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Unique presidential sites in Mississippi River Country

Mississippi River Country is not just Lincoln, Clinton and other notable presidents–it’s also home to lesser-known presidential attractions.

Lincoln home in Illinois
Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Springfield (Credit: Adam Alexander)

While some of Mississippi River Country’s states are associated with towering historical figures (think Abraham Lincoln and Illinois or Bill Clinton and Arkansas), there are lesser-known presidential attractions to discover, too. Here’s a look at two unique sites in the state of Mississippi.

The story of ‘Teddy’s Bears’

Did you know the teddy bear was born in a small town in the Mississippi Delta? It’s true—on a hunting trip to the tiny town of Onward, Mississippi, in 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt refused to shoot a captive bear, claiming it would be unsportsmanlike. The story quickly made its way across the nation, and a toy shop owner in New York soon started calling his stuffed toy bears “Teddy’s Bears.” The name stuck, and today, the teddy bear is the state toy of Mississippi and the nearby town of Rolling Fork hosts an annual celebration called The Great Delta Bear Affair.

The home of the Confederate States’ only president

In the Mississippi Gulf Coast city of Biloxi, you’ll find Beauvoir, the seaside retirement estate of Jefferson Davis, the sole president of the Confederate States of America. Davis lived in the home from 1876 until his death in 1889. The 51-acre (21 hectare) site is now home to the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library, the Confederate Museum, the Tomb of the Unknown Confederate Soldier, and a historic cemetery.

Other presidential attractions in Mississippi River Country: