In my last blog I mentioned some furnishings Mrs. Davis brought with her when she and their three children joined President Davis in Montgomery for their stay in the First White House, until the Confederate Government moved to Richmond.
There are also pieces in the House, supplied by Col. Edmund Harrison when the house was rented for the use of the Davis Family in 1861.
In the President’s Study are a Rocking Chair, a Center Table and a Sofa that were in the House in 1861, and were subsequently sold to the Abraham family and then to Mrs. Mary Dow. Mrs. Dowe had known President Davis in her youth. She became the grandmother of John Dowe who donated them back to us in 1998.
Two more pieces, a historic mahogany Rocking Chair with a graceful, scrolled profile, and a Small Mahogany Sofa or “love seat”, are in the Westcott Bedroom upstairs. (first room on the left after you climb the stairs). By family tradition, these were purchased by the Rev. T. J. Miles at a post-war sale of the contents of the First White House. It was donated by a descendant, Mrs. Jean W. Smart of Dothan, Alabama in 1990-91.
Another Rocking Chair is in Mrs. Davis’s New York Bedroom, and was also among the furnishings of the First White House that was presumed to have been there at the time of the Davis family residency in 1861. It was purchased by Jacob Weil in a post-bellum sale, and was presented to the First White House by John Flexner of Nashville, a grandson of Mr. Weil.