A Descendant of Jefferson Davis? A Question For Jenny Anderson Horne

It was the speech that attracted national attention and galvanized South Carolina legislators, propelling the state House of Representatives to vote to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from the grounds of the state house in Columbia, South Carolina.

It’s a powerful speech. One comment that stood out, however, was the claim at the 3:00 mark where Representative Jenny Anderson Horne declared that she was a descendant of Jefferson Davis, the only president the Confederate States of America ever knew.

Now comes word that perhaps Representative Horne misspoke.

Here’s Jefferson Davis’s genealogy, as presented by the Papers of Jefferson Davis, based at Rice University. A shorter version of Davis’s genealogy that circulated earlier and that includes some helpful explanations is here.

Now, here’s Representative Horne’s genealogy, as presented on a website.

It doesn’t take too long to see that something doesn’t match up. Namely, these records show no direct bridge from Davis to Horne.

Now, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t some sort of kinship relationship, but the word Horne used was descendant. That’s a bit more specific. Maybe the Horne genealogy offered here is in error. Perhaps more information can clear up this confusion and offer a better answer. Nor do I think that this matter detracts from the fundamental power of her remarks.

But this is history, not heritage. After all, whether it makes for a good story, it is worth checking if it’s a true story, and Jenny Horne can quiet these doubts rather easily.

(h/t to Twitter’s StonewallJacksonsArm)

56 thoughts on “A Descendant of Jefferson Davis? A Question For Jenny Anderson Horne

  1. Laqueesha July 11, 2015 / 10:02 pm

    Well, if she isn’t related to ol’ Jeff, good for her. I don’t know why anybody would want to be associated with that man.

    • lapingrove July 14, 2015 / 10:02 pm

      You like liars don’t you. You are black that figures.

      • Brooks D. Simpson July 14, 2015 / 10:30 pm

        Well, I just wanted people to see the ugly face of Confederate heritage strike again. We need not see more of it.

  2. Rosieo July 12, 2015 / 2:02 am

    Cannot find genealogy for those Hemings,…


    I go with family legend… grandpa said “descendant” ….He was a little off….. Maybe grandpa’s grandpa and Jeff’s grandpa truly share descendant…. a cousin thing going on….. ???? Semantics….

    Yeah… she should have been precise… Yet…. the moment was momentous… the moment was emotional …Talk was of heritage and we all know how we feel about our heritages. The hour was late. You got people taken out at church. …. So much racial violence for so long… Her friends hurt. …The flag offends black and white. …White men jawing on and on…. Personally, I’m not so impressed with white men’s leadership over time and forever and I’m a white woman.
    Jenny had her fill and she had a soapbox.

    I like Ms. Horne. She’s got heart.
    I hope the media doesn’t eat her up,

    • Rosieo July 12, 2015 / 2:12 am

      Oh… I screwed up

      Should be:
      Maybe the grandpas share an Ancestor!!!! Well… maybe they share a descendant, too! 🙂

      (This is what I get for posting at 5 am before the coffee kicks in… )

  3. Billy B July 12, 2015 / 5:00 am

    Mr. Simpson.

    You are sharp.When I first heard her say this I thought to myself what was her purpose to interject this in her speech?

    It was obvious that she wanted to use it as a way to tell those that are proud of their Confederate heritage that she has Confederate heritage as well, and that her Confederate heritage was the greatest of all, because she could claim to be a descendant of Davis himself.

    My theory is that she said this because she wanted to make sure the Flag was removed, it was a psychological ploy that she used, I doubt that she really is related to Jefferson Davis.

    However, I will say this, you will be surprised what a small world we all actually live in and how many people are related to each other, especially people that may be of older pioneer stock, as I call it.

    I don’t know your ancestry, but there is a chance that if you are of English ancestry and if one of your relatives actually came through one of the Southern ports when America was part of the English Empire then there is a chance even me and you could actually be related.

    • Billy B July 12, 2015 / 5:05 am

      She could have a DNA test to help prove if her statement is true.

  4. Matt McKeon July 12, 2015 / 5:08 am

    The speech

    I am a white southerner with a connection with the confederates of old

    I consider the confederate flag a symbol of hate

    I knew Senator Pinckney. He isn’t a photograph on the news, but somebody I worked with.

    There are economic consequences to clinging to the flag.

    I imagine that was true of many of the GOP members. She brought the fire, however. Trying to figure out how her actual family connection with the long dead president of the CSA is relevant. Can’t, except the larger point that connectionsm over many generations is essentially self willed, and not an objective fact.

    • lapingrove July 14, 2015 / 10:03 pm

      You are just one tiny person and not a very bright one at that. Who cares about you ??? Not most decent people THAT is for sure!

  5. James F. Epperson July 12, 2015 / 6:16 am

    I frankly wondered about that, because I think Davis had only the one daughter survive to adulthood, but I figured she would not knowingly lie about something like that which can so easily be checked. It doesn’t even look like she has any connections to his brother Joseph.

  6. David Navarro July 12, 2015 / 11:40 am

    Here’s a genealogy of Jefferson Davis I’ve established by extensive googlization.

    Jefferson Davis
    Samuel Hemory Davis (1852-1854)
    Margaret Howell Davis (1855-1909)
    Jefferson Addison Hayes-Davis (1877)
    Varina Howell Hayes (1879-1934)
    Varina Margaret WEBB (1905-2000)
    Gerald Bennett Jr
    Catherine Bennett
    Gerald Bennett III
    Mary Bennett
    Frederick Bennett
    Genevieve Bennett
    Charles Bennett
    William Bennett
    Nina Bennett
    Charles Bennett Jr.
    Amanda Bennett
    Gerald Bertram WEBB, Jr. (1906-1947) – no issue
    Frances Robine WEBB (1908-1988)
    Frederick Francis Farnsworth (1933-)
    Charles Farnsworth
    Jennifer Farnsworth
    Samuel Farnsworth
    Robert Farnsworth
    Sara Farnsworth
    Eleanor Leila Constance WEBB (1911-1998)
    Michael Collins
    Michael Collins Jr.
    Edwin Collins
    Melissa Collins
    Timothy Collins
    Timothy Collins Jr.
    David Collins
    Joel Collins
    Joel Addison Hayes WEBB (1913-1989)
    Varina Webb
    Mary Moser
    Barbara Moser
    Michael Moser
    Matthew Moser
    Joel Webb
    Lucy White Hayes (1882-1966)
    Margaret Josephine YOUNG (1912-1979)
    Jefferson Graves
    Katherine Graves
    Varina Graves
    Harvey Otis YOUNG II (1914-2001) – one child
    George Oliver YOUNG (1918-2000)
    Carolynn Young
    Jacquelynn Young
    James Young
    William Young
    Lucinda White Hayes YOUNG (1922-2005)
    Michael Sullivan
    Sheila Sullivan
    Gerald James Sullivan
    Stephen Sullivan
    Timothy Bruce Sullivan
    Kathleen Sullivan
    Nancy Clemence Anne YOUNG (1924-2007)
    Howard Edward Haller
    John Haller
    Mark Bryan Haller
    Deborah C. Haller
    Jefferson Addison Hayes-Davis (1884-1975)
    Jefferson HAYES-DAVIS, Jr. (1911-1912)
    Addison HAYES-DAVIS (1913-1983)
    Jefferson Addison Hayes-Davis III (1939-1991)
    Betram Hayes-Davis (1949-)
    Joel Addison Hayes-Davis
    Sarah Taylor Hayes-Davis
    Adele HAYES-DAVIS (1915-1991)
    James Michael Sinton
    Alan DeWitt Sinton (1945-)
    William Howell Hayes (1889-1955)
    Elizabeth Frances Davis HAYES (1915-1916)
    Elise Davis HAYES (1917-1974)
    Elizabeth Train
    William Davis HAYES, Jr. (1919-1929)
    Jefferson Davis Jr. (1857-1878)
    Joseph Evans Davis (1859-1864)
    William Howell Davis (1861-1872)
    Varina Davis (1864-1898)

    No traces of someone with the surname “Horne”. I lean toward the idea she was embellishing her family’s story (as did hundreds of other politicians on both sides of the spectrum) in order to make her argument more emotionally compelling.

    But it’s likely to be counterproductive given that a descendant of Jefferson Davis (this time a TRUE one) named Bertram Hayes-Davis fully buys into the ‘Lost Cause’ delusion: “Hayes-Davis says it’s not just Davis who is misunderstood; Confederates in general are tarred by slavery. ‘What about everything else they did?’ he asks. ‘We want to tell the world we still have that integrity and those values today.'”

      • John Doe July 12, 2015 / 1:08 pm

        Her maiden name is Anderson. Click through the link in the article. It conclusively proves (with references to obituaries and census certified records) that she has no connection. it’s pure fantasy.

        • Ben Linus July 13, 2015 / 12:18 pm

          One ancestor *is* a Sophie Davis who was a sister of an Evan Davis. But not the same Evan Davis that was Jefferson Davis’ grandfather or great-grandfather. So no connection. BUT, it could be that her family had a “tradition” that their Evan and his Evan were the same person, and that became “we are descended from”.

          Same theory for Elizabeth Warren. Someone may have assumed an ancestor was a Cherokee and that became her truth.

          Mistakes. I’ve found family legends that were not true either. Makes genealogy a fun hobby! 🙂

        • lapingrove July 14, 2015 / 10:05 pm

          Call her what she is …A fat ugly liar!

      • Rosieo July 12, 2015 / 1:23 pm

        I was just going to post this very sentence!
        Great minds, Dr. Simpson…….well, so probably you best me on IQ points or something…. 🙂
        I began searching for Ms. Horne’s connection right after seeing the tape… I didnt doubt her, I just was curious about which Davis kid she went with (not knowing then that only one has descendants)… had my “breakthrough” on Twitter thanks to you (and I’m betting R. Krick),……. I still say you, Dr. S., would have made great journalist….I’m thinking a lot of people were curious as I was… she’ll have to respond since she’s in public life.. .. it wont go away..

      • David Navarro July 12, 2015 / 3:02 pm

        No “Anderson” there either.

    • Billy B July 12, 2015 / 4:13 pm

      Very impressive google skills.

  7. lucien williams July 12, 2015 / 1:48 pm

    I believe she may have said something completely wrong. I can find no trace of her being a DIRECT descendant of Jefferson Davis. Hmmm. If this is in fact the case, then I think the people in her district should hold her accountable.

    • Matt McKeon July 12, 2015 / 4:48 pm

      What an excellent idea. “Not a descendent of Jefferson Davis.” Great bumper sticker. Although maybe not the way you mean.

  8. Rosieo July 12, 2015 / 2:11 pm

    Maybe connection is solid but illegit? Or as i said before, it’s family legend … there was inaccurate one in my family for years and years …. I give her benefit of doubt.

  9. Rosieo July 12, 2015 / 2:27 pm

    Wait… the source here for Horne’s genealogy is Zippy Ghost?!

    • zippy_ghost July 12, 2015 / 6:43 pm

      The source for the genealogy are the sources listed. Zippy_Ghost is a twitter handle. FTR, I’m a FTDNA volunteer surname admin, not a professional genealogist.

      Washington Post probably has a genealogist on speed dial. They should do their own research and not rely on findagrave interpretations.

      • Rosieo July 13, 2015 / 7:47 am

        Ah…. I should have known… thnx for heads up.

      • songspiritUSA January 4, 2016 / 7:04 am

        Here it is – this gets you to Jenny Horne’s grandfather, James Pryor Williams and back to A Jefferson Davis – just not THE Jefferson Davis. She lied.

        1 Cross Ragland DAVIS b: ABT 1800 d: 1860/1870
        + Huldah DIGBY b: 1804 d: 1870
        2 James Jefferson DAVIS b: 1841/1842 d: 20 Mar 1879
        + Elizabeth Caroline CARROLL b: 4 May 1836 d: 18 May 1917
        3 W Alondia DAVIS b: Nov 1869 d: DEAD
        3 Alice DAVIS b: 18 May 1875 d: 2 Nov 1900
        + William G PRYOR b: Feb 1862 d: DEAD
        4 Lida Mae PRYOR b: 1901 d: DEAD
        + Fred James WILLIAMS b: Oct 1897 d: DEAD
        5 James Pryor WILLIAMS b: 29 Aug 1923 d: 10 Oct 1987
        + Frances Imogene SWICEGOOD b: 12 Dec 1926 d: 28 May 2007

        • Andy Hall January 4, 2016 / 1:59 pm

          Whether she “lied” or not kinda depends on whether she deliberately misrepresented the truth. People claim all the time, based on nothing but family lore, that they’re related to famous people when, in fact, they probably aren’t. They may be misinformed, but I wouldn’t cross them all off as “liars.”

          But thanks for posting this — it shows that Jenny Horne did, in fact, have a direct ancestor named Jefferson Davis; it’s easy to see how several generations of family stories could be garbled into her being related to THE Jefferson Davis. Such are the pitfalls of trusting family lore over the historical record.

          • csamagdalen January 5, 2016 / 1:00 am

            Her subsequent actions have proved the point. She lied then and she continues to lie, and allow lies to be told. Further, her entire dog-and-pony show was intended to silence people who know their heritage. She’s a fraud and a hack, and a disgrace to the history of South Carolina for which the men whose monument has been desecrated fought.

          • csamagdalen January 6, 2016 / 9:26 pm

            You notice that in the viral video, she says “Jefferson Davis”, NOT “President Jefferson Davis.” The media has run with the incorrect inference. Jenny Horne – and Nikki Haley – lied every day that the story of her being descended from President Jefferson Davis was told. The narrative (which means propaganda) is to slam Confederate heritage supporters. The means employed depends upon ignorance and amounts to bullying, not the search for truth. Nor do I believe the story about her grandfather is true. Horne’s grandMOTHER did not die until 2007. And where is Cynthia Williams Anderson. Has she passed on? There’s a reason Horne will not discuss it. But when she clearly is not descended from the President, a statement to that effect would be the least they could do. One can only conclude that they approve of lies when it fits their agenda. Hey, it works for Hillary and Goober! So much for that missing value which informed our forefathers – virtue. It’s a thing missing from the future Gov. Haley and her Veep handlers choose for us all, and shall guarantee more of the same. Whatever this is, it is not innocent.

        • BorderRuffian January 5, 2016 / 8:01 am

          “James Jefferson DAVIS b: 1841/1842”

          Born a full generation after THE Jefferson Davis.
          Yeah, just an innocent mistake…

          • Brooks D. Simpson January 6, 2016 / 12:14 pm

            I’m amused to see that people like you failed to press this issue when it mattered. Of course, that would mean having to come out from behind your screen name. 🙂

          • RB May 1, 2016 / 12:06 am

            Of course not Brooks D. Simpson. Your lot jumped on the “fact” when it was politically expedient to you. Now the flag is gone because Davis’ newly-claimed “descendant” twisted the facts. So please, spare us your wisdom.

          • RB January 1, 2017 / 9:14 am

            Nah sir Mr. Simpson.

            This was a pretty good case of “Never let a crisis go to waste”.

            It is good that Horne lost her congressional bid last Summer. She’s out of politics due to this little tantrum.

            Make America Great Again.

          • Brooks D. Simpson January 1, 2017 / 6:37 pm

            You aren’t a very careful reader, are you?

            But then we already knew you misrepresented your educational credentials.

            Now, Mr. Chesley, I politely asked you to post under your name. You have a reading comprehension problem. Now you have a posting in the comments section problem.

          • Andy Hall January 2, 2017 / 10:54 am

            “Now the flag is gone because Davis’ newly-claimed “descendant” twisted the facts.”

            No, “the flag is gone” because both houses of the South Carolina Legislature voted to remove it.

            It’s convenient (and probably a lot of fun) to ridicule and insult individuals as the cause of something you don’t like, but in fact there was widespread support for taking the flag down — it would never have happened otherwise.

    • John Doe July 12, 2015 / 7:13 pm

      The source is the external websites that are linked. the guy’s twitter handle is “zippys_ghost” but the documented sources (you can check them for youself) are legit. It’s excellent genealogical work with documented sources, including public obituaries and census data.

      Attack the data. Going after a screen name is a non-sequitur and an ad hominem distraction. Open up some browser windows and look at the sources he relied on and argue against those if you want.

      Good luck. They are air tight.

      • Rosieo July 13, 2015 / 7:48 am

        Kinda hostile there Doe. Chill.

  10. Al Mackey July 12, 2015 / 4:19 pm

    Wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen a case of family passing down bad information. “GGGGrandfather said he didn’t fight for slavery! The Civil War can’t be about slavery!”

  11. M.D. Blough July 12, 2015 / 7:21 pm

    There are also a lot of people who don’t understand what qualifies as a descendant. I’ve been in contact with people who believe they are a descendant of James Longstreet because the name Longstreet appears in their family tree. While Gen. Longstreet has direct descendants, none bear the name of Longstreet since they are either through the daughter of his youngest son or his youngest daughter. Quite often, it turns out that they aren’t even direct descendants of his siblings but are descended from one of the Longstreets who didn’t leave New Jersey.

  12. John Foskett July 13, 2015 / 9:02 am

    This is a tricky area. Just ask Elizabeth Warren and her erstwhile alleged Cherokee ancestry.

  13. neddy July 13, 2015 / 3:30 pm

    Most comments here are of the Machiavellian attitude that “the ends justifies the means,” because they believe that the time had arrived for removing the Confederate Flag from South Carolina’s official grounds. I too believe it was time for the flag’s removal and I applaud the dignified behavior of South Carolinians and their governor. However, truth matters, and what Rep. Jenny Horne spoke was not true. Southern heritage matters too and she gravely disrespected the heritage of others. She did not comport herself well. http://kerfuffles.blogspot.com/2015/07/stolen-confederate-heritage.html

    • Brooks D. Simpson July 14, 2015 / 2:12 pm

      You’re free to do so, John Doe. You can always link to the post.

    • lapingrove July 14, 2015 / 10:06 pm

      Just what Congress needs…ANOTHER FAT UGLY LIAR!

  14. Jim July 16, 2015 / 5:42 am

    I am somehow related to CSA/US General Joe Wheeler, because his brother is a great uncle by marriage or so my Dad told me based on his childhood memory at 5 or 6.

    I don’t think I will give any speeches though.

  15. Maeve Magdalen July 16, 2015 / 10:54 am

    THANK YOU for your post and work> Just sent to SC House and Senate:

    I am appalled at what passes for process in our government. The occasion was the “deliberation” concerning the Battle Flag. Obviously, I was – and continue to be – pro-Battle Flag. I am disgusted that the people were not allowed to vote on this issue – no matter why not. This denial betrayed the goal.

    The Sons of Confederate Veterans *asked* their members to withhold public comment until those murdered were buried. It is disgraceful that our representatives did not show as much dignity and respect. Instead, certain interests pushed their agenda. Gov. Haley was reelected after calling the removal of the Battle Flag “a stunt” – and then she pulls that stunt a year later?

    Ms. Horne alleged that she was a descendant of Jefferson Davis and a representative acting in the best interests of the people of the State. I was SO angry when I saw someone throw away her family to manipulate emotion, allegedly to respect families!

    I should not have been surprised, for she was betraying the State as well.
    Unsurprisingly, there was a news story saying that she (like Gov. Haley) is now being considered for national office, where abilities to lie and betray are valued.

    It is not often that someone is celebrated for breaking two Commandments – in this case, “honor thy father and mother” as well as “thou shalt not bear false witness”.

    Our Godless media sent this video of Ms. Horne viral, broadcasting this shameful violation of her sacred oath.

    Here’s a warning: When people advocate destroying those who value history and truth through lies and manipulation, then such advocates will have no qualms in destroying you, and are probably lying to and manipulating you. The media giveth, and the media can taketh away.

    Capt. Jack Shackelford, a one-time resident of Winnsboro SC and a survivor of the Goliad massacre, said of those who were murdered there: “Can Texas cease to cherish the memory of those, whose dying words gave a pledge of their devotion to her cause?” But Ms. Horne is praised for ceasing to cherish OUR State’s soldiers who fought to defend US. She is praised for modeling that descendants should disclaim their ancestors. Lies have been told about the 1961 history of the Flag and our State to advance this. How does this inspire pride?

    When Ms. Horne’s lie about Jeff Davis was discovered, she then blamed her grandfather – insulting HIM for HER beliefs. Lying about one’s relations appears to be another disgusting fad in national politics. In effect, Ms. Horne has just proven OUR position — of those of us who know IT IS VITAL for ANY people that we know and cherish our history as more than mere platitudes that have lost meaning.
    But it’s now too late, the damage and dishonor done. Some are proud they “put one over” on the sheeple. You are devils of deceit. You should be ashamed.

    I suppose – in that future Gov. Haley chooses for us all – people are supposed to use and sacrifice *whatever* despite tradition, values and common sense.. This process Gov. Haley characterized as respecting both sides. How long before the coercion becomes violent tyranny? If you valued and knew your history – and your oath – you would know this is the road we are traveling.

    Thus, I am writing – because Gov. Haley seems to have missed it in her press release – that Ms. Horne’s perverted performance and this process IN NO WAY honored the cherished history of South Carolina that has MADE US WHAT WE ARE, nor did it honor the victims of Charleston as much as the respect shown by the SCV.

    We now have continuing strife, with vandalism (and calls for more) against monuments and sites, kids and communities being disrupted over mascot names, and I am sure the street and town renamings and corpses dug up happening elsewhere will be tried here as well. You could really please the national communists who want to erase our heritage by limiting the 1st Amendment against Flag displays on cars and private property. Our POTUS has now recommended voting rights for felons – just like Jesse Jackson wants. I don’t remember electing Jesse Jackson, but he appears to run the agenda that Jenny Horne helped promote through her peculiar form of argument.

    Any fool could and should have seen that societal disruption was the goal of the anti-Flag lobby, upset because Charleston didn’t riot like Baltimore and Ferguson. Racial harmony has never been their goal. One positive — Flag sales and interest have skyrocketed. Instead of the defiance of tyranny being aimed towards the Yankees, it has now been aimed at Columbia. We the People of South Carolina – of any race, color or creed – cannot rely upon our media OR our representatives.

    Sodom & Gomorrah were destroyed for the want of 10 good men. At least today in South Carolina we have 23 — and for that we are thankful. I was thankful for the long debate. But the next time such nonsense is pulled, please tell babies and liars like Jenny Horne to come back when she becomes worthy of her office.

    • Brooks D. Simpson July 16, 2015 / 11:03 am

      My highlighting Ms. Horne’s error should not be taken as approval of the position of her opponents. However, it deals a rather severe blow to the notion that activism precludes sound scholarship (not that those obsessed with that notion will notice … it doesn’t fit in with their own agenda).

    • Jimmy Dick July 16, 2015 / 11:14 am

      The flag is flown by racists and ignorant people. If that is your choice, so be it. Enjoy being labeled as racist. Enjoy being labeled as ignorant.

      The people of South Carolina wanted the flag down. It is down. A minority of people want to keep it up. Too bad, so sad. Voice your opposition in the next election. Do not be surprised when you fail. Then you can whine some more and cry about being a victim. In the meantime the flag will stay down.

      • Susan C. Griffin August 29, 2015 / 5:26 am

        Hey Jimmy, your surname describes you well!!

        • Jimmy Dick August 29, 2015 / 12:27 pm

          Bad day?

    • bob carey January 6, 2016 / 1:04 pm

      The comment on felons being able to vote is ironic. Confederates, who committed treason, were allowed to vote soon after they surrendered. Does Ms Magdalen think this was the right thing to do?

      • Tybalt February 18, 2016 / 8:37 pm

        It was the Unionists who committed treason, not the Confederates.

  16. Kenneth carter February 18, 2016 / 11:41 am

    Then all flags are racist,I would love to be related to Jefferson Davis..

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