Jefferson Davis Birthplace

Historical Marker #57 in Todd County marks the birthplace of Confederate President Jefferson Finis Davis. Both Davis and his Union counterpart, President Abraham Lincoln, were born in Kentucky.

Born on June 3, 1808, near the Fairview community of Christian (now Todd) County, Davis was the final child born to Samuel E. and Jane Cook Davis.

Samuel was a Revolutionary War veteran who immigrated to Kentucky from Georgia. He settled in Nelson County in 1793, but moved to Christian County five years later. There, he built a log home, farmed the land, and served as the local postmaster. In 1810, the family moved to Louisiana. Two years later, they relocated to Mississippi. There, Jefferson Davis would gain great prominence as a soldier and politician.

While in Kentucky, Samuel Davis was impressed with the commonwealth's educational institutions. Therefore, when Jefferson turned eight years old he was sent to St. Thomas' Catholic school in Washington County. Later, he continued his education at Jefferson College in Mississippi before returning to Kentucky to attend Transylvania University in Lexington from 1823-1824. Davis completed his formal education at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.

Davis led an accomplished life full of distinguished pubic service. He was colonel of Mississippi volunteers during the Mexican War, served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and was appointed Secretary of War by President Franklin Pierce. When the first seven Southern states seceded in 1860-1861, Davis was named president of the Confederacy. After the Civil War, he was imprisoned for two years at Fort Monroe, Virginia. Upon his release, Davis worked in business, wrote his memoirs, and traveled for speaking engagements at veterans' reunions.

In his later years, Davis visited his home state on two occasions. In 1875, he returned to his native Christian County to speak at a local agricultural and mechanical fair. In 1886, three years before his death, he attended the dedication of Bethel Baptist Church, which was built near the site of his birthplace. Davis was first buried in New Orleans and was later moved to Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.

Images

Jefferson Davis Birthplace

Jefferson Davis Birthplace

This image of the Jefferson Davis birthplace was printed in an edition of The Southern Bivouac magazine, a periodical printed in Louisville, Kentucky, in the 1880s about Confederate history. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Jefferson Davis Birthplace

Jefferson Davis Birthplace

This postcard from the early 20th century commemorates Jefferson Davis and his birthplace in Todd County, Kentucky. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Davis

This photograph, made by famous photographer Matthew Brady, provides a standing portrait of Jefferson Davis. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. View File Details Page

Jefferson Davis Monument

Jefferson Davis Monument

This monument to Confederate President Jefferson Davis was built near his birthplace in Fairview, Kentucky in the 1920s. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Jefferson Davis Monument

Jefferson Davis Monument

This photograph shows the Jefferson Davis monument in Fairview, Kentucky as it was being constructed. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Senator Jefferson Davis

Senator Jefferson Davis

This photographic image was taken when Davis served as a senator from Mississippi. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. View File Details Page

Jefferson Davis Highway

Jefferson Davis Highway

The "zero mile" marker for the Jefferson Davis highway, which runs from Fairview, Kentucky to Biloxi, Mississippi, is found on the grounds of the Jefferson Davis Birthplace State Park. Photograph courtesy of Tim Talbott. View File Details Page

Jefferson Davis Monument

Jefferson Davis Monument

Rising high above the surrounding farm fields, and visible for miles, is the towing Jefferson Davis Monument in Fairview, Kentucky. Photograph courtesy of Tim Talbott. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Tim Talbott, “Jefferson Davis Birthplace,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed July 24, 2017, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/188.

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