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The Hermitage: Andrew Jackson’s home…

Posted by on May 12, 2015

MAY 12, 2015                                      NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE


Andrew Jackson. General and U.S. President.

ANDREW JACKSON. No one could possibly have imagined the story that would become Andrew Jackson’s life. Orphan, General, President and Legend…Andrew Jackson holds a prominent place in America’s history. I knew some history about Jackson’s achievements as a General and U.S. President, but I didn’t know a thing about his younger years. So I decided to investigate a bit, before we set out today in our Jeep to visit his home, called the Hermitage.

Despite a humble beginning and numerous tragedies woven throughout his childhood, young Andrew Jackson became a fiery, passionate fighter determined to take life by the reins and succeed. His mother had hopes of him becoming a Presbyterian minister, but young Jackson quickly dashed those hopes with his propensity for pranks, cursing and fighting.

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS. After the death of his parents, he became an orphan at the age of just fourteen. When he turned seventeen, Jackson decided to become a lawyer. He later practiced law in several counties scattered throughout the North Carolina back country. There he gained a reputation for being charismatic, wild and ambitious. He loved to dance, entertain, gamble and spend his free time with friends in taverns. Tall and lanky, with red hair and piercing blue eyes, Jackson became well known for his fiery temper, fearlessness, playful personality and daring spirit.

jackson2LIFE IN NASHVILLE. In 1788, Jackson followed the Wilderness Road across the rugged Allegheny Mountains to Nashville, Tennessee. Some years later, in 1802, he was elected the General of the Tennessee Militia. Then, in 1812, a War began. When troops were needed on the southern and western frontiers, the War Department sent Jackson along with the Tennessee Militia.

GENERAL AND PRESIDENT. A mover and shaker who walked history’s stage with giant steps, Andrew Jackson was the ideal embodiment of the unruly, ambitious and contentious era that followed our young nation’s birth. On his journey from a Revolutionary battlefield at age 13 to two terms in the White House as America’s seventh president, his unconventional, often controversial…and always fiercely held…principles and vision shook things up politically, culturally and on the field of battle.

BLAZING NEW TRAILS. Jackson blazed new trails and opened new possibilities. He was loved and loathed…revered and reviled…butjackson5 seldom ignored. Whatever Andrew Jackson did, he did boldly and with small regard for the consequences. His freewheeling campaigns and common man ideals transformed American politics. He was the first president with a nickname: “Old Hickory,” courtesy of his troops who admired his staunch courage and iron will. He stonewalled the British and engineered one of America’s most stunning military victories at the Battle of New Orleans. He declared, “Our Union, it must be preserved!” in the face of rebellion. He played a pivotal role in America’s westward expansion, yet his legacy is also marked by slavery and Indian removal issues that still echo today.

LET’S GO TAKE A LOOK. Jackson’s home, the Hermitage, is an easy 20 minute drive from our campsite near downtown Nashville. Thirty bucks each gets us a guided tour of the mansion, access to the grounds, entrance to the museum and a horse-drawn wagon tour of the 1,000 acre cotton plantation that was home to Jackson, his family and his slaves. Let’s go!

THE MANSION. From Jackson’s initial purchase and major remodeling through a devastating fire and restoration, the mansion has endured. As with the Oak Alley mansion we visited when we were in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the institution of slavery was instrumental in building and maintaining the plantation’s operations. And as with our visit to Oak Alley, I paused today to again reflect on the history of slavery in America. It’s hard to understand how treating humans as chattels, literally buying and selling them, became acceptable and legal. But understand it we must. It’s important. Naivety and complacency are dangerous states.









We rode in this horse-drawn cart all around what was once Andrew Jackson’s cotton plantation. Without the 150 slaves Jackson owned, the plantation could never have been built or operated.


The grounds were green and beautiful. And the wrangler who handled the horses and drove the cart was really well informed about the history of the place.


This huge field was all planted in cotton when Jackson lived here. Slaves worked in the field about 14 hours a day. All of the work was done by hand.


Slaves quarters. Two families per cabin. About twelve slaves sharing the place.


Our wrangler, Julie, was able to answer every question we threw at her.

We had a nice afternoon at the Hermitage. We learned some history, saw some incredible antiques inside the mansion and really enjoyed our horse-drawn cart tour of the plantation grounds.



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