Montgomery’s St. John’s Episcopal Puts “Jeff Davis” Pew in Storage

David was a member for a few months, before the Confederate Capital moved to Richmond.

     An Episcopal church pew in Montgomery with a brass marker designating it as the pew in which the first and only president of the Confederacy sat has been put into storage. An unmarked pew has been put in its place at St. John’s Episcopal on Madison Avenue.

The Jefferson David pew at St. Johns Episcopal Church in Montgomery, marked with cross finials and a brass plaque that was installed till long after the Civil War ended.   (Photo courtesy of David Berenguer).

An undated photo of the church on Madison Avenue posted on the church website, likely from the early decades of the last century based on the cars parked at the church.



Church Rector Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr. sent a message to his congregation including this:


The pew was not recognized formally or dedicated to Davis’ memory until 1925. At the dedication of the pew, on Pentecost Sunday, a controversial politician and outspoken proponent of segregation from Tennessee, John Trotwood Moore, addressed the congregation. Moore had gained national attention by filibustering in Congress against an anti-lynching bill. Lynchings had become so frequent in the 1920s that Congress sought a way to outlaw them. Moore stood for lynching.


At the dedication of the pew in 1925, the pew itself was not in place. Sometime between 1900 and 1925 the original pews in the nave were replaced with new ones. Most probably they were installed in 1906 when the chancel was expanded to its current dimensions. One of the original pews was put back in by 1934 but not before 1925 as shown in photographs in our archives. The lore that the pew had been in place since the beginning of the Civil War and always known as the Jefferson Davis Pew is not true.

You can read the entire message HERE.




Categories: Montgomery, News, Statewide