We sell a book at the First White House written by Gulfport, Mississippi writer Mrs. Peggy Robbins, titled “Jim Limber Davis“. The story goes that on February 15, 1864, Mrs. Varina Davis, wife of President Jefferson Davis was driving her carriage down the streets of Richmond and heard screams.
Varina saw a young black child being abused by an older man. She demanded that he stop striking the child and when this failed she shocked the man by putting the child in her carriage and taking him home with her.
The only thing the child would tell the family was that his name was Jim Limber. The next evening a friend of Varina’s, noted Diarist Mary Boykin Chesnut, visited the Davises and wrote later that she had seen the boy. She said “the child is an orphan rescued yesterday by a brutal n….Guardian” and “there are things in life that are too sickening, and such cruelty is one of them”.
After Richmond was evacuated because the end of the War was coming, Jefferson Davis was captured near Irwinville, Georgia and taken to prison. Mrs. Davis and the children were taken to Macon, Georgia and later to Port Royal, outside of Savannah. At Port Royal, their Union escort, Captain Charles T. Hudson took Jim Limber away. The family would never see him again or know what happened to him, a very sad story that took place at a very sad time.