When Jefferson Davis and his family left Montgomery for Richmond, they had already lost one child, Samuel Emory Davis, (born 7-30-1852 and died 6-30-1854 at age two). They moved with their three living children, Margaret, born 2-25-1855, Jefferson, Jr., born 1-16-1857, and Joseph Evan, born 4-18-1859, to the Second White House.
They were soon joined by William, born 12-16-1861, and Varina Anne (Winnie), born 6-27-1864, both at the Second White House. Under “The Museum of the Confederacy website” we read: “Visitors to the home were likely to hear ringing laughter and screams of bedlam from the playing children, who were infamous for having unbridled spirits and unbroken wills”.
Tragically, Joseph, died from a fall from the east portico on April 30, 1864. In tbe decades following, three more Davis children died of disease. William died on 10-16-1872 at age 11 of yellow fever. Jeff Jr., died 10-16-1878 at age 21 of yellow fever, and Winnie died on 9-18-1898 at age 34 of pneumonia.
Only one daughter, Margaret, survived her parents and had children of her own. She too, died at an early age however. President Davis died on 12-6-1889 of pneumonia and Varina Howell Davis died on 10-16-1906 at age 80 of unknown causes.
It seems strange that both parents lived to be so much older than Margaret, who died 7-18-1909 at age 54. She only outlived her mother by three years. Looking at their lives it does seem they all had many trials and heartaches. Life was just not easy in those days. Is it today, do you think?