Adopted by an Orphan

In 1808, the Jacksons took in one of the infant twins of Rachel’s brother, Severn Donelson, and raised him as their own. They named him Andrew Jackson, Jr. (1808-1865).

Although some accounts suggest they took the child because of his mother’s ill health and inability to care for her children, the reasons for the adoption are actually not clear. Andrew Jr. and his twin, Thomas Jefferson Donelson, remained close all of their lives. Andrew Jr. attended school at 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, Guardian

In addition to being the adopted father of Andrew Jr., Jackson served as guardian for numerous children, although not all of them lived with the Jacksons. In the early 19th century, if a child’s father died, the courts appointed a guardian to supervise the child’s interests, even if his mother was still alive.

Among these were the children of General Edward Butler who had named Jackson as their guardian. Caroline, Eliza, Edward and Anthony did not always live at The Hermitage.

Jackson also served as guardian for the sons of Rachel’s brother, Samuel Donelson, after Samuel died in 1804. The boys, John Samuel, Andrew Jackson and Daniel did live part-time at The Hermitage.

Even though Jackson took a strong interest in all of these children, it was Andrew Jackson Donelson (1799-1871) who became his protégé. Jackson assured that he received an appointment to West Point and that he studied law at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky. Eventually, Donelson served as personal secretary to Jackson during his presidency.

Lyncoya, Jackson's Native American Child

In 1813, Andrew Jackson sent home to Tennessee a Native American child who was found on the battlefield with his dead mother. This boy, Lyncoya, (c1811-1828), may have originally been intended as merely a companion for Andrew Jr., but Jackson soon took a strong interest in him.

Lyncoya was educated along with Andrew Jr., and Jackson had aspirations of sending him to West Point, as well. Unfortunately, political circumstances made that impossible, and he instead trained as a saddle maker in Nashville. He died of tuberculosis in 1828.

Hutchings, The Last Adopted Child

The last of the children embraced by the Jacksons was Andrew Jackson Hutchings (1812-1841). Hutchings was the grandson of Rachel’s sister and the son of a former business partner of Jackson’s. Both of his parents died by the time he was five. So in 1817, little Hutchings, as the family called him, came to live permanently at The Hermitage.

He attended school with Andrew Jr. and Lyncoya. He then attended colleges in Washington and Virginia while Jackson was president. In 1833, he married Mary Coffee, daughter of Jackson’s friend John Coffee, and moved to Alabama. Hutchings died in 1841.

Continuing the Jackson Family Tree

The next generation of Hermitage children included Andrew Jackson Jr.’s children. Andrew Jr. and Sarah Yorke Jackson had five children: Rachel, Andrew, Samuel, Thomas and Robert. Thomas and Robert died as infants, and Samuel died during the Civil War before marrying.

The next generation also included Sarah’s sister Marion Yorke Adams, who came to live at The Hermitage after the death of her husband in 1837. She had three sons, John, Andrew and William. This made a lively household during Jackson’s retirement with the oldest of all these children, John Adams, being only eight years old.

Andrew Jackson Jr. and his wife Sarah had eleven grandchildren; two through their son Andrew Jackson III and nine from their daughter Rachel. Only one of Andrew Jackson III’s sons had children, therefore the number of Jackson descendants with the “Jackson” surname is very limited.

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The Jackson Legacy

Direct descendants named Jackson may be limited today, but the Jackson legacy lives on.

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