Davis, Jefferson

(June 3, 1808-Dec. 6, 1889). Episcopal layman and president of the Confederate States of America. He was born in Fairview, Kentucky. Davis graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1828. He commanded a regiment of the U.S. Army during the Mexican War. Davis also served as Secretary of War during the presidency of Franklin Pierce. Davis represented the State of Mississippi in the United States Senate. After the secession of the southern states and the formation of the Confederacy in 1861, he was elected its first and only president. Davis was raised a Baptist, but he chose to join the Episcopal Church at the urging of his second wife, Varina. They attended St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Richmond, where Charles Minnegerode was the rector. On May 6, 1862, Minnegerode came to the executive mansion and baptized Davis "hypothetically," or conditionally, uncertain if there had been a previous baptism. At noon that same day, Davis went to St. Paul's Church, where Bishop John Johns confirmed him. After the collapse of the Confederacy in 1865, Davis was captured and imprisoned without trial for two years. He was released in 1867. He spent the rest of his life attempting to justify his efforts as the South's political leader during the Civil War. Davis died in New Orleans.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.


Share This: