Sarah Ann Ellis Dorsey (1829 – 1879)

“DORSEY, Sarah Anne Ellis, author, was born in Natchez, Miss., Feb. 16, 1829; daughter of Thomas and  _____ (Ware) Ellis; stepdaughter of Gen. Charles G. Dahlgren, C.S. A.; and a niece of Catharine Ann (Ware) Warfield, author of “The Household of Bouverie.” She was educated under private teachers and spent much time in foreign travel and study, acquiring a proficiency in painting and music, and becoming an accomplished linguist. She was married in 1853 to Samuel W. Dorsey, a lawyer and planter of Tensas parish. La. Her first literary work was done for the New York Churchman, under the pen-name “Filia Ecclesie.” She was deeply interested in the welfare of the colored race and erected a chapel on her plantation in which she taught a class of negroes every Sunday. On the outbreak of the civil war she entered a Confederate hospital as nurse, and gave freely of her fortune to aid the southern cause. Her husband died in 1875 and she removed to her estate at Beauvoir, La., where she devoted her time to literary work. Upon the removal of Jefferson Davis and his family to ” The Pavillion,” a portion of her estate, she gave valuable assistance to Mr. Davis in the preparation of the “Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government in America.” She bequeathed her entire estate at Beauvoir to Mr. Davis, making his youngest daughter the residuary legatee. Her published works include: Recollections of Henry Watkins Allen, ex-Gocernor of Louisiana (1866); Lucia Dare (1867); Agnes Graham (1869); Atalie; or, a Southern Villeggiutura (1871); and Panola; a Tale of Louisiana (1877). She died in New Orleans, La., July 4, 1879.”

Source:  The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, by Rossiter Johnson, PH. D., LL.D. and John Howard Brown, Vol. 3, The Biographical Society, Boston, 1904.


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