Age of Jackson
Jackson Early Life 01 Birthplace Jackson Early Life 02 Young Jackson Jackson Early Life 03 Early Hermitage Jackson Early Life 04 Rachel Jackson Print Jackson Early Life 05 Rachel Jackson Painting Jackson Early Life 06 O.G. Hermitage

Jackson's Early Life

Andrew Jackson was born the son of a poor family trying to make a living on the frontier in western South Carolina. By the time he was 15, Jackson’s entire family had died, leaving him an orphan.
His father died shortly before Andrew’s birth in 1767. His oldest brother, Hugh, died while serving with the Revolutionary Army. Andrew and his other brother, Robert, fought with irregular units . Both contracted smallpox while prisoners of the British, and Robert died. Jackson’s mother also got sick during this time and died.
As a young man, Jackson inherited a little money. He left his relatives and went to Charleston, South Carolina. He wasted his money on things like fancy clothes, horse races, and whiskey. Poor once again, Jackson decided he had better find a good job. 
Jackson learned how to be a lawyer by working for other lawyers and studying law books. Eventually, young Jackson set out for the dangerous and wild Middle Tennessee frontier to make his fortune.
In Nashville, Jackson prospered. He made friends with important and powerful politicians. He made good money as a lawyer. Jackson also did well in land speculation—buying land and then reselling it for a higher price. 
There he also fell in love with Rachel Donelson Robards, the daughter of one of the most prominent Middle Tennessee families. They had a big problem though—Rachel was already married to another man.
Many questions remain about the exact circumstances of Andrew and Rachel’s marriage. They claimed to have been married in 1791, apparently believing that Rachel’s husband had divorced her. This turned out not to be true.  

At this time, divorces were very hard to get, and it was dis-cover-ed that Rachel was still married to her first husband. Andrew and Rachel had to get married again after her divorce became final. This situation caused a great scandal which would haunt the Jacksons for the rest of their lives.
Jackson became a leader in state politics and a successful planter with a large farm called the Hermitage. He also became known for having a hot temper and fighting in duels. 
Jackson was elected at age 29 to be Tennessee’s very first U.S. Representative in Congress. However, what Jackson really wanted was to be a military hero.  That would come later.

Picture Credits:
  • Drawing of the birthplace of Andrew Jackson. It shows how his home in Waxhaw, North Carolina, may have looked when he was born in 1767. Tennessee State Library and Archives.
  • Miniature painting of a young Andrew Jackson. This portrait was created by Jean-Francois de la Vallee in 1815 while Jackson was in New Orleans. Historic Hudson Valley - Public Broadcasting Corporation.
  • Drawing of the Hermitage in Nashville. It shows a man walking the grounds in front of the mansion that was built in 1819. Tennessee State Library and Archives.
  • Portrait of Rachel Donelson Jackson. This print was made in 1883 by John Chester Buttre and originally included in the book, The ladies of the White House, or, In the home of the Presidents by Laura Carter Holloway. Library of Congress.
  • Painting entitled, “The Original Hermitage,” by Cornelius Hankins. This painting was made in 1889 and shows two log buildings used from 1804 – 1819. Tennessee State Museum Collection, 3.344.
  • Painting of Rachel Donelson Jackson. Tennessee State Museum Collection, 76.76.


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