Davis Marries Sarah Knox Taylor

Sarah Knox Taylor, the daughter of future president Zachary Taylor and Margaret Mackall Smith Taylor, was born at Fort Knox in Vincennes, Indiana, in either 1813 or 1814 (probably the latter), and was named for her paternal grandmother and for the fort where she was born. Often called Knox or Knoxie, she was educated in Kentucky and Ohio and met Davis in 1832, when both he and her father were stationed at Fort Crawford in what is now Wisconsin. Her father opposed the relationship, both because of the hardships of army life and because there was some friction between Davis and himself.

Davis fell in love with Zachary Taylor's daughter, Sarah Knox Taylor. Her father did not approve of the match, so Davis resigned his commission and married Miss Taylor on June 17, 1835, at the house of her aunt near Louisville, Kentucky. The marriage, however, proved to be short. While visiting Davis' oldest sister near Saint Francisville, Louisiana, both newlyweds contracted malaria, and Davis' wife died three months after the wedding on September 15, 1835. In 1836, he moved to Brierfield Plantation in Warren County, Mississippi. For the next eight years, Davis was a recluse, studying government and history, and engaging in private political discussions with his brother Joseph.