|Interment Location||Visited||Sequence in Graves I Have Visited|
|Nashville, TN||July 22, 2006||31st President visited|
The man on the front of the American $20 bill is Andrew Jackson, the Hero of New Orleans. A major general in the War of 1812, he served two terms in the White House. As president he is known for his conflict with the Second Bank of the United States, keeping the nation together during the Nullification Crisis, playing a key role in the genocide of Indigenous tribes, and personifying the rise of the “common man” and democracy (more symbolically than in actuality). He retired in 1837 to his Tennessee plantation, the Hermitage, where he spent his remaining eight years of life.
In June 1845, Jackson was interred in the Hermitage garden. Atop his grave is a Greek-Revival cupola which was first completed in 1832, when only Mrs. Rachel Jackson lay beneath it. The copper-roofed, limestone monument was designed by architect David Morrison, who was paid $1,000 for his work. The tomb resembles a structure painted on the Hermitage’s entrance hall wallpaper, which depicts a scene concerning the mythological Greek figure Telemachus.
At my father’s insistence and with his assistance, the eleven-year-old version of myself scaled the fence that surrounds the Jackson cupola. That allowed me to be photographed within the tomb and to take a picture of the lid that covers the president’s vault.
Andrew Jackson’s epitaph is simple — it mentions his military rank, his name, and his dates of birth and death. The inscription for his beloved wife Rachel, who died when Andrew was president-elect, is elaborate and takes up the entirety of her slab that neighbors Old Hickory’s marker. Mrs. Jackson’s write-up reads, in part, “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.”
Born: March 15, 1767 in the Waxhaws, Carolinas
Spouse: Rachel Donelson Robards Jackson (m. 1794-1828)
Highest Military Rank: Major General — U.S. Army
Primary Political Affiliation: Democratic Party
Gubernatorial Term: 1821
Presidential Term: 1829-1837
Died: June 8, 1845 in Nashville, Tennessee
Cause of Death: Chronic Renal Failure (probable); Dropsy; Heart Failure (diagnosed)
Last Words: “What is the matter with my dear children, have I alarmed you? Oh, do not cry — be good children and we shall all meet in Heaven.”
Interment: Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, Nashville, Tennessee
"I was born for a storm and a calm does not suit me."
- Andrew Jackson
February 23, 1829 to James Alexander Hamilton, regarding conflict over his nomination of John Henry Eaton as secretary of war
Sources Consulted and Further Reading
Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. “History from Home — Alfred Jackson.” Accessed September 4, 2022. https://thehermitage.com/history-from-home-alfred-jackson/.
Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. “Jackson’s Tomb.” Accessed January 2, 2022. https://thehermitage.com/learn/mansion-grounds/jacksons-tomb/.
Deppisch, Ludwig M., MD, Jose A. Centeno, PhD, David J. Gemmel, MA, et al. “Andrew Jackson’s Exposure to Mercury and Lead.” JAMA 282, no. 6 (1999): 569-571. Accessed January 3, 2022. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/191020.
Estes, Todd. “Joining in the ‘Sacred Sentiment of Public Gratitude’ at the Death of Old Hickory: Mourning, Partisanship, and Andrew Jackson’s Problematic Legacy.” In Mourning the Presidents: Loss and Legacy in American Culture, edited by Lindsay M. Chervinsky and Matthew R. Costello, 56-79. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2023.
Heiskell, S.G. Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History. Nashville: Ambrose Printing Company, 1921.
Meacham, Jon. American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House. New York: Random House, 2008.
Picone, Louis L. The President is Dead! The Extraordinary Stories of the Presidential Deaths, Final Days, Burials, and Beyond. Rev. ed. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2020.
Sinha, Manisha. “Making Andrew Jackson Great Again?” History News Network. January 7, 2018. https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/167881.