Varina and Jefferson Davis's youngest child was born in Richmond's Confederate White House during the war's last year. After the Davises fled Richmond and her father was imprisoned Winnie and her mother accompanied him to prison at Fortress Monroe where Varina perhaps began this silk quilt.
Winnie's sisters and brothers went into Canadian exile cared for by their grandmother Margaret Kempe Howell and the baby joined them there.
Winnie was glad to become her father's companion and help meet, joining him in his travels to promote his book, unveil monuments and give speeches at reunions. In the mid-1880s publicists for the Southern image dubbed the girl who grew up in Europe as "The Daughter of the Confederacy" a role she seemed glad to take on.
In 1886 she visited family friends in New York and met Alfred Wilkinson, a Syracuse patent lawyer They fell in love and became secretly engaged.
Father Jefferson told her he felt her "death would be preferable." For himself death came soon in December, 1889 while Winnie was back in Paris, followed by Fred who persuaded her the time was right to announce their engagement. When they returned to America in summer, 1890 they were shocked to find the hatred their love inspired among obsessive Southerners like Jubal Early, the "Watchdog of the Confederacy."
The Daughter of the Confederacy submitted to her public image and her late father's wishes, breaking the engagement "due to ill health." Again the press was unmerciful bringing up Alfred's recent business losses and Winnie's imaginary engagement to a more suitable Southerner.
Joan E Cashin's First Lady of the Confederacy: Varina Davis
Heath Hardage Lee's Winnie Davis: Daughter of the Lost Cause