Davis Marries Varina Howell

The year 1844 saw Davis' first political success, as he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, taking office on March 4 of the following year.

In 1845, Davis married Varina Howell, the granddaughter of late New Jersey Governor Richard Howell whom he met the year before, at her home in Natchez, Mississippi.
Jefferson and Varina Howell Davis had 6 children, but only 1 survived young adulthood and married:

Samuel Emory Davis, b. July 30, 1852; d. June 13, 1854
Margaret Howell Davis, b. February 25, 1855; d. July 18, 1909; married Joel Addison Hayes Jr.(1848-1919) 5 children
Jefferson Davis, Jr., b. January 16, 1857; d. October 16, 1878; never married
Joseph Evan Davis, b. April 18, 1859; d. April 30, 1864
William Howell Davis, b. December 6, 1861; d. October 16, 1872
Varina Anne "Winnie" Davis, b. June 27, 1864; d. September 18, 1898; never married

There is a portrait of Mrs. Jefferson Davis in old age at the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library in Biloxi, Mississippi, painted by Adolfo Müller-Ury (1862-1947) in 1895 and dubbed 'Widow of the Confederacy'. It was exhibited at the Durand-Ruel Galleries in New York in 1897. The Museum of the Confederacy at Richmond, Virginia, possesses Müller-Ury's 1897-98 profile portrait of their daughter Winnie Davis which the artist presented to the Museum in 1918.

Varina was with Davis when he was arrested in Georgia. After his capture and confinement the children were sent to Canada in the charge of their maternal grandmother. Varina was prohibited from leaving Georgia without permission from Federal authorities, but she lobbied incessantly to secure her husband's release from prison, succeeding May 1867.

The Davises lived in near-poverty until the early 1870s, when a friend arranged for them to purchase "Beauvoir," the Mississippi estate to which they retired. Varina stayed on to write her memoirs after Davis' death in 1889. She then gave Beauvoir to the state as a Confederate veterans' home and moved to New York City to support herself by writing articles for magazines and periodicals. She died there 16 Oct. 1905, survived by only 1 of her children. (Source: Confederate Military History)