The dining room in the First White House is a warm and vibrant room. One would expect the Davis family to enter any time for dinner. At the windows are gold damask curtains with tambour lace under curtains of 100% cotton white, embroidery on Bobinette Swiss. They are hung by gilt-brass cornices, believed to have been among the furnishings of Brierfield, the Jefferson Davis home in Mississippi. Mrs. Napier, immediate past Regent, believes they could have been brought by Mrs. Davis to Montgomery in 1861.
The Reed and Barton 1790 silver service was used at Beauvoir by the Davises. The Moss Rose china in the corner cabinet was also used by the Davis family. Of particular historical interest is a large, silver water cooler. It was presented by the citizens of Montgomery in 1858 to steamboat captain Jesse Cox.
Thought to have been buried by the slaves of Captain Cox to prevent its being stolen by Wilson’s Federal raiders in April, 1865, it was given to the First White House by the granddaughter of Jesse Cox.
This great water cooler is a highly unusual survivor, and it must have had considerable impact in the Deep South, where drinking water, even in cities, was usually found in buckets with dippers near back doors. It is ornamental in the popular rococo Vintage pattern with repousse grapes and roses. There are two spigots at the front, and in the center are two cartouches engraved: (1) Captain Jesse J. Cox from his friends of Montgomery, Alabama (2) January 1, 1858