Did you know that Varina Howell Davis was 18 years younger than her illustrious husband, Jefferson? When they met, he was 35 and she was 17. She wrote her mother, ” I don’t know about this Mr. Davis, if he is young or old…” In fact, he was only two years younger than her own mother!
Despite their age difference, they seemed to have made a good match. She was well educated for a woman of that day and was an independent thinker and I imagine, strong-willed. He was the same.
They both endured a great deal of sorrow in their lives; Jefferson lost his first wife after only 3 months of marriage. Their oldest son died at age two; actually all four sons predeceased both of them. Winnie, the youngest, never married, and she too died before Varina.
They also experienced, along with everyone else in the South, the loss of home and possessions, and their way of life, but even more so, since, because he was the President of the Confederacy, when the surrender came, he was incarcerated and treated harshly, losing his citizenship, and after prison, trying to find work.
After Jefferson died, she and Winnie moved to New York in order to find a job, and she offended many of the “Lost Cause” by making friends there of many northern people, including Julia Grant, the widow of U.S. Grant, one of the most hated men of the South.
In spite of all that, when she died, she was interred with full military honors performed by Confederate Veterans at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, adjacent to the tomb of her famous husband, daughter Winnie and her sons.