Varina Anne “Winnie” Davis

“The Daughter of the Confederacy”

1864 – 1898

In the Southern White House, during the last year of the war, was born to Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson Davis the subject of this sketch.

When the Southern cause was finally lost and the president of the Confederacy became a prisoner, “Baby Winnie” was the only one of the children allowed to accompany Mrs. Davis on her visit to the prisoner. Soon after this she was sent to visit relatives in Canada, where she remained until Mr. Davis was settled in Memphis, Tenn.

When twelve years of age, Miss Davis was taken to Germany, where she received a thorough education, chiefly at the schools of Carlsruhe. She afterwards spent some time in Paris. She was admirably fitted to occupy a leading intellectual and social position among the people of the South. Her beauty of face and form and her kind heart and gracious manner made her a distinguished favorite. Soon after her return to America, while on a visit to Atlanta, she was introduced by Gen. John B. Gordon, as “The Daughter of the Confederacy,” and this title clung to her ever afterwards.

In painting and music she showed much skill. In literary lines, however, her abilities were more pronounced. She wrote many essays and stories, among them Au Irish Knight of the Seventeenth Century, The Veiled Doctor, and Foreign Education for American Girls.

At the New Orleans Carnival in 1892 Miss Davis was chosen Queen of Comus. She had a beautiful home at Beauvoir, Miss., but the closing years of her life were largely spent in travel She was thoroughly at hone in the North and everywhere admired and loved.

Her death occurred at Narragansett Pier, R.I., September 18 1898, after an illness of several weeks. The funeral services were held in Richmond, Va., and the body was laid to rest beside that of her father in Hollywood Cemetery.

Her birth was in the South, her death in the North, and her lovely character was a bond of union between the two sections.


Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence, and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World published by the King-Richardson Co. in 1903.