The Varina Davis Trail Stop #4
“The Isaiah Mobley home, the Oaks, welcomes the Davis party for breakfast…”
A Mrs. Mobley fed Varina breakfast and both of her daughters were hugged by a President’s wife. William C. Davis, An Honorable Defeat: The last days of the Confederate Government (New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2001)
A continuation of: This history is affectionately dedicated to the memory of my Mother, Margaret Colvin Cornwell, (1865-1925) truly a daughter of this church. By Arthur Cornwell – Courtesy of the CDGHS Bulletin.
“In April 1865, Mrs. Jefferson Davis, with her children and attendants refugeed to Charlotte, N. C. in advance of the evacuation of Richmond where they were given a home and every attention bestowed upon them. From Charlotte they came to Chester, S. C. at the station conveyances were ready take them to their destination for the night which was the lovely and hospitable home of Mrs. Mary I. Mobley widow of Dr. Isaiah Mobley (1804-1859), nine miles out on the Ashford Ferry road. Mrs. Mobley’s home was called The Oaks but affectionately known as the Nine Mile House by many war-worn Confederate veterans-her doors and her food were always welcome to any of the boys in Gray. Conditions were very bad-the roads, the weather, the coming on of night-and so progress was very slow in the trip from Chester to Mrs. Mobley’s home.
Mrs. Davis thought it best to stop at the little church by the side of the road. This was Woodward church. Because of sheltering the distinguished guest that rainy, stormy night, this church has become woven into the fabric of S. C. and Chester County’s confederate history. Next morning, however, Mrs. Davis and her party arose very early, probably from beds of the long, hard pews, though the record does not say this, and continued their journey to Mrs. Mobley’s where a good breakfast was served them. A member of the Mobley family in writing of the incident afterwards said that Mrs. Davis seemed hurried and anxious to be on her way and only spent a few hours in the home. Before leaving Mrs. Mobley fixed a lunch and milk for the baby for the continued trip. She also took the baby Winnie, who was in a long dress, and placed her tenderly in the arms of each of her daughters, telling them to remember their beloved President’s little daughter-truly a “daughter of the confederacy.” (Courtesy of the CDGHS – Bulletin)
The visit of Mrs. Davis to the Mobley home was always a sacred memory and is until this day a precious legacy, handed down by words of mouth, but recorded in the State Archives. After dining with Mrs. Mobley, the Davis party moved south along what would have been Halseville or Hallselville Road, on into Fairfield County, S.C., in an attempt to make it to the Ashford Ferry crossing on the Broad River. This would indeed be the worst part of the trip, mud, hills, swollen creeks and bad roads…… Their next stop would have be Salem Presbyterian Church later that day. An alternative route may have been to travel further south along Ashford Ferry Road and then head west to the Means Family Cemetery, as shown on the enlargeable map of Sherman’s March, across Fairfield County. In either case, she arrived safely at Salem Presbyterian Church that evening.
R&R Contributor note: Samuel Moberley (Mobley) 1739-1802, settled in Fairfield County and married Mary Polly Wagner (daughter of Hans Wagner who built Fort Wagner). His son, Edward (1770-1839), married Mary Poole Mabry and his son was Dr. Isaiah Mobley. Isaiah’s brother, David Mabry Mobley, (supposedly) built the Mobley home on Peden Bridge Road. Further correspondence states: Sicily Caroline Mobley – Atkinson 1796-1880, Col. S. W. Mobley 1799-1899, Dr. Isaiah Mobley 1804-1859, David Mabry Mobley 1808-1866, and Biggers Mobley 1809-1870, were the children of Edward Mobley (1770-1839) and Mary Poole Mabry (1775-1848). Courtesy of M.B. Bussell, 1.5.19
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