Varina Davis
Privacy Level: Open (White)

Varina Anne Davis (1864 - 1898)

Varina Anne "Winnie" Davis
Born in Richmond, Richmond County, Virginia, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Died at age 34 in Narragansett, Washington County, Rhode Island, United Statesmap
Problems/Questions Profile manager: Nick Bell private message [send private message]
Profile last modified | Created 17 Nov 2008
This page has been accessed 3,118 times.


Varina Anne “Winnie” Davis BIRTH 27 Jun 1864 Richmond, Richmond City, Virginia, USA DEATH 18 Sep 1898 (aged 34) Narragansett Pier, Washington County, Rhode Island, USA BURIAL Hollywood Cemetery Richmond, Richmond City, Virginia, USA PLOT Section Lawn Lot A MEMORIAL ID 6662416 ·


Born in the Confederate White House and named for her mother, Varina Anne was the youngest of the Davis children. She was known for most of her life as "Winnie," a nickname her father had first bestowed on her mother. According to Varina Anne, she was told that "Winnie" was "an Indian name meaning bright, or sunny" (Davis Papers, 8:169).

Winnie received her early education from her mother during the family's postwar travels, and subsequently was enrolled in boarding schools in Karlsruhe, Germany, and in Paris. She inherited her mother's literary interests and later authored a biographical monograph (1888) and two novels (1888, 1895), all published under the name Varina Anne Jefferson Davis.

"The Daughter of the Confederacy," as John B. Gordon anointed her in 1886, lived with her parents at Beauvoir in the 1880s and accompanied her father to numerous public appearances. Beloved by veterans' groups, she became an icon of the Lost Cause.

The adoration became a burden when Winnie fell in love with Alfred C. (Fred) Wilkinson, a Syracuse, New York, attorney whose grandfather had been a leading abolitionist. Public turmoil created by the five-year romance drove Winnie into periods of deep emotional distress. The couple finally received the blessings of both Jefferson and Varina Davis and were briefly engaged in 1890. Although their breakup has always been blamed on the public outcry, recent investigation seems to indicate that it was due more to questions about Wilkinson's financial situation.

Winnie moved to New York City with her mother in 1891 and continued her literary pursuits. She contracted "malarial gastritis" while visiting in Rhode Island and died at age thirty-four. In keeping with her status among ex-Confederates, she was buried with full military honors at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Varina Anne "Winnie" Davis (June 27, 1864 – September 18, 1898) was an American author who was most known as the youngest daughter of President Jefferson Davis of the Confederate States of America and Varina (Howell) Davis.
The youngest, she was the only child of the family who was allowed to visit her father in Fort Monroe with her mother during his two years of imprisonment that followed the Civil War.
At the age of thirteen, she was sent to the Misses Friedländers School in Karlsruhe, Germany. She studied for five years in the renowned boarding school, in that time acquiring a slight German accent. Later, she studied in Paris for a short while before returning to the United States.
In 1888, Winnie published her first book, a monograph of Irish revolutionary Robert Emmet entitled An Irish Knight of the 19th Century.
In 1887, Davis developed a more serious relationship with Alfred Wilkinson, a successful New York attorney, whom she met while staying with family friends in Syracuse during the late fall of 1886, and the engagement of the couple was announced in 1889.Jefferson Davis died shortly before the announced wedding date, and mourning custom required postponing the nuptials for a year. During this time, Wilkinson's house burned down. Winnie's mother Varina became opposed to the marriage. Her Southern friends considered the relationship an insult to the Davis legacy. More importantly, her husband had left the widowed Varina in financial difficulties, and she worried that Wilkinson would be unable to support Winnie. This concern was incorrect, but the damage was done. The engagement was ended in October 1890.


Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed 15 March 2021), memorial page for Varina Anne “Winnie” Davis (27 Jun 1864–18 Sep 1898), Find A Grave: Memorial #6662416, citing Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Richmond City, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by VA CURR (contributor 47106472) .

Varina Anne “Winnie” Davis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Is Varina your ancestor? Please don't go away!
 star icon Login to collaborate or comment, or
 star icon contact private message the profile manager, or
 star icon ask our community of genealogists a question.
Sponsored Search by

DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share some percentage of DNA with Varina: Have you taken a test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.


Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.

Featured Auto Racers: Varina is 23 degrees from Jack Brabham, 24 degrees from Rudolf Caracciola, 12 degrees from Louis Chevrolet, 17 degrees from Dale Earnhardt, 31 degrees from Juan Manuel Fangio, 15 degrees from Betty Haig, 24 degrees from Arie Luyendyk, 18 degrees from Bruce McLaren, 15 degrees from Wendell Scott, 20 degrees from Kat Teasdale, 16 degrees from Dick Trickle and 22 degrees from Maurice Trintignant on our single family tree. Login to see how you relate to 33 million family members.

D  >  Davis  >  Varina Anne Davis