Beauvoir was the last home of Jefferson Davis and it was the site of his retirement. A National Historic Landmark, the complex includes the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library, the restored antebellum home, the Confederate Museum and veteran's cemetery on 51 landscaped acres fronting the Gulf of Mexico. Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library, is owned and operated by the Mississippi Division Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Backstory and Context
In 1877, Jefferson Davis was looking for a quiet retreat to write his books and papers. While inspecting property on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, he paid a courtesy call on Mrs. Dorsey (a family friend). He told her of his plans to try to find a place to write his books and papers. She encouraged him to stay at Beauvoir in one of the two pavilions in front of Beauvoir House to write his books. He agreed to do so only if he paid $50.00 a month for room and board. After two years, he fell in love with the property and he wanted to buy it. She in turn wanted to sell it to him, so they agreed upon a selling price of $5,500.00 dollars to be paid in three payments. He made the first payment and six months later, Mrs. Dorsey died. At that time he found out he was her sole heir and he eventually inherited the house along with other property.
Jefferson Davis died in 1889. His daughter, Winnie, then inherited the property and when she died in 1898, Varina, Jefferson Davis' widow inherited the property. Mrs. Davis sold the property to the Mississippi Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans with two stipulations. The first was that the property be used for a Confederate Veterans Home for the veterans and or their widows at no charge to them and that was done from 1903 until 1957 when the last three widows were transferred to a private nursing home in Greenwood, Mississippi, when it was no longer practical to keep them at the site. The facility housed a maximum of 288 residents at any given time and cared for 1800 individuals in its 54 year existence.The second stipulation for the sale of the property was that it be used as a memorial to Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Soldier; and that has been done from 1903 until the present time.
While at Beauvoir, Davis wrote two memoirs, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government published in 1881 followed by A Short History of The Confederate States of America in 1890.