Monday, December 14, 2009

Beauvoir: At home with Jefferson Davis


Serving as both Mississippi Senator and Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce, Jefferson Davis staunchly supported slavery and states rights, though he opposed secession from the union as a method of maintaining Southern principles. When Mississippi seceded, Davis resigned his senate seat.

Following his tenure as President of the ill-fated Confederacy during the Civil War, a government indictment for treason (later dropped), and a couple of business failures, he retired to Beauvoir on the Mississippi Sound--as a guest of wealthy intellectual Sarah Dorsey--to write his memoirs. His wife joined him a year later and they purchased the estate, along with some furnishings, for $5,500. Davis died in 1889 but the property remained in the Davis family until 1902 when the central portion of the estate was sold to the Mississippi Division, United Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Beauvoir operated until 1957 as a home for Confederate veterans and their families and now the 51-acre estate, recognized as a National Historic Landmark, has been restored. Along with the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library, which opened in 1998, the home and grounds are open to the public. Beauvoir is located at 2244 Beach Blvd., Biloxi, Mississippi.

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