Search Amazon.com for Varina Howell Davis I was admiring the many portraits of Varina Howell Davis at the First White House of the Confederacy today, and I began to want to know more about her. I had read a biography about her life and it was very interesting.
Today on Wikipedia I read more about her. Did you know her father, William Burr Howell was the son of a Governor of New Jersey, and her mother was a cousin of Jonathan Edwards and Aaron Burr?
The Howells were close friends of Joseph Davis, Jefferson’s much older brother, who was one of the wealthiest men in Mississippi. In 1843, at age 17, Varina accepted an invitation to spend the Christmas season at Hurricane, Joseph Davis’s 5000 acre plantation, a few miles south of Vicksburg.During her stay she met her host’s brother, Jefferson, a West Point graduate, former Army officer and cotton planter.
Jefferson was a 35 year old widower when they met and fell in love. Varina’s mother had concerns, but the Howells ultimately consented to the courtship and marriage. As many marriages, they had their
moments but it survived the ups and downs. They had six children together, but as I have mentioned before only one, the oldest daughter Margaret, lived to marry and have issue.
More about this fascinating woman tomorrow.