Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/93

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The Real Jefferson Davis.

was an aristocrat in instinct, and education; yet he had an utter contempt for what he called frippery (meaning genealogy) and never alluded to his progenitors. Even to his devoted and adored wife, he was wholly reticent upon this point; and she so states in her biography of him. That simply records that his grandfather and two brothers came from Wales and that the first was named Evan.

My eldest brother was Colonel Davis' comrade in the Mexican War and his friend later; and my second brother was his confidential ally in the Southern Press editorship at Washington; and later his personally appointed and instructed Commissioner to the Cabinets and press of France, England and Germany. I was at one time constructively his ward; and later acted as his secretary and was intrusted with confidential correspondence. Still, no one of us three ever heard him speak of his grandfather, or uncles: though he spoke of his father, and with deep and warm affection of his eldest brother, Joseph. And as those who know him will recall, Mr. Davis was not the kind of man to be curiously questioned upon matters he did not volunteer.

After long and careful tracing through records, correspondence and personal query, I have learned but few, though very interesting details of his immigrating forbears. The eldest of the three Welsh brothers, said to be named Samuel, was drowned from the ship that bore Joseph and Evan Davis to these shores. They settled in Philadelphia, taking up lands for farming; but the elder thought better of the South and went to Georgia and settled there, after stopping in Virginia a while.

It was this halt that made slender foundation for the claim that the President of the Confederacy was a Virginian, by descent.

After Mr. Davis' death, a Virginian gentleman of the same name wrote to his widow and urged that his grandfather had settled in Virginia, instead of Pennsylvania or Georgia; basing the claim on the fact of numerous land patents to an Evan Davis (doubtless the Welsh incomer); and to John and Thomas Davis (claimed to be his brothers), between the years 1650 and 1662. This is very flimsy basis for a claim; and it is disproved by the traditional fact that one of our three Davises was drowned at sea, and that the other did not come to Georgia with Evan.