Monday, November 22, 2010

November 8. Montgomery, Alabama. First Capital Of The Confederacy.

Being originally from Danville, Virginia, The Last Capital of the Confederacy, I needed to check out the first capital.
First White House of the Confederacy Designated Executive Residence by the Provisional Confederate Congress February 21, 1861, President Jefferson Davis and his family lived here until the Confederate Capital moved to Richmond summer 1861. Built by William Sayre 1832-35 at Bibb and Lee Streets. Moved to present location by the First White House Association and dedicated June 3, 1921. Abraham Lincoln's election as the 16th president in November, 1860, set off a powder keg reaction throughout the slave-owning states of the South. Led by South Carolina on December 20, 1860, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas seceded in rapid succession in the first weeks of 1861. On February 4, 1861, the seceded states met in Alabama's State Capitol building to form the Confederate States of America. In February 1861, the Provisional Confederate Congress convened in the State Capitol and unanimously elected Jefferson Finis Davis, distinguished military hero, statesman, patriot, and Mississippi planter, as President. Jefferson arrived on the 16th and was inaugurated on the front portico of the Capitol on the 18th.
This two-story Federal frame house had been built between 1832 and 1835 by William Sayre (an ancestor of F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife, Zelda Sayre). In 1855, it had been renovated to the then fashionable Italianate style. On February 21, 1861, the Provisional Congress authorized the leasing of an Executive Mansion. A colonel Edmund Harrison had recently bought the renovated house for use as a townhouse and offered to rent it, completely furnished and staffed, for the sum of $5000 a year - an enormous sum which caused considerable comment. En route to Montgomery, Mrs. Jefferson Davis stopped in New Orleans to hire a French chef, to contract for the manufacture of an elaborate executive coach, and to have gowns fitted at a French couturier's. She arrived by riverboat in Montgomery to cheering crowds on March 4, 1861 and began supervising the redecoration of their new residence from their temporary suite at the nearby Exchange Hotel. The Davises officially moved into the White House on April 14.
The Great Seal of the Confederacy is in the entrance hall.
Tall case clock made in 1810 by John Hagey, Germantown, PA.
This is the first parlor.
The portrait is of Sarah Knox Taylor. As an Army Lieutenant, Jefferson Davis served under her father, Zachary Knox Taylor. She became Davis' first wife in June 1835, but died three months later of malaria.
The President's Bedroom. All articles in this room belonged to President Davis. In the case are Davis' bedroom slippers, collar box, suspenders, spittoon, valise, a case containing an umbrella and walking stick used while recovering from wounds suffered in the Mexican War, and a leather hat box. The framed photograph was the last taken of Davis before his death in 1889.
Mrs. Davis' Bedroom. Mahogany desk with secret compartment. Bedside steps with compartments for chamber pot and medicine.
Pair of hourglass chairs and firebench with needlepoint seats. Portrait of Varina Howell at age 17 before she married Davis.
The Second Parlor. Round gray marble top center table with the family Bible. The chair bearing the placard is the one which Mrs. Davis was finally permitted to send to her husband during the last weeks of his two years' imprisonment at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, for his use, instead of the hard bench provided by the US prison authorities.
Portrait of Winnie Davis (1864-1898), younger daughter of President and Mrs. Davis, know as the Daughter of the Confederacy.
Portrait over the mantel of Varina Anne Howell (1826-1906) First Lady of the Confederacy, second wife of President Jefferson Davis, and mother of their six children.
The Rear Hall with a painting of the Davis children done in 1984 by Montgomerian Marguerite Edwards. Also in the rear hall, photograph of Jefferson Davis ... ... and a vase of cotton. Where else but the South?
The Dining Room:
Reed and Barton 1790 silver service.
Moss Rose china - one of the oldest known American patterns. Aubusson carpet.
The President's Study.
Jefferson Davis wrote The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government on this small round table.
The Relic Room:
The Nursery:
Guest Bedroom - Second Floor.
Second Bedroom On Second Floor.
Second Floor Hall.

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