Bet you didn’t know this! In 1902 the White House Association, which was founded in 1900, received from Mrs. Jefferson Davis the relics that belonged to the first and only President of the Confederate States of America. What a treasure trove of historical significance. But what to do with them? At the time the “Jeff Davis House” as it was called, was on the corner of Lee and Bibb streets, and owned by the Render family who lived in Georgia.
The Association was allowed to have the relics on display on the third floor of the Alabama State Capitol for 20 years. Then the Association received the bad news that because of crowded conditions at the capitol, the relics had to be removed. The Association, which had diligently cared for them, met at the Capitol, packed everything, and laid all in a dry vault in the cellar of the capitol. They were heartsick!
But the ladies were intrepid. During these 20 years they had been working to raise the funds to buy the house and the property next to the Archives, and to have the house moved and restored.This was finally accomplished, thanks to a benevolent Governor and to their diligence.
Once the house was moved and restored, the relics were placed in the house where they belonged. All the articles in the President’s bedroom had belonged to President Davis and were placed according to a diagram Mrs. Davis had made. And…I bet you didn’t know that a Confederate veteran, John Cheney moved into the house in 1921 to sleep there to safeguard the relics and to tend to things around the House. Isn’t that absolutely amazing? History is so fascinating. Wouldn’t you just love to spend a night there today?