. Heiss, Mrs. Lillian
Phillips, Mrs. Roy Craig and Mrs. J. O. Jones.


                              BIBLIOGRAPHY

Jefferson Davis, Constitutionalist, His Letters, Papers, Speeches
                                            Dr. Dunbar Rowland, _Editor_

Jefferson Davis—ex-President of the Confederate States of America
                                                  “A Memoir by His Wife”

Harrison County, Mississippi, Chancery Court Records.

Abstract of Title to James Brown’s Gulf Coast property.

“The Great Chieftain’s Last Ride”—February 1955, L&N Magazine.

Chapter 25, Laws of Mississippi—1904 Session.

“Historic Beauvoir”
                                                    Mrs. Wilbur M. Jones

“Questions and Answers”—several pamphlets concerning Beauvoir and the
      Jefferson Davis family
                                                         Dr. W. A. Evans

Up-to-date information supplied by W. A. Blackledge, resident manager of
      the Jefferson Davis Shrine, Mrs. M. M. Murphy, Shrine hostess, and
      Mrs. Salome Brady.

Photographs by W. M. Cline Company, Audrey Murphy and Chauncey T.
      Hinman.

    [Illustration: _Sketch of Beauvoir Grounds_]

  CEMETERY
  FOOT PATH
  FOOT PATH
  Lagoon
  BRIDGE
  SPRING
  FOOT PATH
  FOOT PATH
  KITCHEN
  WEST OR HAYES COTTAGE
  BEAUVOIR HOUSE
  EAST OR LIBRARY COTTAGE
  FORMER CONFEDERATE VETERANS HOME HOSPITAL
  FORMER AREA OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS HOME BUILDINGS
  PARKING AREA
  PARKING AREA
  U.S. HIGHWAY 90
  SEAWALL AND SAND BEACH
  GULF OF MEXICO


                     ORIGIN OF THE BEAUVOIR BOOKLET

In 1932 members of the three Gulf Coast chapters of the Mississippi
Division United Daughters of the Confederacy conceived the idea of the
publication of a Beauvoir Booklet, proceeds from the sale of which would
be used for UDC projects. Representatives of these chapters—Gulfport No.
1068, Beauvoir-Biloxi No. 623 and Beauvoir-Gulfport No. 621, have
revised and enlarged the original booklet as improvements and
development of the Home into a Shrine arose. This group is now
designated in the Division as District V.



                      THE FLAGS OF THE CONFEDERACY


    [Illustration: Flags]

  No. 1. The “_Stars and Bars_,” the first “National Flag.”
  No. 2. The “_Battle Flag_.”
  No. 3. In 1863 replaced No. 1 as the “National Flag.”
  No. 4. In 1865 replaced No. 3 as the “National Flag.”
  No. 5. “_The Bonnie Blue Flag_.”

No. 1. The “Stars and Bars” was the first National Flag of the
Confederate States of America. It was adopted by the Confederate
Congress, and raised at sunrise over the Confederate Capitol at
Montgomery, Alabama, March 4th, 1861, where the Provisional Congress was
holding its first session. At the time of its adoption, it was ordered
that a star be added to the flag for each new state joining the
Confederacy. This flag is used as the emblem of the United Daughters of
the Confederacy.

No. 2. The “Battle Flag” was designed after the first Battle of
Manassas, and afterward was adopted by the Confederate Congress. The
reason for its adoption was that, in battle, the “Stars and Bars” was
frequently mistaken for the “Stars and Stripes”. It remained the Battle
Flag until the close of the war. This flag was the insignia of the
United Confederate Veterans, and is now the insignia of the Mississippi
Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

No. 3. To prevent further confusion arising from the mistaking of the
“Stars and Bars” for the “Stars and Stripes”, the Confederate Congress
on May 1, 1863, adopted a new National Flag. This flag is used as the
emblem of the Children of the Confederacy, and is well worth remembering
for its use on Stonewall Jackson’s casket.

No. 4. On March 4, 1865, the Confederate Congress again changed the
design of the National Flag. This new design was adopted because the
second National Flag, when hanging limp, looked too much like a flag of
truce. For a time this flag was used as the insignia for the Mississippi
Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

No. 5. Before the “Stars and Bars” had been designed and adopted by the
Confederate Congress, a beautiful blue silk flag bearing a single star,
presented at the open meeting of the Mississippi Secession Convention in
the State Capitol at Jackson, Mississippi, January 9, 1861, was the
inspiration for the new Republic’s first Battle Song—“The Bonnie Blue
Flag”. The Irish comedian, Harry McCarthy, filling an engagement at the
Jackson theatre at that time, was a witness to the thrilling scene
following the adoption of the Ordinance of Secession, and penned the
original verses of The Bonnie Blue Flag as an expression of his aroused
emotion. He sang the song that night to a loudly applauding audience
overflowing the theatre.



               JEFFERSON DAVIS’ RIGHTFUL PLACE IN HISTORY
                 By Mildred Lewis Rutherford, Historian


1. Distinguished services in the Black Hawk War.

2. Served valiantly in the Mexican War.

3. Hero at Monterey; wounded at Buena Vista; scaled the walls of the
      City of Mexico.

4. He introduced the wedge movement and saved the day at Buena Vista.

5. United States Senator from Mississippi.

6. Secretary of War in Pierce’s Cabinet.

7. First to suggest transcontinental railroads connecting the Atlantic
      with the Pacific.

8. First to suggest camels as ships of the uninhabitable West to convey
      military stores.

9. First to suggest buying Panama Canal Zone.

10. First to suggest buying Cuba.

11. He planned American Trade with China and Japan.

12. He suggested closer relations with South America.

13. He urged preparedness in the event of an enemy attack.

14. He enlarged the United States Army by four regiments.

15. He organized cavalry service adapted to our needs.

16. He introduced light infantry or rifle system of tactics.

17. He caused the manufacture of guns, rifle, and pistols.

18. He rendered invaluable service to Colt’s Armory.

19. He ordered the frontier surveyed.

20. He put young officers in training for surveying expeditions.

21. He sent George McClellan to Crimea to study the military tactics of
      British and the Russian armies.

22. He appointed Robert E. Lee as Superintendent of West Point.

23. He advanced Albert Disney Johnston to important posts.

24. He had forts rebuilt and repaired.

25. He strengthened forts on the Western frontier, frequently drawing on
      arsenals in the South to do so.

26. He had the Western part of the continent explored for scientific,
      geographical and railroad work.

27. He was responsible for the new Senate Hall, the new House of
      Representatives, and for the extension of many public buildings in
      Washington, especially the Treasury Building.

28. He was responsible for the construction of the aqueduct in the
      National Capital.

29. He was responsible for Armed Liberty on the Capitol having a helmet
      of eagle feathers instead of the cap of a pagan goddess.

30. He had Cabin John Bridge with a span of 220 feet built.

31. He was United States Senator under President Buchanan.

32. He was nominated for President by Massachusetts men in 1860.

33. He refused to allow his name to be presented for President at the
      Charleston Convention.

34. He stood strongly for the Union, but stressed the constitutional
      right of a state to secede if it wished.

35. He did secede with Mississippi, as he had been taught at West Point.

36. Nowhere did his genius display itself more significantly than as
      Secretary of War under Franklin Pierce.

37. When it was known that he was to make his “Farewell Speech” to the
      Senate in 1861, the building was crowded to overflowing. He was
      one of the most gifted orators of the Congress. At West Point he
      studied “Rawle’s View of the Constitution” and was taught that if
      a state seceded the duty of a soldier reverted to his state—hence
      Davis, Robert E. Lee, Thomas J. Jackson, the Johnstons, and others
      acting upon this instruction cast their lot with their States in
      1861.



                          Transcriber’s Notes


—Silently corrected a few typos.

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by
  _underscores_.





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