Have you wondered where Jefferson Davis and his family attended church when they lived in the First White House? The answer is St. John’s Episcopal Church, a Gothic Revival Church located at the corner of Perry and Jefferson Streets, just a few blocks from the White House.
St. Johns was involved in several historic events around the time of the War Between the States. It hosted the Secession Convention of Southern Churches in 1861 which had helped fuel the South’s secession movement. As we noted above, President Davis attended it when Montgomery was the Capitol of the Confederate States of America. Sadly, the church was forced to close its doors in 1865 under Union orders. It would reopen for services in 1866.
The old building from the 1830’s was torn down in 1869 and its bricks were used to construct an addition to the main structure. The building was expanded again in 1906, at which time the church hosted many Army recruits from the nearby “Camp Sheridan” tent city during World War I. An outbreak of the Spanish Flu forced the church to close its doors temporarily at that time.
The church was renovated in the 1950’s and again in 2006. The Jefferson Davis pew remains.