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.