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Jefferson Davis
Chapter No. 2191

Jefferson Davis

Only President of the Confederate States of America

Born 3 June 1808 in Fairview Kentucky, Jefferson was one of ten children of Samuel Emory and Jane Davis. At age two, the family moved to Woodville Mississippi and built their home called Rosemont.

President Davis always considered this his home and he visited often throughout his life. Many of the Davis original furnishings remain in the home - among them, the Davis four poster bed and several family portraits. Five generations of the Davis family lived at Rosemont and are buried in the family cemetery.

His military career began as a West Point cadet, 1824 through 1828. Upon graduation, he served in the U. S. Army 1828 to 1835. He was elected to serve as a United States Congressman from 1845 to 1847. During the Mexican War, he served as Colonel and commanding officer of the Wilkinson Volunteers, sometimes known as the Woodville Rifles, during 1847 and 1848.

He was elected again as a United States Senator in 1848 until 1853; and served as Secretary of War 1853 to 1857. He was re-elected Senator in 1857, and resigned in 1861 to become the President of the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865.

After the war, Jefferson Davis continued writing "The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government" after purchasing Beauvoir on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. After the two volumes were completed, Davis began to travel around the South and to write magazine articles.

Some 11 years after the war, a universal amnesty bill was pending in Congress. A Senator from Maine rose at the last minute to offer an amendment reading:
"...with the exception of Jefferson Davis."
A storm of protest arose, but the amendment passed and Jefferson Davis alone remained a non-citizen.

Many people urged Davis to apply for a pardon, so that the Mississippi legislature could elect him United States senator, but Davis would not apply, and he avoided politics. The Mississippi legislature, on March 10, 1884, in a joint meeting of both houses, honored Davis, who spoke to that body:
"It has been said that I should apply to the United States for a pardon, but repentance must precede the right of pardon, and I have not repented. Remembering, as I must, all which has been suffered, all which has been lost, disappointed hopes and crushed aspirations, yet I deliberately say, if I were to do it all over again, I would again do just as I did in 1861."
"...Our people have accepted the decree. It therefore behooves them to promote the general welfare of the Union, to show the world that hereafter, as heretofore, the patriotism of our people is not measured by lines of latitude and longitude, but is as broad as the obligations they have assumed and embraces the whole of our ocean-bound domain." He always spoke of the fact that the United States was now one country and on the theme of reconciliation.

In 1887, following a speech in Georgia, Davis became seriously ill. When he recovered, he considered his days of public speaking over. But a convention of young men was held in March of 1889 at Mississippi City, only six miles from Beauvoir, and a delegation asked him to address them. He began his remarks with:
"Friends and fellow citizens," but he stopped and said:
"Ah, pardon me, the laws of the United States no longer permit me to designate you as fellow citizens, but I am thankful that I may address you as friends. I feel no regret that I stand before you a man without a country, for my ambition lies buried in the grave of the Confederacy."

He continued with these memorable words for his young audience:
"The faces I see before me are those of young men; had I not known this I would not have appeared before you. Men in whos hands the destinies of our Southland lie, for love of her I break my silence, to speak to you a few words of respectful admonition. The past is dead; let it bury its dead, its hopes and aspirations. Before you lies the future - a future full of golden promise; a future expanding national glory, before which all the world shall stand amazed. Let me beseech you to lay aside all rancor, all bitter sectional feeling, and to take your places in the ranks of those who will bring about a consumammation devoutly to be wished - a reunited country."

It was almost a full century before Davis became a fellow citizen of these young men. Senator Hartfield of Oregon introduced a Senate Joint Resolution returning citizenship posthumously to Jefferson Davis. It would, he said, right a "glaring injustice in the history of the United States." Passed unanimously by a voice vote, the resolution was successfully sponsored in the House of Representatives by Representative Lott of Mississippi, whose district included Beauvoir. On the 17th of October 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed the resolution into law. Jefferson Davis was no longer a non-citizen in the land of his birth - a nation he had served as an army officer, a Congressman, a wounded Mexican War hero, a United States senator, and a Secretary of War.

Officers 2004 ~ 2006

President ~ Sonda Nagy
Vice President ~ Patricia Gallagher
Recording Secretary ~ Kathleen Crago
Treasurer ~ Gayle Dellinger
Registrar ~ Marie Curry
Recorder of Military Service Awards ~ Lee Barry
Custodian of Flags ~ Patricia Millan
Chaplain ~ Ann Humphreys
Poet Laurete ~ Rubye Jung
Parliamentarian ~ Hazel Gaudet

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