For a president with aggressive policies and a past as a famous military general, Andrew Jackson had a surprisingly peaceful home life. His grand plantation, the Hermitage, is a truly unique reflection of his life and his relationship with his wife, Rachel.
Built in 1819, Jackson's Hermitage sits on about 1,100 acres of still-working farmland. It's just outside the city center of Nashville, TN, where visitors to Music City can escape from the traffic and the noise. He named his property the Hermitage because he wanted to create a retreat for himself and his family, and it still has that feeling of peaceful isolation.
At first, the Hermitage may just look like another example of regal Southern architecture, but it holds plenty of secrets, stories, and – of course – ghosts.
In Spite Of Jackson's Policies, A Young Native American Boy Was Once A Resident Of His Home
Many people think of the Trail of Tears when they remember what they learned about Andrew Jackson in history class. In addition to the forced removal of Native Americans, he also led troops in battles that ravaged and massacred entire villages.
It was during one such raid in Alabama that Lyncoya was found. The one-year-old Creek boy was discovered in the arms of his dead mother, and brought to Jackson. Jackson took pity on the child; some speculate that it was because he himself was orphaned as a young man. Whatever the reason, Jackson brought the little boy back to the Hermitage with him.
Lyncoya lived there with the Jackson family until his death from tuberculosis at the age of 16. He was apprenticing as a saddle maker at the time, since West Point had denied him entry on account of his race.
The Graveyard For The Jackson Family's Slaves Has Still Not Been Found
At any given time, there were usually about 140 slaves living on the grounds of the Hermitage. A few of the cabins they were housed in have been preserved and are still open to visitors, and many small artifacts have been recovered by archaeologists over the years since the property became a historical site.
However, one thing has yet to be discovered: the slave graveyard. With somewhere around 500 enslaved individuals linked to the property over its active years, it's hard to believe the cemetery's location is still a mystery.
Research teams have used historical records, cadaver dogs, and probing rods to try to locate the graves, all with inconclusive results.
One Slave Is Buried In The Garden Instead Of The Slave Graveyard
Alfred Jackson lived at the Hermitage longer than any other person of any race. He was in charge of the horses and wagons of the plantation, and was a loyal servant to Andrew Jackson all his life.
Alfred was the first tour guide when the Hermitage opened as a museum; he had stayed on after emancipation as a tenant farmer. His home, known to visitors as "Alfred's Cabin," sits very close to the main house.
He passed on in 1901 at the age of 98, and was buried in the mansion's garden barely 10 feet away from Andrew and Rachel Jackson and the rest of their family.
Some Of The Slaves Stayed To Work After Slavery Was Abolished
Some of the slaves at the Hermitage saw the chaos of the Civil War as their chance at freedom, escaping to downtown Nashville a few miles away. Others stayed until the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, choosing new last names for themselves before picking up and leaving to start a new life.
But some chose to stay, and were offered positions as tenant farmers. Alfred was one of those, and also chose to take the last name Jackson. Several of the families chose to stay, although records from the time do not include a full list of the enslaved inhabitants of the Hermitage.