A Day in History


June 3, 1807

Born in either 1807 or 1808 in Christian County (now Todd) on a site that has since become a part of Fairview, Kentucky.

July 10, 1816

Davis attended St. Thomas College near Springfield, Kentucky for two years.

March 11, 1824

Appointed a cadet to the United States Military Academy.

July 4, 1824

Davis' father dies.

July 1, 1828

Davis is graduated from West Point and appointed brevet second lieutenant of infantry.

June 17, 1835

Davis marries Sarah Knox Taylor near Louisville, Kentucky.

September 15, 1835

Sarah Knox Taylor Davis dies of malarial fever at "Locust Grove" plantation near Bayou Sara, Louisiana; Davis is also seriously ill.

February 26, 1845

Davis and Varina Banks Howell are married at The Briars, her parents' home in Natchez.

June 28, 1845

Davis delivers "Eulogy on the Life and Character of Andrew Jackson" in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

October 3, 1845

Davis' mother dies at Woodville, Wilkinson County, Mississippi.

November 4, 1845

Mississippi elects Davis to the House of Representatives.

February 23, 1847

A musket ball pierced Davis' right foot near the ankle while commanding the Mississippi regiment's first charge at Buena Vista.

August 10, 1847

Davis is appointed United States Senator

January 11, 1848

Davis is elected United States Senator by the Mississippi legislature.

September 17, 1851

Accepts nomination for Mississippi governor.

September 23, 1851

Resigns U.S. Senate seat in order to run for governor of Mississippi.

July 30, 1852

Davis' first son, Samuel Emory Davis is born at Brierfield.

March 7, 1853

Davis takes the oath of office as secretary of war under President Franklin Pierce.

May 30, 1854

Congress approves the Kansas-Nebraska Act, opening new territory, repealing the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and allowing settlers to decide on the issue of slavery within their territory.

June 13, 1854

Davis' first son, Samuel Emory Davis, dies in Washington of the measles shortly before his second birthday.

February 25, 1855

Margaret Howell Davis is born in Washington.

November 4, 1856

James Buchanan elected president of the United States.

January 16, 1857

Jefferson Davis Jr. is born.

March 6, 1857

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Dred Scott v. Sandford that slaves and their descendants could not be U.S. citizens.

April 18, 1859

Joseph Evan Davis is born in Washington

November 6, 1860

Abraham Lincoln is elected president of the United States

December 20, 1860

South Carolina is the first southern state to secede from the Union.

January 9, 1861

Davis' home state of Mississippi secedes from the Union.

January 21, 1861

Davis delivers his farewell address and resigns his seat in the United States Senate.

February 9, 1861

Davis is elected provisional president of the Confederate States of America.

February 18, 1861

Davis was inaugurated as president of the Confederate States in Montgomery, Alabama.

April 12, 1861

Battle of Fort Sumter.

April 20, 1861

Robert E. Lee resigns from the U.S. Military.

May 8, 1861

Richmond, Virginia is named the capital of the Confederacy.

July 21, 1861

The first major land battle of the Civil War, First Manassas, also called the First Battle of Bull Run, is fought in Virginia.

December 6, 1861

William Howell Davis is born in the Confederate White House.

February 22, 1862

After being elected on November 6, 1861, Davis is inaugurated president of the Confederate States.

May 6, 1862

Davis is baptized and confirmed in the Episcopal faith by Bishop John Johns at St. Paul's Church in Richmond, Virginia.

April 30, 1864

Joseph Evan Davis died after suffering a fall from the porch of the Confederate White House.

June 27, 1864

The Davises' youngest child, Varina Anne Davis, was born in the Confederate White House.

April 14, 1865

Abraham Lincoln is assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.

April 15, 1865

Andrew Johnson becomes president of the United States.

April 26, 1865

Joseph E. Johnston surrenders his Confederate armies to William T. Sherman.

May 22, 1865

Davis incarcerated in Fort Monroe.

December 6, 1865

The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified prohibiting slavery.

February 24, 1868

United States House of Representatives impeaches Andrew Johnson.

April 8, 1869

Davis attends the enthronement of John Jackson as Bishop of London at St. Paul's Cathedral.

November 20, 1869

Davis is elected president of the Carolina Life Insurance Company.

April 26, 1870

Davis becomes a vestryman at St. Lazarus Episcopal Church in Memphis.

October 16, 1872

Billy Davis dies of diphtheria at his parents' home in Memphis.

August 15, 1873

Davis resigns the presidency of the Carolina Life Insurance Company.

January 1, 1876

Margaret Howell Davis married Joel Addison Hayes, Jr. at St. Lazarus Episcopal Church in Memphis on New Year's Day of 1876.

March 22, 1877

Davis' first grandson, Jefferson Davis Hayes is born.

June 24, 1877

Davis' first grandson, Jefferson Davis Hayes dies of cholera at his parents' home in Memphis.

October 16, 1878

Davis' last surviving son dies in Memphis of yellow fever.

February 19, 1879

Davis agrees to buy Beauvoir on the Mississippi coast from Sarah Dorsey.

March 12, 1879

Davis' granddaughter, Varina Davis Hayes is born.

January 2, 1882

Davis' granddaughter Lucy White Hayes is born.

October 2, 1884

Davis' grandson Jefferson Addison Hayes is born.

March 7, 1887

Portrait painter, John A. Elder, completes portrait of Davis at Beauvoir.

June 9, 1889

Davis' grandson William Davis Hayes is born.

December 11, 1889

Davis funeral and internment at Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans.

May 27, 1893

Davis' body is removed from the vault at Metairie Cemetery in preparation for reinterrment in Richmond.

May 28, 1893

Davis' funeral train leaves New Orleans en route to Richmond.

May 29, 1893

Davis' body lies in state in the Alabama and Georgia capitols; and in Raleigh the following day.

May 31, 1893

Davis' body arrives in Richmond where 75,000 people witness the procession to Hollywood Cemetery. After a 21-gun salute, Davis' body is reinterred.

September 18, 1898

Varina Anne Davis, The Davises' youngest daughter and "the daughter of the Confederacy" dies of malarial gastritis while visiting Rhode Island.

July 18, 1909

Margaret Davis Hayes dies.

January 26, 1919

Davis' son-in-law, Joel Addison Hayes, Jr., dies.

October 17, 1978

Joint resolution passed by Congress and signed by president Jimmy Carter restores Davis' American citizenship, effective Decemeber 25, 1868.

The Papers of Jefferson Davis
Rice University--MS 215
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, Texas 77251-1892

Phone and Fax Numbers
Phone: (713) 348-2586
Fax: (713) 348-6172 

Email Address
E-mail: davis@rice.edu