Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rachel Jackson

                    The woman known as Rachel Jackson was born Rachel Donelson  on June 15, 1767, in Halifax County, Virginia.  She was among the first settlers of Tennessee and was considered to be "beautiful" as a young woman and "quite vivacious."  She had an unhappy marriage in Kentucky with Captain Lewis Robards due to his irrational fits of jealous rage; she separated from him in 1790.
                    Andrew Jackson migrated to Tennessee in 1788 and boarded with Rachel's mother, Rachel Stockley Donelson.  Rachel, the daughter, apparently went home to live with her mother when she separated from her husband.  At any rate, Jackson met the beautiful Rachel, and the two of them fell in love and married in 1791.
                    The couple married on the belief that Robards had obtained a divorce.  Historians discovered that a friend of Lewis Robards had planted a fake notice in his own newspaper of the divorce being finalized.  Andrew and Rachel did not discover the problem until after they were married.  The fact that Rachel was not yet divorced made their marriage technically bigamous and invalid.  Rachel took the necessary steps to ensure that the divorce was completed - the first divorce in Kentucky history.  Then she remarried Andrew in 1794 after the divorce was finalized.  Andrew and Rachel "enjoyed a genuine love match."
                    Rachel and Andrew apparently did not have any children together but adopted three sons:  Theodore (an Indian about whom little is known), Andrew Jackson, Jr. (the son of Severn Donelson, Rachel's brother), and Lyncoya (a Creek Indian orphan adopted by Jackson after the Creek War; he died of tuberculosis in 1828 at age 16). 
                    The Jacksons were also guardians for eight other children.  Three of them - John Samuel Donelson, Daniel Smith Donelson, and Andrew Jackson Donelson - were the sons of Samuel Donelson, Rachel's brother who died in 1804.  Andrew Jackson Hutchings was Rachel's orphaned grand nephew.  Four of the children - Caroline Butler, Eliza Butler, Edward Butler, and Anthony Butler - were the orphaned children of Edward Butler, a friend of the Jacksons.
                    When Andrew Jackson ran for President in the 1828 campaign, supporters of his opponent, John Quincy Adams, accused Rachel of being a bigamist and other things.  Some historians consider the 1828 election to be "one of the most notorious in terms of campaign insults."  Since Jackson had been a popular military hero after his victory in the Battle of New Orleans (War of 1812), he won by a "comparative landslide." 
Rachel went shopping to purchase a new dress for the inauguration and dropped dead in the street.  She died of a sudden heart attack on December 22, 1828, at age 61, two weeks after the election and two months before Jackson took office as President.  Since the Adams team had repeatedly ridiculed Rachel during campaign, Andrew blamed John Quincy Adams for hastening her death and never forgave him.
Andrew was "inconsolable" at her death. "He refused to believe she was dead and insisted that blankets be laid on her body in case she woke up and needed warmth."  He built a tomb for her in her flower garden and wrote the following epitaph for her:  "Here lie the remains of Mrs. Rachel Jackson, wife of President Jackson, who died December 22nd 1828, aged 61.  Her face was fair, her person pleasing, her temper amiable, and her heart kind.  She delighted in relieving the wants of her fellow-creatures and cultivated that divine pleasure by the most liberal and unpretending methods.  To the poor she was a benefactress; to the rich she was an example; to the wretched a comforter; to the prosperous an ornament.  Her pity went hand in hand with her benevolence; and she thanked her Creator for being able to do good.  A being so gentle and so virtuous, slander might wound but could not dishonor.  Even death, when he tore her from the arms of her husband, could but transplant her to the bosom of her God."
Jackson never really recovered from losing his beloved wife.  He once said, "Heaven will be no heaven for me if she is not there."  "According to his granddaughter, Rachel Jackson Lawrence, Andrew visited Rachel's grave every night at sunset.  He placed her portrait at the foot of his bed so she would be the first thing he saw in the morning and the last thing he saw at night."  Jackson never remarried.

No comments:

Post a Comment