Hermitage Children

Although Andrew and Rachel Jackson never had any biological children, children always lived at The Hermitage. In 1808, they took in an infant; one of a set of twins, of Rachel’s brother Severn Donelson and his wife Elizabeth and raised him as their own. They named him Andrew Jackson Junior (1808-1865). Although some accounts suggest they took the child because of the mother’s ill health and inability to care for her children, the reasons for the adoption are not clear. Andrew Junior and his twin, Thomas Jefferson Donelson, remained close all of their lives. Andrew Junior attended school at Davidson Academy and the University of Nashville. When Andrew Jackson became President, Andrew Junior assumed management of the Hermitage farm. Andrew Junior married Sarah Yorke of Philadelphia on November 24, 1831. Although Junior’s financial woes brought Jackson grief in later years, he was always a devoted father.

In addition, Andrew Jackson served as guardian for numerous children although not all of them lived with the Jacksons. In the early nineteenth century, if a child’s father died, the courts appointed a guardian to supervise the child’s interests, even if the child’s mother still lived. Revolutionary War General Edward Butler named Jackson as guardian for his children Caroline, Eliza, Edward, and Anthony. These children did not always live at The Hermitage. Jackson served as guardian for Rachel’s brother Samuel’s sons when Samuel Donelson died in 1804. The boys, John Samuel, Andrew Jackson, and Daniel did live part- time at The Hermitage. Jackson took a strong interest in all of these children, but Andrew Jackson Donelson (1799-1871) became his protégé. Jackson saw that he received an appointment to West Point and that he studied law at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky. Donelson served Jackson as personal secretary during his presidency.

In 1813, Jackson sent home an Indian child found on battlefield with his dead mother. This boy, Lyncoya, (c1811-1828) may have originally been intended as kind of a pet and companion for Andrew Junior, but Jackson soon took a strong interest in him. He was educated with Andrew Junior and Jackson had aspirations of sending him to West Point. Political circumstances made that impossible, and Lyncoya went to train as a saddle maker in Nashville. He died of tuberculosis in 1828. The last of Rachel’s children was Andrew Jackson Hutchings (1812-1841), the grandson of one of Rachel’s sisters and the son of a former business partner of Jackson’s. Both of his parents died by the time he was five and in 1817, little Hutchings, as the family called him, came to live permanently at The Hermitage. He attended school with Andrew Junior and Lyncoya and then attended colleges in Washington and Virginia while Jackson was president. In 1833, he married Mary Coffee, daughter of Jackson’s friend John Coffee and the young couple moved to Alabama. Hutchings died in 1841.

The next generation of Hermitage children included Andrew Jackson Junior’s children as well as the sons of Sarah Jackson’s sister Marion. Andrew and Sarah had five children: Rachel, Andrew, Samuel, Thomas, and Robert, but last two died as infants. Marion Yorke Adams came to live at The Hermitage after the death of her husband in 1837. She had three sons, John, Andrew, and William. This made a lively household in Jackson’s retirement years since John Adams; the oldest of all these children was only eight when he came to live at The Hermitage.