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Collection Andrew Jackson Papers

Andrew Jackson: Family History

Four generations in the Jackson family.

Andrew Jackson had a complex family history. Though he and his wife Rachel Jackson had no biological children, they had a rich marriage and many inter-relationships with children that they  adopted or for whom they served as guardians, including those for whom Rachel was a biological aunt.

Mrs. Rachel Jackson, late consort to Andrew Jackson, President of the U[nited] States. Published by Joseph How, Philadelphia, n.d. Popular graphic arts collection, Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. LC-USZ62-100102

The following summary offers selective information about Andrew Jackson's family from his birth through the second generation of descendants.

Family of Origin

Andrew Jackson's parents were Andrew Jackson (d. 1767) and Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson (d. 1781), originally of Ireland and immigrants to the United States. They had three sons: Hugh, Robert, and Andrew Jackson (1767-1845). Jackson's father died before he was born, and his widowed mother took him and his brothers to live with nearby relatives.

Marriage

Andrew Jackson met Rachel Donelson Robards (1767-1828) in Tennessee and married her circa 1791. Andrew was Rachel Jackson's second husband. Her marriage to her first husband, Lewis Robards, ended in divorce.

Children and Wards

As a married couple, Andrew and Rachel Jackson adopted one of Rachel's nephews. They  named him Andrew Jackson, Jr. (1809-1865), and raised him from an infant as their son.

The Jacksons also took in or provided for several children as wards. Individuals in their care included a grandson of Rachel's sister Catherine named Andrew Jackson Hutchings (1811-1841) and a Creek Indian child named Lyncoya ( c.1812-1828). The Jacksons also became guardians for the children of Revolutionary War general Edward Butler--Caroline, Eliza, Edward and Anthony–as well as for the children of Rachel's brother Samuel Donelson, after Samuel died in 1804, including most prominently Andrew Jackson Donelson (1799-1871), who became protégée, aide, and secretary to Jackson.

The Hermitage, West Cabin, Rachel’s Lane, Davidson Co., Tennessee. Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey, Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Andrew Jackson, Jr., was the biological son of Rachel's brother Severn Donelson (1773-1818) and his wife Elizabeth Rucker Donelson (1782-1828). His twin brother was Thomas Jefferson Donelson, with whom he maintained a close relationship. As an adult, Andrew Jackson, Jr., helped to manage the Hermitage plantation. He married Sarah Yorke (1806-1887) in 1831. Andrew and Sarah had five children, including daughter Rachel and sons Andrew Jackson III and Thomas, Samuel, and Robert Jackson. Andrew Jackson III (1834-1906) married Amy Rich (1851-1921) and their eldest son was Andrew Jackson IV (1887-1953). Rachel Jackson (1832-1923) married Dr. John M. Lawrence in 1853. This union produced nine great-grand children of the former president, including Andrew Jackson Lawrence (1857-1935). Sarah Yorke Jackson also assisted her widower father-in-law as a hostess in the Jackson White House. Her sister Marion Yorke Adams came to live at the Hermitage with her three sons after Marion's husband died in 1837, lending the youthful presence of children to the former president Jackson's retirement years.

Andrew Jackson Donelson (A. J. Donelson), biological cousin of Andrew Jackson, Jr., was the son of Rachel Jackson's brother Samuel Donelson ( c. 1759-1804) and his wife Mary Smith Donelson (1781-1857). He married his cousin, Rachel Jackson's niece, Emily Tennessee Donelson (1807-1836) in 1824. Emily Tennessee Donelson had studied at Nashville Female Academy. She served in the first lady capacity as White House hostess during part of the Jackson presidency, and her husband was presidential secretary. Emily was the daughter of Rachel Jackson's brother John Donelson (1755-1830) and his wife Mary Purnell Donelson (1763-1848). Andrew Jackson Donelson and Emily Tennessee Donelson had four children, Andrew Jackson Donelson (1826-1859), Mary Emily Donelson (Wilcox), John Samuel Donelson, and Rachel Jackson Donelson (Knox) (1834-1888). Emily Tennessee Donelson grew increasingly ill during Jackson's presidency and took refuge at Poplar Grove (late Tulip Grove), the Donelson farm adjacent to the Hermitage. She died of tuberculosis at the age of 29, on December 19, 1836. After Emily's death, Andrew Jackson Donelson married for a second time, in 1841. His second wife was Elizabeth Martin Randolph, with whom he had eight additional children. Their youngest son was Andrew Jackson Donelson (b. 1860).

Andrew Jackson Hutchings was the grandson of Rachel Jackson's sister Catherine Donelson Hutchings (1750-1804) and Thomas Hutchings, and son of John Hutchings (d. 1817) and his wife Polly Smith Hutchings. Andrew Jackson Hutchings married Mary Coffee. Mary Coffee Hutchings was the grand-daughter of Rachel Jackson's brother John Donelson (1755-1830) and his wife Mary Purnell Donelson (1763-1848), and daughter of Mary Donelson Coffee (1793-1871) and her husband John Coffee (1772-1833).

Lyncoya  was found orphaned in the aftermath of battle at Talluschatchee during the Creek War and was adopted unofficially while still a small boy by the Jacksons. He was brought to the Hermitage in May 1814, in part as a playmate for Andrew Jackson, Jr. He apprenticed to a Nashville saddler. In ill health much of his life, he died as a teenager June 1, 1828, of tuberculosis.