Samuel Emory Davis
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.
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
For more information on Samuel, see Volumes 4 and 5 of The Papers of Jefferson Davis. A letter from the caretaker who rescued the bust of Samuel in 1863 appears in Volume 9, pp. 298-303.