Sarah Ann Ellis Dorsey

Sarah Ann Ellis Dorsey, author

Sarah Ann Ellis was a childhood friend of Varina Howell, wife of Jefferson Davis. She was the daughter of a wealthy Louisiana planter who maintained his home in Natchez and who also owned plantations in Mississippi and Arkansas.
She had known Davis most of her life and often visited in the home of his elder brother, Joseph, at Hurricane Plantation on the Mississippi River, south of Vicksburg. Sarah Ann married Samuel Worthington Dorsey, a native of Maryland, who managed her properties well after her parents died.

Sarah Dorsey purchased 600 acres, including James Brown's house, on July 7,1873 from Frank Johnston, and after the death of her husband, Sarah Dorsey made her home at Beauvoir. She gave the house the name it still bears, signifying
its "beautiful view." A cousin, a Mrs. Cochran, made her home with Sarah Dorsey at Beauvoir.

Dorsey had completed her education in England and was a woman of exceptional educational standing. She corresponded with numerous intellectual and literary figures all over the world. She even held membership, which was rare for a woman, in the New Orleans Academy of Science. She wrote many magazine articles and six novels: Agnes Graham was serialized in 1863 in the Southern Literary Messenger and was published in book form in 1869. Lucia Dare was published in 1867, Athalie in 1872, and Panola in 1877. Two other novels, Vivacious Castine and The Vivians were written for the Church Intellegencer and were never published in book form. Her finest work was a biography of Governor Henry W. Allen of Louisiana, a close friend of the Dorseys. This book, published in 1866 bears the title Reflections of Henry W. Allen.

Sarah Dorsey spent less than six years at Beauvoir, selling the property to Jefferson Davis on February 19, 1879.
(Collected from

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