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ded. Mr. and Mrs. Ficklin were extremely proud of the cheerful, gentlemanly boy, and made him happy with their kind treatment and good and dainty fare. Indeed Jeff was usually so dignified, decorous and well-behaved, that they fell into the way of treating him like a man of thirty. There was a visitor at the house who wae crimson face and jerking muscles showed him laboring to suppress something, and called him out of the room, when, amid peals of laughter, the joke was divulged. Jeff confessed that he had sent the card to the paper. He was always fond of a joke, and very full of gay suggestions until the fall of the Confederacy; but never afteing entertainment, and many pleasant people were invited to meet us. I saw Mr. Davis, across the supper-room, take Mrs. Ficklin's hand and kiss it very respectfully. In a little while she came to me and said, Jeff is the same dear boy he was when he was sixteen. He went every day, while we remained, to see the aged couple.
terward found, he had been precipitated sixty feet to the river bank. Fortunately he caught at a stunted tree, which broke the force of his fall, though it tore his hands dreadfully. Young Laserre looked over the face of the rock and called out, Jeff, are you dead? Mr. Davis said he was suffering too much to laugh, remembered the desire to do so, but could only move one hand. He lay ill many months afterward, and was expected to die for some weeks. One of the professors, at sight, had ta thereby. A person to whom a friend was telling the story in Mr. Davis's presence asked him if he did not take a great risk. He said, No, I was very quick, and felt sure I had time to try him. General Thomas Drayton wrote of this circumstance: Jeff, by his presence of mind, saved many lives and also the building from being demolished. His horror of oppressing the weak was exhibited throughout his life, and though the professor grew old, honored by the generality of the cadets, Mr. Davis ne
er protection of the fur traders, the miners, and those who tilled the teeming soil, and these forts, in those days, were literally cities of refuge. Of a reconnaissance made in that country, General George Jones wrote: The next I knew of Jeff, as we used to call him, was in 1829. He had graduated at West Point, and had been assigned to duty as second lieutenant in a United States infantry command at Fort Crawford, Prairie du Chien, then Michigan Territory, but now the State of Wiscons with mine on the prairie. The officer then asked me if I had ever been at the Transylvania University. I answered that I had been there from 1821 to 1825. Do you remember a college boy named Jeff Davis? Of course I do. I am Jeff. That was enough for me. I pulled him off his horse and into my cabin, and it was hours before either of us could think of sleeping. Lieutenant Davis remained at my cabin for some days, and after the unconstrained manner of early frontier
d me. He was a great favorite with my boys, whom he often used to hold on his knees as if they had been his own. Two of them afterward served under him in the cause of the Confederacy. General Jones, who was there, added, in a letter written on the occasion of sending to a newspaper Mr. Davis's private letter to General Jones on the subject, in 1873: This letter will be read with interest by your readers, and particularly by the descendants of the first settlers of these lead mines, whom Jeff Davis, as he is sneeringly termed, was ordered and commanded to drive off at the point of the bayonet, but whom he preferred to treat with kindness and humanity, promising them that he would use his influence to restore their mining and other rights as soon as the treaty should be ratified by the Senate of the United States. Mr. Davis wrote: I had known many of the miners when on the east side of the river, and on me mainly devolved negociations with them to induce them peaceably to retir
Varina Davis, Jefferson Davis: Ex-President of the Confederate States of America, A Memoir by his Wife, Volume 1, Chapter 25: the storming of Monterey-report of Mr. Davis. (search)
nks that we could be useful, there is not a man in his regiment who would not sacrifice his life to obey him, so much has his gallant conduct raised him in their estimation. The degree of power his coolness, courage, and discretion have acquired for him in the army generally would hardly be believed at home. Everything difficult of decision is left to him, and I verily believe that if he should tell his men to jump into a cannon's mouth they would think it all right, and would all say, Colonel Jeff, as they call him, knows best, so hurrah, boys, let's go ahead. He is always in front of his men, and ready to be the first to expose himself; and moreover, he has taken them into so many tight places, and got them out safely, that they begin to think if they follow him they will be sure to succeed, and they think so, too, with some reason, for during the conflict we attacked, and several times took, places and fortifications from which regular troops, greatly outnumbering us, had been t
riod, reasoned and wondered over them, picked up ghost flowers and found exquisite mosses, sometimes a foot deep, of velvety green. Mr. Davis took our little girl with us on his shoulder, and did all the things so joyful to towns-people on an outing in the country. So health came back to his wasted form, and his sight improved daily. After three happy weeks we returned to Portland, bade our good friends there farewell, and went down to Boston, intending only to remain a day; but our baby, Jeff, was seized with membranous croup, and became dangerously ill at the Tremont House. Then I saw Boston under its most lovable guise. Every kindness was showered upon us that benevolence and sympathy could suggest. Many ladies called to inquire for him, but as the baby was too ill to be left for a moment, I saw but few of them. At the darkest hour when we feared the worst, and a foggy night was setting in upon the evening of a raw day, a large, gentle-looking lady knocked at the door in