The Short, Sad Life of the “Daughter of the Confederacy”

Varina DavisSunday April 12, 2015 at 1:00 pm at St. Peter’s By the Sea, Narragansett,  Cindy Clancy will give a lecture about the life of Varina “Winnie” Jefferson Davis.  This is a repeat of the well-received lecture she gave on September 28, 2014. The talk will be followed by light refreshments and conversation in the church hall.  There is no need to register for the event, and there is no fee, although donations to offset costs of the event and to benefit St. Peter’s Community Market, a food pantry available every Friday afternoon for anyone in need, will be gratefully accepted.

Winnie Davis was the youngest child of Jefferson and Varina Davis and was born in the Confederate White House in 1864.  She was schooled abroad, and upon her return to this country, she was hailed by Southern veterans as the “Daughter of the Confederacy.”  After the Civil War, she and her mother lived in New York City and frequently summered in Narragansett. She gave evidence of literary and musical talent, and was a skilled linguistic, and a “most attractive type of a Southern woman of intelligence, culture and refinement.”  Her engagement at age 23 to New Yorker Alfred Wilkinson caused a furor, and the match was called off.  She died in the Rockingham Hotel in Narragansett Pier in 1898 at the age of 34 of malaria, although some say her illness was brough on by a broken heart.  Her mother dedicated one of the beautiful stained glass windows at St. Peter’s to her daughter.