Jeff Davis, president of the Confederacy, and his Irish Muurish wife, Varina Banks Howell Davis

Jeff Davis, president of the Confederacy, and his Muurish wife, Varina Banks Howell Davis.

“Varina Banks Howell Davis (May 7, 1826 – October 16, 1906) was the second wife of the politician Jefferson Davis, who became president of the Confederate States of America. She served as the First Lady of the new nation at the capital in Richmond, Virginia” Wiki

She described herself as halfbreed. Other’s referred to her as a mulatto or an Indian squaw. In any event, contemporary photographs demonstrate that she was probably of mixed African/European heritage.

“Varina’s maternal grandfather was an Irish immigrant named Colonel Joseph Kempe, but little is known about the maternal grandmother. The difficulty here is that there are multiple reasons to explain Varina Howell’s dark and rather yellow complexion: she could be of African or Indian origin, she could simply have a tan, or she could have Southern European origin (Black Irish, Spanish, or Italian, for example).”

According to sources: “she was born into privilege at the family plantation called the “Briers” located near Natchez, Mississippi to William B. and Margaret Lousia Howell. Her education was mainly social consistent with that accorded to prominent family daughters in the old South. First home tutored, Varina then attended Madame Greenland’s finishing school in Philadelphia. She was but seventeen when she met Jefferson Davis, eighteen years her senior, while visiting the plantation of his brother adjacent to his own….”

Take another look at the wife of President Jefferson Davis in the pictures displayed on this site and ask yourself: Is this a white woman? What are the implications of a First Lady of the Confederacy with African origins? What is the likelihood in a part of the country where some districts were 60-80% Black that everyone that was “white” was actually white?

For More: See

1. Varina Davis

2. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=20982

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