Wearing the white dress she had purchased for her husband's inaugural ceremonies in March 1829, Rachel Donelson Jackson was buried at the Hermitage, her home near Nashville, Tennessee, on Christmas Eve, 1828. Lines from her epitaph "A being so gentle and so virtuous slander might wound, but could not dishonor" - reflected Andrew Jacksons bitterness at campaign slurs that seemed to precipitate her death.
Born in Virginia in 1767, Rachel Donelson journeyed to the Tennessee wilderness with her parents when only 12. At 17, she married. But her husbands unreasoning jealousy made it impossible for her to live with him. They separated in 1790, and she was told that he was filing a petition for divorce.
Andrew Jackson married Rachel in 1791, but after two happy years they learned that a divorce had never been obtained. Her first husband brought suit on grounds of adultery. After a divorce was granted, the Jacksons quietly remarried in 1794. Although it had been an honest mistake, whispers of adultery and bigamy followed Rachel. Jackson was ready to avenge any slight to her. Scandal aside, her unpretentious kindness won the respect of all who knew her. The Jacksons never had children of their own, but in 1809 they adopted a nephew and named him Andrew Jackson, Jr. They also reared other nephews.
You Might Also Like
Collection Animal Ambassadors
Animals, whether pampered household pets, working livestock, birds, squirrels, or strays, have long been a major part of White House...
Podcast Entertaining at the White House
From diplomatic dinners to holiday gatherings, the White House has always played a central role in the nation’s official en...
Collection The First Ladies
Biographies & Portraits
Collection Cherry Blossoms
Since the first cherry blossom planting in 1912 by First Lady Helen Herron Taft, Washingtonians have celebrated the scenic beauty and...
Collection Women and the White House
While there has yet to be a female president, women have played an integral role in shaping the White House...
Podcast Fearless Leadership: A Conversation with Jean Case
Fearless leaders have walked the halls of White House for centuries. In this episode, White House Historical Association President Stewart...
Collection The Presidents
Biographies & Portraits
Reading Lists & Bibliography
General White House Bibliography:Aikman, Lonnelle. The Living White House. Washington, D.C.: The White House Historical Association, 1996. Cunliffe, Marcus....
White House History Table of Contents
NUMBERS 1 THROUGH 6 (COLLECTION I) WHITE HOUSE HISTORY • NUMBER 1 1 — Foreword by Melvin M. Payne 5 — President Kennedy’s Rose Garden by Rachel Lambert...
About Our Authors
WILLIAM ADAIR is a frame historian, conservator, and gilder in Washington, D.C. (WHH #54) WILLIAM G. ALLMAN served more than...
2019 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) The Stephen Decatur House: A History Gold, Regional Non-Fiction 2019 Next Generation Indie Book Awards The...
National History Day Resources
The White House Historical Association (WHHA) offers many different resources for students working on National History Day projects.