The Fredonia Valley Heritage Society, together with Kentucky Chautauqua, will present "Jefferson Davis: On Dark and Bloody Ground," at the Fredonia American Legion Building on Dorroh Street in Fredonia on Thursday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend. Prior to the presentation, at 6p.m., there will be a fish fry hosted by the Fredonia Valley Heritage Society.

Actor Kevin Hardesty portrays Jefferson Davis for Kentucky Chautauqua. Hardesty earned his B.F.A. in acting/theatre from the University of Kentucky in 1986, and has since performed professionally in theatre, film, and television, including prominent leading roles in "Biloxi Blues," "Hamlet," Macbeth," and "Romeo and Juliet."

Davis was born near modern-day Fairview on June 3, 1808, to Samuel and Jane Cook Davis, the last of 10 children (there is a popular story that his mysterious middle initial - "F" - stands for the Latin word "finis," meaning "the end").

Having spent his boyhood in Kentucky, the family moved to Louisiana, then to Mississippi, before Davis moved back to Kentucky for formal education at Transylvania University. He attended West Point for military training, for which he was better remembered for a court martial and youthful shenanigans than any academic achievement. He would however, by adulthood, distinguish himself in military service in both the Black Hawk and Mexican-American wars. While serving under Colonel (and future President) Zachary Taylor, Davis met and fell in love with his daughter, Sarah Knox Taylor. Despite early objections to Davis as a romantic match because of the hardship of military families, the two were married in 1835. Sadly, both Davis and his new bride contracted malaria while honeymooning in Louisiana, and Sarah Davis died three months after the two were married. Davis would spend the rest of his life suffering debilitating recurrences of malarial symptoms and other health complications as a result.

Davis spent his years as a widower in reclusion, building his Mississippi plantation, Brierfield, and dabbling in politics. In 1844, he fell in love again, with 17-year-old Varina Howell, half his age and bristling with intelligence and devotion. They were married in 1845 and in that same year Davis was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

The mood of the nation was darkening and dividing, with increasing tensions between the northern and southern states. This tension came to a boil with the presidential election of 1860, and the anti-slavery candidacy of the Republican nominee, Abraham Lincoln. With his victory, the southern states saw little choice but to secede. By the time Lincoln took office in 1861, the Confederate States of America had been born and Davis - initially reluctant to secede - had been chosen its president.

The Civil War that followed proved to be the bloodiest in United States history, with casualties far exceeding the totals of all its wars combined - even to this day. The nation was not divided merely by region and state - countless households were pitted against each other and against themselves, with whole families split by passionate allegiances to both sides of the conflict.

Despite being severely outmanned and outgunned, and bested both technologically and by resources, Confederate forces persisted for four long years, coming close -- at times -- to winning the war and repelling Union forces. However, Davis was not as successful a commander-in-chief as he was a secretary of war.

Davis did not anticipate the abrupt end of the war, and was sent into hasty exile. As he and his family fled Union capture, Lincoln was assassinated and Davis was immediately suspected as the engineer of the conspiracy. He was captured and imprisoned for two years, during which time Lincoln's successor Andrew Johnson failed to both unite the country after the war and properly charge and try Davis for a crime. After a harsh and humiliating incarceration, Davis was eventually released and never received the trial that so many enemies, and even he, wished to see.

In his later years, Davis spent time as president of Carolina Life Insurance and wrote a two-volume memoir of the war and his failed nation: "The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government."

Davis died in New Orleans on Dec. 6, 1889. Despite his victorious battles in the Mexican-American War, his dedication to the United States of America's government and army, he is most remembered as the face of the enemy, the Confederacy. His legacy is not one of a man who loved his country but as one who left it.

Kentucky Chautauqua is an exclusive presentation of Kentucky Humanities with support from: Christina Lee Brown, the Carson-Myre Charitable Foundation, the Cralle Foundation, the Elsa Heisel Sule Foundation, Farmers State Bank, the Hayswood Foundation, the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, Morehead State University, Mountain Telephone, Murray State University, Paducah Bank, People's Rural Telephone Cooperative, PNC, the R.C. Durr Foundation, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky. Kentucky Humanities is a non-profit Kentucky corporation. For more information, visit kyhumanities.org or call 859-257-5932.

Following the program, there will be a short business meeting.

The Fredonia Valley Heritage Society is for anyone interested in learning more about the heritage and history of the Fredonia Valley and for those who want to see the history of our community preserved for future generations.

The society is in the process of compiling its third publication. This book will feature veterans from the Fredonia Valley. It should be available for purchase shortly.

The fourth reprint of the society's first publication, "The History of the Fredonia Valley," is still available for sale. The beautifully bound hardback book is 552 pages and has 1,750 photographs, over 200 family histories, approximately 10,000 names, and includes historical accounts of the Fredonia Valley from the 1780s until the present. It covers an area within a six mile radius around Fredonia, including parts of Caldwell, Crittenden, and Lyon counties. The cost is $50.

The society's second publication, "In Pursuit of Art - The Talent of John F. Rice," is also still available for sale. It is a hardback book full of over 335 wonderful pieces of Rice's art in full color with historical descriptions. His artwork reflects his love for the Fredonia Valley and its people and also includes art from his time in France and other locations. The cost is $40.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of either book, you may contact Pam Faughn at pamfaughn@att.net. To have the book mailed, send the price of the book plus $6 for mailing cost together with your name, address, and phone number to Fredonia Valley Heritage Society, P.O. Box 256, Fredonia, KY 42411.

Meetings are held on the first Thursday of every odd numbered month where you can learn more about the history of the Fredonia Valley through informative programs and speakers. Membership fees annually are as follows: $15.00-Individual; $25.00-Family; $30.00-Businesses per Voting Member; $250.00-Lifetime One Time Payment.

Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Fredonia Valley Heritage Society is encouraged to attend the meeting on Thursday, Sept. 5, at 6 p.m.tucky, the family moved to Louisiana, then to Mississippi, before Davis moved back to Kentucky for formal education at Transylvania University. He attended West Point for military training, for which he was better remembered for a court martial and youthful shenanigans than any academic achievement. He would however, by adulthood, distinguish himself in military service in both the Black Hawk and Mexican-American wars. While serving under Colonel (and future President) Zachary Taylor, Davis met and fell in love with his daughter, Sarah Knox Taylor. Despite early objections to Davis as a romantic match because of the hardship of military families, the two were married in 1835. Sadly, both Davis and his new bride contracted malaria while honeymooning in Louisiana, and Sarah Davis died three months after the two were married. Davis would spend the rest of his life suffering debilitating recurrences of malarial symptoms and other health complications as a result.

Davis spent his years as a widower in reclusion, building his Mississippi plantation, Brierfield, and dabbling in politics. In 1844, he fell in love again, with the 17-year old Varina Howell, half his age and bristling with intelligence and devotion. They were married in 1845 and in that same year Davis was elected to the United States House of Representatives. The mood of the nation was darkening and dividing, with increasing tensions between the northern and southern states. This tension came to a boil with the presidential election of 1860, and the anti-slavery candidacy of the Republican nominee, Abraham Lincoln. With his victory, the southern states saw little choice but to secede. By the time Lincoln took office in 1861, the Confederate States of America had been born and Davis - initially reluctant to secede - had been chosen its president.

The Civil War that followed proved to be the bloodiest in United States history, with casualties far exceeding the totals of all its wars combined - even to this day. The nation was not divided merely by region and state - countless households were pitted against each other and against themselves, with whole families split by passionate allegiances to both sides of the conflict. Despite being severely outmanned and outgunned, and bested both technologically and by resources, Confederate forces persisted for four long years, coming close - at times - to winning the war and repelling Union forces. However, Davis was not as successful a Commander-In-Chief as he was a Secretary of War.

Davis did not anticipate the abrupt end of the war, and was sent into hasty exile. As he and his family fled Union capture, Lincoln was assassinated and Davis was immediately suspected as the engineer of the conspiracy. He was captured and imprisoned for two years, during which time Lincoln's successor Andrew Johnson failed to both unite the country after the war and properly charge and try Davis for a crime. After a harsh and humiliating incarceration, Davis was eventually released and never received the trial that so many enemies, and even he, wished to see.

In his later years, Davis spent time as President of Carolina Life Insurance and wrote a two-volume memoir of the war and his failed nation: The Ride and Fall of the Confederate Government.

Jefferson Davis died in New Orleans, on December 6, 1889. Despite his victorious battles in the Mexican-American War, his dedication to the United State of America's government and army, he is most remembered as the face of the enemy, the Confederacy. His legacy is not one of a man who loved his country but as one who left it.

Kentucky Chautauqua is an exclusive presentation of Kentucky Humanities with support from: Christina Lee Brown, the Carson-Myre Charitable Foundation, the Cralle Foundation, the Elsa Heisel Sule Foundation, Farmers State Bank, the Hayswood Foundation, the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, Morehead State University, Mountain Telephone, Murray State University, Paducah Bank, People's Rural Telephone Cooperative, PNC, the R.C. Durr Foundation, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky. Kentucky Humanities is a non-profit Kentucky corporation. For more information, visit kyhumanities.org or call (859) 257-5932.

Following the program, there will be a short business meeting.

The Fredonia Valley Heritage Society is for anyone interested in learning more about the heritage and history of the Fredonia Valley and for those who want to see the history of our community preserved for future generations.

The society is in the process of compiling their third publication. This book will feature veterans from the Fredonia Valley. It should be available for purchase shortly. This book will be one you will definitely want for your library.

The fourth reprint of the society's first publication, "The History of the Fredonia Valley", is still available for sale. The beautifully bound hardback book is 552 pages and has 1,750 photographs, over 200 family histories, approximately 10,000 names, and includes historical accounts of the Fredonia Valley from the 1780's until the present. It covers an area within a six mile radius around Fredonia, including parts of Caldwell, Crittenden, and Lyon Counties. The cost is $50.

The society's second publication entitled "In Pursuit of Art - The Talent of John F. Rice" is also still available for sale. It is a unique hardback book full of over 335 wonderful pieces of John Rice's art in full color with historical descriptions. His artwork reflects his love for the Fredonia Valley and its people and also includes art from his time in France and other locations. The cost is $40.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of either book, you may contact Pam Faughn at pamfaughn@att.net. To have the book mailed, send the price of the book plus $6 for mailing cost together with your name, address, and phone number to Fredonia Valley Heritage Society, P.O. Box 256, Fredonia, KY 42411.

Meetings are held on the first Thursday of every odd numbered month where you can learn more about the history of the Fredonia Valley through informative programs and speakers. Membership fees annually are as follows: $15.00-Individual; $25.00-Family; $30.00-Businesses per Voting Member; $250.00-Lifetime One Time Payment.

Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Fredonia Valley Heritage Society is encouraged to attend the meeting on Thursday, Sept. 5, at 6:00 p.m.