The Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library
Ex-Confederate President, Jefferson Davis lived here at Beauvoir in his retirement life and wrote his memoirs of the Civil War, "The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government."
A wealthy businessman, James Brown, from Madison County, MS was the builder and first occupant in the home. Construction began in late 1848 and was completed in 1852. During the Brown period of ownership, the property was known as Orange Grove due to the Satsuma Orange trees. Mr. Brown dies in 1866 leaving his widow to take care of the estate. Mrs. Brown maintains the property until she is no longer financially able to maintain the taxes in 1873. Home and property goes into foreclosure.
Sarah Dorsey purchased the property sight un-seen om July 7, 1873 for $3,500. First time she opens the front door facing the beach and stated, what a beautiful view (in French, BEAUVOIR). In 1877, she catches wind of Mr. Davis searching for a quiet retreat to start writing his memoirs. Mrs. Dorsey offers him the Library Cottage and her assistance in writing as she was a published author. Mrs. Dorsey sells the property to Mr. Davis in 1878 for the sum of $5,500 (broken into 3 payments) after she has been diagnosed with a terminal cancer. First payment was due and paid on January 1, 1879. Mrs. Dorsey returns to New Orleans, LA after first payment has been received and revised her will. Mrs. Dorsey named Jefferson Davis sole heir to Beauvoir and forgave Jefferson Davis the last 2 remaining payments.
Jefferson Davis resided in the home until his death in 1889 at age 81. Estate was willed to his youngest daughter, Varina Anne "Winnie" Davis. Ms. Davis dies in 1898 and the property is now under Mrs. Davis' care.
Mrs. Davis sells the property in 1903 to our 4th and current owners today, Mississippi Division of Sons of the Confederate Veterans with an understanding of 2 provisions. 1). Home would be used as a retirement home for Confederate veterans, wives, and widows of the confederate soldier. 2). Once the last veteran, wife, and/or widow leaves here, then property would be shrine to Jefferson Davis.
The Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media