On March 9th, I blogged about Varina Davis and Mary Todd Lincoln. Today I want to mention another ironic twist in their lives. Varina had northern connections; Mary Todd had southern ones! The “Civil War” divided not only the nation, but also families and the “First Family”, North and South were no exception.
Varina’s grandfather, Richard Howell was the third Governor of New Jersey 1794 – 1801. He married Keziah Burr. She was from Trenton New Jersey, so Varina had lots of Northern family members and many Southerners “sniffed” at this and viewed Varina with some skepticism.
Virtually all the Todds, who were from Kentucky supported the Confederacy, even though Kentucky, a border state, did not secede from the Union. Some of Mary’s brothers even fought for the Confederacy. Washington looked on Mary with her Southern connections with a great deal of suspicion when she became “First Lady” and she was very much criticized for what she did.
After Jefferson Davis died, Varina moved to NYC. That didn’t set too well with the Southern gentry either; and as I have mentioned before, she became good friends with Julia Dent Grant, the widow of Ulysses S. Grant, one of the men most hated by the Confederacy.
Nevertheless the Confederate veterans paid great homage to her when she died. (guess they forgave and forgot),