It was a long way from the Hermitage to Springfield, Kentucky. The Hinds party finally came to the Bluegrass country, and their destination: the first Roman Catholic school west of the Appalachians. With it on a steep hill overlooking the rolling land were a little church and the first convent for men in British America, all built in the previous decade by Dominicans driven out of Bornheim, Belgium, during the French Revolution. Father Edward Fenwick, a native of Maryland, was one of them. He and three English Dominicans had established the priory, St. Rose's Church, and the school, which they named for their illustrious predecessor, St. Thomas Aquinas College. 1
Here the Hinds family left Jeff Davis and Howell in the care of the white-robed fathers. Young Charles B. Green, a Mississippian studying law in Kentucky, was Jeff's guardian. For the next two years, the boy was grounded, so far as his age allowed, in a curriculum offering “Greek, Latin, French, English, Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Algebra and Geometry … Geography, and the use of the Globes.” In his autobiographical narrative, Davis does not say anything about that or about the lovely panorama of Kentucky countryside from that high hill. What he remembers is the people. “From whatever reason, the priests were particularly kind to me…. I was so small at this time that one of the good old priests had a little bed put in his room for me.” One day, the other boys organized a revolt, against this priest especially.
They persuaded me to promise to blow out the light which always burned in the room; so, after everything was quiet I blew it out; then the insurgents poured in cabbages, squashes, biscuits, potatoes, and all kinds of missiles. As soon as a light could be lit, search was made for the culprits, but they were all sound asleep and I was the only wakeful one. The priests interrogated me severely, but I 45