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Title: Andrew Jackson's Hermitage
Author: Caldwell, Mary French
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Andrew Jackson's Hermitage" ***

    [Illustration: Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage]

                       ANDREW JACKSON’S HERMITAGE

  _The Story of a Home in the Tennessee Blue-Grass Region, Which, from
 Pioneer Log Cabin to Ante-bellum Mansion, Furnished the Background of
             “Old Hickory’s” Dramatic and Colorful Career_

    [Illustration: Decorative pattern]

                        By MARY FRENCH CALDWELL

                              Published by
                   The Ladies’ Hermitage Association,
                          NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
                         (First edition, 1933)

                            Copyright, 1949
                          MARY FRENCH CALDWELL

   Author: _General Jackson’s Lady_—A Story of the Life and Times of
    Rachel Donelson Jackson, Beloved Wife of General Andrew Jackson,
  Seventh President of the United States. 1936. (Illustrated 555 pp.)

                  PRINTED AND BOUND IN THE U. S. A. BY

  This Small Volume Is Dedicated to the Patriotic Women Whose Untiring
       Labors Made Possible the Preservation, in Its Entirety, of
                       ANDREW JACKSON’S HERMITAGE
and to Those, Who Down through the Years, Continue to Guard It as One of
        the Most Priceless Treasures of Tennessee and the Nation

                            FOREWORD: (1933)

  By the late John H. DeWitt, distinguished jurist and historian, who
  was President of the Tennessee Historical Society and Judge of the
  Court of Civil Appeals.

The history of the Hermitage, Andrew and Rachel Jackson, their domestic
life, their relations with their friends and her kin, is of charming
interest. Mrs. Mary French Caldwell has recorded in this booklet much of
this history that has not hitherto been published. She has made patient
research into old records and other documents, bringing to light
Jackson’s transactions in certain lands, his acquisitions of home sites,
and building and rebuilding of homes. She has restated who were his
immediate kin by affinity and his closest local friends. She has revived
the color and atmosphere of life at the Hermitage in the years when its
master was its beloved and dominating personality in the flesh.

The Ladies’ Hermitage Association has done a fine service in publishing
this manuscript for the benefit of all lovers of this history. It should
be eagerly obtained and carefully studied by tourists as well as by all
other Americans. They will profit by it in culture and in patriotism.

                       BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE

  Mrs. Robert F. Jackson                                        _Regent_
  Mrs. Wm. P. Cooper                                 _First Vice-Regent_
  Miss Fermine Pride                                _Second Vice-Regent_
  Recording Secretary                              _Miss Martha Lindsey_
  Corresponding Secretary                          _Mrs. Douglas Wright_
  Treasurer                                             _Mrs. Roy Avery_

Directors: Mrs. George F. Blackie, Mrs. Charles E. Buntin, Mrs. Lyon
Childress, Mrs. Paul DeWitt, Mrs. Edgar M. Foster, Mrs. E. W. Graham,
Mrs. Douglas Henry, Mrs. Gilbert Merritt, Mrs. Jesse M. Overton, Mrs.
William Weymss.

Board of Trustees: Mr. E. A. Lindsey, Nashville, Chairman; Mr. William
E. Beard, Nashville; Mr. Henry Barker, Bristol; Mr. Lewis R. Donelson,
Memphis; Mr. Lawrence Winn, Nashville; Mr. Herbert Gannaway, Memphis;
Mr. Stanley F. Horn, Nashville; Dr. Marvin McTyiere Cullom, Nashville.

Regents of the Association have been: Mrs. Mary L. Baxter, Mrs. J.
Berrien Lindsley, Mrs. Mary C. Dorris, Miss Louise Grundy Lindsley, Mrs.
B. F. Wilson, Mrs. Bettie M. Donelson, Mrs. Harry Evans, Mrs. R. R.
Henry, Mrs. Walter Stokes, Mrs. James S. Frazer, Mrs. Edward A. Lindsey,
Mrs. Reau E. Folk.

Mrs. Jesse M. Overton, Mrs. E. W. Graham, Mrs. George F. Blackie, and
the present regent, Mrs. Robert F. Jackson.

Publications Committee: Mrs. George F. Blackie, Miss Martha Lindsey and
Miss Fermine Pride.


It was not difficult to choose a name for this little volume. _Andrew
Jackson’s Hermitage_ is neither new nor original, but it has had common
usage for such a long period of years that it seems by far the most
natural title for any work dealing with that historic old mansion which
offered a haven of peace and contentment to “Old Hickory,” during both
the storms and the calms of his eventful career. In every respect it is
Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. Its fertile fields sustained him, its trees
sheltered him, and the friendly walls of the dwellings which he placed
in the midst of its broad acres were not only his refuge in times of
dissatisfaction with the outside world, but they formed the castle to
which he welcomed his friends. It mattered little that the first
Hermitage was an humble abode of logs. He was its master, and his guest,
whether he happened to be the polished and elegant Aaron Burr or some
uncouth backwoodsman, was given a royal welcome.

The mistress of the Hermitage—Rachel, the beloved and adored—was the
_raison d’être_ of the whole establishment. She was, to Andrew Jackson,
the center of the universe—the one fixed thing around which all of the
affairs of his life revolved. Her happiness was his greatest concern
and, in building a home, her comfort and pleasure were his first
consideration. She was not the kind of a woman, however, to accept such
adoration without repaying it in thought and in deed. She was an
excellent housekeeper, a gracious hostess, and an efficient manager of
the whole plantation. Like many women of the South, she was often left
for months at a time in charge of the entire estate, for travel was
difficult and tedious, and men who participated in public affairs were
forced to endure long absences from home. During the early years of
their marriage General Jackson, either as an attorney or as judge,
traveled hundreds and hundreds of miles over wilderness trails. His
mercantile business, as well as his legal and political activities, took
him frequently to Philadelphia, Natchez, or other distant points. Later,
the Creek campaigns and activities leading up to the Battle of New
Orleans kept him away from the Hermitage for months at a time. After the
victory in 1815 Mrs. Jackson accompanied him on trips to Washington, to
Florida, New Orleans, and other places where his fame drew great crowds
around them. There never was a time, however, when fame had any
attraction for Rachel. All that she asked was that the lord and master
of the Hermitage be freed to return to their peaceful fireside.

Of General Jackson’s devotion to his wife there are hundreds of
evidences. From the time he killed Charles Dickinson in the duel
provoked by a rash reference to the unfortunate circumstances of their
marriage, until his dying day, he was known for his almost fanatical
devotion to her, and his desire to punish anyone who might cast a slur
upon her fair name. Only Rachel’s suffering after Dickinson’s death and
her gentle restraint kept his fiery temper under control.

The Hermitage stands upon the spot which Rachel Jackson selected. The
walls of its central portion sheltered her, and to-day they house many
objects made sacred by her touch. In the long years which intervened
between her death and that of her distinguished husband, her memory was
kept green by his devotion. The young lovers who, during his last years,
laughed and danced through the pleasant rooms and hallways of the old
mansion and wandered in the moonlight to the magnolia-shaded tomb in the
garden caught something of his immortal love story.

Both he and Rachel loved young people. They had no children, but in 1809
they adopted a baby—a nephew of Mrs. Jackson’s—and down through the
years the Hermitage was enlivened by the happy laughter of children and
of young people: sons and daughters of neighbors, of Mrs. Jackson’s kin,
and of the General’s friends and associates. There have been many brides
and many happy wedding parties at the old mansion, and the General
himself was not averse to lending a helping hand in cases where Dan
Cupid did not make progress rapidly enough to suit him.

Nothing reveals the gentle, human side of Andrew Jackson more completely
than a study of the contacts made through various avenues of his home
life. Nor can anything else as thoroughly prove his wisdom and good
common sense. He had the greatest deference for women and a great
tenderness for children. He was a compassionate master of slaves, a
great lover of horses and fine cattle, and an excellent farmer. He was a
shrewd trader and a meticulous observer of his own debts to others—and
theirs to him. His only bad business deals, and they were not many, were
those where his affection for a kinsman or a friend got the better of
his cold reasoning power.

The picture which it is hoped that this little volume will create in the
minds of the readers is that of Andrew Jackson, the husband and father,
the host to friends and neighbors, and to such of the nation’s great as
came to his doors; the farmer who delighted in the productivity of his
broad acres; the merchant who rode each day to his store at Hunter’s
Hill or Clover Bottom; the warrior who returned with the laurels of New
Orleans to a log house; the statesman, weary with fame and the long,
lonely years, who came back to his Hermitage to sit out the remainder of
his days near the tomb of his beloved Rachel.

It is this conception of Jackson that the Hermitage perpetuates. The
little museum which was once the nursery of his grandchildren houses
relics of his military career and a rare collection of his state papers.
Of this side of his life the nation is already well informed. The house
itself speaks eloquently of the life which once vibrated its now quiet
rooms. His office is filled with books which knew the frequent touch of
his hands; his dressing gown lies across a chair in his bedchamber, and
the miniature of Rachel is in its accustomed place on the table at his
bedside. In the parlors the portraits of his “military family” look down
upon silent rooms which, when they knew them, were full of music and
laughter. The dining room, once the center of a lavish hospitality, is
quiet, and the kitchen is no longer filled with negroes, bustling about
and singing before a great open fire. It requires no great powers of
imagination to people these rooms again. The inanimate objects are
there. They have been carefully preserved by a patriotic group of women
who realized their value in time to keep them in their original setting.
Down through the years they will be guarded jealously by women who
follow in the footsteps of the founders of the Ladies’ Hermitage
Association, and so will be preserved the home of one of the greatest of
all Americans and the setting of one of the most beautiful love stories
of all times.

  “The Hermitage—a thing we hold in trust,
    As true men guard their forbears’ swords from rust.
  Forbid it, God, that there should ever come
    In length and breadth of this fair land of mine,
  Such dearth of patriots that a warrior’s home
    Should come to seem less holy than a shrine....”

(From “The Hermitage,” Will Allen Dromgoole, _Nashville Banner_, Jan. 6,

                       ANDREW JACKSON’S HERMITAGE

“Beginning at a Hickory tree....” There is something prophetic in the
description of the tract of land which Andrew Jackson bought from
Nathaniel Hays on August 23, 1804. Nothing had yet happened in the
career of General Jackson which even hinted that his wiry strength of
body and of will would some day win for him the enduring title, “Old
Hickory.” The long, weary, homeward march from Natchez with his loyal
Tennesseans was a decade ahead of him. The battles of the Horseshoe and
New Orleans and the fame which followed them were undreamed-of events of
a shadowy, uncertain future. No one foretold that the hickory tree would
become symbolic of the man, nor that the tract of land he was buying
would some day be one of the nation’s most important shrines. Certainly
no one saw in the purchaser the future idol of the nation and the ruler
of its destinies during a period which called not only for superior
statesmanship, but for unconquerable will and determination.

It is even more interesting to trace the history of the Hermitage tract
back to the original grant made by the State of North Carolina to
Nathaniel Hays, on April 17, 1786, and to see that the hickory tree
still holds the initial place in defining the boundary line. This old
grant reads:

  “State of North Carolina. Know ye that we have granted unto Nathaniel
  Hays six hundred and forty acres of land in Davidson county including
  a spring which lies in the entrance into Jones’ bent on the South Side
  of Cumberland River, _beginning at a hickory_ and a hackberry in Colo
  John Donelson’s line thirty-one poles South of his North East Corner,
  running thence along Samuel Hays line, East four hundred and eight
  poles to a white oak and mulberry, North two hundred and fifty one
  poles to a white oak corner to Hugh Hays line west four hundred and
  eight poles to a black walnut, South two hundred and fifty one poles
  to the Beginning. To Hold to the said Nathaniel Hays his heirs and
  assigns forever, dated the seventeenth day of April 1786.

                                                            “Rd. Caswell
                                                 “Daniel Smith Surveyor.

  “J. Glasgow, Sec.
  “James Buchanan Richd Jones.”

  The Jackson deed to this tract, dated August 23, 1804, showing a lapse
  of eighteen years from the original grant, describes the boundaries as
  follows: “_Beginning at a Hickory tree_ and Hackberry on Colo John
  Donelsons line, now Savern Donelsons line, thirty-one poles South of
  his North East Corner Runing thence along Samuel Hays line, now his
  heirs, East two hundred and fifty four poles Crossing Spring Branch
  three poles to a Gum Taylors Corner Thence north with Taylors line Ten
  poles to a Small Hickory thence North nine Degrees East along Taylors
  line to a Black Oak Standing on the South Boundary line on Hugh Hays
  premption now belonging to the heirs of Samuel Donelson Des^d thence
  along Hugh Hays line West to a Black Walnut the South West Corner of
  Said Hugh Hays premption thence South two hundred and fifty one poles
  to the beginning it being a part of a Premption granted to the said
  Nathaniel Hays from the State of North Carolina by a patent bearing
  Date the Seventeenth day of April One Thousand Seven Hundred and
  Eighty six, and N^o twenty four to have and to hold the said Tract or
  Parcel of Land with its Appurtenances to the only use and behoof of
  the said Andrew Jackson his heirs and assigns forever and the said
  Nathaniel Hays doth by these presents Oblige himself his heirs
  Executors and Administrators to warrant and forever Defend the Right
  Title and Interest of the Said Tract or Parcel of Land with the
  Appurtenances thereunto Belonging to the said Andrew Jackson his heirs
  and assigns forever against the Claim or Claims of all and Every
  Person legally claiming the Same in Testimony whereof the said
  Nathaniel Hays has hereunto set his hand and affixed his seal the day
  and date first above and for than purpose mentioned.

                                                           “Nath^l Hays.

  “Witness John Coffee
  “Vance Greer & Alex^r Donelson.”

When this tract was finally deeded to the State of Tennessee in 1856,
the description of boundaries had become more technical. The surveyor
began his measurements at a stake in Kerr’s line, and there is little in
his description to remind the reader of the original boundary lines. The
deed held by the State of Tennessee contains, however, a reference to
the spring and the spring branch, but instead of being measured, in the
picturesque fashion of the old-timers, from tree to tree, the distances
are reckoned from stake to stake, and the symbolic hickory tree is
dropped from the legal record of the boundaries.

This last recorded deed of the property, which appears on Page 149, Book
24, at the Davidson County Court House, reads in part: “... the
following parcel of land situate in said county and State and being part
of the late residence of Andrew Jackson deceased, containing by survey
of Jesse B. Clements, Esquire, five hundred acres of land counted as
follows, viz., Beginning at a stake on the northwest corner of A. H.
Kerr’s formerly Col. William Ward’s land running thence East with his
North boundary line, crossing the Lebanon Turnpike Road at one hundred
and twenty-nine (129) poles in all two hundred and ten (210) poles to a
stake in the West boundary line of A. J. Donelson’s land thence North
six and a half (6½) degrees East with his line one hundred and fifty six
(156) poles to the Road aforesaid Thence North four (4) degrees East
with said line thirty (30) poles thence North one (1) degree still in
the Donelson’s line East thirty three (33) poles to a Stake thence South
eighty-eight (88) degrees West passing three poles North of the Spring
and Stone spring house at one hundred and forty two (142) poles in all
two hundred and thirty six (236) poles to a stake in William Donelson’s
East boundary line thence South one and a half (1½) degrees East with
his line ninety four 94 poles to a Stake one of his corners thence West
with another line of said William Donelson one hundred and eighteen
poles to a Stake on the East Side of a Small branch thence North fifty
nine (59) degrees West crossing said branch sixty one (61) poles to a
Stake thence South with another line of said William Donelson two
hundred and twelve poles (212) to a Stake thence East one hundred and
seventy five and a half (175½) poles to a Stake in said Kerr’s West
boundary line, thence North (1½) one and a half degrees West with said
line sixty five and a half (65½) poles to the beginning corner and
including the late mansion, Tomb, Spring and Spring House, Barn and
Stables of Genl. Andrew Jackson, deceased, as will more fully appear by
reference to the plat at the head of this deed which is made part

Before Andrew Jackson moved to the Hermitage, he lived on a near-by
estate known as “Hunter’s Hill.” It is well, however, before going into
the history of his home on this property, to trace briefly his
residences from the time of his arrival in Davidson County in the fall
of 1788.

We are legally informed of his presence and the beginning of his
professional duties by the statement in Minute Book A, Davidson County
Court, under the date of January 5, 1789, to the effect that “Andrew
Jackson Esquire produced a licence to practice as an attorney at law in
the Severall County courts in this State: and now in this court has
taken the Oath of an Attorney.”

Young Attorney Jackson, then in his twenty-first year, had come West to
make his fortune. With him was John McNairy, who had but recently been
appointed judge of the Superior Court of North Carolina’s western
district. John Overton, another young lawyer, had come West from
Virginia by way of Kentucky, and it soon happened that he and young
Jackson found common quarters at the home of the Widow Donelson. The
young men were fortunate, for fare in such a home as Mrs. Donelson’s was
far better than that in the few stations or military posts which offered
the only other shelter for young unattached men. Many of the families
still lived in the stations and, in the most severe periods of Indian
hostilities, every home which was not a well-manned fortress was
abandoned. Mrs. Donelson had come to the Cumberland settlement in 1780
with her husband, Col. John Donelson, commander of the pioneer flotilla
which brought the families of the first settlers to the site of
Nashville. They arrived April 24, 1780, with their large family and
slaves, and settled on the now famous “Clover Bottom” tract on Stone’s
River. Summer and autumn of that year, however, brought serious
difficulties. Indians had attacked the settlement, food was scarce,
crops had been lost in an overflow, and Col. Donelson was faced with the
necessity of returning to the east on business for himself and other
settlers. His large family was a serious responsibility and, rather than
leave them without his protection he took them, in the fall of 1780, to
the Kentucky settlement, where food was more plentiful, and where they
would not be such a burden to the other settlers. The residence of the
Donelson family until 1785 was in the neighborhood of Harrodsburg, but
Col. Donelson, his older sons, and his sons-in-law, were engaged in
various activities which kept them in motion up and down the western
frontier from Natchez to the Cumberland and Harrodsburg. They were
preparing, however, to take up a permanent residence in the Cumberland
in 1785 when Col. Donelson, on his way from Kentucky to the Cumberland
settlement, met a mysterious death, either at the hands of the Indians
or two young white men who were, for a part of his journey, his

Mrs. Donelson and her sons, however, had established themselves on lands
in the Cumberland settlement. The home of Mrs. Donelson was on the
opposite side of the river from Jones’ Bend, in which Jackson was later
to own lands and at the entrance of which his Hermitage was to be
located. About the time of Jackson’s arrival on the Cumberland, Mrs.
Donelson was forced to send to Kentucky to bring her daughter, Rachel,
who, in 1785, had been married to Lewis Robards, of Mercer County, to
the protection of the parental roof. Young Mrs. Robards had been made
desperately unhappy by the ill nature and unjust suspicions of her
husband and he, in a fit of temper, ordered her to leave his home. No
sooner had she been carried to Tennessee by her brother than the husband
became repentant and John Overton, who had boarded at the Robards’ home
in Kentucky and was familiar with both families, assumed the rôle of
peacemaker. Consequently a reconciliation was brought about and Robards
came to live at Mrs. Donelson’s, with the avowed intention of not
repeating his unfair treatment of his young wife and the apparent
determination to make his home in the Cumberland. At any rate, in July,
1788, he acquired two important tracts of land in the neighborhood. The
first was a tract of something over a thousand acres, purchased from
William Mabane. It was, according to the deed, “A certain tract or
parcel of land situate lying and being in Green County and State
aforesaid on the West fork of Big Harpeth River....” The consideration
was “the sum of two hundred pounds current money.” (Davidson County was
taken off of a portion of Greene County.)

The other tract, which by a peculiar turn of fate was to become the
property of Andrew Jackson, was later known as “Hunter’s Hill.” This
tract was granted to Lewis Robards by the State of North Carolina on the
tenth day of July, 1788. It was sold by him for two hundred pounds to
John Shannon on March 19, 1794—a significant fact, for on January 17,
1794, Andrew Jackson’s second marriage to Rachel, Robards’ divorced
wife, took place. It is evident that Lewis Robards had no further
interest in lands in Tennessee.

In the time which intervened between Robards’ arrival at Mrs. Donelson’s
in 1788 and his final departure for Kentucky in May or June, 1790, the
old story of the jealous husband was repeated. This time Andrew Jackson
was the target of his anger and unjust suspicions, just as another young
man—one Peyton Short—had been back in Kentucky. The incidents of this
period are well known. As the breach between Robards and his wife
widened, Jackson and Overton removed to Mansker’s Station and, finally,
Robards set out for Kentucky alone, threatening, however, to return and
to force Rachel to go back to Kentucky with him. To escape him she fled
to friends in Natchez either late in the year of 1790 or early in 1791,
and Andrew Jackson went along to help protect the party against the
Indians. Later news came to the Cumberland that a divorce had been
granted Robards by the Virginia legislature in an act passed December
20, 1790, and Jackson hastened to Natchez to woo the unhappy Rachel.
They were married in Natchez in August, 1791, and returned to Nashville
in September. It was not until December, 1793, that Robards revealed the
fact that the Virginia legislature had granted him only the right to sue
for divorce in the courts of Kentucky. He exercised that right in the
Mercer County court, term of September, 1793, and in the following
December John Overton brought to the astounded Jackson the news that the
Natchez marriage had not been legal. The second marriage took place
openly, and though the circumstances which necessitated it were deplored
by friends of the Jacksons, the situation was fully understood and no
blame was attached to either of them.

About the time of the second marriage the Jacksons were probably living
on a tract of land in “Jones’ Bent” known as Poplar Grove. There is
little known of this period, but a letter of Jackson’s, dated May 16,
1794, is headed “Poplar Grove, Tenn.” This tract, bought from John
Donelson for the sum of one hundred pounds, April 30, 1793, was,
according to the deed recorded at the Davidson County Court House,
located on “the lower end of a survey of 630 acres granted the said John
Donelson by patent.” It is described as being “on the south side of
Cumberland River in Jones Bent and bounded as follows—Beginning at sugar
tree red oak and elm on the bank of the river, the lower end of the
tract running thence north sixty degrees....”

    [Illustration: Mrs. Rachel Jackson

    Mrs. Jackson’s likeness is from the miniature which General Jackson
    wore every day until his death.]

    [Illustration: General Andrew Jackson

    His is from the well-known military portrait by Earl.]

The next important purchase from the standpoint of Jackson’s homestead
was that of the Hunter’s Hill tract from John Shannon on March 7, 1796,
“for and in consideration of the sum of seven hundred dollars to him in
hand paid by the said Andrew Jackson.” It is impossible to trace
definitely the residence of Rachel and Andrew during the years
intervening between their marriage in the late summer of 1791 and the
acquisition of the Hunter’s Hill tract in 1796. They must, for a period
at least, have lived with Mrs. Donelson, or in the household of some
member of the family. Rachel had frequently lived at the home of her
sister Jane, Mrs. Robert Hays, of Haysborough—once the rival of
Nashville. A study of Indian hostilities of the period indicates that
permanent residence outside the strongholds of the community was not
practical. In 1792 Buchanan’s station was attacked by a party of several
hundred Indians, and as late as September, 1794, five men were fired
upon by the Indians “near Mr. Andrew Jackson’s, on the south side of
Cumberland River.” One was killed and two wounded.

Several things happened in 1794 which indicate that the Jacksons were
established in a home of their own—the reference in a communication to
the War Department to the Indian depredations “near Mr. Andrew
Jackson’s”; the previously mentioned letter, which Jackson himself
headed “Poplar Grove, Tenn. May 16, 1794;” and freedom from Indian
attacks on outlying settlements. The important Nickajack expedition,
which brought an end to all organized Indian hostilities in the section,
took place in that year.

The death of Mrs. Jackson’s mother, Rachel Stockley Donelson, which,
according to a marker erected a few years ago by members of the Donelson
family, occurred in 1794, was offered in the first edition of the
present work as another reason that Andrew and Rachel Jackson had gone
into a home of their own. This seems to be in error. As far as the
writer knows at present, the date of her death has not been established.
However, it was after October 2, 1800. (See pp. 491-92, _General
Jackson’s Lady_, by Mary French Caldwell.)

The Nickajack expedition was noteworthy, not only for the success of its
immediate objects, but also for its effectiveness in bringing a lasting
peace to the frontiers, and for the fact that it was conducted in
defiance of the Federal government. The territorial governor, William
Blount, in a letter to General Knox, Secretary of War, written in
Knoxville, October 2, 1794, recites the sufferings of the inhabitants in
the “district of Mero” and tells of depredations which took place while
the frontiersmen were on their way to the Cherokee Lower
Towns—Nickajack, Running Water, and others of lesser importance.

  “While Major Ore was out against the Lower Town,” he wrote, “the
  Indians continued their depredations against the district of Mero. On
  the night of the fourteenth September, the Indians pulled up a part of
  the stockading of Morgan’s station, and took out a valuable gelding
  tied to his dwelling house. The sixteenth of the same month, a woman
  on Red river near Major Sharp’s was killed by the Indians. The same
  day a party of Indians fired upon five men near Mr. Andrew Jackson’s,
  on the south side of Cumberland river, killed one man, and wounded
  two; among the latter is Mr. John Bosley. The same party burned the
  houses of John Donnelson and the widow Hayes. From the nearness of the
  time, and the distance of the situation, within which the above
  injuries were committed, there must have been three parties of
  Indians.” (_Indian Affairs_, Vol. I, page 663.)

The Nickajack expedition began on September 8, 1794, so at the time that
these depredations took place the settlement was in an unprotected
condition. Since before the Civil War Andrew Jackson’s participation in
this campaign has been a matter of dispute. The historian Ramsey, in his
_Annals of Tennessee_, said that he served as a private; but Putnam, in
his work on Middle Tennessee, basing his statement on the word of men
who participated in the expedition, declares that he did not go. Putnam
is followed by Parton and, since both of them have so vehemently denied
that he had a part in it, this position has been almost generally

Ramsey based his statement on papers of Willie Blount, half brother of
the territorial governor, who, at the time was secretary of the
territory, and was later himself governor of Tennessee. Both Putnam and
Parton have failed to take into consideration the importance of Blount’s
testimony—or, perhaps, did not have access to his papers. A letter which
should settle the controversy permanently has been recently acquired by
the state historian and librarian, Mrs. John Trotwood Moore. This
letter, written to General Jackson on January 4, 1830, by Willie Blount,

  “I have by me the rough draft of sundry letters, from me to you, none
  of which have yet been either copied or mailed: they relate to things
  gone bye, & so, no matter whether they are ever sent or not: they
  speak only of the pleasurable feelings I experience in the knowledge I
  possess of the motives and conduct in the various promotions of my
  friend yourself and the result of your efforts since the battle of
  Nickajack, commanded by Orr: where, as Sampson Williams says, our
  friend, the Mountain Leader, the friend of man, was at that never to
  be forgotten good days work, in which you lent an active useful hand,
  that gave peace to our frontier, never to be forgotten by me.”

It is fitting that this letter should be published for the first time in
a volume on the Hermitage, for it is an interesting contribution to the
incomplete records of Andrew Jackson’s early career in Tennessee. It is
not strange, of course, that these records should be scant. Jackson was
too young, too busy, and too completely unaware of the greatness which
awaited him to have an interest in preserving personal records of this
early period. Certainly his acquaintances could not have seen in the
tall, slender, red-haired young attorney a future president and a great

Many disconnected court records may be found. A few of his account books
survive and some of his letters have escaped oblivion; but, for the most
part, the records of his early military activities, his mercantile
business, and his land deals are incomplete. It is impossible to quote
in detail from the court records of his land deals—that would require a
separate volume. It is possible to show from them, however, that when he
owned both the Hunter’s Hill and Hermitage tracts, his holdings in the
Hermitage neighborhood totaled something like 1,200 acres. The extent of
his land fluctuated from time to time with his changing fortunes. For
instance he sold the Hunter’s Hill tract in 1804, bought it back at a
later period of prosperity, and sold it again under financial pressure.
At his death he held a plantation in Mississippi, as well as his
Hermitage estate and adjoining lands bought from the heirs of Savern

The Hermitage estate, as described by Andrew Jackson himself on
September 30, 1841 (Bassett, Correspondence of Andrew Jackson, Vol. VI,
p. 125) was as follows:

“The following is the boundery of my Hermitage track and its appendages,
viz, Beginning at a stake, Andrew Jacksons South East corner, on Major
A. J. Donelsons west boundery line and Mrs. Wards North East corner,
running line thence North Eight east with A. J. Donelson to a post oak
near A. J. Donelsons gate, then West to the turn pike road, then with
the turn pike road to the old road leading to James Saunders ferry,
thence North with A. J. Donelsons line to an ash and Locust, then East
with his line to a black oak, thence North with his line to the North
boundery line of Hugh Hays premption, thence West with the old
preemption line to a stone, the North West corner of Hugh Hays
preemption thence south with this preemption line, passing a walnutt
corner, (the South West and North West corner of said Hugh Hays, and
Nathaniel Hays preemption) continued South with said N. Hays line to the
mouth of the lane leading to Wm. Donelsons to a cedar stake, the North
east corner of Savern Donelsons 640 acres that _he died_ seized of and
the South east corner of William Donelsons land, thence West along the
old line to a cedar stake, corner to A. Jackson and William Donelson,
thence down the meanders of a branch to a stone corner, thence south
with Wm. Donelsons line, passing his corner, and with T. Dodsons line to
a white ash at Dodsons fence, then East with Dodsons line, and Mrs.
Wards line to an Elm, then North with Mrs. Wards line to a dogwood,
Andrew Jacksons corner, thence East to the beginning, containing in all
nine hundred and sixty acres. I send you the exterior boundery of my
whole tract....”

His holdings in other parts of the territory which is now Tennessee were
almost as limitless as the wilderness itself. Like the other leaders of
the period—although on a somewhat smaller scale than his brother-in-law,
Stockley Donelson, William Blount, and John Sevier—he dealt in great
bodies of wild lands. One interesting thing that Jackson’s records show
is that he was remarkably successful in many of his deals, particularly
in the smaller ones which had to do with the exchange of lands in the
neighborhood of Nashville. It is extremely interesting to observe that
on March 19, 1794, Lewis Robards sold the future Hunter’s Hill tract to
John Shannon for the sum of two hundred pounds; that on March 7, 1796,
Andrew Jackson bought it of Shannon for seven hundred dollars; and that
on July 6, 1804, Jackson sold it to Edward Ward for $10,000. A rough
estimate of sixteen land deals recorded in Davidson County in Books C
and D shows that between May 3, 1793, and February 18, 1797, he had
bought something like twenty-seven thousand acres of land at an
expenditure of about $20,000. These records show his major transactions
of this period for two very obvious reasons—the land to the east was
already largely taken up and the land in the major portion of what is
now Middle Tennessee, as well as that in the future West Tennessee, was
recorded in Davidson County. These deals are catalogued briefly as

                                 Book C

Page 134—Approximately 630 acres of John Donelson, in Jones’ Bent, for
100 pounds, August 30, 1793.

Page 140—320 acres of James Robertson and Hugh Leeper, on north side of
Duck River, on Leeper’s Creek, for 100 pounds currency, May 3, 1793.

Page 242—640 acres of Edward Cox of Sullivan county, in Davidson County
on east branches of Mill Creek, for 500 pounds, February 11, 1794.

Page 316—Buys as highest bidder, for eleven pounds, 640 acres on Big
Harpeth joining Governor Martin’s survey, August 2, 1794. (Land
recovered at July court, 1793, by Henry Bradford against Lardner Clark.)

Page 492—5,000 acres for $400, bought of Joseph B. Neville, Sheriff of
Tennessee County, a tract of land on Reelfoot River, the property of the
heirs of Henry Boyer, which had been advertised for forty days and sold
at Clarksville to Sheriff Neville, who represented Andrew Jackson and
was the highest bidder. April 18, 1796.

Page 493—250 acres for $60 sold to Andrew Jackson by Thomas Hickman.
Located “on the south side of Tennessee River, some small distance from
where a hurricane hath crossed said river....” Recorded April 18, 1796.

Page 495—640 acres for the “sum of six pence an acre” from Reese Porter,
“in the Middle District lying on the South side of Duck River on the
waters of Lytle’s Creek.” April 19, 1796.

Page 495—640 acres for $700, of John Shannon, Logan County, Kentucky, “a
certain tract or parcel of land containing 640 acres ... situate and
lying in the said county of Davidson on Cumberland river on the south
side ... it being a premption grant to Lewis Robards by grant from the
State of North Carolina, bearing date of July tenth 1788.” March 7,
1796. (This is the Hunter’s Hill tract.)

Page 496—1,000 acres for $250, in the Western District of Tennessee, on
the waters of the north fork of Deer River, bought of William Terrell
Lewis. March 11, 1796.

Page 497—525 acres for $5.25, part of 1,280-acre tract belonging to “one
George Augustus Sugg.” Sold at Sheriff’s sale, December 8, 1795.

                                 Book D

Page 42—5,000 acres for $2,500, “in the Middle District on the Middle
fork of Elk River,” bought of Elijah Robertson, May 14, 1796.

Page 43—5,160 acres for $6,000, composed of twelve tracts of land, much
of which had been granted to Elijah Robertson by the State of North
Carolina, May 14, 1796.

Page 48—“One undivided half or moiety of a tract of land on Chickasaw
Bluff, beginning about one mile below the mouth of Wolf River, which s^d
tract was granted to John Rice by patent bearing date the 25th day of
April 1789,” bought of John Overton for $100, February 28, 1796.

Page 108—640 acres for $540, in Sumner County on South Side of the
Cumberland and on “Spencer’s Creek, including the Lick,” bought of
Joseph Hendricks, February 18, 1797.

Page 454—2,560 acres for $2,000, four tracts of 640 acres each in Sumner
County, bought of Martin Armstrong and Stockley Donelson, May 9, 1796.

Page 455—3200 acres from $3,000, five tracts in Sumner County, bought of
Martin Armstrong and Stockley Donelson, May 9, 1796.

Page 455—1,000 acres for $1,000, “in the middle district on the North
side of Duck River, Opposite the mouth of Lick Creek, known by some by
the name of Sugar Creek ...” bought of Stockley Donelson, May 9, 1796.

                                 Book F

Page 70—10,000 acres for $182. On April 19, 1802, “at the Court House in
the Town of Nashville 85,000 acres of land contained in grants for 5,000
acres each ... lying and being on Duck River in the Middle District and
within the District of West (now Middle) Tennessee aforesaid which
sixteen tracts were granted to John Gray Blount and Thomas Blount by
them conveyed to David Allison deceased and by said David Allison in his
lifetime mortgaged to Norton Pryor and ordered and decreed by said court
to be sold to pay the mortgage money and Interest with Costs, and
whereas Andrew Jackson Esquire at said sale became purchaser of two of
said tracts for five thousand acres each ... for the sum of $182 ... he
being the highest and last bidder ... and whereas the said Andrew
Jackson has sold and transferred all his right in and to one of said
tracts of 5,000 acres ... to John Overton and Jenkin Whiteside for the
Consideration of $1,666.66 to him paid and secured ... upon the
condition that the said Andrew is not to be answerable in any way or
manner for Damages or the Consideration Money in case the Land should be
Lost or Taken away by any Claim or Title whatever....” April 25, 1802.

Page 188—Sold to Edward Ward 640 acres for $10,000, July 6, 1804. (This
was the Hunter’s Hill tract bought from John Shannon on March 7, 1796,
for $700.)

Page 241—425 acres for $3,400, bought of Nathaniel Hays (ancestor of the
late John Hays Hammond), August 23, 1804. (The Hermitage tract, which
sold to the State of Tennessee in 1856 for the sum of $48,000.)

Book E records the purchase of 1,000 acres for $500, and this with the
deals mentioned in Book F adds 11,425 acres to the total of 27,825 acres
mentioned in deeds between 1793 and 1797, making a grand total of 39,250
acres. These eighteen transactions show that for most of the land
Jackson paid a reasonably good price for the period, and that sometimes
he made a fabulous profit. This study by no means gives a complete
picture of his land deals, but it gives an idea of his major deals at
the period of his greatest activity in this field. There never was a
time in his life when records of his personal business would not show
some activity in the purchase or sale of land.

His mercantile business, which is quite as interesting, was confined to
the earlier period of his life in Tennessee. It began about 1795 and
ended, tradition says, in 1809, when as a wedding gift to General John
Coffee, his former partner, he tore up the notes which he held on the
Clover Bottom store.

As early as 1795 we find Andrew Jackson in partnership with David
Allison in a shipment of goods from Philadelphia to Nashville. Five
years earlier Allison, Jackson, Overton, and others were licensed to
practice law in the new territory by Governor William Blount, and
various records show Allison’s activities in Davidson County, as well as
in Philadelphia, where he was a well-known merchant. From this
connection and subsequent associations in both land and mercantile deals
developed a relationship which was finally to force Jackson to sell his
handsome Hunter’s Hill tract in order to meet his obligations. It is a
long and complicated story, and its chief importance in the present
connection is that responsibility for Jackson’s loss of Hunter’s Hill
and his removal to more humble quarters on the Hermitage estate is
usually attributed to the Allison deal. It is a significant fact,
however, that Allison’s failure, which occurred about 1795, did not
result in the sale of Hunter’s Hill until July 6, 1804. It is
reasonable, then, to suppose that it by no means crippled Jackson, as
most writers contend; although it undoubtedly marked the beginning of a
long struggle through a period of financial unrest and depression which
resulted finally in a plan of retrenchment and reorganization.

    [Illustration: The Log Hermitage—1805

    The building in the foreground was once a two-story block-house.]

    [Illustration: The Brick Hermitage—1819

    Wings were added in 1831, and the small building was removed.
                               _From Harper’s Magazine of January, 1855_]

On the twenty-third of August, 1804, Jackson paid Nathaniel Hays $3,400
for the 425-acre tract, “with its appurtenances,” which was to be known
later as the Hermitage.[1] This reference to appurtenances would
indicate that some kind of a building or “improvements” stood on the
property when Jackson bought it. This theory is strengthened by the fact
that the present study has revealed no records which prove definitely
that Andrew Jackson erected a log building at the Hermitage in 1804 or
1805, and by the tradition in the Hays family that one of its members
built the Hermitage. Another point which strengthens it is that both of
the log houses now standing on the Hermitage estate have in their walls
the customary holes for rifles which were made in the days of Indian
fighting. This was not necessary at the time Jackson bought the
Hermitage, for Indian hostilities were ended by 1795.

There must have been, however, considerable remodeling of the buildings,
even though no new house was erected. Account books of the Hunter’s Hill
store, which form a valuable part of the collection of historic
documents at the Hermitage, show that in November, 1804, “17 window
lights” are charged to Jackson’s personal account. It is possible that
as time goes by a letter or other record may come to light which will
tell something more definite on the building or remodeling of the log
Hermitage. These account books are especially important in placing the
removal from Hunter’s Hill to the Hermitage. The last entry at the
Hunter’s Hill store was made on April 5, 1805, and the first at the
Clover Bottom store on April 9. It is interesting to observe in this
connection that the first letter in Bassett’s _Correspondence of Andrew
Jackson_, headed at the Hermitage, was dated April 7, 1805. There is a
lapse of several months in the letters, however, since the last one
Bassett quotes from Hunter’s Hill is dated August 25, 1804. It is
probable, although not a definitely established fact, that the removal
of the store and residence took place simultaneously.

It is known, of course, that Hunter’s Hill was a commodious, two-story
frame building—a marked contrast with the usual log houses of the
period. In later years it was burned, and there remains to-day on the
site of the Hunter’s Hill residence nothing more than a few scant traces
of houses which may, or may not, have been a part of the dwellings,
slave quarters, store, or other buildings used while the Jacksons lived
there.[2] The spring, of course, remains; the Cumberland flows gently
along its distant, tree-lined banks; and fertile fields still yield up
their annual tribute to careful husbandry. But marks of Jackson’s
occupation of the land are obliterated and, except as the story is
pieced together from bits of information gathered here and there, its
history is lost in obscurity.

More is known of the log Hermitage, although its history is far from
complete. Most of the letters of people who were guests of the Jacksons
during this period are tantalizing for their lack of detail. The best
and more than likely the most authentic description of the interior of
the log Hermitage is that given in Buell’s _History of Andrew Jackson_.
The author, in a series of interviews with Mrs. James K. Polk, wife of
President Polk, has preserved much important material relating to the
Jackson household. In his preface to Mrs. Polk’s narrative he says:

  “In the early seventies of the 19th Century the author of this work
  visited Nashville more than once in the capacity of a newspaper
  correspondent. On those occasions he enjoyed the honor and pleasure of
  calling upon Mrs. Sarah Childress Polk, widow of the President. Mrs.
  Polk was in her seventy-first year then. Her fund of historical and
  social reminiscences was exhaustless, and the best efforts to
  reproduce in print her faculty of relation would be feeble. Born in
  1803, about twenty-eight or thirty miles from Nashville and not over
  twenty miles from the Hermitage, she had known the Jacksons from her
  earliest childhood. When she grew up and married Mr. Polk, the
  intimacy became still closer, and the relations between General
  Jackson and her husband in public life on the most important scale
  gave her recollections a quality of historical value not equalled by
  those of any other woman of her time....

  “Mrs. Polk said that Mrs. Jackson—or ‘Aunt’ Rachel—was literally the
  childless mother of the whole neighborhood.... In their vicinage
  General and Mrs. Jackson were, of course, by far the most important
  persons. But no one would suspect it from observing the way and manner
  of their intercourse with the neighbors. In this respect the General
  was the most democratic of men, while Mrs. Jackson was at once the
  soul of merry-making and the embodiment of benevolence and charity.

  “Their home manners, Mrs. Polk said, were the most charming concert of
  simplicity with dignity. The General always in their earlier life said
  ‘Mrs. Jackson,’ both in the second and third persons; though, when
  their little adopted son began to talk, he got into the habit of
  addressing her as ‘mother.’ On her part, Mrs. Jackson invariably spoke
  of and to him as ‘Mr. Jackson,’ until after the War of 1812, she
  yielded to the universal fashion and began to call him ‘General.’ But
  no one ever heard either address the other by the first name or by any
  term of endearment or familiarity whatever. In fact, though more
  winning kindliness than that which marked the manners of both could
  not be imagined, there was yet an atmosphere of quiet self-respect and
  calm dignity about them which gently, though none the less
  imperatively, commanded scrupulous courtesy in their presence....

  “The Hermitage of the period now under consideration, Mrs. Polk said,
  was not the commodious country house so familiar to devout Democrats
  in pilgrimages of later years. It was a group of log houses in close
  proximity to each other. The principal one had been built for a
  block-house in the days of Indian alarms, afterwards used as a store
  and, about 1804, converted into a dwelling. It, like all block-houses,
  was two stories high. Near it were three smaller log houses, one story
  high with low attics. These were used as lodgings for members of the
  family or guests. The main building—the former block-house—had on the
  first floor one very large room with a huge fireplace capable of
  taking in a good-sized load of wood at a time. A lean-to had been
  built on at the back containing two rooms, one of which was used as
  the family sleeping quarters, the other as a pantry—or ‘buttery’ as
  the phrase was then. But the great room, about twenty-four feet by
  twenty-six, was at once kitchen, dining-room, sitting-room and parlor,
  and the large table that stood in the middle of it, capable of seating
  twelve to fourteen people comfortably, was always ‘set.’

  “... General Jackson was a wonderful adept in the art of anecdote, and
  particularly delighted in incidents having a spice of wit or humor.
  Mrs. Jackson’s observations and experience were, of course, much more
  limited, but she, too, was a fluent talker and always entertaining....
  She was an insatiable reader and was always far better informed upon
  current topics than the average woman of her time, even those who had
  been well educated. She was also a prolific writer, keeping up a close
  correspondence with her numerous relatives and with the General
  whenever he was absent from home. Her letters were simply her
  conversation on paper, with no effort at eloquence. As for grammar and
  orthography, Mrs. Polk said, neither in those days was the exact
  science it has since become, and she declared that while in the White
  House she had received notes from ‘leaders in society’ in Washington
  that would not compare favorably with the most hurried or careless of
  Mrs. Jackson’s letters.”

Mrs. Polk was excellently educated for her time. As a very young girl
she was sent to the Moravian Female Academy at Salem, North Carolina,
and later she was placed in a girls’ school in Nashville. She came, of
course, a generation after Mrs. Jackson and enjoyed privileges which
were not known in frontier days. Mrs. Polk’s estimate of the Jacksons is
especially important, not only because she knew them intimately from her
childhood, but also because by training and long contact with the
nation’s leaders and the great from other parts of the world, she had a
background which qualified her for unbiased judgment.

Another child destined for future greatness visited the Hermitage when
the log buildings were the family dwellings. He was Jefferson Davis,
future president of the Confederate States of America. What would “Old
Hickory” have said, when little “Jeff” Davis raced ponies and played
with Andrew Jackson, Jr., and other little boys at the Hermitage, had he
been able to foretell the future of his small guest? Fortunately for the
children, no shadow crossed their pathway, and even “Old Hickory” had
not been forced to declare in thunderous tones: “Our Federal Union—it
must be preserved.”

[Let it always be remembered, however, that Andrew Jackson’s passionate
loyalty to the Union was based upon an equally passionate devotion to
the Rights of the States. He said in a rough draft of his second
inaugural address, dated March 1, 1833 (Bassett, _Correspondence of
Andrew Jackson_, Vol. V, p. 26): “In proportion, therefore, as the
general government encroaches upon the rights of the states, in the same
proportion does it impair its own power and detract from its ability to
fulfil the purposes of its creation.”]

The story of Jefferson Davis’ journey from Mississippi to the Hermitage
is told briefly in his _Memoirs_.

  “When I was seven years old,” he states, “I was sent on horseback
  through what was then called ‘The Wilderness’—by the country of the
  Choctaw and the Chickasaw nations—to Kentucky, and placed in a
  Catholic institution then known as St. Thomas, in Washington County,
  near the town of Springfield. In that day (1815) there were no
  steamboats, nor were there stage-coaches traversing the country. The
  river trade was conducted on flat and keel-boats. The last named only
  could be taken up the river. Commerce between the Western States and
  the Lower Mississippi was confined to the water routes. The usual mode
  of travel was on horseback or afoot. Many persons who had gone down
  the river in flat-boats walked back through the wilderness to
  Kentucky, Ohio, and elsewhere. We passed many of these, daily, on the

  “The party with which I was sent to Kentucky consisted of Major Hinds
  (who had command of the famous battalion of Mississippi dragoons at
  the battle of New Orleans), his wife, his sister-in-law, a niece, a
  maid-servant, and his son Howell, who was near my own age, and, like
  myself, mounted on a pony. A servant had a sumpter mule with some
  supplies, besides bed and blankets for camping out. The journey to
  Kentucky occupied several weeks.

  “When we reached Nashville we went to the Hermitage. Major Hinds
  wished to visit his friend and companion-in-arms, General Jackson. The
  whole party was so kindly received that we remained several weeks.
  During that period I had the opportunity a boy has to observe a great
  man—a standpoint of no small advantage—and I have always remembered
  with warm affection the kind and tender wife who then presided over
  his house....

  “General Jackson’s house at that time was a roomy log-house. In front
  of it was a grove of fine forest trees, and behind it were his cotton
  and grain fields. I have never forgotten the unaffected and well-bred
  courtesy which caused him to be remarked by court-trained diplomats,
  when President of the United States, by reason of his very impressive
  bearing and manner. Notwithstanding the many reports that have been
  made of his profanity, I remember that he always said grace at his
  table and I never heard him utter an oath. In the same connection,
  although he encouraged his adopted son, A. Jackson, Jr., Howell Hinds,
  and myself in all contests of activity, pony-riding included, he would
  not allow us to wrestle; for, he said, to allow hands to be put on one
  another might lead to a fight. He was always very gentle and
  considerate.... Our stay with General Jackson was enlivened by the
  visits of his neighbors, and we left the Hermitage with great regret
  and pursued our journey. In me he inspired reverence and affection
  that has remained with me through my whole life.”

These intimate glimpses of the Jackson household during the period of
residence in the log Hermitage throw an interesting light upon the
customs and surroundings of the family at this time. These years—from
1805 to 1819—were tremendously important in Jackson’s career. They were
not entirely happy years, for they included such unfortunate events as
the Dickinson duel in 1806, the shooting affray with the Bentons in
1814, the delightful, but misunderstood visits of Aaron Burr, and the
public expressions of disapproval which these affairs produced. Through
it all ran the unhappy references to the Robards’ divorce and the
unfortunate circumstances attending the first marriage of the Jacksons.
It was a period of Herculean struggle against material odds, as well as
against public opinion, but it was not without a brighter side in which
gayety, color, and genuine happiness stand out.

Relatives, neighbors and, often, distinguished guests from a distance,
composed a brilliant and congenial company—in spite of the fact that
their rank varied from the simplest backwoodsman to a former vice
president of the United States, and their common background was a log
house in the far west. Most charming and gracious of all was Aaron Burr,
but lately vice president, who first visited the Hermitage May 29, 1805.
He was received by the entire community in a manner which befitted his
importance and his high rank in national affairs. Public dinners were
given for him, and he was received cordially by the leading citizens. He
returned to Nashville in August, 1805, and spent a few days as a guest
of General Jackson. Little is known of the details of this visit, but
from the Hermitage at this time he wrote to his daughter, Theodosia:

  “For a week I have been lounging at the house of General Jackson, once
  a lawyer, after a judge, now a planter; a man of intelligence, and one
  of those prompt, frank, ardent souls whom I love to meet. The General
  has no children, but two lovely nieces made a visit of some days,
  contributed greatly to my amusement, and have cured me of all the
  evils of my wilderness jaunt....” (Parton’s _Life of Andrew Jackson_.)

The nieces were, of course, nieces of Mrs. Jackson—part of that bevy of
charming Donelson girls which throughout the history of the Hermitage
household lent grace and gayety to its social affairs. Many of them
married young men who were closely associated with the General in his
military and political activities, and in this way strengthened by ties
of kinship the relationship which common public interest had created.
General Jackson had no kin of his own in Tennessee, but he took Mrs.
Jackson’s family to his heart as if it were his own.

Burr’s final visit to Nashville in December, 1806, was the one around
which the storm of public disapproval centered. His reception at this
time was courteous, but somewhat cool, for rumors of his proposed
invasion of the West had already begun to filter in. The _Impartial
Review and Cumberland Repository_ of December 20 carried the
announcement that “Colo. Burr arrived on Wednesday last and intends
proceeding to Natchez in a few days.”

His departure was recorded almost as briefly in the same paper, issue of
Saturday, December 27: “Colo. Burr embarked from this place for New
Orleans on Monday last, with two large flat boats, which did not appear
to be loaded.”

The papers of these and subsequent dates carried, however, many
communications which show the national alarm at Burr’s presence in the
Western country and indicate that while Nashville was slow to condemn
him, it was ready to rise to a man to march against him should reports
that he was planning an invasion of the Western country prove true. For
the most part, however, he was given the benefit of the doubt, and while
he was in Nashville he was received as an interesting and charming
acquisition to its social circle.

There are many interesting stories of Burr’s visits to Nashville, of his
elegant manners, his wit, and his personal magnetism as well as his
alleged duplicity. Some of them were revived in the Jackson presidential
campaign of 1828 in an effort to prove that he and Andrew Jackson were
united in intrigue against the United States. These arguments brought
forth a letter which was not only important in the campaign, but is
especially valuable at present, for its picture of Nashville social life
and the participation of the master and mistress of the Hermitage in it.
This letter, written by T. G. Watkins, at Charlottesville, on May 14,
1828, reads:

  “In the winter of 1806 or ’7, to the best of my recollection as to
  time, I was a member of the dancing assemblies for the season, in
  Nashville. On one of the evenings preceding a stated meeting for the
  night, it was communicated to the managers for the season, two of whom
  I distinctly recollect were the present John Overton, LLD, of
  Travellers’ Rest, near Nashville, and the late Dr. Hansen Catlett,
  that Col. Burr was in town. He was immediately ticketed, as Judge
  Overton informed me, nem. con., I think, by the managers. Some one, I
  do not now recollect who, objected to this act of the managers. Judge
  Overton remarked that he had concurred in the invitation from a
  conviction of its propriety—but, as he acted upon delegated authority,
  he wished a meeting as full and general as practicable, of the
  subscribers to the assemblies to be convened; and if a majority of
  them disapproved of the act of the managers, the invitation to Mr.
  Burr should be promptly withdrawn. A meeting, a very full meeting, was
  called, and a majority sanctioned the act of the managers. The ball
  went on very harmoniously; Col. Burr, though somewhat distrusted by
  some, was considered an elegant acquisition to it, and was treated
  accordingly: a hospitable and gracious smile from the ladies, in
  return for his very general, and very elegant salutations, proved
  their happy acquiescence in the general arrangement. Gen. Jackson
  resided about 14 miles from Nashville at that time: if he and his
  amiable lady attended on that occasion, as they often did on others, I
  have lost all distinct recollection of it, which I think I should not,
  if there had been anything more marked in the attention of either to
  Col. Burr than seemed to be generally awarded to him by the company.
  While on this subject I will remark that some time previous to this
  ball, a young gentleman who resided in my family in Nashville,
  appeared anxious to go with Col. Burr—he afterwards cooled off. And
  questioned on the subject by myself or someone in my presence, he
  stated that a Mr. Caffrey, I think was the name, had been about that
  time advised, verbally or by letter, I am not certain which, by Gen.
  Jackson, to have nothing to do with Col. Burr’s expedition.
  Respectfully Th. G. Watkins.” (_Nashville Whig._)

    [Illustration: Above: The Hermitage After the Remodelling in 1831

    _From Ayres’ Map of Nashville_
                                _Courtesy of the late Dr. W. A. Provine_]

    [Illustration: Below: The Hermitage After the Final Remodelling
    Which Followed the Fire of 1834

    _From drawing dated 1856_
                                          _Original in Hermitage museum_]

Burr, on his last visit to Nashville, resided at least a part of the
time at the Clover Bottom tavern, which, with a store, a race track, and
a boat yard, formed the establishment developed by Andrew Jackson, John
Hutchings, a nephew of Mrs. Jackson, and John Coffee, who in 1809
married one of Mrs. Jackson’s nieces, Mary Donelson. It was here that
Burr obtained the boats which brought down such a storm of criticism
upon the head of Jackson. A careful examination of the orders for boats
and related dealings between Jackson and Burr do not justify the
accusation of conspiracy—particularly in view of General Jackson’s
activities in complying with orders from the Secretary of War regarding
a military force to protect the West against Burr’s anticipated

After Burr’s departure with his two visibly empty flat-boats, feeling in
certain circles began to mount higher and higher. He was publicly
denounced as a traitor and on January 2, 1807, was burned in effigy by a
group of Nashville’s citizens. This event is described in the _Impartial
Review_ of Saturday, January 3, 1807, as follows:

  “Last night at the hour of nine, commenced the burning of the Effigy
  of Col. Aaron Burr, by the citizens of this town. This proceeding is
  justified by the ardent emotions of patriotism felt by the people, and
  excited by a deep conviction that the said Burr is a TRAITOR. This
  conviction is produced from the conduct of Col. Burr himself in these
  western states, and even in this town—the proclamation of the
  President—his message to both houses of Congress, and the statement of
  Gen. Eaton. And we have the utmost confidence in assuring our Atlantic
  brethren, that the idea of separation is spurned with indignation and
  horror. That our lives and our property are pledged to support the
  General Government of the United States, as the safeguard of our
  personal security, and as the only asylum for oppressed humanity.”

Subsequent events proved that the Burr alarm was very much of a tempest
in a teapot, but the incident was used, long afterwards, against General
Jackson by his political opponents. Similar use was made of the Robards’
divorce and of the tragic story of his duel with Charles Dickinson.

The log house was the home of the Jacksons at the time of the Dickinson
duel, May 29, 1806; but the scene of events which led to it was Clover
Bottom, the site of Jackson’s race track, store, and tavern, about two
miles from the Hermitage. The direct cause of the duel was the race
between Jackson’s celebrated Truxton and Capt. Joseph Erwin’s
Ploughboy—a race which was arranged in the fall of 1805, but was not
run. Ploughboy’s lameness caused his owner to withdraw him from the race
and pay the $800 forfeit. There are a number of stories about events
which followed the withdrawal of Ploughboy. Judge Guild, in his _Old
Times in Tennessee_, probably gives the most accurate account of the
matter as it concerns Mrs. Jackson.

  “I have been informed,” Judge Guild wrote, “by a relative of Mrs.
  Jackson, a gentleman of high character, still living, that she was
  present, in her carriage, on the track, to witness the race, and when
  the forfeit was declared, she remarked with an air of pardonable
  exultation, to some of her friends, that ‘Truxton would have left
  Ploughboy out of sight.’ This was repeated to Dickinson, who, being
  somewhat excited by his losses, and probably under the influence of
  liquor, rejoined, ‘Yes, about as far out of sight as Mrs. Jackson left
  her first husband when she ran away with the General.’”

This was followed by some gentlemen’s gossip about the value of notes
put up by Capt. Erwin for the forfeit, and one incrimination led to
another until a situation which had but one remedy was created. Jackson,
by the repeated insults heaped upon him by the Erwin faction, was forced
to challenge Charles Dickinson to a duel. Since the laws of Tennessee
prohibited dueling, the meeting was carried across the line into
Kentucky, where, on the morning of May 29, 1806, the duel was fought.
The results are well known. Dickinson, crack pistol shot of the West,
who had left behind him along the road to the meeting place evidences of
his expert marksmanship, fired—and the shot entered his adversary’s
breast. His opponent fired, but the pistol stopped at half-cock. With
superhuman effort he drew himself to full height, folded his coat closer
across his breast to hide the wound which he believed fatal, and with
cool deliberation took the second fire to which he was entitled.
Dickinson’s wound proved fatal and Jackson’s very nearly so, but the
bitter enemies who had driven Jackson into the duel were not
satisfied—they entered upon a relentless tirade of abuse, and the
public, shuddering, turned its sympathy to the young widow of Dickinson.
Rachel, in her little log house, wept out her own heartache as she
nursed the General back to health—and through it all prayed and wept for
the young wife of Charles Dickinson and her unborn babe.

(The first edition of the present work referred to the Dickinson child
as an “unborn babe”—a statement which had long been accepted by Jackson
historians. Charles Dickinson’s will in _Wills and Inventories of
Davidson County_, (1807) pp. 141-142, states, however, that “... half of
my Estate I give devise & bequeath to my son Henry who is now about Ten
weeks old ...”)

As time passed the wound healed. Jackson retired to his Hermitage and
devoted himself to his business, his farm, and his blooded stock.
Truxton, the innocent cause of this tragedy, blossomed under the
friendly skies of Tennessee, but neither he nor his master were destined
to remain long in retirement. Life stretched out temptingly before them,
and it was not long until Truxton was the acknowledged king of the turf,
and upon his master’s brow were the laurels won in his defense of New

No history of the Hermitage could be complete without a rather detailed
account of Truxton. He was bought by General Jackson in the spring of
1805 from Maj. John Verrell, of Virginia. After the first race with
Ploughboy was announced and the forfeit declared, another race, which is
less known, was run and Truxton was the winner. This race took place on
April 3, 1806—something over a month before the Dickinson duel.

The best authority on this race and upon Truxton himself is Andrew
Jackson. His statement was written for the _American Farmer_ and was
reprinted in the _American Turf Register_ of December, 1833. This
account reads:

  “Truxton is a beautiful bay, full of bone and muscle; was got by the
  imported horse old Diomed, and came out of the thoroughbred mare,
  Nancy Coleman, the property of Maj. John Verrell, of Virginia. Truxton
  is, however, too well known to require a minute description. His
  performances on the turf have surpassed those of any horse of his age
  that has ever been run in the western country; and, indeed, it might
  be said with confidence, that he is equal, if not superior, to Mr.
  Ball’s Florizel horse, who was got by the same Diomed, and who now
  stands unrivalled in Virginia as a race horse.

  “Truxton, by old sportsmen and judges, is admitted to be amongst the
  best distance horses they ever run or had to train. His speed is
  certainly unknown to all those who have run against him. He has, on
  the most unequal terms, started against the very best mile horses in
  Kentucky and Tennessee, and beat them with great ease; and in no one
  instance has ever run with any horse, when he himself was in order,
  but he either could or did distance him with ease. Although the four
  mile heats is the real and true distance for Truxton to run, he has
  beaten Mr. Gordon’s fine mile horse, Jack of Clubs, and Mr. Cotton’s
  Greyhound, both aged horses, with equal weights of 100 pounds on each,
  the single mile heats.

  “And lastly, to crown the much doubted speed of Truxton, he beat, on
  only two sound legs, on the 3d of April, 1806, over the Clover Bottom
  Turf, the celebrated horse, Ploughboy, who was never before beaten,
  and beating him without the assistance of whip or spurs. It is now no
  longer difficult for the numerous concourse of people who were present
  on that day to say ‘whether or not Truxton be the true bred racer.’

  “Truxton’s winnings, from time to time, from the most correct
  information, amount to at least twenty thousand dollars, and his colts
  are not inferior to any on the continent. Andrew Jackson.”[3]

Truxton was, undoubtedly, Jackson’s pride, but the Hermitage was noted
for many famous horses. There was Pacolet, the dapple gray six-year-old,
which the General had bought from Col. William R. Johnson, of Kentucky,
about 1813. His immediate object in acquiring a new racer was, according
to Marquis James, in his _Andrew Jackson, the Border Captain_, to defeat
“Jesse Haynie’s chestnut mare Maria just as soon as he could send the
British about their business.” This neither Pacolet, nor Truxton’s
boasted colts could accomplish, and to Haynie’s Maria is awarded the
distinction of being almost the only thing which Andrew Jackson, when he
set his head to it, could not conquer.

To tell the story of Jackson’s horses would be to write the history of
racing and breeding of thoroughbreds from the early days of the
settlements in Middle Tennessee until after the Civil War. There was a
close association between General Jackson and the owners of
thoroughbreds in Sumner County, where, for a long period of years such
men as Bailie Peyton, Barry, Carter, the Rev. Hardy Cryer and others
produced magnificent horses.

There is a tradition that Andrew Jackson arrived in Nashville riding one
fine horse and leading another—which was loaded in the customary manner
with his personal belongings. Early in the spring after his arrival he
purchased another, for we find at the Davidson County Court House a
record showing that on April ninth, 1789, he bought of Thomas Smith “one
Sorrell horse About fourteen hands high known by the name of Sam^l
Martin’s Sorrel: Which s^d Horse the s^d Smith purchased from the s^d
Samuel Martin for the consideration of the Sum of One hundred

The punctuation of this record is somewhat scant, but from the general
context one gathers that Andrew Jackson paid one hundred pounds for the
Horse, rather than that Thomas Smith paid this sum to Samuel Martin. At
any rate “Samuel Martin’s Sorrel” was valued at one hundred pounds—a
rather goodly sum for young Attorney Jackson to be paying. Throughout
his long life he continued to buy the best horses he could afford—they
were a passion with him—and, unlike many devotees of the turf, he made
money, rather than lost it, in his deals.

One of General Jackson’s choice saddle horses was Duke, who is said to
have been his favorite during the New Orleans campaign. If we credit the
story of Uncle Alfred, the slave who for many years was his faithful
bodyservant, he was mounted upon Duke on the day of victory. Mrs. Mary
C. Dorris, in her _Preservation of the Hermitage_, quotes Uncle Alfred
as saying:

  “General Jackson is ridin’ Juke (Duke) dat day; he warn’t ridin’ Sam
  Patch, dat ’ar white horse standin’ in de parlor.... He’s ridin’ Juke.
  An’ Juke he dance Yankee-Doodle on three legs; and he dance it so
  plain dat de ban’ struck up an’ play ‘Jackson, Jackson, yer’s de man
  for me.’”

General Jackson, in a letter written to Mrs. Jackson during the Florida
campaign of 1818, shows his affection for Duke.

  “I am advised there are a few red sticks (hostile Indians) west of
  Appelachecola, should this be true, I will have to disperse them, this
  done I shall commence my journey home. I am almost on foot, I almost
  despair of getting my favourite Old Duke home.” (Bassett,
  _Correspondence of Andrew Jackson_, Vol. II.)

Uncle Alfred referred to the portrait in the Hermitage parlor, a work of
the artist Earl, which shows General Jackson mounted on the white
charger presented to him by the citizens of Philadelphia. He was a
graceful and daring horseman and, like Washington and other great
generals, had a passion for horses. He had also a country gentleman’s
interest in the breeding of blooded stock, and a sportsman’s interest in
their speed and bottom. There came a time, however, when he was forced
to give up the turf—although never, for a moment, did he relinquish his
interest in the breeding of fine horses at his Hermitage estate. The
severe criticism of his horse-racing proclivities by his political
enemies caused him, after his elevation to the Presidency, to
discontinue training his colts for the track at the Hermitage.

                            * * * * * * * *

But the log cabin days were ending. Fame came slowly, but certainly, to
the humble dwelling in the midst of the fertile acres of the Hermitage.
It was not sought by the master of the household, and it certainly was
not welcomed by its mistress. It was impossible, however, for such a
dynamic nature as Jackson’s to avoid following an active and forceful
course in the events of the period. He could no more stay at home when
his presence was needed in the field than he could avoid taking a
leader’s place when he got into action. Each event in which he
participated led him farther and farther from the simple life which he
and his household had been leading, for with each success came
promotions which gave the public greater and greater claims upon him.

The log cabin years, in spite of the struggles and tragedies sprinkled
through them, were, on the whole, happy and eventful ones. The financial
structure of the Hermitage household was strengthened, the public
affairs of its master prospered, and his personal contacts with those
who disagreed with him became less violent. Children had always been a
part of the household. Rachel’s brothers and sisters lived near by and
their children, from babyhood to maturity, were her delight as well as
General Jackson’s. Added to these were the Butler children who, in the
years of 1804 and 1805, became General Jackson’s wards. In 1809, when
twin boys were born to Severn Donelson’s wife, the mother was quite
frail, so Rachel carried one of her tiny nephews home with her and
claimed him for her own. He was legally adopted and given the General’s
own name. After 1813 the Indian boy, Lincoya, orphaned at the Battle of
Talluschatches, was taken into the friendly shelter of the Hermitage. A
great favorite through the years was Andrew Jackson Donelson, who grew
into a brilliant statesman under the General’s fond care. Another
valuable acquisition to the household was the young artist, Ralph E. W.
Earl, who in 1818 married Jane Caffrey, one of Mrs. Jackson’s numerous

Among the others who married Rachel’s nieces were Abraham Green, of
Natchez, who married Patsey Caffrey in January, 1801; General John
Coffee, who married Mary Donelson in 1809; William Eastin, who married
Mrs. Coffee’s sister, Rachel Jackson Donelson, in the same year; and
John C. McLemore, of Nashville. General Coffee’s daughter, Mary, who as
a young lady was a member of the Jackson household at the White House,
married Andrew Jackson Hutchings, ward and grand-nephew of General
Jackson. Through all the years the Jackson household knew the happy
confusion which is common to large families—love, laughter, tears, and
all of the things which go to make life full and interesting. No one
reveled in these relationships more than the master, whose own near kin
had been snatched from him by a series of tragic incidents of the
Revolutionary War.

Mrs. Jackson had not been confined entirely, however, to her own family
circles and the log Hermitage. After the victory at New Orleans she went
south to join her husband. In the same year she accompanied him on a
visit to Washington and to Virginia, and at all places she shared with
him the honors showered upon him by an adoring populace. She accompanied
him, too, when he went to Pensacola to assume the office of Governor of
the Floridas, and from these trips returned laden with gifts and
purchases which were somewhat out of place in the humble quarters to
which they were brought. The time had come, obviously, for the building
of a home more in keeping with the station of its master. Fortunately
his financial status justified it. Otherwise the family would have
undoubtedly remained in the log dwelling, for Andrew Jackson’s good
sense and determination to live within his means far outweighed any
personal vanity. He was solicitous, however, of Mrs. Jackson’s welfare,
and was for her sake particularly interested in building a more suitable

The new Hermitage was built for Rachel, upon the spot which she
selected. Major Lewis, Parton says, suggested it be built upon another
more elevated site, but that General Jackson said to him:

  “No, Major, Mrs. Jackson chose this spot, and she shall have her wish.
  I am going to build this house for her. I don’t expect to live in it

General Jackson’s health at this period was even worse than usual—and he
was seldom well. The one thought uppermost in his mind when the new
house was built was the comfort of the one person whom he loved above
all other things in the world.

As houses go, the Hermitage of this period was by no means pretentious.
It was a square-looking, home-like building, made of red bricks
manufactured on the place by the slaves—spacious, comfortable, and
liveable, but by no means elaborate. Many of the visitors who were
thronging from all parts of the country to visit the “Hero of New
Orleans” thought it a surprisingly simple abode for a man of such
prominence. It was not, however, out of keeping with its local setting.
Davidson County, according to the census of 1820, had a population of
only 20,154 people. The section now known as Middle Tennessee was
sparsely settled and still called “West Tennessee.”

The period of transition from the log cabin to the ante-bellum mansion
had begun, but most of the men who had fought their way to a financial
security which justified the mansions still remembered their early days
in pioneer cabins. Society was young and unexacting, and in the West
they took Jeffersonian democracy literally. Andrew Jackson was himself
the democrat of all democrats, but he had a poise and assurance which
made him at home in all companies, and made all classes of people at
ease in his presence. Neither his manner nor Mrs. Jackson’s changed,
however, with their removal to more handsome quarters. Both of them had
long been known for their gracious hospitality and for a bearing which
was at once simple and dignified.

Thomas Hart Benton, in writing of Mrs. Jackson, declared:

  “She had a faculty—a rare one—of retaining names and titles in a
  throng of visitors, addressing each one appropriately, and dispensing
  hospitality to all with a cordiality which enhanced its value. No
  bashful youth, or plain old man, whose modesty sat them down at the
  lower end of the table, could escape her cordial attentions any more
  than the titled gentleman on her right and left. Young persons were
  her delight, and she always had her house filled with them—clever
  young women and clever young men—all calling her affectionately ‘Aunt
  Rachel.’ I was young then, and was one of that number. I owe it to
  early recollections and to cherished convictions—in this last notice
  of the Hermitage—to bear this faithful testimony to the memory of its
  long mistress—the loved and honored wife of a great man.” (From
  Benton’s _Thirty Years’ View_.)

It was Benton who gave to the world the picture of Andrew Jackson
sitting before his fireside in the twilight with a child and its pet
lamb on his knees.

    [Illustration: The Stately Avenue of Cedars As It Appears Today

    When President Theodore Roosevelt visited the Hermitage in 1907 he
    alighted from his carriage at the entrance of the avenue and walked
    with bared head to the historic old mansion.]

It was for gay groups such as those that Benton mentioned that the new
Hermitage was built. In spite of the storm and stress the years were
passing pleasantly with its mistress. Fame turned its spotlight upon the
household, but the simple hospitality of the log cabin period was not
abandoned. The spacious rooms of the new Hermitage rang with the
laughter of a great bevy of nieces, of nephews, and neighbors’ children.
General Jackson’s “military family,” friends, and associates came from
here, there, and everywhere, bringing with them members of their
families and staying for weeks at a time. But the Hermitage acres were
broad and fertile, the slaves were numerous and contented—and the
mistress an excellent manager.

Years afterwards General Jackson wrote to young Andrew Jackson Hutchings
(letter of April 18, 1833, Bassett, _Correspondence of Andrew Jackson_,
Vol. V): “Recollect the industry of your dear aunt, and with what
economy she watched over what I made, and how we waded thro’ the vast
expence of the mass of company we had. Nothing but her care and
industry, with good economy could have saved me from ruin. If she had
been extravagant the property would have vanished and poverty and want
would have been our doom. Think of this before you attempt to select a

The years in which this building was occupied were colorful and eventful
ones in the Jackson saga. Unfortunately little is known of the actual
details which attended its erection, the beginning of the garden, and
other little intimate things concerning it. Even such a tireless student
as the late John Spencer Bassett was not able to place exactly the time
of its completion and occupation. Everything seems to indicate that it
was started in 1818, about the close of General Jackson’s Florida
campaign, and that it was ready for occupancy, most likely, prior to
June, 1819, the date of President Monroe’s visit to Nashville and the
Hermitage. The story is being pieced together, bit by bit, and it is
gradually becoming complete.

A letter from Sir John Jackson, mentioned by Bassett, but secured in
full from the manuscripts of the New York Public Library, by the
Tennessee State Library, shows that in 1819 the Jacksons had secured the
services of an English gardener. This letter reads:

                                        “Philadelphia, April 30th, 1819.

  “Major Genl A Jackson

  “Dear General

  “On the 26th Inst I wrote a few lines to you by William Frost a
  regular bred english Gardener who has been well recommended and from
  what I can judge from conversation with him am in hopes he will be
  found capable of whatever he undertakes—I engaged him for you as
  Gardener without any stipulation as to terms merely holding out that
  on his own capacity and industry his success and welfare depended—like
  others of his situation of life required an advance to bear his
  expense and had to give him 30 dollars on your account.

  “I have seen a Nashville paper announcing your arrival and the
  congratulations of your Friends and fellow citizens testified by a
  Public dinner, it seems by the english Papers the english people are
  mad with the Citizens of N. York, this City and Baltimore for the
  respect shown you—with best respects to your Lady I remain with
  sincere respect and esteem,
                                                         “John Jackson.”

In the same connection Bassett quotes a letter to William B. Lewis,
which, though not dated, is placed sometime in 1819. It reads, in part:

  “Sir, Mr. Wilson who was employed by Mr. Decker to paint my house has
  disappointed me, he was to have been here on the 15th he has not
  arrived. I will therefore now engage with the gentleman you spoke to
  me about, I have a Dearborn waggon in Town to day to bring up the
  tubes to convey water from my roof, and the ballance of the paint.
  will you have the goodness to see him for me. get him to go to Mr.
  Berkmans examine the bill of paints laid in, and if any wanting to add
  them, and to say to Mr. Berkman whether he prefers the Whitelead in
  oil or dry, and let it be brought up to day.

  “I shall be down to day, to ride, but I am taken with an acute
  soreness in my left side, I cannot say pain, that is very troublesome
  when I bend, or is touched, perhaps it may with exercise disappear.

  “I heard last evening that Mr. Rhea is in town I wish to see him, and
  if I can ride without great inconvenience I will be down for that

The _Nashville Whig and Tennessee Advertiser_, of May 15, 1819, carried
the announcement that the Hon. John Rhea was a candidate for Congress
from the First District—it may have been that he was in Nashville at the
time. The connection between his announcement and Jackson’s letter is
somewhat vague, but it may prove a small link in the chain which will
eventually establish the date of the completion of this building.

Bassett mentions also a receipted bill for china and silver plate to the
amount of $200, dated June 12, 1818, which, in 1922, was in the
possession of Albert M. and Andrew Jackson, of Los Angeles. This,
Jackson’s letter about the paint, and Sir John’s letter about the
English gardener, indicate that the Hermitage household was to be
conducted upon a more elaborate scale.

There is a strongly prevalent local tradition that the artist, R. E. W.
Earl, laid out the Hermitage garden. It is quite possible that he worked
with the English gardener in laying it out. He was established in
Nashville as early as the latter part of the year 1817, for in the
announcement of the Eighth of January Ball, 1818, some of his portraits
were used in the decorations. The _Nashville Whig_ of January 10, in
describing the event, states:

  “The Ballroom was decorated with much taste, elegance and splendor. At
  the upper end of the room, were suspended three paintings, the
  portraits of Generals Jackson, Carroll and Coffee. Two of which,
  Generals Jackson and Coffee, were executed by a young artist now in
  this place, which, for boldness of design, accuracy of execution,
  judiciousness, and delicacy of shading would not lose in comparison
  with the finest paintings of modern times....”

An important visitor at the Hermitage that year was Isaac Shelby, “late
governor of Kentucky,” who stopped with the Jacksons while he and the
General were preparing to go into the Chickasaw country to hold a
treaty. Both men were popular, and their proposed mission was important
enough to offer a sufficient incentive for an elaborate public dinner at
the Nashville Inn.

At this dinner Col. Edward Ward, president, proposed the toast: “Isaac
Shelby, late governor of Kentucky. The only governor in our Union who,
during our late war, showed himself qualified for both the cabinet and
the field.”

John H. Eaton, Esq., vice president, proposed: “General Jackson, His
military greatness commands our admiration—his private virtues our

Soon the generals and their suite were off for the Chickasaw country.
They encountered some difficulty, for the _Nashville Whig_ of October 10
reported that “but four chiefs attended on October 2nd”—they were
alarmed at parting with any of their territory. On October 19, however,
General Jackson wrote the following letter, announcing a successful
conclusion of the mission:

                                       “Treaty Ground, October 19, 1818.

  “To the Editors of the Whig:

  “We have just closed a treaty with the Chickasaw Indians, for all
  their claims in the states of Tennessee and Kentucky, containing about
  seven millions of acres, of the best lands in the western country, and
  washed by the Tennessee, Ohio, and Mississippi Rivers, for at least
  three hundred and fifty miles: for an annuity of twenty thousand
  dollars for fifteen years.

  “I am respectfully, Your most obedient serv’t, Andrew Jackson.”

A month later, according to a paragraph in the Whig, the signing of the
treaty was celebrated in Nashville:

  “A Tribute of Respect—A splendid Ball was given to General Jackson and
  staff, at the Nashville Inn, last Evening, in honor of the late
  Chickasaw Treaty.”

Governor Shelby was not present, but he had found time to sit for the
young artist at the Hermitage. General Jackson wrote him on November 24:

  “On the 20th the citizens of Nashville and its vicinity gave myself
  and Staff a Ball in commemoration of the late Chickasaw Treaty where I
  had the pleasure to see your Portrait suspended at the head of the
  assembly room and I was gratified to find that Mr. Earl had been so
  fortunate—for I can with truth say that there never came from the
  hands of an artist a better likeness....”

Earl married Jane Caffrey, niece of Mrs. Jackson, on May 19, 1818. The
ceremony was performed by the Rev. William Hume. In less than a year the
Reverend Mr. Hume was called upon to perform the sad duty of preaching
her funeral sermon. The _Nashville Whig_, of March 13, 1819, carried the

  “The Rev. Mr. Hodge, assisted by the Rev. Mr. Hume, will preach the
  funeral sermon of the late Mrs. Earle, at the residence of Col.
  Stockely D. Hays on to-morrow.”

Mrs. Jackson mothered and comforted the young man, and from that time,
until his death in 1838, the Hermitage was his home. During the passing
of the years he painted innumerable portraits of General and Mrs.
Jackson, of the various kin, and of prominent visitors both at the
Hermitage and the White House, where he was also a member of the
household—so much a member, in fact, that he was dubbed “The King’s

An intriguing, but forgotten, chapter in Earl’s history was discovered
by the writer a few years ago in the April 10th, 1822, issue of the
_Nashville Whig_. A short article, headed quite casually, “Napoleon
Buonaparte and Marshal Ney,” announced: “Original portraits of these
great men, taken by Mr. Earl, shortly after the return of Napoleon from
the Island of Elba, were a few days since received and deposited by him
in the Nashville Museum. Judging by his strikingly correct portraits of
Gen. Jackson, of the President of the United States, of Shelby, of
Haywood, and of a number of others, which likewise grace and ornament
the Museum, we have no hesitation in believing them to be very exact

Where are these portraits of Napoleon and Marshal Ney, taken from life
during the brief, but dramatic “one hundred days”?

One of the prominent visitors who sat for the young artist in his early
days at the Hermitage was President Monroe, who visited Nashville and
the Hermitage in June, 1819. The _Nashville Whig_, of Saturday, July 12,
1819, states:

  “The citizens having learned through the committee that the President
  had reached the residence of General Jackson, and that he would dine
  with them on Wednesday, last, set out on that day to meet and conduct
  him to this place. They met him four miles from town accompanied by
  Maj. Gen. Jackson and suite and Brevet Maj. Gen. Gaines. Three miles
  from town he was received by a large collection of the Tennessee
  Volunteers, armed and dressed as they were when they were in the
  several campaigns in which they had been engaged....”

The reception by this colorful procession which thronged the highway to
the Hermitage to greet General Jackson and his distinguished guest was
but the beginning of the festivities. A dinner followed at the Nashville
Inn. President Monroe was entertained at the Nashville Female Academy on
Thursday, June 10, and on the evening of that day the crowning event of
his visit, a ball at the old Nashville Inn, took place.

“A numerous assemblage of elegance and beauty attended,” said the editor
of the _Nashville Whig_. “We have never seen more taste and beauty than
was displayed in arranging the room, or a more numerous and brilliant
assemblage of ladies. The arrangements were largely creditable to the
managers. At the head of the room was a large transparency exhibiting an
Eagle displayed and encircled in a ray of glory, bearing in his beak a
transparent painting of our Chief Magistrate. Fronting at the lower end
of the room, was suspended the portrait of Gov. Shelby of Kentucky. On
the right side of the hall was a full length portrait of Maj. Gen.
Jackson, with a distant view of the British encampment before New
Orleans; fronting him were Genls. Coffee and Carroll. These inimitable
paintings (with the exception of the transparency) were executed by our
artist, Mr. Earl; and are highly honourable to the talents and
profession aquirements of that gentleman. Over the paintings and around
the room, were rich and beautiful festoons of evergreen and roses....”

A ray of glory—how the unknown artist of the transparency depicted it is
a matter of conjecture, but the yellowed pages of the _Nashville Whig_
bear testimony to its reality. It takes but small imagination to
reconstruct the picture—men in handsome military uniforms, ladies in
their gay-colored silks, dancing and conversing in the stately manner of
the period, and paying due homage to the President of the United States
and the Hero of New Orleans. At the Hermitage they found time, no doubt,
to wander about in the moonlit, magnolia-scented grounds and to stroll
along the paths of the new garden. Rachel, as she played the rôle of
gracious, warm-hearted hostess, could not know that a long, lonely path,
illuminated only by the cold rays of fame stretched before her adored
husband, and that she, before a decade had passed, would rest under the
friendly sod of her garden. Nor could President Monroe foretell the
future of the distinguished soldier at his side. A great drama, of which
the new Hermitage was to be the chief setting, was beginning.

It was not long until General Jackson was appointed governor of the
Floridas, and he and Rachel moved their household temporarily to

    [Illustration: “The Church Where Jackson Worships”

    A quaint old print of the church which General Jackson had built
    near the Hermitage in 1823-24 for the convenience of his pious wife
    and her neighbors.]

“Gen. Jackson and family left town Saturday evening last in the Steam
Boat Cumberland, on his way to Pensacola,” says the _Nashville Whig_ of
April 18, 1821.

A little later it stated: “Gen. Jackson and family arrived at Natchez on
April 21, on board the Steam Boat Rapide, having left Cumberland on
account of some accident having happened to her machinery.” The journey
was completed in seven days, despite the accident! From Natchez, New
Orleans, Blakely, Montpelier, and Mobile came echoes of a triumphant and
leisurely progress. But even at that it was several weeks before the
General and his suite were finally established in Pensacola—the Spanish
governor was inclined to be a bit difficult about relinquishing his

Rachel, however, did not like Pensacola. To her friend, Mrs. Eliza
Kingsley, she wrote: “Believe me, this country has been greatly
overrated.... One acre of our fine Tennessee land is worth a
thousand.... The General, I believe, wants to get home again as much as
I do....”

The General was not overly pleased with the situation and, as soon as he
was able to settle certain little difficulties, he was determined to
return to his beloved Hermitage. Marquis James, in his _Andrew Jackson,
the Border Captain_, writes of this period:

  “How peaceful the Hermitage! ‘Our place looks like it had been
  abandoned for a season, But we have a cheirful fire for our friends,
  and a prospect of living at it for the ... ballance of our lives. I
  have sent on my resignation by Doctor Brunaugh.’

  “It was over, this uncertain adventure into which Andrew Jackson had
  been drawn by an unreciprocated sense of loyalty to the President and
  a wish to help his young friends.... Rachel ... and Andrew undertook
  to make their home comfortable for the rest of their days. In the
  great hall stood seven cases of furniture and table silver purchased
  at New Orleans. However Rachel might deplore the wicked luxury of the
  complaisant Creole town there was no denying the comfort of good
  French beds. ‘1 Bedstead, of Mahogany, fluted, $100,’ was for her own
  and Andrew’s tall south chamber; likewise ‘1 Matress of fine ticking,
  $45, 1 moschette Bar of Muslin, $16, 1 Counterpane knotted,
  Marseilles, $24.’ There was also a new sideboard and something to fill
  the decanters....”

There was dancing in the hallways in these days—dancing to the sound of
a flute which “Old Hickory” himself may have played. Horace Holley,
writing from Nashville on August 14, 1823, to his father, Luther Holley,
Esq., in Salisbury, Connecticut (copy given to the author by the late
Judge John H. De Witt), related:

  “We have just returned from the Hermitage, ... The General called upon
  us in town on the evening of our arrival and he is one of the most
  hospitable men in the state. Mrs. Jackson is not a woman of
  cultivation, but has seen a great many people, has fine spirits,
  entertains well, and is benevolent. She is short in her person and
  quite fat. The General is lean and has been in ill health but is now
  invigorated and promises to live out his three-score and ten. He has
  built him a good brick house within the last two years and has
  finished it handsomely. Mary has taken three views of it in her sketch
  book. We looked at all the presents which have been made to the old
  warrior in honour of his military achievements and were gratified not
  a little.... The General has papers from most parts of the Union, and
  his study is loaded with piles of them. Considerable company was at
  his house every day, and our ladies danced every evening in the entry
  to the sound of the flute....” (“Mary” was Mary Austin Holley, author
  and cousin of Stephen Austin. Where are the sketches she made of The

Andrew Jackson was content, Mr. James says, and “the measure of his
contentment was in proportion to the sincerity of his resolution to
exchange a brilliant career for a quiet one.”

His peace was to be short-lived. On December 5, 1823, he took his seat
in the Senate of the United States, to which he had been appointed by
the Tennessee legislature. For six weary months he remained in
Washington and Rachel, with her usual efficiency, kept the Hermitage
household going. She was busy, for the little church which the General
was building for her and her pious friends near the Hermitage was being
completed. His letter, written in Washington, January 29, 1824 (which
has been presented to the Ladies’ Hermitage Association by the late Mr.
Leland Hume, a descendant of the Rev. William Hume), states:

  “I am truly happy to hear that our church is about to be finished, and
  that pious good man Mr. Hume, is to dedicate it. If such a mans
  prayers cannot obtain a blessing upon the neighborhood, I would
  despair of the efficacy of prayer from any other....”

The church was completed and the General returned home—this time with
the avowed intention of carrying Rachel with him when he returned to
Washington the following autumn. In the meantime the presidential
campaign of 1824 was in full swing, and the Marquis de Lafayette arrived
with his son and suite to be the “nation’s guest.” On October 18 the
distinguished Frenchman wrote to Jackson:

  “My dear General, With all the feelings of affectionate Gratitude I
  Have Received your kind and Highly Valued Letter: this is not However
  the first and greatest obligation that Binds me to general Jackson;
  Had you witnessed my anxiety when on a Sudden all Europe was pacified,
  and the flower of the British army were on their way to Louisiana, you
  would still Better judge what I felt of relief, joy, and pride, on
  Receiving the Glorious Account of your Victory: I Have long
  Anticipated the pleasure to take you by the Hand, and whatever Be your
  future movements I will Express in person my High Regard and Sincer
  friendship....” (Bassett, _Correspondence of Andrew Jackson_, Vol.

Late autumn and winter took the Jacksons to Washington, where they put
up at Gadsby’s, which was also the quarters of the distinguished
Lafayette. Here, on December 23, Mrs. Jackson wrote to her friend
describing the meeting between the famous Frenchman and General Jackson.

  “We are boarding in the same house with the nation’s guest, Lafayette.
  I am delighted with him.... When we first came to this house, the
  General said he would go and pay the Marquis the first visit. Both
  having the same desire, and at the same time, they met on the entry of
  the stairs. It was truly interesting. The emotion of revolutionary
  feeling was aroused in them both. At Charleston, General Jackson saw
  him on the field of battle; the one a boy of twelve, the Marquis,
  twenty-three. He wears a wig, and is a little inclined to corpulency.
  He is very healthy, eats hearty, goes to every party, and that is
  every night....” (From Parton, Vol. II.)

Rachel, too, for that matter was “a little inclined to corpulency.” She
did not attempt to attend all the parties, for Washington was unusually
gay and her health was none too good. She paid calls, received large
numbers of new acquaintances and old friends, and attended, of course,
such important affairs as the eighth of January ball and Mrs. Monroe’s

They stayed in Washington long enough to see General Jackson miss, by a
hairbreadth, becoming President of the United States and to witness the
pomp and ceremony of Mr. Adams’ inauguration. They were home by the
latter part of April, ready to take charge of their household again and
to play host and hostess to Lafayette when he arrived in Nashville on
the fourth of May. Never was there such a celebration!

Twenty-five thousand Tennesseans crowded into Nashville to welcome him.
The military organizations of the state were out in full force, the
ladies wore their finest dresses, and the streets were decorated with
great triumphal arches of flowers. There were dinners and public
programs of various types, but most important of all was the ball which
was given for him in the Masonic Hall. Guild, in his _Old Times in
Tennessee_, says:

  “The dance was opened by Gen. Jackson and the beautiful Miss McNairy.
  It was difficult to tell which was most to admire, the beauty and
  sylph-like grace of Miss McNairy, or the stately step and courtly
  manners of Gen. Jackson.”

Mrs. Thomas Martin, whose narrative is quoted by Guild, in describing
the ball said:

  “The old and the young were there, and the scene was one of beauty,
  fashion, and smiles. On a dais at one end of the hall were the guests
  and the old ladies—Gen. Lafayette with Mrs. Rachel Jackson, Gov.
  Carroll, with Mrs. Shelby, Gen. Jackson, with Mrs. Priestly and Mrs.
  Carroll, George W. Lafayette with Mrs. Stewart and Mrs. McNairy, and
  Mr. Shelby with Mrs. Minnick and myself....”

Stories of the ball are still recounted with delight in Nashville, and
in many of the old families are fans, combs, dresses, and the gay little
slippers of belles who “danced with Lafayette.” But most interesting of
all is the description of Lafayette’s reception at the Hermitage, from
the pen of his secretary, M. Levasseur:

  “At one o’clock we embarked with a numerous company to proceed to dine
  with General Jackson, whose residence is a few miles up the river. We
  there found numbers of ladies and farmers from the neighborhood, whom
  Mrs. Jackson had invited to partake of the entertainment she had
  prepared for General Lafayette. The first thing that struck me on
  arriving at the General’s was the simplicity of his house. Still
  somewhat influenced by my European habits, I asked myself if this
  could really be the dwelling of the most popular man in the United
  States, of him whom the country proclaimed one of her most illustrious
  defenders; of him, finally, who by the will of the people was on the
  point of becoming her Chief Magistrate....

  “General Jackson,” Levasseur continues, “successively showed us his
  garden and farm, which appeared to be well cultivated. We everywhere
  remarked the greatest order and most perfect neatness; and we might
  have believed ourselves on the property of one of the richest and most
  skillful German farmers, if, at every step, our eyes had not been
  afflicted by the sad spectacle of slavery. Everybody told us that
  General Jackson’s slaves were treated with the greatest humanity....”

In this setting Rachel was at her best. She was now fifty-eight years
old. Stout, kindly, motherly, and frankly growing old; but always the
gracious hostess and always deeply interested in the gay doings of the
young people who were drawn into the charmed circle of her hospitable
household. Her garden had taken deeper root. Her house was more
elegantly furnished and her acquaintance with the outside world had been
greatly extended; but aside from the fact that she took her religion a
little more solemnly and that she had been saddened by the malicious
attacks made upon her, her nature had changed but little with the
passing years. She never lost her love of people, her keen interest in
things about her, nor her gentle sympathy.

The famous Frenchman and his entourage had hardly left when the
Hermitage became the gathering place for a great corps of notables, who
entered heart and soul into the campaign which placed its master in the
President’s chair and which completely vindicated its mistress. Never in
the history of the nation has such a bitter, unscrupulous attack been
waged against a candidate for public office; and never, under any
circumstances, has an American woman received such shameful treatment at
the hands of a political party. It is a page in history which is best

However the storms raged on the outside, they did not change the happy
atmosphere of the Hermitage. If the mistress suffered—as of course she
did—she kept up a brave front for the General and the other members of
her household. Henry A. Wise, later governor of Virginia, who was a
guest at the Hermitage of this period, gives in his _Seven Decades of
the Union_, an interesting picture of the house itself, as well as the
social life which centered about it. This description is especially
important, for it supplies the only known description of the interior of
the brick house which was erected in 1819.

Wise had just been married to Anne Jennings, daughter of the Rev.
Obadiah Jennings, Jackson’s Presbyterian minister in Nashville, and the
bride and groom, with their bridal party, had been invited to spend the
honeymoon at the Hermitage.

  “We arrived at the Hermitage to dinner,” Wise wrote, “and were shown
  to a bridal chamber magnificently furnished with articles which were
  the rich and costly presents of the city of New Orleans to its noble

  “Had we not seen General Jackson before, we would have taken him for a
  visitor, not the host of the mansion. He greeted us cordially and bade
  us feel at home, but gave us to distinctly understand that he took no
  trouble to look after any but his lady guests; as for the gentlemen,
  there were the parlor, the dining-room, the library, the side-board
  and its refreshments; there were the servants, and, if anything was
  wanting, all that was necessary was to ring. He was as good as his
  word. He did not sit at the head of his table, but mingled with his
  guests, and always preferred a seat between two ladies, obviously
  seeking a chair between different ones at various times. He was very
  easy and graceful in his attentions; free, and often playful, but
  always dignified and earnest in his conversation. He was quick to
  perceive every point of word or manner, was gracious in approval, but
  did not hesitate to dissent with courtesy when he differed. He
  obviously had a hidden vein of humor, loved aphorism, and could
  politely convey a sense of smart travesty. If put upon his mettle he
  was very positive, but gravely respectful. He conversed freely, and
  seemed to be absorbed in attention to what the ladies were saying; but
  if a word of note was uttered at any distance from him audibly, he
  caught it by a quick and pertinent comment, without losing or leaving
  the subject about which he was talking to another person—such was his
  ease of sociability, without levity or lightness of activity, and
  without being oracular or heavy in his remarks. He had a great power
  of attention and concentration, without being prying, curt, or
  brusque. Strong good sense and warm kindness of manner put every word
  of his pleasantly and pointedly in its right place.

    [Illustration: Andrew Jackson, the Country Gentleman at the

    (Original presented to the Ladies’ Hermitage Association in 1944 by
    Mrs. C. W. Frear, of Troy, N. Y., in memory of her husband.)]

  “To illustrate him in a scene: The Hermitage house was a solid, plain,
  substantial, commodious country mansion, built of brick, and two
  stories high. The front was south. You entered through a porch, a
  spacious hall, in which the stairs ascended, airy and well lighted. It
  contained four rooms on the lower floor, each entering the passage and
  each on either side opening into the one adjoining. The northwest room
  was the dining room, the southeast and southwest rooms were sitting
  rooms, and the northeast room had a door entering into the garden. The
  house was full of guests. There were visitors from all parts of the
  United States, numbering from twenty to fifty a day, constantly coming
  and going, all made welcome, and all well attended to.

  “The cost of the coming Presidency was even then very great and
  burdensome; but the general showed no signs of impatience, and was
  alive and active in his attentions to all comers and goers. He
  affected no style, and put on no airs of greatness, but was plainly
  and simply, though impulsively, polite to all. Besides his own family
  he had his wife’s relatives, Mr. Stokely and Andrew J. Donelson,
  around him every day, and his adopted son, Andrew Jackson, relieved
  him of all the minute attentions to guests.

  “Henry Lee, of Virginia, was, we may say, resident for the time with
  him, as he was engaged in writing for his election some of the finest
  campaign papers ever penned in this country. One of Lee’s fugitive
  pieces, on the death of an Indian youth, the son of a chief who was
  killed at the battle of the Horseshoe, whom the general had taken as a
  godson, an orphan of one of his victories, is a precious pearl of
  poetry in prose. (This refers to Lincoya and places his death about
  1828. Where is Lee’s article on his death? Both the Lee Foundation and
  the Ladies’ Hermitage Association are interested in finding it.)... He
  was not as handsome as his half-brother, General Robert E. Lee....

  “The first or second evening of our stay, Mr. Lee had drawn around him
  his usual crowd of listeners; but we were the more special guests of
  Mrs. Jackson. She was a descendant of Colonel Stokely of our native
  county, Accomack, Virginia, and we had often seen his old mansion, an
  old Hanoverian hip-roofed house, standing on the seaside, not far
  above Metompkin; and she had often heard her mother talk of the old
  Assawaman Church, not very far above Colonel Stokely’s house, pulled
  down long before our day, endowed with its silver communion-service by
  our grandfather, George Douglas, Esq., of Assawaman. Thus she was not
  only a good Presbyterian too, but the groom was from the county of her
  ancestors, in Virginia, and could tell her something about the
  traditions she had heard from which she sprung....”

When there is added to Wise’s description of the interior of the
Hermitage of this period the view of the building and grounds included
in Earl’s 1831 portrait of General Jackson, the picture of the house as
it was from 1819 to 1831 is complete. The _Nashville Republican_ and
_Tennessee Gazette_, on Thursday, August 25, 1831, repeated a criticism
of this portrait which had appeared in the _Washington Globe_.

It reads, in part: “The artists of Boston announce it a ‘first rate
work,’ and the intimate friends of the President consider it the most
perfect likeness ever taken of him. It is not only recommended by this
circumstance, but it is rendered doubly interesting as a sort of
historical picture, in which the taste and talent of the designer is, in
high degree manifested. The President stands alone in the solitude of
the Hermitage. The scene is most accurately delineated. The house and
surrounding grounds, although thrown somewhat in the distance, are
identified to all acquainted with the spot, by its most striking

To the west is seen a small square building which may have been used by
General Jackson as an office. There is a tradition that it was Earl’s
studio and, since the artist was a member of the household in 1818 and
1819, it is more than likely true. There is a remote possibility that it
was the kitchen, for the dining room, according to Wise’s description,
was “the northwest room,” but it is more probable that the old kitchen
was located near the present one, on the north side of the building.
(Since 1933 a brick building, in the style of the period, has been
erected on this foundation.) Traces of the foundation of this small
building are still visible. It is important to observe further in this
portrait which, in 1831, was accepted by the public and Nashville and in
Washington as a historically accurate view of the Hermitage, there was
still no evidence of the famous cedar-lined, guitar-shaped drive.

This portrait, which from an historical standpoint is probably the most
important of the Jackson portraits, was presented to the Ladies’
Hermitage Association in 1944 by Mrs. Charles W. Frear, of Troy, New
York, in memory of her husband. For many years the Association did not
know the location of the original, although it had long used a
reproduction in its catalogue which, it appears, had been given to the
organization about 1901 by McClure’s Magazine. It is interesting that
the acquisition of this famous portrait by the Ladies’ Hermitage
Association was perhaps due, in part, to the interest of a member of the
artist Earl’s family.

Mr. Ralph Earl Prime, Jr., of Yonkers and New York City, New York,
writing to the author on October 8th, 1936, said:

  “I have borne in mind your interest in the 1831 portrait of Gen.
  Jackson with the Hermitage as a background, which was painted by Ralph
  E. W. Earl. I followed up the clue afforded by the article in the
  issue of McClure’s Magazine in 1897, to which you called my attention,
  with the result that I have just received a letter, of which the
  following is a copy:—

  “‘In reply to your letter of October 2, 1936, with reference to
  portrait of Andrew Jackson painted by Ralph E. W. Earl, will say the
  portrait was for many years in possession of the late Wm. H. Frear. It
  is now in my possession. The information you have in regard to the
  portrait is substantially correct to the best of my belief. Yours very
  truly, C. W. Frear.’

  “If he (Mr. Frear) could visit the Hermitage in person,” Mr. Prime
  continued, “as I and some of my friends have done with so much
  satisfaction, and catch the spirit which actuates its custodians, I am
  sure that he would realize how appropriate it would be to restore the
  painting to its former setting as a gift to posterity, either
  presently or by his will....”

Happily, through Mrs. Frear’s generosity, this treasure has been
restored to _The Hermitage_, where it will remain through the years as a
memorial to her husband.

This was Rachel Jackson’s Hermitage—the Hermitage in which she
entertained Monroe, Lafayette, and all that gay and distinguished
company which, as stars in the great Jackson constellation, were
destined, for a time, to dazzle the nation. And how many of them had
known the kindly hospitality of the mistress of the Hermitage ... the
quiet, studious, James K. Polk, who as “young Hickory” was to carry the
Jackson banner again to the president’s chair; Sam Houston, gay,
lovable, and erratic, who was to be president of the Lone Star Republic;
“Jeff” Davis, future president of the Confederate States of America;
Thomas Hart Benton, destined to a powerful career in the United States
Senate; John Eaton, John Coffee, William Carroll, and a score of others
who shared the Jackson military and civil honors. All of them spent
happy days under her roof and all of them, at some time during their
career, took time to pay public tribute to her beloved memory.

As the year of 1828 drew to a close General Jackson’s victory was
assured. There was no personal elation in it for Rachel, however, just
as there was no bitterness toward her persecutors during their most
severe attacks upon her. Her reply when news of victory was brought to
the Hermitage was: “For Mr. Jackson’s sake, I am glad; for my own part,
I never wished it. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the House of my Lord
than to live in that palace in Washington.”

She had always preferred the quiet of her own home and had resented the
demands which fame made upon her husband. Her friends, though, were
greatly elated for her sake, as well as for the General’s. John H.
Eaton, writing her from Washington, December 7, 1828, said:

  “The storm has now abated—the angry tempest has ceased to howl. A
  verdict by the American people has been pronounced of that high and
  grateful character, that for the honor of your husband, you cannot but
  look back upon the past as an idle fading vision carrying in it
  nothing substantial—nothing that should produce to you one moments
  feeling, or a moments pain. No man has ever met such a triumph
  before.... The Ladies from distance—from remote parts of the Union
  will be here—brought essentially and altogether on your account and to
  manifest to you their feelings and high regard: they will be present
  to welcome and congratulate you....” (Bassett, Vol. III p. 449.)

Nashville ladies were already busy doing their part to honor her—they
were preparing a handsome wardrobe for her to carry to Washington with
her, and the entire town was arranging a magnificent celebration for
December 23, the anniversary of the night battle at New Orleans. Jackson
leaders in Washington, Philadelphia, and other important places were
preparing elaborate programs honoring the president-elect ... but on
December 22 the rejoicing was turned into mourning. Rachel Jackson
quietly slipped beyond the reach of cruel tongues.

Her illness came suddenly and unexpectedly a few days before the
anticipated celebration. There are many versions of its origin. Some say
that while in Nashville she was resting at the Nashville Inn and
accidentally overheard some unpleasant remarks about her part in the
past campaign. Others carry the story still farther and say that she
wept and that, in returning to the Hermitage, she stopped her carriage
at a creek to bathe her swollen eyes, and thus caught a cold. There
could have been little shock connected with anything which she may have
overheard, for she had been familiar with the attacks made on her
throughout the past campaign. One thing which may be accepted as certain
is that in some way she caught cold. Wise quotes a young Dr. Heiskell,
of Winchester, Virginia, who was just starting as a physician in the
neighborhood, and was the first doctor to reach her, as saying: “We
learned that she had caught cold and pleuritic symptoms supervened upon
her constitutional nervous affections. She was sitting smoking her
corncob pipe when she caught her last malady....”

Wise further explains that “a pipe was prescribed by her physician for
her phthisis, and she often rose in the night to smoke for relief.”
Whatever the explanation of the pipe may be, its only importance was its
use in the caricatures used by her husband’s opponents in the
presidential campaign. She had long been subject to the bronchial
trouble which was, undoubtedly, the chief cause of her death.

No words can describe the tragedy which stalked at the Hermitage during
her illness. The General would not leave her side. The servants stood
about in stricken silence, with the exception of old Hannah, who nursed
her, and the few who were allowed to perform little duties to assist
her. Friends and relatives gathered—and on the late afternoon of the
twenty-second her condition seemed greatly improved. She had persuaded
General Jackson to lie down on a sofa in the next room in order that he
might be rested for the coming celebration—which, she insisted, he must
attend. He obeyed and Mrs. Jackson was removed from her bed that it
might be prepared for the night. As she sat in a chair, supported by the
arms of the faithful Hannah, she suddenly uttered a cry and her head
fell forward.... The General rushed to her and for a time, neither he
nor his stricken household would believe that she was dead. At his
command they placed her upon a table, the physician made an effort to
bleed her, and they worked with her for hours before the desperate old
man could understand that there was no hope. All night he remained by
her side.

Early on the morning of the twenty-third the citizens of Nashville were
informed of her death. It was ordered that on the following day, from
one until two o’clock, the hour set for her funeral, that the church
bells be tolled. The scene was rapidly changed from one of festivity to
deep mourning, and on the next day the road was crowded with people on
their way to the Hermitage to pay their last respects to a sainted
woman. The Reverend William Hume preached her funeral sermon.

A gentleman from Philadelphia who was present wrote to a relative:

  “Such a scene I never wish to witness again. The poor old gentleman
  was supported to the grave by General Coffee and Major Rutledge. I
  never pitied any person more in my life. The road to the Hermitage was
  almost impassable, and an immense number of persons attended the
  funeral. The remains were interred in the lower part of the garden. I
  never before saw so much affliction among the servants in the death of
  a mistress. Some seemed completely stupified by the event; others
  wrung their hands and shrieked aloud. The woman who had waited on Mrs.
  Jackson had to be carried from the ground....”

The funeral service was, in fact, delayed because she had thrown herself
upon her mistress’ grave and refused to move. General Jackson would not
allow her to be torn away by force, but waited patiently until her
associates could persuade her to allow them to remove her.

So ended all thoughts of victory for Andrew Jackson. All that had made
victory sweet, all that had made life worth while, had passed away. The
only thing to which the broken old man looked forward was his return to
their beloved Hermitage. His body, his mind, and his indomitable will he
carried to Washington—but his heart he left buried with Rachel in their

Although for a time after her death Rachel Jackson’s Hermitage—the
building as it appeared from 1819 to 1831—remained unchanged, the period
was, to all intents and purposes, ended. The household and its followers
centered about the White House, and the lonely resting place of its
mistress was left to the tender care of relatives and the slaves whose
grief was still inconsolable. General Coffee, R. E. W. Earl, Andrew
Jackson Donelson and his wife, Emily, who was for a time mistress of the
White House; Andrew Jackson, Jr., and later his bride, Sarah York
Jackson; Major Lewis, and others formed a part of the household. Some of
the time three Marys—Mary Coffee, Mary McLemore, and Mary
Eastin—daughters of Rachel’s nieces, added gayety to the Washington
household. Mary Eastin was married in the White House to Lucius Polk,
and Mary Coffee married General Jackson’s ward, Andrew Jackson

A new phase in the history of the Hermitage began in 1831. Andrew
Jackson, Jr., married the beautiful and cultured Miss Sarah York, of
Philadelphia, on November 24, 1831. Some interest in the future began to
live in the heart of Andrew Jackson. Since his wife’s death he had
contemplated his son’s marriage with more than ordinary concern.

“It is,” he wrote to a friend in May, 1829, “the only hope by which I
look to a continuation of my name....”

It proved to be more than that for it was the beginning of a beautiful
relationship destined to last from the time he welcomed Sarah York
Jackson, as a bride, to the White House, until she stood at his deathbed
at the Hermitage in 1845. The President, because of pressing duties and
ill health, had not been able to make the journey to Philadelphia to
attend the wedding, but he sent Col. Earl with a cluster of pearls for
the bride. It was in the form of a ring, and there was a lock of his
hair on the under side of the setting. With it he sent the message that
from his son’s description of her he thought “pearls the most fitting
gift, as emblematic of the purity of her character and the beauty of her
face.” (From the notebook of Mrs. Rachel Jackson Lawrence—State

The wedding took place at the home of Mrs. Samuel Wetherill, Sarah
York’s sister, who lived on Chestnut Street, in Philadelphia. Mrs.
Jackson, Mrs. Wetherill, and another sister, Mrs. Adams, were left
orphans in early childhood, and, at the request of their dying father,
were cared for and educated at Mrs. Malland’s boarding school. They were
well-bred, charming, and well connected. Andrew Jackson himself—and he
was a noted matchmaker—could not have made a better choice for the
future mistress of the Hermitage.

Before Andrew Jackson, Jr., brought his bride to the red brick mansion
in Tennessee, extensive remodeling was done. This period in the history
of the Hermitage had been completely overlooked until a letter in the
Hermitage collection was recently brought to light. This letter
(Published for the first time in the 1933 edition of the present work)
which is quoted in full, gives complete data on the remodeling of the
Hermitage in 1831, as well as the building of the tomb in the garden. It

                                           “Nashville, December 6, 1831.

  “Dear sir: I have the satisfaction to inform you that the additions
  and improvements to the Hermitage are compleated. I have in addition
  to the improvements, as exhibited on the plan furnished you a neat and
  appropriate Portico on the back side of the center building, which
  adds very much to the comfort & convenience of your dwelling.

  “The Hermitage as improved presents a front of 104 feet, the wings
  project 9 feet in front the center building and are connected by a
  colonnade of the same breadth. The colonnade consists of 10 lofty
  columns of the Doric order the entablature is carried through the
  whole line of the front, and has wreaths of laurel leaves in the
  frieze, on the cornice is a blocking corse that support an appropriate
  balustrade. The upper story consists of a Portico surmounted by a
  pediment which breaks the monotony of the composition in a very
  satisfactory manner.

  “The material employed in the emprovements are all of the best quality
  the neighborhood affords, the colonnade is covered with the best
  copper the sheets weighing from 12 to 14 lbs. each sheet, and the
  gutters that convey the water from front to back are also of copper.
  The wing buildings and Porticos are roofed with good ceader shingles.
  The old Kitchen is removed and the matereals employed in the erection
  of a large and comodeus smoke house which is placed on a line with the
  new kitchen. The internal arrangements are almost to my mind. The
  dining room is large and will dine 100 persons at one time
  comfortable. The wing at the East end contains the library a large and
  comodeous room and overseer room, and a covered way that protects the
  three doors leading to the library the overseer room and to the back

  “In the progress of the emprovements I adhered as closely to the plan
  furnished you as circumstances would admit. The only alteration I have
  made is in adding 2 feet to the length of the Kitchen, and 20 feet to
  the length of the East wing. The latter was done at the request and
  with the advice of Gen. Coffee which additions I hope will meet with
  your approbation.

  “The following is the amount that has been expended independent of
  what has been done by your one (own) hands—

      Cash to stone-cutters, mason &                491.00
     “   to carpenters and joiners                678.00
     “   to painters and glazers                  187.00
     “   plasterers                               168.00
     “   copper smith and tinner                  350.00
     “   Lumber and shingles                      468.50
     “   Hardware glass &c.                       110.00
     “   Lurners (?) bill                          25.00
     “   Halling lumber from Nashville             11.00

  “You will perceive by this amount notwithstanding the several
  additions, the back Portico, and many additional expenses incident to
  such emprovements I have been able to effect it with a less sume than
  the original estimate which to me is a source of gratulation without
  respect to any hope of pecuniary emolument. I must entreat you to
  believe that no such sordid matire entered into my views. To merit
  your approbation has been my ambition, to succeed in obtaining it is
  my best reward—I have received in addition to the fifteen hundred
  Dollars the amount of your chieck, Five hundred dollars from Mr.
  Josiah Nicholl, making two thousand dollars, leiving a ballance of
  Four hundred and eighty-eight Dollars.

  “On receipt of your letter of the 18th August for which I return you
  my thanks for the expressions of kindness it contains, I employed an
  expereanced stone-cutter in whome I have entire confidence who is
  progressing with the Temple & Monument it will be composed intire of
  stone. The massivenes of the parts of the Grecian Doric order require
  a material of great strength such as the white stone of this
  neighborhood and when this can be obtained it must always be a subject
  of regret that recourse should be had to any imitation of it however
  exact: but I found it impossible to get ceader timber large enough to
  be wrought into the forms required. The principle cost of this
  substantial and highly ornamental emprovement consists of the hire of
  stone cutters, and the purchase of copper for the covering of the
  doom. I expect in the progress of this work to have the ade of your
  one hands & teems in quarry & halling the stone, which will enable me
  to bestoe an additional quantity of labor on the building, in order
  that it may fully meet publick expectation. I am anxious to have it
  finished as soon in the spring as possible, in as much as I will be
  necessary detained hear to direct the operation of the workmen in
  order that it may be in conformity to the plan furnished you.

  “I have made a drawing of the Hermitage as emproved, which is in the
  hands of an experanced engraver, it will make a splendid picture and
  as soon as it is finished I will send you a copy which will give you a
  better idea of the building than any written discription I can give—my
  best respects to your son—Mrs. M joins with me in tendering you, not
  our complements, but our kindest & best wishes,

  “I am your most obldge
                                                            D Morrison.”

Notes in Andrew Jackson’s own hand on the back of the letter read: “Mr.
Morrison rec’d & answered. A bill for $300 inclosed to Mr. Morrison or
Josiah Nichol. A. J. To be preserved. A. J.”

The picture which Mr. Morrison mentioned has been preserved. It appears
on Ayres’ Map of Nashville, which was published in 1832. An announcement
of the plans for this map appeared in the _Nashville Republican_ and
_State Gazette_, of December 6, 1831—strangely enough, the exact date of
Mr. Morrison’s letter. This notice reads:

  “Map of Nashville—Sketches of the embellishments which are to be
  attached to this work have been politely submitted to our inspection.
  They consist of three different views of the City—one from the bank of
  the Cumberland near the ruins of the Old Steam Mill; another from a
  hill on the South near the residence of Dr. Overton, and the third
  from a commanding height about two miles to the North—the Penitentiary
  from an iminence in front, with its beautiful back-ground scenery of
  hill and wood and cultivated field—a portion of College Street
  including Yeatman and Woods’ Bank—the U.S. Branch Bank—a group
  consisting of the Court House, Inn and Hotel—a part of the Public
  Square including the upper end of the Market House—the University and
  background—the Presbyterian, the Baptist, and the Episcopal
  churches—the Female Academy and other buildings in the neighborhood.
  To these is added a view of the Hermitage in its present newly
  finished state, than which there is not to be found west of the
  Allegany a more beautiful and splendid private residence.”

A comparison of the engraving on Ayres’ map with Mr. Morrison’s letter
proves the authenticity of the picture. There are ten columns instead of
the six stately ones of the present, and the exterior of the building
corresponds in other details with his description. The tomb, for the
artist’s convenience, more than likely, is placed nearer the house than
it is in reality.

Andrew Jackson Baker, present caretaker of the Hermitage, who has made a
careful study of the building, points out a number of irregularities in
the doors of the east wing which are due, undoubtedly, to the
remodeling. The brick walls themselves show where the east wing was
added and where there was once a little roof or porch extending over the
entrance to the cellar. The kitchen and smoke-house, as Morrison’s
letter states, are on line with each other.

The handsome remodeled Hermitage which was Mr. Morrison’s and
Nashville’s pride was destined, however, to a career of short duration.
In October, 1834, it caught fire and was, with the exception of the
dining-room wing and its sturdy brick walls, destroyed. The catastrophe
is described in the _Nashville Republican_ of October 14, 1834, as

  “The Hermitage Burnt—Yesterday evening about 4 o’clock the roof of the
  Hermitage was discovered to be on fire, and all attempts to arrest the
  progress of the flames proving unavailing, the entire edifice, with
  the exception of the room attached to the northern end and used as a
  dining room, was in a few hours consumed. The valuable furniture in
  the lower story was fortunately saved, though much broken and
  otherwise injured in getting it out. That in the second story was, we
  understand, chiefly destroyed. The fire is supposed to have been
  communicated to the roof by the falling of a spark from one of the
  chimneys, and there being a breeze from the northwest, the progress of
  the flames was proportionably rapid. The numerous and valuable private
  papers of the President were probably all preserved.

  “We need not add that the event has occasioned to this community deep
  and universal regret.”

Letters from Bassett’s _Correspondence of Andrew Jackson_, give further
details of the fire. On October 14, 1834, Col. Robert Armstrong,
Nashville’s postmaster, wrote:

  “My dear Genl. Your son and Majr. Donelson have both written you the
  perticulars of the unfortunate burning of the Hermitage House. We
  heard the news Last evening but not the extent of the Damage. I sent
  One of the Young men Out of the Office up After supper who returned by
  Sun up this morning. I learned from Majr. D. and the Young man I sent
  up that all the furniture and valuables with the papers, letter Books,
  etc., have been with the exception of some furniture upstairs (the
  Wardrobe and Large bedstead) saved. Some few things were singed in
  getting out but on the whol I expect everything was done that could be
  done and I have no doubt it was purely accidental. The House can be
  rebuilt on the Old Site for $2,000 or 2,500. The dineing room wing is
  but Little injured. I will go up this evening to see your Son and also
  Mr. Rife, the Carpenter doing Majr. D. work, and the one who built my
  House and will write you in a day or two. I will see what will be his
  estimate and Austins for its Complete Rebuilding and inform you....”

Stockley Donelson, General Jackson’s nephew, wrote on the same day,
giving details of the fire.

  “A fire was kindled in the old dining room,” he stated, “and the
  chimney caught on fire, which not being observed immediately, and the
  wind being from the North west, the fire was communicated to the roof.
  The flame however had not spread very far before it was discovered by
  Squire and Charles and the alarm given. Cousin Sarah at this moment
  was in the house having just returned from a short ride and Andrew was
  in the field, but a short distance from the House, The fire was soon
  discovered by Wm. Donelson hands who were working near at hand, by A.
  J. Donelson work men and hands, as well as by your own hands. They
  were all on the ground before the roof fell in, etc. Mr Rife by his
  own exertions succeeded in getting on the dining Room roof and
  extinguishing the flames, etc. Others were employed in getting out the
  furniture, etc., which was nearly all saved, except some bedsteads up
  stairs.... Cousin Sarah acted with firmness and gave every necessary
  direction to save the furniture, and Her and Andrew though much Hurt,
  I am happy to add bear the misfortune with fortitude.

    [Illustration: Parlors at the Hermitage]

    [Illustration: Below: The Front Hall

    Showing the stairway and the historic Telemachus wall paper.]

  “_The walls of the House being originally well built are not much
  damaged._ The workmen Austin, Rife, etc say there will be no
  difficulty in rebuilding, etc. Some of the petition walls and arches
  over the windows, and some other repairing of the walls all of which
  Mr. Austin can furnish brick to do by deferring the building of some
  of Maj Donelson back buildings.... Andrew requested me to say to you
  that he would move to the Baldwin place, and will start 3 or 4 whip
  saws tomorrow, and will get ready to cover it immediately, which is
  entirely practicable....”

Col. Armstrong, after his promised visit, wrote: “The dineing room Wing
is but Little injured and I view it this way that you have now the Stone
and Brick-work of your House done, and one Wing Compleate, and that
2500$ will Compleate the main house and the other office Wing. The
Kitchen and out Houses are all safe.”

Like most estimates, Col. Armstrong’s proved to be far lower than the
final cost. The first estimate made by Joseph Rieff and William C. Hume
amounted to $3,950. Added to this was $239 “for Extra work done upon
change of Plan;” $186, “for work done on West wing and New Kitchen
finding everything;” and $750 “for the full length two story Porch added
finding every thing;” making a grand total of $5,125.

Among the interesting items included in the first estimate were: “1
Circular stair case 2 storys high, $260; first story of front poarch
with 6 collums etc, $256; second story of ditto, $75; one back Portico,
$40....” (Complete details of the rebuilding are found in Bassett’s
_Correspondence of Andrew Jackson_, Vol. V.)

A new house called, of course, for new furnishings. Sarah York with the
adored little Rachel, born November 1, 1832, and her infant brother,
Andrew, went on to visit the General at the White House. On this visit
Sarah went on to Philadelphia to visit her own kin and while there made
selections for the paper and the furnishings of the Hermitage.

One of the hitherto unpublished letters of the Hermitage collection,
written at Washington April 14, 1835, by General Jackson, shows his
interest in the furnishings, as well as his tender solicitude for Sarah
York and the children:

  “My dear Sarah: When you get a little rested from your journey make
  enquiry about the bedsteads and let me know at what the eight can be
  procured, of good plain mahogany.... I shall be anxious to hear from
  you, how my dear little Rachel is, as well as yourself and Andrew—I
  have great solicitude about my dear little Rachel. Keep the dear
  little ones for me—present me kindly to Mr. & Mrs. Wetherall and
  accept a father’s prayers for your health and happiness. We all salute
  thee kindly. Andrew Jackson.”

Sarah busied herself with shopping and soon she had purchased a splendid
new outfit for the Hermitage. The bill, dated January 2, 1836
(_Correspondence of Andrew Jackson_, Vol. V.) included:

  6 Mahogany Bedsteads, including the packing at 40, $240; 24 Fancy
  Chairs cain seat rich blue and gold at 2.50, $60; 4 Curtins, Crimson
  Silk lined with white Silk and full mounted at 75, $300; box $1, $301;
  7 pair Tongs and Shovel polished steel pairs at 4.50, $31.50; 1 pair
  Do large, $75.50; 1 pair Chamber Candlesticks plated, $6; 1 Brass
  Fender, best, $13, box $1, $14; 1 Wardrobe Black and ornamented $50; 2
  Wash Stands marble tops at $18, $36; 2 Do small at $5; $10; 2 large
  size Bureaus at $30, $60; 2 Center Tables at $30, $60; 8 Packing
  Boxes, $16.50; 5 Wire Fenders with Knobs, at $4.50, $22.50; 1 Nurcery
  Fender, $6.50; Box, $1.75; 2 pair Brass Andirons at $6, $12; 1 pair
  Brass Andirons, $6.50; 2 pairs Brass Andirons at $7, $14; 3 Setts of
  fine paper hanging Views Telemechus at $40, $120; 150 yards Super
  Nankeen Matting at .50, $75; 20 Yards Brussels 4-4 Stair Carpeting
  Crimson Damask Center with net Border at $2.87½, $57.50; 1 mahogany
  Bedstead packed, $40; 1 Mahogany Bedstead packed very fine, $60; 1
  Blind large Size, $10; 1 pair Blinds to match, $10; 1 doz. 40 inch
  Stair rods $6.50; Box, $1.75. The grand total, including insurance on
  the shipments made on the boats, Bonnaffe, Mile, and Jno Sergeant,
  amounted to $1,364.50.

There was trouble about the wall paper, and again General Jackson’s
friend, Col. Armstrong, came to the rescue. He wrote, on May 27, 1836
(Bassett’s _Correspondence_, Vol. V.):

  “Dear Genl. I send you inclosed a note addressed to me by the Mess.
  Yeateman after a conversation I had with them this morning. They have
  always been ready and willing to do all in their power to get back the
  paper from those who purchased it. When I call’d on Campbell I
  expected to get the paper, that night he cut it and put it on the

  “Williams is not at home. I saw Shelly who will do nothing in it, he
  is not disposed to restore it. Williams _dare_ not, as his wife claims
  it, so I call’d on the Mess. Yeateman and stated the facts who
  willingly proposed to purchase another set....”

There has long been a tradition in Nashville that the old Campbell
house, not far from town, on the Lebanon Pike, had paper like that in
the Hermitage hall, but it was, evidently, destroyed when the walls were
scraped and re-papered. Further details concerning the determined woman
who kept the paper have not, at the present writing, come to light.

A bill dated May 30, 1836, shows that Jackson’s merchant and personal
friend, Henry Toland, of Philadelphia, arranged for another shipment of
paper. This bill includes the items: “3 Views of Telemachus at $29, $87;
7 ps Pannell Paper, at $2.50, $17.50; 7 ps. Bordering, at $3.00; $21; 4
ps. Plain Blue, at .75, $3.” A box cost fifty cents and five per cent
was deducted because of the cash payment, making the final amount
$122.60. The bill is marked “Received payment fr H Toland, October 25th
1836. Robert Golder, per Jas. Cameron Golder.”

Nancy McClelland, in her monumental work, _Historic Wall-Papers_,
(Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, 1924) states that “the complete set
consisted of 25 strips in colours, and the scenes are constructed on the
account of the adventures of Telamachus.” It was manufactured in Paris
by Dufour about 1825 and, though rare, was not an exclusive pattern. It
is still found on the walls of certain historic homes and in a few
private and public collections.

According to the late Mrs. Rachel Jackson Lawrence, daughter of Sarah
York and Andrew Jackson, Jr., the Telemachus paper now on the walls of
_The Hermitage_ hallway is the third set of its kind purchased by
General Jackson. The first, she declared, was put on the walls at the
time of the remodelling in 1831 and was burned in the fire of 1834. The
second was the one acquired by Mrs. Campbell and the third, which, like
the others, is the work of Dufour, was placed on the walls some time
after it was ordered in the late spring of 1836.

Sarah York selected papers for the Hermitage, but, as his letter of
April 14, 1835, (Hermitage MSS. Collection) shows, President Jackson
took a personal interest in the Telemachus paper.

  “I rec’ a note from Mr. Toland,” he wrote, “after you left us,
  informing that Mr. South had forwarded the order to Paris for the
  Telamucus and the other would be detained until you arrived and made
  the selection for those rooms not selected for. As soon as you can
  attend to this and have the selection made and the paper shipped for
  New Orleans so that it may get up to Nashville before the Steam boats
  stop running. I have written Mr. Toland on this subject....”

Eighteen packages of furniture for the Hermitage were lost when the
steamer _John Randolph_ was burned at Nashville, May 16, 1836, but it is
evident that they were replaced as quickly as possible. There was
always, however, the delay of waiting for sufficiently high water, in
addition to the long, tedious journey around the coast to New Orleans
and up the Mississippi, Ohio and Cumberland to Nashville.

Another large bill of furnishings for the Hermitage was purchased of
Barry and Krickbaum, of Philadelphia, in February, 1837. It included 1
Large Wardrobe, $75; 2 dressing Bureaus to match, $110; 2 Wardrobes,
french pattern, $120; 1 Eliptic front Bureau, $5; 1 Secy and Bookcase
complete, $50; 2 pier tables, marble tops, $120; 1 Work table Elegantly
fitted up, $50; 1 Work Stand, marble tray top, $5; 2 Work Stands, marble
tray top, $50; 1 Marble Slab, $10. Total $665.

About the same time a long list of smaller furnishings amounting to
$481.93 was bought of Lewis Veron and Company, Philadelphia. There were
fenders, and irons, screens and such, things. Among them were “2 Pair
french And Irons $70; 1 Gallérie for fire place, $55; 1 Clock Shade and
Stand, very large, $17; 1 Plated Egg Boiler, $19; and one Silver Mounted
Butter Tub, $12.” (The list is given in full in Bassett’s
_Correspondence_, Vol. V.)

The new furnishings, with such as were left from the fire, were
assembled in a harmonious whole toward the end of General Jackson’s
second term as President. Sarah York, after her arrival at the Hermitage
in 1832 had bought carpets, linens, and various necessities. General
Jackson had written his son at this time:

  “Sarah writes me about a Carpet for the dining room and some table
  linnen and common furniture for the Table. There were abundant supply.
  of table linnen, etc. etc. when we left the Hermitage, but I suppose
  it must have gone the same way as the sheets. I have said in my letter
  to Sarah inclosed that a carpet must be bought for the dining room.
  There is always a supply of the carpets made by the Shakers, to be had
  at Mr. Nichols, and she must buy such furniture as the House wants,
  having an eye to proper economy. This you will have done agreeable to
  her directions. I have named domestic carpet, as it will be cheaper
  and better than an oil cloth or matt....”

Again he wrote: “View those East India matts or carpeting and see
whether these recommended by Mr. Toland will answer better for the
passage than oil cloth, and whether Sarah would prefer these to common
carpets for the bedrooms....”

After all the delays and the characteristic confusion of moving the
furnishings—old and new—were at last arranged. A weary old man—ill and
hemorrhaging heavily from the lungs—turned his face eagerly to the spot
which, in all the world, he loved best. To Nicholas P. Trist he wrote on
March 2, 1837, “Your letter ... found me confined to my room, indeed, I
might say to my bed, and I have been only four times down stairs since
the 15th of Novb. last, altho I have been obliged to labour
incessantly.... Tomorrow ends my official carier forever, on the 4th I
hope to be able to go to the capitol to witness the glorious scene of
Mr. Van Buren, once rejected by the Senate, sworn into office....”

Late in December, 1936, he had written Andrew Jackson Donelson, a letter
of condolence—the spirited Emily, whom he loved deeply, but whom he, in
high dudgeon, had sent home because she refused to receive the
much-discussed Peggy O’Neal Timberlake Eaton, had succumbed to a lung
trouble similar to that from which he was suffering.

  “I have this moment recd. the sad and melancholy intelligence that our
  Dear Emily is no more.... I have no language in which I can express my
  grief.... My health is slowly returning, and my strength improving

    [Illustration: The Garden and the Tomb

    Upon the tomb is carved General Jackson’s immortal tribute to his
    wife: “Her face was fair, her person pleasing, her temper amiable,
    her heart kind; she delighted in relieving the wants of her fellow
    creatures, and cultivated that divine pleasure by the most liberal
    and unpretending methods; to the poor she was a benefactor; to the
    rich an example; to the wretched a comforter; to the prosperous an
    ornament; her piety went hand in hand with her benevolence, and she
    thanked her creator for being permitted to do good. A being so
    gentle and so virtuous slander might wound, but could not dishonor.
    Even Death, when he bore her from the arms of her husband, could but
    transport her to the bosom of her God.”]

The rest, sunlight, and pleasant atmosphere of the Hermitage were
destined, however, to work a great improvement. His wiry, long-suffering
body was to recover sufficiently for him to spend eight years in his new
home before he was laid to rest in the garden beside the beloved Rachel.
During these years his young men, under his wise guidance, had a
tremendous influence in the nation—and in 1845, James K. Polk, who had
openly conducted his campaign as “Young Hickory,” the legitimate
political heir of the “sage of the Hermitage,” was inaugurated.

Andrew Jackson and his family, after Van Buren’s inauguration, made a
triumphant progress southward and, on March 25, 1837, reached the
Hermitage. To Martin Van Buren he wrote on March 30: “I reached home ...
with a very bad cough, increased by a cold taken on board the Steam
Boat.... I hope rest in due time may restore my health so as be enabled
to amuse myself in riding over my farm and visiting my neighbors....”

But however interested he was in his farm and his neighbors he took time
to write his successor and protégé several pages of very sound advice on
state affairs:

  “Fearlessly pursue your principles avowed, and the people will sustain
  you against all apostates, ambitious, and designing men ...” and take
  care of “the safety of the deposit Banks of the West, and south....”

From that time onward the Hermitage was prominent in the eyes of the
nation. The younger statesmen paid visits to “the sage of the Hermitage”
as the ancients consulted oracles—and the masses continued to worship
the “Hero of New Orleans.”

His domestic life flowed easily and pleasantly under the skilled and
tactful direction of his daughter, Sarah. The adored little Rachel
dogged his footsteps, rode with him, and, with her bright prattle,
enlivened his days. Mrs. Marion Adams, Sarah’s older sister, now
widowed, made her home at the Hermitage, and Rachel’s relatives came
from their neighboring estates to pay respects to their beloved kinsman.
Never was a lonely old man surrounded with greater affection or more
kindly care.

But what of the outward appearance of the Hermitage of this period?
There is every indication that the cedars along the driveway were set
out at this time. A drawing of the Hermitage dated 1856 indicates that
the cedars were still quite young at that time, and a statement of
Parton, based on his visit to Nashville prior to the publication of his
_Life of Andrew Jackson_ in 1859, further corroborates it and gives, as
well, an interesting picture of the appearance which the Hermitage
finally assumed after its series of changes. He wrote:

  “Now we leave the turnpike and turn into a private road, straight,
  narrow, a quarter of a mile long, the land on both sides dead level.
  We come to a low iron gate in a white wooden frame, which admits us to
  an avenue of young cedars, ending in a grove, through which a
  guitar-shaped lawn is visible.... We alight, at length, on the stone
  steps of the piazza, and the Hermitage is before us.... A two-story
  brick house, with a double piazza both in front and in the rear; the
  piazza wooden and painted white supported by thick grooved pillars of
  the same material and color. The floors of the lower piazza are of
  stone, and each terminates in a wing of the house....”

A familiar and cherished picture to Tennesseans, and to many thousands
of Americans who have journeyed the same road to pay tribute to the
memory of Andrew Jackson. Parton, like the Frenchmen with Lafayette, was
struck by the simplicity of the Hermitage, but he was much impressed
with the fertility of the land and the natural beauty of the estate.
Like the Frenchmen, he, too, was much concerned with the “sad spectacle”
of slavery, but he was convinced that the Jackson slaves had an
unusually happy lot.

The best-known authority on the laying out of the cedar drive is the
narrative of Mrs. Rachel Jackson Lawrence (“little Rachel”) which
appears in the second volume of the late S. G. Heiskell’s _Andrew
Jackson and Early Tennessee History_. Mr. Heiskell was not only an
eminent lawyer, but he was a careful and painstaking historian. He
quotes Mrs. Lawrence as saying:

  “Colonel Earle assisted in laying off the grounds, the front yard, at
  the Hermitage. My mother drew the plan, and Colonel Earle
  superintended the laying off, and the planting of all those cedars you
  can see there. He also laid off the center of the Hermitage garden. I
  think it was exposure to the sun, after being so closely confined in
  his studio, that resulted in his death. He came in, I remember, and
  sat down at the dinner table, and said he did not feel very well,
  thought he had something like a chill.... When supper time came, he
  was still feeling very badly.... About daylight he died with a
  congestive chill.”

Earl’s death was mentioned in General Jackson’s letters of September,
1838. “His death,” he wrote, “is a great bereavement to me ... he was my
friend and constant companion....”

Mrs. Lawrence’s statement does not definitely place the laying out of
the flower beds in the center of the garden. It is possible that, in
those lonely days after his young wife’s death in 1819, he worked with
Rachel Jackson in the garden of her new home. Frost, the English
gardener may have worked with them. At any rate, the garden grew as the
estate developed and, through the twenty years of his residence at the
Hermitage, it must have delighted the beauty-loving soul of the artist.

But what suggested the guitar as a model for the drive? There is a
tradition that General Jackson selected it because Rachel played the
guitar—certainly, even at Hunter’s Hill, she played a harpsichord, and
often accompanied the General when he played upon his flute. There is
definite proof that Sarah York had a guitar, for General Jackson, in a
letter written in Washington, April 12, 1832, said: “Your cousin Saml.
J. Hays has agreed to take the Dog—will rest at Rockville with you
tonight. He takes on Sarah’s Gator (guitar)—you must direct him where to
leave it....”

Somewhere the connection between music and the cedars was seen by a mind
poetic enough to look forward to a day when they would grow into a
massive instrument upon which the pleasant winds might play. Perhaps
“Old Hickory” himself conceived the idea—at any rate he approved it, or
the drive would not have been planted. It is enough to know that in
planting the trees he connected them with the music of at least
one—perhaps two—mistresses of the Hermitage.

General Jackson was interested, too, in the willows which he had planted
by Mrs. Jackson’s tomb and in the flowers she had loved. In a letter
written to Andrew Jackson, Jr., on August 20, 1829, he expresses deep
concern for the care of her grave in the garden:

  “In your letter although you have informed me of your visit to your
  dear mother’s tomb, still you have not informed me of its situation,
  and whether the weeping that we planted around it are growing, or
  whether the flowers reared by her industrious and beloved hands, have
  been set around the grave as I requested. My D’r son, inform me on
  this subject, you know it is the one dearest to my heart, and her
  memory will remain fresh there as long as life lasts....”

“As long as life lasts....” Each evening at sunset a failing old man
turned his footsteps toward the garden. The chattering little girl who
held his hand paused at the gate and watched in silence while he made
his way slowly down the garden paths to the white stone temple in the
lower end of the garden.

  “No one ever went to the tomb with him,” Mrs. Lawrence told Mr.
  Heiskell. “I always went to the gate, and saw him in, but I realized
  he was going to the tomb. He would stay there a half hour, I suppose,
  then return. He did this as long as he was able to walk.”

It was not long to wait. Louis Philippe sent the artist Healy to paint
his portrait, and Sam Houston was hastening from Texas that his
fast-failing friend might lay his hands on his young son’s head in
blessing. The portrait was finished three days before the old General’s
death, but Sam Houston reached the Hermitage just a few hours too late.

The end came quietly and peacefully on June 8, 1845, and two days later
Andrew Jackson was laid to rest beside his beloved Rachel. Their mortal
remains have rested peacefully in the earth they loved these many years,
while the changing seasons have brought their fleeting beauty to the
garden—but who shall say that their story has not become immortal?

                            ADDITIONAL NOTES

(Plans for this volume were made during Mrs. E. A. Lindsey’s term as
regent of the Ladies’ Hermitage Association. They were brought to
completion during the administration of her successor, Mrs. Reau E.
Folk, with the full coöperation of Mrs. Lindsey and other members of the
board of directors. Plans for the present edition were begun under the
regency of Mrs. George F. Blackie and are being completed under the
regency of Mrs. Robert F. Jackson. The purpose of this little book is to
provide a small, easily readable volume on the Hermitage of Andrew
Jackson’s day and to bring out certain interesting unpublished material
relating to this period. These additional notes, given in the briefest
possible space, represent material too voluminous to publish at the
present time, but too important to pass without some mention.)

_Preservation and Refurnishing of the Hermitage._—The reader is
naturally interested in the period which intervened between the death of
Andrew Jackson and the opening of his home as a patriotic shrine, the
authenticity of the relics, the degree to which the garden and the
grounds are faithful to their past, and other details of the
preservation of the historic Hermitage estate.

The Hermitage and five hundred acres of adjoining land were purchased by
the State of Tennessee from Andrew Jackson, Jr., in 1856. At this time
Andrew Johnson, another Tennessean who was to ascend to the Presidency
of the United States, was governor. The original purpose was to tender
the property to the United States Government for the establishment of a
military academy similar to West Point, and such an offer was made to
Congress by the State of Tennessee. The plan was not consummated,
however, for clouds which gave warning of the great storm of internal
strife which was about to break, obscured all other interests. The Civil
War soon followed and five young men from the Hermitage—sons of Sarah
York and Andrew Jackson, Jr., and of Mrs. Jackson’s widowed sister, Mrs.
Adams—went to join the Confederate Army. Only one, Colonel Andrew
Jackson, III, returned.

Andrew Jackson, Jr., died in 1865, but his widow continued, at the
invitation of the State of Tennessee, to live at the Hermitage until her
death in 1888. In the following year, 1889, the Ladies’ Hermitage
Association was organized, and on April 5, 1889, the mansion, tomb, and
adjoining buildings were conveyed to the trustees of the Ladies’
Hermitage Association. After this first step the Association busied
itself with the raising of funds for the purchase of furniture, relics,
and valuable papers which belonged in the mansion and which Col. Andrew
Jackson, III, had inherited from his mother. The major portion of the
present collection was completed by 1900, and in that year Col. Jackson
and his sister, Mrs. Rachel Jackson Lawrence, signed a statement which
forever establishes the authenticity of the relics. Col. Jackson died in
1906, but Mrs. Lawrence lived until 1923 and under her guidance, as well
as that of “Uncle Alfred,” the slave who was General Jackson’s body
servant, the furniture was rearranged as it was when the old warrior
lived in the Hermitage.

This work was not done without continuous, untiring, and devoted effort
on the part of the leading spirits of the Ladies’ Hermitage Association.
Their work received national recognition in 1907, when President
Theodore Roosevelt, impressed by his visit to the Hermitage, sponsored
an act of Congress which provided $5,000 for additional work in
repairing and preserving the Hermitage as a national shrine.

_Library, or Office._—Among the most interesting of the unpublished
collections of Jackson material is that owned by The Ladies’ Hermitage
Association. It has been the privilege of the writer to make a detailed
study of this material. The library, or office, as it was generally
called, contains over four hundred volumes. One of the most striking
features of this collection is that such a large portion of it is the
work of Jackson’s contemporaries—not only in military and political
subjects, but in biography, fiction, and poetry.

There are a number of Sir Walter Scott’s works, including his _Life of
Napoleon_, _Tales of My Landlord_, and others. There is Henry Fielding’s
_History of Tom Jones_, some volumes of Addison’s _Spectator_, Dickens’
_Oliver Twist_, Bunyan’s _Pilgrim’s Progress_, Jane Porter’s _Scottish
Chiefs_ and _Thaddeus of Warsaw_, Milton, Shakespeare, and a score of
others reflecting lively and varied taste.

The collection shows that it was acquired naturally and gradually, for
the purpose of meeting the needs and the interests of the household.
There are law books, religious writings, biography, technical books on
military subjects, numbers of bound political pamphlets, current
magazines, and a few newspapers, as well as the previously mentioned
fiction and poetry. There are also various publications on agriculture,
cook books, music books, hymnals, and, most delightful of all for the
human touch it gives, a baby book published in 1805!

This book, _A Treatise on the Diseases of Children, with Directions for
the Management of Children from Birth_, was published in 1805 in London.
It was written by Michael Underwood, M.D., of the Royal College of
Physicians, Physician to Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales.

It was, most likely, the most important book at the Hermitage in 1809,
when Rachel and Andrew took into their hearts the infant nephew who
became their adopted son and heir.

_Slaves._—No history of the Hermitage is complete without at least a
reference to the slaves who toiled in its fields, attended the
thoroughbreds in its stables, or performed duties at “the big house”
with well-bred courtesy and ease. Some few live by name, but most of
them, like shadows in a brilliantly colored picture, have passed into a
hazy, undefined background. Alfred sleeps in a marked grave in the
garden, only a few feet from his beloved master. Across the fence, a few
feet from the family burying ground, are other unidentified graves—among
them, it is said, is that of Gracie, Alfred’s wife.

Andrew Jackson, during the bitter campaign of 1828, was accused of being
a negro trader. Nothing could be more absurd to people who understand
the conditions under which he lived. He bought slaves and, occasionally,
sold them—but slave dealing implies constant trade in negroes for profit
and the records do not indicate, at any period of his life, that he
deserves the opprobrious term of negro trader.

Among the slaves of the early period of the Jackson household were more
than likely George and Moll, who were given to Rachel in 1791, as a part
of the property which she inherited in the settlement of her father’s
estate. Davidson County court records show that in the same year Andrew
Jackson bought a man named Peter and a six-year-old boy, named Aron. In
1793 he bought a negro girl named Peg, about twenty-six years old; a
little later a negro girl named Rock, aged about twelve years; and on
July 8, 1794, “A negro wench by the name of Hannah and her child called
Bett,” for 80 pounds Virginia currency. Hannah rose to an important
position in the household. She was, in more ways than one, to be Mrs.
Jackson’s right hand—she supervised the poultry, the household, and
seemed to be, in addition to these duties, personal maid to her
mistress. It was she who nursed Rachel in her last illness.

Hannah passed to Sarah York Jackson, by gift of General Jackson, along
with Alfred, Gracie, George Washington, Mary, Augustus, Sarah, and
others. (Slave deed—original at Tennessee State Library—dated August 16,
1854—A. Jackson, Jr.)

When the Hermitage was transferred to the custody of the Ladies’
Hermitage Association “Uncle Alfred,” by legislative request, went with

Senate Joint Resolution, No. 14, adopted April 3, 1889, reads:

  “Be it resolved by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee,
  That —— Jackson, colored, an old manservant of General Andrew Jackson,
  who now lives in a small cabin within one hundred yards of the tomb of
  General Jackson, that in transferring the Hermitage to the Confederate
  Home Association and the Ladies’ Association, by recent legislation,
  that we request the Trustees of the Confederate Home Association and
  the Ladies’ Association, not to disturb this old and good negro, but
  allow him to live in his cabin until he is called to meet his master
  on the other side of the river, and rest with him under the shade of
  the trees.

       “Benj. J. Lea, Speaker of the Senate; W. L. Clapp, Speaker of the
     House of Representatives. Approved April 6, 1889. Robert L. Taylor,

“Uncle” Alfred, who was born in 1803, died September 4, 1901. In
fulfilment of his dearest wish he was buried near the tomb of his
master, where he does, indeed, in the words of the dying Confederate
general, Stonewall Jackson, “rest under the shade of the trees.”

_Sword Presented to Andrew Jackson by Citizens of Philadelphia._—(Niles
Register—Vol. 47—p. 402. Issue of February 7, 1835.)

                                        Philadelphia, January 1st, 1835.

  To gen. Andrew Jackson, president of the United States.

  Sir: The undersigned citizens of Philadelphia, beg leave, on the
  anniversary of the glorious battle of New Orleans, to offer, by the
  attention of their friend, Col. A. L. Rumfort, the accompanying sword,
  from the manufacture of their fellow citizen, Mr. F. W. Widmann, as a
  testimonial of their love and gratitude towards the benefactor of
  their country.

  The artist has endeavored, in the ornamental work, to depict that
  conflict, which resulted in the most decisive and glorious victory
  known to our American annals. Art may indeed be inadequate to do
  justice to such a subject, but its details will be indelibly engraved
  on the minds and memories of the present and of each succeeding
  generation of Americans, worthy of the name. In an equal degree must
  their grateful hearts be impressed with the image of the devoted
  patriot chief, who, battling for THE PEOPLE AND THE PEOPLE’S RIGHTS,
  is ever invincible, by foreign or domestic foes, by force or fraud,
  unconquered and unconquerable.

  With sentiments of the highest esteem, we remain your friends and
  fellow citizens.

  (Here follow the names of between 60 and 70 gentlemen.)

                                            Washington, January 8, 1835.

  Sir: I receive, with emotions of the deepest gratitude, the sword you
  are pleased to present me as a testimonial of the regard which a
  portion of my friends, in Philadelphia, entertain of my services at
  New Orleans, this day twenty years ago. In memory of the troops that
  coöperated with me on that occasion, and to whose patriotism and
  courage more than to the skill of their commanding general, the
  country is indebted for the signal repulse of the enemy on the 8th of
  January, I accept it with a pleasure which I cannot express.

  I pray to you, sir, to convey to the gentlemen who have united with
  you in the presentation of this sword, my sincere thanks for the honor
  due me personally, and the assurances that it shall be preserved as a
  memento, valuable as a specimen of manufacture, and useful to those
  who will come after us, as a proof that the public service of the
  soldier will always find in the approbation of a free people the
  fullest reward.

  Allow me, sir, to tender to you personally my acknowledgments for the
  eloquent and complimentary terms you have employed in the execution of
  the trust assigned to you on this occasion. I am, very respectfully,
  your obedient servant,

                                                         ANDREW JACKSON.

  Col. A. L. Rumfort.

_The Artist, Ralph E. W. Earl, “Court Painter.”_—Most of the portraits
in the Hermitage collection are the work of Ralph Eleazar Whitesides
Earl, who was born in New York City about 1788. He was a son of the
eminent American artist, Ralph Earl, and his second wife, Anne
Whitesides. Little is known of his early life, but information supplied
the author in 1936 by Ralph E. W. Prime, Jr., of Yonkers and New York
City, New York, indicates that he went abroad prior to the War of 1812,
painted numerous portraits in England and France, and returned to the
United States some time between the summer of 1815 and the early part of
1817. His long residence in the Hermitage household and his numerous
portraits of General Jackson’s kinsmen and friends caused him to be
dubbed “The Court Painter.” The correct spelling of the branch of the
family to which he belongs is “Earl,” although historians frequently add
a final “e” to his name.

_The Garden._—It seems appropriate to add to that which has already been
written about the garden an important letter written to the late Miss
Louise Grundy Lindsley, charter member, former regent, and member of the
board of directors, of the Ladies’ Hermitage Association, by Mrs. Rachel
Jackson Lawrence, about a year before the latter’s death. The letter

  “As you enter the garden gate, you find the fringe tree planted by
  Grand-pa. Passing down the walk, you find the crepe myrtle on either
  side. Along the border farther down, are lilac and syringa. At the far
  side of the middle plot, there is a smoke tree, and following the path
  down, you find lilac, crepe myrtle, mock orange, and along the back
  fence of the garden these same shrubs.

  “As you enter the gate on the left-hand side, is the calicanthus or
  Sweet Betsy. There are the fig bushes, the flowering almond, and many
  other shrubs. Around the tomb are the magnolias.

  “In the garden, the flowers were the June lily, lily-of-the-valley,
  single white and blue hyacinth, the red, the white and the pink
  peonies, blooming in succession as named.

  “The center beds were filled with the old fashioned sweet-williams,
  petunias, periwinkles, blue-bells, pinks, and other garden flowers.
  There were iris and jonquils, and, as we called them, golden
  candle-sticks. There was the coral honeysuckle, which hung in great
  clusters, on the right side of the formal plot. Among the roses, there
  was the old-fashioned little yellow rose, the hundred leaf pink rose,
  the moss rose, and the large white cabbage rose. There was the
  Japanese magnolia planted near the center, the rare cucumber magnolia,
  the very rare tree peony. Like all old gardens, in the corners were
  violets and blue bottles. Box trees marked the corners of the walks.
  There were several evergreens around the tomb and a bunch of hickory
  trees planted by Grand-pa. Now this is all that I can remember.
  Signed—Rachel Jackson Lawrence.”

Sarah York Jackson, who spoke often of the Hermitage garden in letters
to her sons, wrote Andrew Jackson, III, in the spring of 1852:

“... all our early flowers are destroyed, also all the first plants of
vegetables. You would be grieved to see our garden. We are making some
few improvements in it this season, bricking around the beds, and have
had a supply of fine roses. We have now about fifty varieties of roses,
some very fine....”

To this gracious, devoted woman was given the privilege of guarding
Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage and its cherished garden through long, weary
years of war, sorrow, poverty and neglect, until the hands of other
women reached out to carry the responsibilities which Death alone caused
her to relinquish.


[1]The origin of the name of Jackson’s Hermitage estate is obscure.
    Thomas Hart Benton, in his _Thirty Years’ View_, Vol. I, page 736,
    says: “He ... lived on a superb estate of some thousand acres,
    twelve miles from Nashville, then hardly known by its subsequent
    famous name of the Hermitage—name chosen for its perfect accord with
    his feelings; for he had then actually withdrawn from the stage of
    public life....”

    Mr. W. E. Beard, of Nashville, a well-known writer and historian,
    suggests that Jackson may have been influenced by the name of Aaron
    Burr’s home. “Before Jackson’s Hermitage there were at least two
    other homes, associated with noteworthy figures in American history,
    bearing the name. One was the Hermitage of Gen. Arthur St. Clair ...
    located near Youngstown, Pa. The other Hermitage was in New Jersey
    and has more romantic associations. It was the home during the
    Revolution of the beautiful Widow Prevost, the beloved of Col. Aaron
    Burr, later his wife and the mother of the gifted Theodosia.... One
    of Jackson’s earliest visitors of note at his Hermitage was Col.
    Burr.... A reasonable supposition would be that the charming
    adventurer, remembering the days of his dashing courtship in Jersey,
    suggested the name for the new home of his host.”

    Mr. Beard remarks that Burr visited Jackson’s Hermitage after its
    name was in use. In support of his theory it may be stated, however,
    that Jackson had known Burr since 1797. There is, as far as is known
    at present, nothing to prove definitely the origin of the name of
    Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage.

[2]An old log building, said to have been Andrew Jackson’s carriage
    house at Hunter’s Hill, has been removed to the Hermitage.

[3]In 1817 Truxton, then seventeen years old, was presented by General
    Jackson to Col. Robert Butler, adjutant-general of the New Orleans
    campaign, who resided in the Mississippi Territory. “I drop you a
    hasty line to inform you of the safe arrival of Truxton,” wrote Col.
    Butler to General Jackson, on April 20, 1817. “I met him at Ft.
    Adams landing yesterday.... My dear Genl I feel under great
    obligations to you for this Horse of Horses. I certainly never
    beheld a more noble animal.... I shall cherish and pet him as a
    great favorite as long as he lives.”

    [Illustration: Military portrait of General Andrew Jackson done by
    the artist, Ralph E. W. Earl, who married one of Mrs. Jackson’s
    nieces and was, for 20 years, a member of the Hermitage household.
    Earl was known during the Jackson administration as “Portrait
    Painter to the King.” THE HERMITAGE, home of General Andrew Jackson,
    Seventh President of the United States, Nashville, Tennessee.]

    [Illustration: Portrait of Andrew Jackson on Sam Patch, white horse
    presented him by the citizens of Pennsylvania in 1833. Portrait by
    Earl. THE HERMITAGE, home of General Andrew Jackson, Seventh
    President of the United States, Nashville, Tennessee.]

    [Illustration: Portrait of RACHEL DONELSON JACKSON
    —by Earl
    Home of General Andrew Jackson
    Seventh President of the United States
    Nashville, Tennessee]

    [Illustration: THE HERMITAGE—Home of General Andrew Jackson, Seventh
    President of the United States, Hermitage, Tennessee, near
    Nashville. Standing today just as it stood when he left it over 100
    years ago is the classic home of “Old Hickory.” Built in 1819, this
    historic shrine has successfully defied time and nature for 134
    years. Although it was damaged by fire in 1834, it was restored
    immediately as it stands today.]

               Natural Color Photography by Frank Shannon
 Color-King Natural Color Card, W. M. Clint Co., Chattanooga, Tennessee

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—Corrected a few palpable typos.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

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