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Does the Ghost of Jefferson Davis Haunt Beauvoir?

[Mysteriousheartland.com] As I was driving with my dad from Ft. Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina to Corry Station in Pensacola, Florida for AIT, we decided to stop at some historic sites along the way. Both being Civil War buffs, the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library in Biloxi, Mississippi seemed like a good choice. Jefferson Davis was president of the Confederacy during the Civil War. After touring the mansion and nearby cemetery, we checked out the newly completed Presidential Library. There, sitting on the desk, was something that caught my interest.

A building with a history like Beauvoir (as the Davis home is called) usually has a few ghost stories, so I wasn’t surprised to see an article called “What’s that in the window at Beauvoir?” sitting on the main desk in the research library. Written by Charles L. Sullivan in 2004, it told the story of a photograph taken by Charlie Brock, a Confederate re-enactor, in 1984. The photograph was of his wife and two of her friends, dressed in period clothing, on the east side of Beauvoir. When the photo was developed, two figures mysteriously appeared in one of the windows.

A photo of the Beauvoir "ghost photo," by Michael Kleen. Click to enlarge.

A photo of the Beauvoir “ghost photo,” by Michael Kleen. Click to enlarge

At the time the picture was taken, the house was closed to visitors, locked, and the security motion detectors were in place. Never-the-less, two humanoid forms stand in the window. One is noticeably taller than the other. The shorter of the two figures is also the easiest to see. “She” appears to be wearing a white dress. Two of the three women walking on the lawn were wearing blue dresses, and one was wearing a dark red dress. The window was also at porch level, above the heads of the three women, making it unlikely (unless the window was angled downward) that this was a reflection.

According to Bud Steed, in his book Haunted Mississippi Gulf Coast (2012), the ghost of Jefferson Davis himself also haunts the 162 year old home. Several visitors have reported encountering someone who they assume is an actor playing Jefferson Davis in the gardens. Later, when they compliment the staff on how realistic his portrayal was, the staff deny having a Jefferson Davis re-enactor on site. One flustered woman even complained that this gentleman appeared out of nowhere and chastised her for stepping in the flower beds!

Beauvoir has an interesting history. It was built in 1852 by a wealthy plantation owner named James Brown. Jefferson Davis did not reside in the house until 1877, twelve years before he died. His daughter Winnie continued to live there until her death in 1898. The Jefferson Davis Soldiers Home opened on the grounds in 1903 and operated until the 1950s. It was home to around 1,800 Civil War veterans and widows of Confederate soldiers. Roughly 780 of them are buried in the cemetery located on the property.

Whether you are interested in Civil War history, house museums, or would just like to stroll through the gardens of a historic Mississippi mansion, I would recommend a trip to Beauvoir. It is one of the most unique historic homes I have ever toured. Beauvoir suffered a lot of damage when Hurricane Katrina struck, but thanks to the Mississippi Division Sons of Confederate Veterans, it has been restored to its former glory.

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Comments

  1. Tracey Franklin says:

    Love this!!

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  2. Former MS Resident says:

    I worked at Beauvoir as a janitor and groundskeeper in 1986-87. I was allowed to move through every single room, every single storage area, every basement room there. I cleaned, layed insulation in the attic space, swept up the floors in every single part of that property, moved the cannon balls with white gloves on, dusted the furniture, and we even hand-made the white fence that once bordered the MSGC Colosseum side of the property. I even mowed the large lawns, and weeded the graveyard of Confederate vets. I remember Mr. Turnipseed’s grave was always falling over and I would say, “Mr. Turnipseed, you need to stop knocking your tombstone over” every time I weeded it.

    I NEVER saw any apparitions, or saw strange things. However, one time, it was about 7:15 or 7:30am and I had just arrived at work and the head groundskeeper (can’t remember his name now) told me to sweep the porches of the main Beauvoir house. I was the only one besides the head groundskeeper on site as it was early. I was on the back porch sweeping when suddenly, I felt as if someone was standing right next to me, or someone was intently staring at me. I looked at all the windows and saw nothing, but something kept making me look out to the round rose garden out back a bit. It was a VERY strong presence I felt. I would say if I had not continued sweeping, I may have seen something, but I was busy and just kept sweeping and the feeling went away.

    I remember the curator used to like to walk around the grounds early in the morning, before we opened, with a cane and tried to hunch over a bit when he walked. There was nothing wrong with his legs. I caught him one time in the old piano room next to the gift shop walking like this. He saw me and immediately straightened up and started walking normally. I have no idea what he was trying to do, but I have a feeling he may have been the source of these “ghost” apparitions of the property. Museums, hotels, all businesses love a good ghost story to drum up business and I think this is what the curator was doing.

    I was very sad to see so much history lost to Katrina but I really think they should have loaded up some trucks to protect the artifacts when they saw how large Katrina was and its direction.

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  3. Shaun says:

    I just visited Beauvoir last weekend without knowing any of its history besides the fact the it was Jefferson Davis(who I knew basically nothing about) last home. I’ve experienced ghost encounters before I didn’t see anything in particular with my own physical eyes but I often have very strong clairsentient and occasionally clairvoyant tendencies. On the back porch I felt the presence of a young girl. She was dressed in white like in the photo above. I feel like was a more of a residual experience than an intelligent prescence but I didn’t focus on it long because there was a large group of people with me there. If anyone else experienced this or a similar event I’d love to hear about it.

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Trackbacks

  1. […] and Presidential Library in Biloxi, Mississippi, otherwise known as “Beauvoir.” You can read the article here, but basically I discussed an old photograph from the 1980s displayed in the library purportedly […]

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  2. […] known as Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis Home has an interesting history. It was built in 1852 by a wealthy plantation owner named James Brown. […]

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  3. […] the event, the organizers had locked the house. Also, the woman in the white dress was at the balcony level of the house, meaning that she was not a reflection of any of the […]

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  4. […] the event, the organizers had locked the house. Also, the woman in the white dress was at the balcony level of the house, meaning that she was not a reflection of any of the […]

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