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Sarah Yorke was born ca. 1803/05 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to parents Peter and Mary.1 Relatives raised Sarah after she was orphaned as a child.2 She married Andrew Jackson Jr., the adopted son of President Andrew Jackson, in 1831.3 Sarah lived at Jackson’s plantation, The Hermitage, and oversaw the operation of the household and the enslaved laborers there, during his presidency. She and her husband had five children together.4

After a fire damaged The Hermitage in 1834, Sarah Yorke Jackson and her family moved to the White House, where she assisted with hostess duties alongside Emily Donelson.5 Sarah took over this position after Emily Donelson departed from the White House two years later.

Following Jackson’s presidency, Sarah and her family returned to Tennessee, where she served as a caretaker for her father-in-law until his passing in 1845. Ownership of the plantation fell to Andrew Jackson Jr., who sold The Hermitage to the state of Tennessee to pay his own debt in 1856.6 After her husband’s passing, Sarah continued to live at The Hermitage until she died on August 23, 1887.7 She is buried in the cemetery there.

Footnotes & Resources

  1. Sources conflict about the year of Sarah’s birth, but her gravestone lists 1803. “Sarah Yorke Jackson,” Find a Grave,; John Woolf Jordan, Colonial Families of Philadelphia Vol. 2 (New York: Lewis Publishing Co., 1911), 1611.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Katherine A. S. Sibley, A Companion to First Ladies (West Sussex, UK: Wiley Blackwell, 2016), 126.
  4. Ibid; Callie Hopkins, “The Enslaved Household of President Andrew Jackson,” White House Historical Association,
  5. Callie Hopkins, “Gracy Bradley’s White House,” White House Historical Association,
  6. “The Hermitage,” National Park Service,
  7. Sibley, 126.