History from Home – Andrew Jackson, Jr.

Meet Andrew Jackson, Jr., heir to the Hermitage.

In 1808, Rachel Jackson’s brother, Severn Donelson, and his wife Elizabeth had a set of twin boys. At the age of 42 and with no biological children of their own, Andrew and Rachel were allowed to take one of the boys and raise him as their own. The child was named Andrew Jackson, Jr. and became the heir to the Hermitage.

Andrew Jackson Jr.’s early life was spent living in the First Hermitage and was surrounded by other children as well. Andrew and Rachael were guardians to many children of family and friends, including an Indian boy named Lyncoya. Click here to meet all of Jackson’s children.

Andrew Jackson was a true advocate for education, and young Andrew Junior attended some of the best schools in Nashville, Davidson Academy and the University of Nashville.

When his father became President, Andrew Jr. assumed management of the Hermitage farm.

He married Sarah Yorke of Philadelphia, on November 24, 1831. Although Jr.’s financial woes brought Jackson grief in later years, Jackson was always a devoted father.

Andrew Jackson, Jr. was well liked in the community, but he was not a businessman. He preferred hunting and fishing instead of tending to the day-to-day operation of the farm, thus sending the fate of the property into a downward spiral.

Letters between father and son were constant. Jackson wrote:

“Nothing can be more disgraceful, or more injurious to a man’s standing in society, than the charge truly made that he has promised to pay money at a day certain and violating that promise. I therefore repeat, create no debts, our real wants are but few, our imaginary wants many, which never ought to be gratified by creating a debt to supply them.”

The death of Andrew Jackson left Junior with no safety net, and he continued to spend money, sending him deeper in debt. He no longer had the reassurance and support of his father to bail him out of unfortunate situations. Due to mounting debt, the family lost the farm to the State of Tennessee in 1856 and become tenants of the property.

Andrew Jackson Junior died from an accident while hunting on April 17, 1865.

Andrew Jackson, Jr. died Monday, April 17, 1865, after a hunting accident the previous Monday. According to Sarah Jackson, who wrote to Andrew Jackson III, then a prisoner of war at Fort Warren in Boston Harbor, “His foot struck the trigger and the whole load of one barrel passed through his right hand…”  Tetanus (or lockjaw) developed on Saturday, April 15, and he died two days later.

Andrew Jackson, Jr was laid to rest on April 17, 1865, near his mother and father in the Hermitage garden. His death at the end of the Civil War left his wife, Sarah, and son, Andrew III, to struggle alone in a very different world.

Click here to learn more about the Jackson family.