Jefferson Davis (1808-1889)
President of the Confederate States of America
The President of the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865. Davis was a capable administrator but a poor planner. He thought independence could be won by conducting a defensive war, while General Lee favored offensive action. Many historians believe that Davis's strategy cost the South its chance for independence.
Although sincerely devoted to the Confederacy, Davis was never able to command the respect-- either in the North or in the South-- that was accorded by both side to Lee and "Stonewall" Jackson. The South considered him arbitrary and tyrannical; the North held him responsible for sufferings of Union soldiers in Southern prisons.
Davis was born in Christian (now Todd) County, Kentucky, and raised in Mississippi. He was graduated from West Point in 1828, and served in the Black Hawk War of 1831-32. In 1835 he resigned from the army to become a planter in Mississippi. In the same year, he was married to the daughter of Zachery Taylor, who later became President of the United States. His wife died three months after their marriage of malaria. Davis remained a recluse nearly 8 years and remarried 10 years later. His second wife Varina Howell (1826-1906), was a talented woman from an aristocratic Mississippi family. She and Davis had six children. She wrote Jefferson Davis, Ex-President of the Confederate States of America: A Memoir (two volumes, 1890). His views of the Civil War are recorded in The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government (1881).
Davis was elected to the House of Representatives in 1845, but resigned to fight the Mexican War. He was slightly wounded, and distinguished himself at Monterrey and Buena Vista.
In 1847 Davis was appointed a United States senator, to fill out a term of a senator who had died in office. He resigned in 1851 to run for governor of Mississippi but was defeated by a narrow margin. Davis served as secretary of war for President Pierce and again entered the Senate in 1857. He was a constant advocate of the doctrine of states' rights.
©1991 New Standard Encyclopedia Standard Education Corporation Chicago.
|Confederate President Jefferson Davis was my
5th cousin, seven times removed of the wife.
Or you could say his wife was my 5th cousin
seven times removed. He was not blood kin to us, but his
Sarah Knox Taylor was the 4th great-granddaughter of John Taylor I and Elizabeth Taylor, my 11th great-grandparents.
15th. John Taylor (b.1478) m.
Susan Rowland (b.1482)
Back to Main Page