A to Z – Beauvoir

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April 2016 A to Z Challenge. I’m participating in the challenge by writing about history.

B is for Beauvoir.





BeauvoirBeauvoir, meaning beautiful view, is know by many people, especially civil war buffs. It’s an antebellum home that sits on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico in the beautiful town of Biloxi, Mississippi. It was many things but best known as the home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.



It was built between 1848 and 1852 by a rich plantation owner as a summer home for his family. After the man died, it was sold in 1873 by his widow for back taxes, then sold again three months later to a Sarah Dorsey.

In 1877 (following the civil war), Jefferson Davis was on the coast, looking for a place of solitude to write. He visited his family friend Mrs. Dorsey and they agreed he should stay there. He loved the home so much, he offered to buy it, and she sold it to him for $5,500.00 to be paid in three payments. After making the first payment, Mrs. Dorsey died. President Davis then found in her will that he was her sole heir.

President Davis lived in the home until his death in 1889. His daughter Winnie inherited the house and sold it to the Sons of Confederate Veterans with the stipulation that the home be used to house Confederate veterans and their wives at no charge until it wasn’t needed anymore. The last of the veterans vacated the premises in 1957. The home was severely damaged in Hurricane Katrina but is now again open as a tourist attraction and historical site.

If you find yourself in Biloxi and you’d like to visit, daily tours of the mansion run every hour between 9:30am and 4:30pm. The property is located at 2244 Beach Blvd, Biloxi, MS 39531  (228) 388-4400. You can visit their website HERE.


culpepper Joel B CulpepperMy second great grandfather Joel Bluett Culpepper served in the civil war Co. K 63rd Alabama infantry. He signed up at the age of seventeen. In 1863, he was captured and held at Fort Massachusetts on Ship Island until the end of the war. Under his rights as a Confederate veteran, he spent the last ten months of his life at Beauvoir, dying at the home 11 Jan 1911. He is on the records there as James B Culpepper.



October Ancestry Challenge – Joel B Culpepper

oct ancestry challenge-001The October Ancestry Challenge 2013 is 23 posts in 23 days (Monday through Friday) about 23 ancestors.

We’re in week two!

Ancestor #6 – Joel Bluett Culpepper

culpepper Joel B CulpepperMy great great grandfather Joel Bluett Culpepper was born in 1845 in Clark County, MS and died 11 Nov 1911 at Beauvoir Confederate Soldiers home in Biloxi, MS.

If you’re not familiar with Beauvoir, it was the home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and following the Civil War, it was turned into a home for Confederate veterans. It is now a historical site and I have sat on that porch many, many times. The first photo is pre-hurricane Katrina. The second is me on the rebuilt front steps in December 2012.

Beauvoirdec 2012 231

Joel was born to Rev. Joseph M Culpepper and Nancy Yarbrough along with 3 brothers and 2 sisters. His paternal grandparents were Simeon Culpepper and Elizabeth Bluett. That’s where his middle name came from. It’s an old southern tradition to give maiden names of mothers and grandmothers to son and grandsons.

Page 1 joel Joel signed up for the 63rd Alabama Infantry Co K, stating that his residence was in Choctaw Co, Alabama. His brother Benjamin signed up for the 40th Alabama Infantry Co C. I have no idea why the boys signed up in Alabama or if they were actually living there at the time. The answer may lie in their father.

Their father, the Rev Joseph M, signed up for the 37th Mississippi Infantry on April 11, 1862 and died on August 15th of the same year in a battle at Columbus, Mississippi. Joel was only 17 at the time and Benjamin was 18. They may have been sent to Alabama to live with relatives following their father’s death and signed up for the cause to honor him. The enrollment date on Benjamin’s war documents is October 1863 in Sumter County, Alabama, but the date is not visible on Joel’s document, but it was definitely before Benjamin signed up. Page 4 joseph

fort massachusetts on ship islandPrior to Benjamin signing up, on April 9, 1863, Joel was captured by Federal Forces and held prisoner at Fort Massachusetts on Ship Island until the end of the war. He was an 18-yr-old boy.

In 1870, Joel married Mary E “Mollie” McFarland and they had six children, one of them being my great grandfather William Samuel “Sam” Culpepper who married Annie Josephine Blanks. I wrote about her in my Ancestor #1 blog.

Mollie died in 1908, and Joel moved in with his daughter for a time until it was decided he would enter Beauvoir under his rights as a Confederate soldier. He lived there for 10 months preceding his death. The records on file name him as James B Culpepper. He and Mollie are laid to rest at Zion Cemetery in Kemper County, Mississippi. culpepper, mary e molly mcfarlandculpepper, joel bluitt