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Davis/Johnson Tea or Coffee Set Described

By Patricia B. Mitchell

Edna M. Colman included in her book White House Gossip: From Andrew Johnson to Calvin Coolidge (Doubleday, Page, & Company, New York, 1927, p. 48) a description of a tea or coffee set which was the only gift of value accepted by Andrew Johnson while serving as president:

… a unique silver, brass, and porcelain facsimile of a railroad locomotive and tender which had been especially designed as a gift to Jefferson Davis and owned by him previously to the evacuation of Richmond. It had been purchased at auction and was sent to President Johnson by Mr. A. Barratti. The boiler received the tea or coffee and made and then discharged it through a spigot, the miniature steam whistle indicating when the beverage was ready. The tender carried the sugar and glasses and container for the cognac. Its sides carried racks for cigars, and a tiny secret music box, when set, played eight popular airs. Upon the side of the locomotive, “President Jefferson Davis” was emblazoned. In front, where the cow catcher belonged, the Confederate banner and battle flag, entwined with the ensign of France, had been fashioned into a charming design.

Where is the Set Now?

Dear friends,

Does any reader know where the above fascinating piece of memorabilia is now? If you have any information about it, please drop me a line by e-mail or letter.

Thank you!

Patricia Mitchell
P. O. Box 429
Chatham VA 24531-0429