Jefferson Davis Family - CSPM

Jefferson Davis Family

Following the U.S. Civil War, many soldiers turned their eyes west in search of a future home and occupation. Notably, staunch abolitionist General Palmer and a dozen of his men helped found Colorado Springs. In the early 1880s, the family of Joel Addison Hayes and Margaret Davis Hayes arrived from Memphis, Tennessee. Margaret was the daughter of Jefferson Davis, the former President of the Confederacy. Remarkably, the Palmer and Hayes families not only tolerated each other – but became friends in the same social circles.

– From the CSPM Curator of History

Joel Addison Hayes, his wife Margaret Davis Hayes, and their children arrived in Colorado Springs in 1885 from Memphis Tennessee. Margaret was the daughter of Jefferson Davis. Neither she nor her husband had any connection to Colorado Springs. It was chosen, perhaps due to a letter from Jefferson Davis to his wife Varina when he visited in 1875. He wrote that she would enjoy the beautiful flowers. Joel’s health issues brought him to seek the clean air of Colorado. He brought a letter of introduction from his former bank in Memphis and was hired by the First National Bank. It was an entry level position that would eventually lead him all the way to the top – as President of the Bank.

When they arrived in 1885, the couple had three children: Varina, Lucinda and Jefferson. Son William was born in Colorado Springs in 1889. Margaret focused on two things; her husband and children, and her father’s legacy after his death in 1889. At the funeral of her father, the Hayes family joined Jefferson’s widow, Varina Davis. They agreed that the name Davis needed to continue. They asked young Jefferson Addison Hayes to change his name. At the tender age of 6, his name was changed to Jefferson Hayes-Davis.

A man of great energy, Joel Addison Hayes had a tremendous impact on Colorado Springs – and one that still continues today. He was one of the founders of Glockner Hospital, now called Penrose. He also helped in the incorporation of The Colorado College Land Company, which created the campus of Colorado College that you see today. He became a financial advisor for both the Penrose and the Tutt families. He was among the first members of the El Paso Club and the Cheyenne Mountain Country Club. When gold was discovered in Cripple Creek in 1891, Joel became the banker for the miners. Most of these were tradesman with no family. Hayes created trusts that provided resources that still benefit Colorado Springs today. His banking leadership led to the creation of the Colorado Bankers Association.

Margaret died in 1906 of cancer. Joel would live until 1919. The four children all married in Colorado Springs. Many of the historic names of Colorado Springs are associated with the Hayes family, including Hayes-Davis, Webb, Sinton Dairy, the Collins family and Varina Hayes Bennet Stewart. Many Davis Family relatives still make their home in Colorado Springs, and continue to contribute to the community.

Generously Submitted by Bertram Hayes Davis, Davis Family Historian

Collection Gallery

Additional Sources: