Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Local News

June 22, 2012

Living history

GLASGOW — J.W. Binion is a time traveler.

When he does, he puts on a black wool frock coat and other business attire of the 1860s and assumes the role of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy.

As a living historian, Binion, of Glasgow, travels across the state and occasionally out of state portraying Davis, something he began doing about two years ago.

Binion describes himself as a “history nut,” and says he enjoys portraying Davis.

“It gives me an opportunity to tell the story that history books don’t tell,” he said.

While people may know Davis was president of the Confederacy and that he was born in Kentucky, there are some things about him people may not know.

“President Davis, prior to the war, had been a military hero in the Black Hawk War. He fought Indians in the Southwest. He was a colonel in the Mississippi Militia during the Mexican War,” Binion said. “He served in the U.S. Congress as a congressman from Mississippi. He served two terms in the Senate from Mississippi. He was Secretary of War for President Franklin Pierce. It was he who was instrumental in getting the Transcontinental Railroad through. So, if it hadn’t been for Davis’ efforts, California might have been another 30 years making it to the Union.”

They also may not know that Davis received his appointment to West Point at age 16 and graduated at age 20, or that his roommates were Leonidas Polk and Albert Sidney Johnston — both major figures of the Civil War.

But if they get to witness Binion portraying Davis, they may learn those facts.

For the full story, read the Weekender print or e-Edition of the Glasgow Daily Times.


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