Local retired judge writes historical novel on Jefferson Davis

  • Friday, April 11, 2014


Davis Maring, a former circuit judge, has just published his fifth novel, Jefferson Davis Before He Wore Confederate Gray. The book remains true to the historical perspective, as it explores the factors that influenced Davis, and the political climate that ultimately led him to accept the Presidency of the Confederacy. By the end of the novel, the reader will understand Davis’ philosophy on the Constitution and his view of the proper relationship of the States to Washington.

Despite the fact that Davis is an extremely interesting figure, he has never been the subject of fiction. Maring’s flow of words carries the reader down the path that Davis took as he becomes an American hero in the Black Hawk War after his graduation from West Point.

After the war, Davis leaves the army to marry Knoxie Taylor, the daughter of his commanding officer. Within four months she is dead from malaria, and Davis never recovers from his bout with the fever, and the loss of the love of his life.

At the age of thirty-eight, Davis marries Varina Howell, a seventeen-year-old educated woman from a prominent family. The great difference in their age is a recipe for domestic problems.

Despite his poor health, Davis is elected to Congress, but resigns during his first term to command a Mississippi regiment in the Mexican War. He serves under his former father-in –law. Next to General Zachery Taylor, Davis is the most widely acclaimed hero of that conflict. After the war, Davis is elected to the Senate. During this first term, he is responsible for establishing the Smithsonian.

Appointed Secretary of War during the Pierce administration, Davis institutes many lasting reforms, including merit selection of officers. The president places an additional burden upon Davis by delegating to him the design of the present Congressional building.

After his service as Secretary of War, Davis is once again elected to the Senate. But the clouds of Civil War are already gathering. When Mississippi secedes, he resigns from the Senate and returns to his state. Shortly thereafter, he is elected President of the Confederacy.

Maring is now writing another historical novel, Lincoln: Before The Conflict, which he hopes will be completed in January, 2015.

The author will autograph copies of his novel, on Jefferson Davis, at Clock Tower Books at 105 Screven St. in Georgetown, on Saturday, May 10 from 11:30 – 1:30.


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