Confederate First Lady B

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                  Confederate First Lady B
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                                                 Commander in Chief    Commander in Chief B
                           Confederate First Lady    Confederate First Lady B    Our Greatest Hero

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Margaret was the only one of the to marry, bear children, and outlive her parents. Born in Washington, she was the eldest of the surviving children (Samuel Emory Davis died in 1854) and was known as both Polly (or Pollie) and Maggie. She was a great favorite of her father's and carried on a charming correspondence with him while Varina and the children stayed in in 1862 (see , 8:192, 360).
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Margaret began her studies with a tutor in the Confederate White House and was enrolled at schools in Montreal, London, Paris, and Baltimore as the family moved about after the war.
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On New Year's Day of 1876 she married J. Addison Hayes in Memphis, where the young couple settled. Jeff Jr. was living with the Hayeses in 1878 when he contracted yellow fever, and Margaret risked her own life to care for her dying brother.
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The first of the Hayes children died as an infant, but the subsequent four lived to adulthood. The family moved to Colorado Springs in 1885, and descendants still reside in the area. As her husband rose in city banking circles, Margaret became involved with many charitable causes and was a leading member of local society. After her death in 1909, Addison and the children took her ashes to Richmond to be interred with the Davis family at Hollywood Cemetery.
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On New Year's Day of 1876 she married J. Addison Hayes in Memphis, where the young couple settled. Jeff Jr. was living with the Hayeses in 1878 when he contracted yellow fever, and Margaret risked her own life to care for her dying brother.
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The first of the Hayes children died as an infant, but the subsequent four lived to adulthood. The family moved to Colorado Springs in 1885, and descendants still reside in the area. As her husband rose in city banking circles, Margaret became involved with many charitable causes and was a leading member of local society. After her death in 1909, Addison and the children took her ashes to Richmond to be interred with the Davis family at Hollywood Cemetery.
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Samuel Emory Davis

(1852-1854)

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The Davises' first child, Samuel Emory Davis, was born at Brierfield on July 30, 1852, and named for Davis' father. Just short of his second birthday, however, Samuel contracted the measles and died in Washington on June 13. He may have been exposed to the disease by Varina's brother Becket, who had stayed with the Davises while his school was closed in late May due to a measles epidemic.

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The only known likeness of Samuel is a bust, now at Beauvoir, that miraculously survived destruction when Union troops pillaged Davis' belongings in 1863. Joseph E. Davis had hidden the property in the attic of a home near Clinton, Mississippi, but a slave gave away the location, and the Federals ransacked the furniture, letters, and books they discovered. The man left to care for the home managed to save the bust of Samuel by claiming that the image was of one of his own children.
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                                 Joseph Evan Davis

(1859-1864)

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Joseph Evan Davis was born in Washington while his father was serving in the Senate.  
Davis proclaimed his new son "a very fine one" and named the boy for his eldest brother and his grandfather.  Varina protested, for she deeply resented Joseph Emory Davis, but to no avail.  She confided to her mother, however, that the boy did bear a resemblance to his namesake uncle, which she hoped he would outgrow.

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Little Joe was described as exceptionally bright, and he was apparently the best behaved of all of the Davis children, but his life ended tragically with a fall from a White House porch on April 30, 1864.  Rumors persist that he was pushed by older brother Jeff Jr., but there is no evidence to support this story.

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According to contemporary accounts, the accident took place at some point between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. while neither of the parents were at home.  A servant discovered Joe lying by the pavement onto which he had fallen from a height of about fifteen feet.  Maggie Davis ran to the neighbors for help, and Jeff Jr. enlisted the aid of two people passing by on the street.  One of these men, a Confederate officer, wrote that Joe's "head was contused, and I think his chest much injured internally."  The child apparently died about the time his parents reached the house.  His father refused to see visitors and could be heard pacing all night.

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Funeral services were held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church on May 1, and Joe was buried at Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery, where the rest of his immediate family would eventually be interred.
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There are no known likenesses of Joseph Evan Davis, in large part due to the scarcity of photographic materials during the war.
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                                 Varina Anne Davis
                                                       (1864-1898)

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Born in the Confederate White House and named for her mother, Varina Anne was the youngest of the Davis children.  She was known for most of her life as "Winnie," a nickname her father had first bestowed on her mother.  According to Varina Anne, she was told that "Winnie" was "an Indian name meaning bright, or sunny"

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Winnie received her early education from her mother during the family's postwar travels, and subsequently was enrolled in boarding schools in Karlsruhe, Germany, and in Paris.  She inherited her mother's literary interests and later authored a biographical monograph (1888) and two novels (1888, 1895), all published under the name Varina Anne Jefferson Davis.
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"The Daughter of the Confederacy," as John B. Gordon anointed her in 1886, lived with her parents at Beauvoir in the 1880s and accompanied her father to numerous public appearances.  Beloved by veterans' groups, she became an icon of the Lost Cause.
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The adoration became a burden when Winnie fell in love with Alfred C. (Fred) Wilkinson, a Syracuse, New York, attorney whose grandfather had been a leading abolitionist.  Public turmoil created by the five-year romance drove Winnie into periods of deep emotional distress.  The couple finally received the blessings of both Jefferson and Varina Davis and were briefly engaged in 1890.  Although their breakup has always been blamed on the public outcry, recent investigation seems to indicate that it was due more to questions about Wilkinson's financial situation.
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Winnie moved to New York City with her mother in 1891 and continued her literary pursuits.  She contracted "malarial gastritis" while visiting in Rhode Island and died at age thirty-four.  In keeping with her status among ex-Confederates, she was buried with full military honors at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.
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Billy Davis, who was said to bear a strong resemblance to his father, was born in the Confederate White House and suffered from a number of illnesses during his short life. Reportedly hard of hearing by 1866, he attended schools in Canada and Maryland before dying of diphtheria at his parents' home in Memphis. Initially buried in that city, Billy was reinterred in the family plot at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia, in 1893.
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Varina Davis was well-educated and possessed as strong a will as her husband. They had their differences at times over the fifty-four years of their marriage, but they remained devoted to each other through several decades of remarkable hardship. After Jefferson Davis' death in 1889, Varina Davis published Jefferson Davis, A Memoir in 1890, then moved to New York City the following  year to pursue a literary career.
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