Davis descendants gather at his boyhood home

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 4, 2000

WOODVILLE — With the sword of Confederate President Jefferson Davis held high over head, Clyde Everett came to Rosemont Plantation this weekend to celebrate the birthday of the Southern leader.

With the help of Davis descendant Winn Dennard, Everett swung the sword valiantly before undertaking the family tradition of using it to cut Davis’ birthday cake. &uot;I thought it was an honor to do it,&uot;&160;she said. &uot;I had a good time cutting the cake.&uot;

The gathering takes places every other year for descendants of Jefferson Davis at his boyhood home in Woodville.

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Everett, who celebrates her 90th birthday this weekend, is not a descendant of Davis, but her late husband Frank Everett was a Davis biographer and received special honor this weekend.

Most of those in attendance were descendants of Davis. Lillian Gremillion, 18, and David Gremillion, 11, are descended from Davis’ sister Amanda. The Gremillions have attended the past four Davis reunions.

&uot;It’s really kind of overwhelming,&uot; Lillian said. &uot;Just to think we are related to such a great person, who influenced so much in history.&uot;

Lillian said it is interesting to learn about the heritage, the different traditions and to enjoy the quiet atmosphere at Rosemont.

&uot;It always has the same warm feeling — the welcoming feeling,&uot;&160;she said. &uot;It’s so peaceful.&uot;

Malise Dennard is a descendant of Davis’ oldest brother, Joseph. She enjoys seeing all the people who attend the reunions.

&uot;You might only see them once every two years, but it’s a real reunion,&uot; she said.

The Davis family built Rosemont Plantation about 1810 and moved there when Jefferson Davis was about 2 years old, the youngest of 10 children.

&uot;Jefferson Davis always considered this his home — his family home,&uot;&160;said Troy Beacroft, son of the current owner of Rosemont Plantation.

The Davis family lived at Rosemont until the Johnson family purchased it in the mid to late 1890s.

They lived there until 1970, when the current owner, Percival Beacroft purchased the property in order to preserve it.

Percival Beacroft said he had been a admirer of Jefferson Davis since he was a teenager and compared him, to British leader Winston Churchill.

&uot;I think Jefferson Davis is probably the greatest man in our history,&uot; he said. &uot;You read a book about Davis — you can’t help but become a hero worshiper.&uot;