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Full text of "Preservation of the Hermitage, 1889-1915 : annals, history, and stories : the acquisition, restoration, and care of the home of General Andrew Jackson by the Ladies' Hermitage Association for over a quarter of a century"

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Durham County Public Library 





,Vo, A -368 



18 8 9-1915 


TKe Acquisition, Restoration, 
and Care of tKe Home of Gen- 
eral Andrew Jackson hy tKe 
Ladies' Hermitage Association 
for over a Quarter of a Century 


CopyrigKt, 1915 
By Mrs. Mary C. Dorris 


The Memory of 

MRS. ALBERT S. MARKS, Acting Regent 

<W» This Lttle Volume Is Affection- 

"^ ately De<jicate<i 



Ladies of the Hermitage Association: The 
home of Gen. Andrew Jackson has been in- 
trusted to your care and management by the 
Legislature of the great State of Tennessee. 
As long as you hold to this trust you are se- 
cure in your possession. See to it that no mod- 
ern enterprise breaks in upon the hallowed spot 
and changes it. Let no vandal hand desecrate 
it in the name of progress or commercialism. 
As the home of Gen. Andrew Jackson, in 
which he lived and died, future generations 
will desire to see it as it was when he lived and 
lingered there. Let there be one spot in all 
our State dedicated to patriotism. This is 
your trust, and upon you rests this duty. 

Mrs. Mary C. Dorris. 



It was a conscientious principle with Andrew 
Jackson that caused him to build the log house 
at the Hermitage, a spot destined to become 
historic and where he spent forty-one years of 
his eventful life. 

While serving as senator at Philadelphia, 
then the seat of government, he sold some of 
his wild acres of Tennessee land to one David 
AlHson. Notes instead of currency were paid 
for the land ; and Andrew Jackson bought a 
stock of merchandise suitable for the needs of 
the frontier and gave the notes in payment. 
David Allison failed in the panic of 1793, and 
the merchant of whom Andrew Jackson bought 
the goods came back to him for the money. 
When Jackson was notified that he was to 
meet an indebtedness of nearly seven thousand 
dollars it staggered him, for there was nothing 
so scarce at that time in Tennessee as currency, 
barter taking its place. 

Andrew Jackson owned at that time more 
than fifty thousand acres of wild Tennessee 
land and a comfortable home, much better 
than anv of his neighbors, at Hunter's Hill, 


8 Presentation of the Hermitage. 

some three miles distan" from the present Her- 
mitage. The Hunter's Hill home was his most 
available asset, and it had to be sacrificed to 
aid in meeting the obligation. He sold more 
of his wild acres and paid the entire debt, 
principal and interest, as it fell due, but it 
required an effort and great sacrifice. 

Nothing daunted, he built the log house and, 
in the year 1804, moved once again into the 
wilderness. The log house was a two-story 
building, one large room below and two above, 
with several other log houses surrounding it, 
making a comfortable, if not a very preten- 
tious, home. 

The brick house on the present site was 
built in 1 8 19, the brick being manufactured on 
the place. It was burned in 1834 and rebuilt 
the following year on the same site and in very 
nearly the same style. 

General Jackson died in 1845, willing the 
entire estate to his adopted son, Andrew Jack- 
son, Jr. 

In 1856 the adopted son sold five hundred 
acres of the farm to the State of Tennessee 
for forty-eight thousand dollars and moved 
to a plantation in Mississippi. The Civil War 

Preface. 9 

came on; and at the invitation and solicitation 
of Gov. Isham G. Harris, Andrew Jackson, Jr., 
returned to the Hermitage to become its cus- 
todian. He died there in 1865, and his widow, 
Mrs. Sarah Yorke Jackson, and her widowed 
sister, Mrs. Marion Adams, were permitted by 
the State authorities to retain their residence 
there until death claimed them, Mrs. Adams 
preceding her sister to the grave several years. 

Mrs. Sarah Yorke Jackson died in 1887, and 
in 1889 the Ladies' Hermitage Association was 

Of this organization, its founding, and the 
preservation of the Hermitage, I have endeav- 
ored to give a true, unprejudiced, and impartial 

Necessarily in writing these annals and this 
history I have, from the very facts in the case, 
been compelled to make much use of the pro- 
noun "I," but it was unavoidable. The state- 
ments, the histor}^ the stories are all my own 
personal experiences. The entei*prise has been 
a life work with me, and T have liked it from 
the beginning. 

Could it have been possible, I would have 
preferred that another and not the author 

lo Preservation of the Hermitage. 

had written these annals; but there is no one 
who has had such close contact with the very 
first movement as has the author, who knows 
of all its struggles and efforts in those first 
uncertain and formative days. After the first 
election Mrs. Mary L. Baxter, who was chosen 
Regent, was my constant coworker, and her 
enthusiasm was equal to my own. We worked 
together, directing and almost sustaining the 
work for the first six years. 

Noble women, with energy and enterprise, 
have built up this organization until it ranks 
now with the greatest and best in the State. 
The author has enjoyed the friendly inter- 
course with these ladies who have from time 
to time constituted the Board of Directors of 
the Ladies' Hermitage Association. 

The writer has for years contemplated this 
publication and now presents it to the public, 
hoping that it may interest, even entertain, all 
who read the pages of this little volume and 
that all may redound to the glory of Gen. 
Andrew Jackson. The Author. 


Chapter I. pj^^^ 
The Work of Founding 13 

Chapter II. 
Newspaper Reports 21 

Chapter IV. 
The Charter Taken Out 33 

Chapter III. 
The By-Laws Are Made 48 

Chapter V. 
The Option on the Relics — Active Work Begun.... 62 

Chapter VI. 
Mrs. Mary L. Baxter 71 

Chapter VII. 
The Regents 86 

Chapter VIII. 
Uncle Alfred and Gracey Ii6 

Chapter IX. 
Uncle Alfred's Story 129 

12 Preseri^aiion of the Hermitage. 

Chapter X. Pao». 

The Ghost at the Hermitage . 15X 

Chapter XI. 
Brides at the Hermitage .....,,.,.. 162 

Chapter XH. 
The Hermitage Church 176 

Chapter XHI. 
The Artist at the Hermitage 193 

Chapter XIV. 
The Hermitage Garden 198 

Appendix 211 

The Work of Founding. 

Twenty-five years ago an inspiration came 
to Mrs. Andrew Jackson III., wife of General 
Jackson's grandson, that there be a memorial 
association organized to preserve and care for 
the Hermitage after the manner of Mount Ver- 

Mrs. Jackson had come as a bride to the 
Hermitage a few years prior to the death of 
Mrs. Sarah Yorke Jackson, her husband's 
mother, and was vitally interested in the fate of 
the old historic homestead ; and she, like others, 
knew that the property, which had so long been 
owned by the State, would now be taken in 
charge and probably a permanent disposition 
made of it. There were many enterprises sug- 
gested, and several parties were trying to get 
possession of the property, the most formi- 
dable of which was the Confederate Soldiers' 
Home Association. 

It was then that the idea occurred to Mrs. 
Jackson of the formation of a memorial asso- 

14 Presentation of the Hermitage. 

elation, and the successful efforts of the Mount 
Vernon Ladies' Association encouraged her to 
beheve that a similar effort might be made on 
behalf of the Hermitage. Of this inspiration 
Mrs. Jackson says: 

I remember the exact conditions at the Hermitage 
when I broached the idea of a memorial association to 
Colonel Jackson, who was in deep distress as to the 
disposal of the Hermitage collection should the Sol- 
diers' Home be established there. Suddenly, while en- 
gaged in some household work, it flashed into my mind : 
"Why not have a memorial like Mount Vernon estab- 
lished here?" The idea appealed to Colonel Jackson; 
so we took that long, bitter-cold ride from the Hermit- 
age to the home of Mrs. Aaron V. Brown, Tennessee 
Vice Regent of Mount Vernon, eighteen miles or more, 
in a driving wind-and-dust storm, leaving the bugg>' 
but once from nine o'clock in the morning to eleven 
o'clock that night. We had as a result of the day's 
work the promise of Miss Narcissa Saunders, Mrs. 
Brown's daughter, to mail to Mrs. D. R. Dorris the 
memoranda of the Mount Vernon by-laws, etc 

On the first day of January, 1889, Mrs. Jack- 
son came to see me at my home, and we talked 
about the Hermitage affairs. According to 
my recollection, Mrs. Jackson did not speak 
of the memorial association at the first meet- 
ing, but rather of the value of the relics and 
their probable sale in a New York market. At 

I'he Work of Founding, 15 

that time my husband, the late Duncan R. 
Dorris, Sn, was a newspaper man and a cor- 
respondent of the New York Herald and other 
Northern and Eastern journals, and Mrs. Jack- 
son had an idea that his newspaper influence 
might enable her to put the relics upon the 
market in one of those cities, where such things 
were appreciated. 

In a day or two Mrs. Jackson came to see 
me again, and this time she spoke of forming 
a memorial association. The idea at once ap- 
pealed to me. I grasped the situation, and it 
was my opinion that it was practicable. My 
enthusiasm was aroused, and I saw the possi- 
bilities of the enterprise. I had known the 
Hermitage from early childhood. My mother 
was reared within a mile of the historic home- 
stead, at the pretty old Clifton farm, on the 
banks of the Cumberland River. Much of my 
childhood was spent at the old home place, and 
a visit to the Hermitage was a charming and 
frequent event. 

I remembered the lovely garden with its 
odor of lilac and hyacinth, its other pretty 
blossoms, its graveled walks, and the air of 
mvsterv. For was it not the home of Gen- 

1 6 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

eral Jackson ? I remembered the pretty things 
in the house, the beautiful Httle children of 
Dr. and Mrs. Lawrence, granddaughters of 
Mrs. Sarah Yorke Jackson, and the many 
pigeons that came at their call. And, more- 
over, I was connected by ties of blood with the 
family. As Mrs. Jackson's idea took posses- 
sion of me I grew at once deeply interested in 
anything that proposed to keep sacred the hal- 
lowed spot that I had always known, loved, and 

Of later years it was not an imusual thing 
for my husband to receive a commission from 
some of his Northern journals to write a good 
story of the Hermitage. In a buggy we would 
take the long drive to see Mrs. Sarah Yorke 
Jackson, \vho was living at an advanced age 
at the Hermitage, and he would obtain from 
her an interesting interview. 

I had seen the Hermitage in its palmy days 
of beauty and plenty, and I had seen it when 
a joyous family lived there. I saw it again in 
its desolation, after the horrors of war had left 
its imprint, after the splendid fortune left by 
General Jackson had all been swept away, when 
its fences were all down, the beautiful lawn 

By permission of the Army and Xavy Magazine, from the White House liaUery. 

The Work of Founding, 17 

grown up in sprouts as high as a man's head, 
the garden overgrown like a wilderness, and 
the evidence of decay everywhere present. 

I had seen very little of Mrs. Andrew 
(Amy) Jackson then and knew her but slight- 
ly; but as the idea of a memorial association 
developed we soon became very intimately and 
harmoniously associated and worked together 
to a great end. 

On January 8, 1889, the State Legislature 
assembled, and plans were to be made and ideas 
formulated, to be prepared to launch the enter- 
prise before the General x\ssembly. Mr. W. 
A. (Alex) Donelson, a kinsman and near 
neighbor of Colonel Jackson, was much inter- 
ested and soon joined in the councils and helped 
form plans for the great memorial association 
that was to be. We knew that there was hard 
work before us; for there was opposition, and 
many other enterprises were on foot to obtain 
possession of the Herm.itage property. 

But we had resolved to make the effort ; for 
we knew that the name of Jackson was a 
mighty one to conjure with, and the respect 
and veneration always shown his memory ar- 
gued full success for our undertaking. 

i8 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

There were four persons, and only four, 
who had faith in an association, and these four 
were Colonel and Mrs. Jackson, the writer of 
this histor\% and Mr. Alex Donelson. The 
four met together frequently in the author's 
home ; and it was in her home that all the plans 
were made, all the ideas discussed, the name 
given, and the charter prepared for registra- 

How often we met, I do not now remember; 
but the meetings were many, almost every day, 
for a while, and of the same four at the 
same place (my home). Mrs. Jackson re- 
mained in the city at one time for about two 
weeks, and then we talked together every day. 
While preparing this history I called upon Mrs. 
Jackson for her recollections concerning the 
organization and the first steps, and she wrote : 

You know I did not attend nearly all of the meet- 
ings. After the week or two while I stayed at Mrs. 
Lawrence's [then living in Nashville], I returned to 
the Hermitage and took no active part in the proceed- 
ings until after we gave the four years' option to the 

We began to watch the legislative proceed- 
ings, to note everything said and done on the 

The Work of Founding. 19 

streets, in the newspapers, and in legislative 
halls concerning the Hermitage. On Sunday 
morning, January 2y, 1889, there appeared in 
the Nashville American an article over a col- 
umn long which I had written, as we thought 
it about time to begin to advertise the enter- 
prise, and my husband had put it in as a local 
story. The article began as follows : 

What will be done about the Hermitage? This 
question has been a fruitful topic of debate and was 
yesterday the subject of a new suggestion from one who 
for years has taken an active interest in this matter. 
Said this person : "One General Assembly after another 
has convened and retired without being able to dispose 
of the question in a manner at once satisfactory and 
creditable to the State and at the same time with re- 
spect to the memory of the old hero who sleeps there." 

Then it goes on to suggest a memorial asso- 
ciation and says that there was a probability 
of such an association's being formed, and that 
the idea of this association was to purchase 
three hundred acres of the Hermitage farm 
for the establishment of an Andrew Jackson 

This was the initial bow to the public of what 
was afterwards to be the Ladies' Hermitage 
Association. It was the very first hint in the 

20 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

public press that such a movement was con- 
templated. The hope seemed to be so forlorn 
and so visionary that no one then could ever 
have conceived to what strength and dignity 
this little seed could grow. The suggestions 
were merely in the nature of possibilities, for 
all was then so shadowy and uncertain that 
nothing could be stated positively. The Leg- 
islature was in session, and the ordinary rou- 
tine of legislative work was progressing; but 
it was not until January 2^ that Gov. Robert 
L. Taylor was inaugurated and the Legislature 
was fully organized for business. 

Newspaper Reports. 

Ik order that this history of the organi- 
zation of the Ladies' Hermitage Association 
might be absolutely correct and perfect in all 
particulars, the writer visited Carnegie Library 
recently and examined the files of the Nashville 
American to get correct dates, reports, and all 
the published data there obtainable. The news- 
paper articles herein made use of are copied 
from the files of 1889. 

On February 2 the Legislature took a recess 
to last until February 12 at noon. 

On Saturday morning, February 2, an article 
appeared in the American, saying: 

Senator Crews has introduced a bill of much interest 
to the people of the State. It contemplates turning over 
for twenty-five years the Hermitage property to a Con- 
federate association of the State, to be used as a home 
for indigent Confederate soldiers and their families. It 
also contemplates an appropriation of ten thousand 
dollars to equip it and put it in good condition. 

Senator Crews thought that after the first 
year it would be self-sustaining by letting the 
old soldiers farm the land. 


2Z Preservation of the Hermitage. 

On Thursday, February 7, an article ap- 
peared in the American, saying: 

The bill introduced into the General Assembly by 
Senator Crews to convert the Hermitage property into 
a Confederate home, to be further equipped for that 
purpose with an appropriation of ten thousand dollars, 
is meeting with hearty favor in many quarters. 

On Saturday, February 9, in an article over 
a column long in the American, many citizens 
expressed themselves heartily in favor of a 
Confederate soldiers' home at the Hermitage. 
This article was in the nature of interviews 
with a large number of our most prominent 
citizens, and it presented formidable opposition 
to our cherished plans. 

In the meantime we were not idle. We had 
meetings nearly every day while the Legisla- 
ture was taking a recess, and in that interim 
we laid out most of the plans. Great interest 
was manifested, and there was much talk on 
all sides. It was not long before the public 
learned that there was a movement on foot, 
and a very vigorous one, to establish a Hermit- 
age Memorial Association. 

The four founders and coworkers decided 
to call a mass meeting of citizens at the 

Newspaper Reports. 23 

Maxwell House to see if they could awaken 
some interest in the work they were proposing 
to do. The movement to establish a Confed- 
erate soldiers* home was a very popular one 
and presented formidable op-position. Colonel 
Jackson was a Confederate soldier, and we 
were all, except Mrs. Jackson herself, Confed- 
erates; but the idea of preserving Andrew 
Jackson's home had taken possession of us, 
and we could not turn aside from that enter- 

The legislative recess was nearly over, and 
the mass meeting was to be held before the 
reassembling. We sent out postal cards to 
about twenty-five ladies and gentlemen whom 
we thought might be interested and called the 
meeting for Monday, February 1 1, at the Max- 
well House, at three o'clock in the afternoon. 
An able chairman was needed to preside, as 
much depended upon the success of the meet- 
ing. On Sunday afternoon my husband went 
with me to call upon Dr. Thomas A. Atchison 
at his office and asked him to preside at the 
meeting we had called. He accepted the invi- 
tation readily. After discussing the plans with 

24 Presewation of the Hermitage. 

him, he heartily indorsed the idea and gave 
much encouragement. 

The Tuesday morning (February' 12, 1889) 
Ainerican had a report of the meeting nearly 
two columns in length, which was as follows: 

The meeting called for the purpose of organizing a 
Hermitage Association met yesterday afternoon at three 
o'clock in the parlors of the Maxwell House. There 
was a representative assemblage present, most of whom 
were in favor of establishing a memorial association 
and others who had in hand the plan for the Soldiers* 
Home Association. 

The latter were invited to be present to listen to 
such suggestions and remarks as might be made with 
the hope of harmonizing the two movements. 

Dr. T. A. Atchison was called to the chair and in 
one of his smoothest and most eloquent addresses placed 
before the meeting the objects and aims in view.* 

They were there to organize a Hermitage Associa- 
tion for the preservation of the home of Jackson. Dr. 
Atchison said : 

"This is a most praiseworthy object, and it is meet 
that Tennessee and Nashville take the initiatory steps 
toward the formation of such an association. Tennes- 
see has not the exclusive right to claim the great 
man whose mortal remains lie within her border. 

"As I understand it, this movement is to be a national 
association, not to be confined by any geographical limit, 

•I remember that Dr. Atchison prefaced his talk with the remark: "I 
am glad to preside over so large and respectable a meeting. I am large, 
and Dr. Witherspoon is respectable." 

Nezvspapcr Reports. 


as his great name knew no such boundaries. I have 
no antagonism to anything looking to an ex-Confeder- 
ates' home. On the contrary, I wish to say that I 
heartily approve of that measure. 

"The Hermitage ought to be kept in perpetuity to the 
honor of General Jackson. This is an organization not 
to ask favors, but to purchase them. It will be devel- 
oped upon the plans of Mount Vernon, than which there 
has not been a greater success. That was originated 
by a lady in South Carolina, and this is to be a ladies' 

"Women are the first to appreciate true heroism, and 
whenever they undertake a charge they are apt to make 
of it a success. This proposed organization can raise 
all the necessary funds to compass their ends, and they 
certainly will do it." 

Dr. C. D. Elliott moved that reporters present be 
requested to act as secretaries, and the motion carried. 
Dr. Elliott said that he understood that the association 
proposed to purchase the Hermitage and keep it in 
perpetual preservation. 

Mrs. D. R. (Mary C.) Dorris here stated that it was 
proposed to organize an association operated and con- 
ducted upon the plan of the Mount Vernon Association 
and m this connection read the following letter: 

"Gro\ttown, Ga., January 5, 1889. 
"Col. Andrew Jackson, the Hermitage, Tenn. 

"Dear Sir: Mrs. Philodea E. Eve, Vice Regent of the 
Mount Vernon Association for the State of Georgia, 
mentioned to me having received a letter from her 
sister-in-law, Mrs. Paul F. Eve, asking in your behalf 
about the original organization of the Ladies' Mount 

26 Preservation of the Hermitage, 

Vernon Association. As she does not feel equal to the 
effort of writing, having been quite out of health for 
several months, she requests me to make the following 
statements : 

"In 1853 there was some talk of the possibility of 
arrangements being made between John A. Washington 
and a manufacturing company to transfer Mount Ver- 
non into the hands of the latter. There had been an 
idea suggested that the ladies of the South purchase 
Mount Vernon and make of it an American Mecca. 
This proposition startled some of the ladies interested 
in this project, and it was made the basis of several of 
their appeals. Subscriptions were sought and in some 
instances generously responded to. It was proposed 
that the subscriptions be one dollar each, but larger ones 
of any amount would be acceptable. This continued in 
the Southern States three fiv four years. Enthusiasm 
on this subject having greatly subsided, our Northern 
sisters being desirous to join us, it was made a Na- 
tional Ladies' Association in 1856. The money was all 
procured by subscriptions, many quite large, by en- 
tertainments, fairs, etc., and by the efforts of Edward 
Everett. It was there that the money was gained, and 
Mr. Washington was paid two hundred and sixty-eight 
thousand dollars. 

"The peculiarity of this Association is that it was sug- 
gested and founded by women and has been legislated 
for and governed by women, and no defalcation has 
ever been known among any of the ladies who had any- 
thing to do with it. I rather think that our organiza- 
tion will not suit the case of the Hermitage, as the 
State of Tennessee stands ready to do honor to her 
noble son and perhaps needs no outside assistance. 

Newspaper Reports. ^7 

"Hoping that you may succeed in making it what it 
should be to do justice to our Southern hero, I am, 
dear sir, 

"Yours respectfully, Philodea E. Eve. 

By Julia B. Culver." 

Mrs. Dorris stated that Jay Gould had recently given 
to the Mount Vernon Association two thousand five 
hundred dollars with which to purchase an additional 
thirty-three and one-half acres adjacent to Mount Ver- 
non which they desired. She also stated that the ladies 
now proposed to purchase from the State the three 
hundred acres immediately surrounding the Hermitage, 
for which they proposed to pay full value. With the 
funds accruing from the sale of this three hundred 
acres the State could found the Confederate Soldiers* 
Home in a locality much better suited to their wants 
than the Hermitage property. 

The chairman recommended that a committee be 
appointed to procure a charter, which was done. Mrs. 
J. B. Lindsley, Mrs. George W. Fall, and Mrs. E. H. 
East were appointed. A Committee on Permanent 
Organization was appointed, consisting of Mrs. An- 
drew Jackson, Mrs. W. A. Donelson, and Mrs. D. R. 


Mr. C A. R. Thompson suggested that two hundred 
acres detached would make desirable summer homes in 
the event the Hermitage was made a permanent memo- 

Rev. Jerry Witherspoon said that he had a deep 
interest in the movement for the Confederate home and 
that it was not proposed to antagonize that movement 
in this organization. He wished to see both proposi- 
tions harmonized and felt that they did not conflict and 

28 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

that one proposition could aid the other. In this re- 
spect he called upon Mr. George B. Guild, Dr. Roth- 
rock, and Judge Frank T. Reid, who were present, to 
make remarks on their side of the question. 

Dr. C D. Elliott then made a very good talk upon 
the subject. He said that it had once been proposed 
that the Grand Army of the Republic have a home at 
the Hermitage. This idea gave exasperation to the 
other side, and the proposal to have a home for ex- 
Confederate soldiers would produce the same feeling in 
certain quarters. All felt a national interest in Jack- 
son, and nothing should be done that would disturb 
the national character of his home. 

Judge Frank T. Reid said that he and the gentlemen 
with him had expected to take no part in the meeting; 
but as he had been invited, he would make a few re- 
marks. He did so in favor of the State's making pro- 
vision for her disabled and .indigent soldiers. 

Mr. George B. Guild followed, making his remarks 
at some length, favoring a soldiers' home, making a 
stirring appeal for those unfortunate survivors of the 
war that were now in poverty. They asked only for 
the loan of the place for twenty-five years. 

Mrs. Dorris then stated that at the end of twenty- 
five years the entire aspect of the Hermitage will have 
been changed. New buildings will have been erected 
and the old one so altered as not to be the same; but 
the greatest change would be in the interior of the 
building. There, after a lapse of forty-five years, ev- 
erything remained the same; but what would it be 
after the lapse of twenty-five more years? There were 
the beautiful parlors, the walls covered with the por- 
traits of Jackson and his family. There was the cabinet 
of curiosities which the hand of the dead General ac- 

Newspaper Reports, 29 

cumulated. There on the folding door was the por- 
trait of him on his war horse. In the hall was the 
chair of General Washington; and, above all, there 
was the room in which "Old Hickory" died, the bed- 
stead on which he rested, the washstand, the bureau- 
all were there. Over the mantel was the portrait of his 
beloved wife, of whom he said, "Heaven would be no 
heaven to me were she not there," and on which his 
dying gaze rested. All these things would be taken 
away from the place; there would be great changes. At 
the end of twenty-five years how could all these things, 
once removed, be restored? 

Dr. J. B. Lindsley then said that he could not see 
why this should not be a powerful organization. Sixty 
million people felt an interest in General Jackson, and 
it would not be long before two hundred million would 
feel an interest. There are only four places upon which 
the gaze of the world rests. Two of these are Mount 
Vernon and the Hermitage. The Hermitage, only ten 
miles from Nashville, is an unusual object of interest to 
the people of Tennessee. The General Assembly pur- 
chased this historic spot, to be perpetuated in the mem- 
ory of Andrew Jackson, to their great glory. He died 
on the 8th of June, 1845.* "When I first heard of the 
Confederate movement I thought it was a splendid idea, 
but then the idea of an association had not presented 
itself to me. Now I think that by all means an asso- 
ciation ought to be formed. I recognize the fact that 
with the lapse of time the Hermitage, unless perpetu- 
ated by such an association, will be changed and the 
relics all swept away. The whole American people have 
an interest in this Association without regar d to any 

•Dr. Lindsley was present at the deathbed scene. 

30 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

section whatever. It was not Grant at the head of his 
enormous columns, nor Lincoln in his chair at Washr 
ington ; it was the soul of Jackson, who said, 'The Fed- 
eral Union must and shall be preserved,' that defeated 
us in the War of the States. I say it is a shame, a 
damnable shame, that the Confederate soldiers have not 
been taken care of. They fought for four long years 
and laid down their lives and ought to have had the 
care of this State. But twenty-five years after the war 
Tennessee is just now beginning to think of her Confed- 
erate veterans. She has simply been idle and done 
nothing for them. She should have taken care of the 
veterans long before the funded debt was paid, but the 
Hermitage should be preserved forever." 

C. D. Elliott said that perfect harmony should exist in 
the two propositions already submitted. He thought that 
the Legislature would take favorable action on both. 

Dr. Rothrock said that* he came not expecting to 
say anything. The property had been in the hands of 
the State for twenty-two years, and why had not this 
proposition been made before? It was only when they 
proposed to make a Confederate home that any propo- 
sition of this kind had been advanced. He said that 
the proposed association wanted to get possession of 
three hundred acres, leaving them the two hundred 
acres detached in which to build their home. He said 
that one of the objections they had to combat in the 
Legislature was that so many soldiers as would be 
cared for there could not get a living out of the home, 
and the Legislature would have to make continual ap- 
propriations to support the home. If they could not 
live on the five hundred acres, how could they make the 
home self-supporting on the two hundred acres of in- 

Newspaper Reports, 31 

ferior quality? He spoke of the suffering and poverty 
of the uncared-for and impoverished soldiers. 

Dr. Atchison suggested that a conference be held 
between committees favoring each subject, and he had 
not a doubt that the two propositions — the one about 
selling the Hermitage and three hundred acres to the 
Association and the other with the funds thus realized 
to found a soldiers' home— could both be carried before 
the Legislature by storm, and everybody would be sat- 

A Committee of Conference was appointed, as fol- 
lows: Dr. J. B. Lindsley, Rev. Jerry Witherspoon, W. 
A. Donelson, Mrs. L. F. Benson, Mrs. Andrew Mar- 
shall, Mrs. W. C. Dake, Mrs. Andrew Jackson, Mrs. 
W. A. Donelson, and Mrs. D. R. Dorris. 

This committee will meet the Committee on the Sol- 
diers* Home this morning at ten o'clock in the office of 
Dr. J. B. Lindsley at the Capitol. 

D. R. Dorris moved to adjourn, and the motion car- 

Pursuant to the foregoing, the committee 
met in the office of Dr. Lindsley at the State 
Capitol, as proposed. The daily American of 
Wednesday, February 13, made the following 
report of this meeting, with headlines as fol- 
lows : 

The Hermitage. 

a proposition made to the iviemorial association and 


A committee from the proposed Hermitage Memorial 
Association, consisting of Dr. J. B. Lindsley, Rev, 

32 Preservation of the Hermitage, 

Jerry Witherspoon, W. A. Donelson, Mrs. L. F. Ben- 
son, Mrs. W. C. Dake, Mrs. D. R. Dorris, Mrs. W. A. 
Donelson, and Mrs. Andrew Jackson, met yesterday 
morning according to appointment in the office of Dr. 
Lindsley at the Capitol. For some time no other par- 
ties appeared, and the interim was spent in making 
preparations for getting out a charter and otherwise 
perfecting the organization. After some delay Mr. 
Hickman, reflecting the views of the committee he 
represented, proposed to compromise by giving to the 
Association the building and twenty-five acres imme- 
diately surrounding it, which they proposed to add as 
an amendment to the Crews bill. 

This announcement for a time created great excite- 
ment with the ladies, who had based their hopes upon 
a much greater area. They thought that fully two 
hundred and fifty acres would be necessary to develop 
their plan and to aid in making the Memorial Associa- 
tion self-sustaining. It will deprive them, they argued, 
of the use of any of the farm land wherewith to sup- 
port the superintendent and other employees necessary 
to conduct it and of the woodland, which would be the 
part most capable of being beautified. 

Therefore the proposition was not accepted, but it 
is believed that there can yet be a harmonious adjust- 
ment of the two projects. Another conference will be 
held this morning in the library rooms at 9 a.m. 

This later conference, it seems, never ma- 
terialized, for there is no report of one in the 
American, nor do I remember any such meet- 
ing, and matters rested as they were. 

The Charter Taken Out. 

The mass meeting had been called, an in- 
terested few had attended, committees were 
appointed, and all done that could be done at 
such a meeting*. 

Was there a widespread interest awakened? 
Did our citizens hasten to the support of the 
Memorial Association? Not so. After the 
meeting the world moved on much as usual, 
and only the faithful four who had done all 
the preliminary work continued to remember 
and work for the memorial that was to be 
established to the memory of Andrew Jackson. 

The average citizen is coldly indifferent 
to the building of monuments, and it is "every- 
thing for charity, nothing for monuments." 
As the soldiers* home was a very popular 
charity and the other enterprise merely a mon- 
ument and a sentiment, naturally sympathy was 
largely against the latter. Only a slight inter- 
est had been awakened. Some were indiffer- 
ent, some bitterly opposed, and some scoffed, 

3 r3,o 

34 Preservation of the Hermitage, 

ridiculing the idea as utterly impracticable and 
impossible. But, after all, a germ was planted, 
and it was destined to grow, 

Mrs. Jackson, being so far away, could not 
come very frequently for consultation. Mr. 
Donelson and the writer talked together nearly 
tvery day. One day, when all four were pres- 
ent, we decided on a name. Here, again, we 
used the Mount Vernon precedent and decided 
upon the euphonious name, Ladies' Hermitage 
Association, and the organization is so called. 

Then the charter was discussed. A com- 
mittee was appointed at the ]\laxwell House 
meeting, but it was prepared by the four. 
Of this Mrs. Jackson says: "I certainly recall 
the meeting when the taking out of a charter 
was discussed, for no one present seemed to 
be quite certain how to go about it." A blank 
printed charter, such as is used for all organi- 
zations and clubs not intended for issuing stock 
or making money, was obtained, probably by 
Mr. Donelson, who brought this paper to me 
and asked me to write a suitable introduction 
conforming to the objects and desires of our 
new Association, which I did, writing as fol- 
lows : 

The Charter Taken Out. 35 

State of Tennessee — Charter of Incorporation. 

We, the undersigned parties, apply for a charter of 
incorporation of the Ladies' Hermitage Association, the 
object of which corporation is to purchase from the 
State of Tennessee two hundred and fifty acres of land, 
including the residence and tomb of Andrew Jackson, 
and to beautify, preserve, and adorn the same through- 
out all coming years in a manner most befitting the 
memory of that great man and commensurate with 
the gratitude of his countrymen. 

This intrcxluction Mr. Donelson copied upon 
the blank, and afterwards I was told that he 
submitted it to Judge E. H. East for advice 
and approval, and he was told by Judge East 
that it was all right and needed nothing more. 

The next step was to get the necessary sig- 
natures. Five names were needed; and as it 
was to be a woman's organization, these should 
be the names of women. It was the opinion 
of Col. A. S. Colyar, who was taking great 
interest in the proposed memorial association, 
that only femme soles were eligible to sign the 
charter. This cut out some of our best helpers 
and forced us to get signatures of unmarried 
ladies, whether they proposed entering in the 
work or not. 

Very soon after this, one cold afternoon in 

36 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

February, Mr. Donelson had his buggy at the 
door, and together we started out to secure 
the necessary signatures. Our first thought 
was of !^.Irs. Rachel Jackson Lawrence, who 
was then living in the city. She was the first 
to sign the document that was to make the 
Ladies' Hermitage Association a regularly 
chartered institution. Our next visit was to 
Miss Mary White May, who was with Mrs. 
R. B. Lea, at the corner of Vine Street (now 
Seventh Avenue) and Union Street. It was 
late when we started on our important errand 
and was now nearly dark; but we continued 
our work, going next' to see Mrs. Mary Hadley 
Clare, who was living then on the west front 
of the Capitol. It was now so late that the 
gas was lighted on the streets and in the homes. 
On entering, we found Gen. G. P. Thruston 
with Mrs. Clare. He pointed out to her that 
she could "sue and be sued," but assured her 
that there was no personal risk to her proper- 
ty, and she thereupon signed the document. 
We now had only three signatures. Mr. Don- 
elson had to drive twelve miles to his home 
near the Hermitage that night, and he left the 
charter with me. 

The Charter Taken Out. 37 

The next day the writer procured the signa- 
tures of Mrs. E. L. Nicholson, her neighbor, at 
the Nicholson House, and that of Miss Louise 
Grundy Lindsley, who was also a neighbor, 
living only a few doors from her home. That 
completed the necessary five signatures. Re- 
membering her friend, Mrs. Henry Heiss, and 
her sympathy with the movement, her signature 
also was secured. 

Armed with the charter and these signatures, 
the writer went alone to the County Court 
Clerk's office to take out the charter of incor- 
poration, and on February 19, 1889, the char- 
ter was duly entered. 

When I reached the County Court Clerk's 
office I found that I would have to swear to 
the signatures and that my name would have 
to go in as a charter member. I also learned 
that it would have been perfectly legitimate 
for the other interested married ladies to have 
signed the charter, but it was then too late to 
remedy the matter. 

The County Court Clerk, W. T. Smith, who 
knew my husband well, was so interested in 
the enterprise that he charged me only two 
dollars for registration, which I paid. Later 

38 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

Mrs. Jackson returned to me the two dollars, 
saying that she wished to pay for it herself. 
Afterwards we took the charter to the State 
Capitol, and it was there duly registered, and 
the Ladies' Hermitage Association became a 
chartered institution. 

The following are the papers of registra- 

We, the undersigned, apply to the State of Tennessee, 
by virtue of the laws of the land, for a charter of in- 
corporation for the purposes and with the powers, etc., 
declared in the foregoing instrument. 
This 19th day of February, 1889. 

Mrs. Rachel J. Lawrence, 
Mary.W. May, 
Mrs. Mary Hadley Clare, 
Mrs. E. L. Nicholson, 
Miss Louise Grundy Lindsley, 
Mrs. Henry Heiss. 
Mrs. Mary C. Dorris, 

Witness to the above signatures. 

State of Tennessee, 
Davidson County. 

Personally appeared before me, W. T. Smith, Clerk 
of the County Court of said county, Mrs. Mary C. 
Dorris, subscribing witness to the attached instrument, 
who, being first duly sworn, deposes and says that 
she is personally acquainted with the within-named Mrs. 
Rachel J. Lawrence, I^.Iary W. May, Mrs. M. H. Clare, 
Mrs. E. L. Nicholson, Miss L. G. Lindsley, Mrs. Henry 

The Charter Taken Out. 39 

Heiss, the bargainers, and that they acknowledged the 
same in her presence to be their act and deed, for the 
purposes therein contained. 

Witness my hand at office, this 19th day of February, 
1889. W. T. Smith, Clerk. 

By D. KuHN, D. C. 

State of Tennessee, 
Davidson County. 

Register's Office, February 20, 1889. 

I, T. S. Lusty, Deputy Register for said county, do 
certify that the foregoing instrument and certificate are 
registered in said office, in book No. 76, page 123; that 
they were received February 20, 1889, at 10 o'clock A.M., 
and were entered in Note Book 10, page 149. 

T. S. Lusty, Deputy Register, Davidson County. 

I, Charles A. Miller, Secretary of the State of Ten- 
nessee, do certify that the foregoing instrument, with 
certificates of acknowledgment of probate and regis- 
tration, was filed in my office for registration on the 
19th day of February, 1889, and recorded on the 20th 
day of February, 1889, in Corporation Record Book 
"O," in said office, page 104 et seq. 

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto sub- 
scribed my official signature and, by the or- 
[seal.] der of the Governor, affixed the great seal of 
the State of Tennessee, at the department, 
in the city of Nashville, this 20th day of 
February, A.D. 1889. 

C. A. Miller, Secretary of State. 

So much done and yet so far from the goal I 
The next step was to get a bill drawn up and 

40 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

presented in both houses of the General As- 
sembly. Mr. Donelson and I succeeded in 
getting the bill introduced, but only "by re- 
quest.*' The solons, having before them a bill 
for the establishment of the soldiers' home, did 
not care to antagonize this interest and hesi- 
tated to introduce a bill for the Association 
and would do so only "by request," which 
meant that they would not support it before 
the body. 

Mr. Donelson and I continued to frequent 
the legislative halls — almost daily — and as we 
entered we heard such comment as, "Here 
comes the Ladies' Hermitage Association.*' 

In our bill we insisted on the purchase of two 
hundred and fifty acres. On February 14, 
1889, an interesting card from Dr. C. D. Elliott 
appeared in the American, as follows : 

Allow me space, at least as a personal favor, to define 
my position as to the Hermitage, not correctly reported 
and perhaps at the most not given with sufficient dis- 
tinctness. The Hermitage is a natural Mecca, a shrine 
where only "I am an American citizen" gives the right 
to worship. No sign, no name, no inscription to sug- 
gest to worshipers antagonism in sentiment and action 
among American citizens should appear there. To 
illustrate: "The Federal Union — it must be preserved." 

The Charter Taken Out. 41 

Yet I say as a Confederate that he meant the consti- 
tutional Union for which we Confederates fought, and 
at once Confederates and Federals are fighting at the 
tomb of Jackson. It is right and proper that the guard- 
ianship of this natural shrine should be committed to 
women. They need Confederate and Federal soldiers to 
see to it that the charter and all official preliminary 
actions are "national." My honor, they will be faithful 
wardens of that tomb to the end of time. To my mind 
there is not the slightest obstacle in the way of perfect 
harmony of all personal interests involved ; and, this 
secured, this General Assembly will agree, nemine 
contradicente, to the proposition submitted. Let the 
bill now before the Assembly halt and see what can 
be done. C. D. Elliott. 

On February 15 N. E. Alloway had a card 
in the American relative to the estate of Gen- 
eral Jackson. He said : 

The Hermitage farm at the time of General Jack- 
son's death consisted of twelve hundred acres, and 
there were one hundred negroes, besides stock of all 
kinds. The property sold to the State was worth fifty 
thousand dollars, but two thousand dollars was held 
as a rental for the two years before Andrew Jackson, 
Jr., moved from the place. The estate when Jackson 
died was worth somewhere near one hundred and fifty 
thousand dollars, and General Jackson was not in debt 
when he died. 

This was in answer to a communication 
saying that General Jackson was in debt when 
he died. 

42 P-reserz'ation of the Hermitage. 

Another communication from W. E. Travis, 
on February i8, gives the circumstances of its 
purchase by the State. Another communica- 
tion signed "G" was in lighter vein and inclined 
to hold the Association Vi'r> to ridicule, speaking 
of the inaccessibility of the Hermitage and 
advocating a dummy line, then so popular. 

On February i6, 1889, the writer addressed 
another communication to the daily American 
over a column in length, telling of having called 
upon a number of gentlemen in the interest of 
the work. Continuing, the article reads: 

If such an Association is not formed now, it will 
never be, for this seems to* be a crisis in the fate of the 
Hermitage. It may seem a little thing now and even 
a noble one to pervert it to other uses; but when the 
twent>'-five years have rolled away and it is too late, 
the generation of that day will say: "What a pity it 
was that Jackson's home was not preser\'ed !" We need 
some good orator to champion our cause before the 
Legislature, some one who knows all the facts and who 
will work for us fearlessly. Then we may feel as- 
sured that from such a small beginning has arisen a 
memorial association that will survive the ages. 

The article also argued further : 

Twenty-five acres, or even seventy-five, in the country 
is very little ground. If we establish the memorial, we 
wish it to be a national affair. . . , That Jackson's 

The Charter Taken Out, 43 

home should have remained so nearly as it was at the 
time of his death, forty-four years ago, is something 
remarkable and owing to the fact that the State al- 
lowed Andrew Jackson, Jr., and his son subsequently 
to occupy the premises. 

This was signed by Mrs. D. R. Dorris. 

A strong article signed "A'* also appeared, 
urging the Legislature to "sell" to the Associa- 
tion "such portion of the estate as may be nec- 
essary to fulfill the obligation we as a body 
propose to assume." I do not recall who "A" 
was. I reproduce these communications to 
show the desire of the Association at its very 
inception to possess a larger portion of Andrew 
Jackson's farm for the memorial and also the 
original desire that it be national in character. 
The arguments used are almost identical with 
those that members of the Association brought 
forward when they made contention for more 
land before the General Assembly of 1913. 

On February 25 the writer had another arti- 
cle in the paper urging the Legislature to sell 
to the Ladies* Hermitage Association, and this 
article was signed "Mrs. D. R. Dorris, Secre- 
tary of the Ladies' Hermitage Association,*' 
using that title for the first time. 

Dr. C. D. Elliott, who was taking a great 

44 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

deal of interest in the matter and who strongly 
favored the woman's Association, said in a 
communication on February 20, 'The State of 
Tennessee can never in honor part with its 
right to the Hermitage" ; but he thought it all 
right for the Legislature to convey it "in trust" 
to the woman's Association. 

The bill for the Confederate soldiers' home 
had right of way before the Legislature, and 
the sentiment ever^'where was strongly in fa- 
vor of it, and when it came up it passed prac- 
tically without opposition. The soldiers' home 
bill had been amended so as to exempt the 
house, tomb, and twenty-five surrounding acres. 
Matters looked blue for the memorial associa- 
tion. Col. J. M. Crews, who had introduced 
the soldiers' home bill, had become a stanch 
friend to the memorial enterprise; and he it 
was who formulated a new bill for the Ladies' 
Hermitage Association and introduced it into 
the Legislature. It was Senate Bill No. 461 
and "conditionally" conveyed to the "Ladies* 
Hermitage Association twenty-five acres of the 
Hermitage tract, including the mansion and 
tomb of General Andrew Jackson." 

The very last day of the session of 1889, 

The Charter Taken Out. 45 

April 5, had arrived, and even this act had not 
passed. It seemed as if the **house, tomb, and 
twenty-five acres" and the Ladies' Hermitage 
Association would be left out in the cold. 
The act had passed the necessar>^ three read- 
ings in the Senate and needed only to pass the 
third reading in the lower house. All who 
were in any way interested in the passage of 
the bill were there to urge it on the members. 
The writer, Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Donelson, 
Mrs. J. Berrien Lindsley, Mrs. Benson, Mrs. 
W. C. Dake, and probably others were present 
in the House of Representatives on that day. 
Dr. J. B. Lindsley, who had become the stanch 
friend and counselor of the author in all she 
was doing, entertained grave fears and advised 
Mrs. Lindsley to be on the floor of the House 
and urge the passage of the bill. It was she 
who influenced Col. John H. Savage, the "old 
man of the mountain," as he was called, who 
had opposed the act, to vote for the bill and 
withdraw his opposition. When it came to a 
vote the bill passed, and the workers were so 
overjoyed at the happy consummation that it 
was never thought whether the act was passed 
by a great or a small majority. It did not 

46 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

matter, since the Ladies' Hermitage Associa- 
tion was given possession of the property. 
The responsibility was taken without one 
dollar of appropriation from the State or 
any source of revenue whatever. But this 
handful of earnest, devoted women left the 
State Capitol with the determination to redeem 
their trust and cause the State of Tennessee to 
rejoice at the hour when it gave the beautiful 
Hermitage into the care and keeping of the 
Ladies' Hermitage Association. 

The act passed on April 5, 1889, and was 
approved by Gov. Robert L. Taylor on April 
6, and the Ladies' Heimitage Association was 
ready to enter upon its trust. 

The act of conveyance called for nine trus- 
tees — 'two from East Tennessee, two from 
West Tennessee, and five from Middle Tennes- 
see. These were to be commissioned by the 
Governor upon "recommendation of the La- 
dies' Hermitage Association." My husband, 
being a newspaper man, was well acquainted 
with prominent men all over the State, and I 
had him select the names of nine gentlemen for 
me to nominate as trustees to the Governor. 
Very soon after the Legislature adjourned my 

The Charter Taken Out, 47 

husband went with me to Governor Taylor's 
office at the State Capitol. Then and there the 
first nine trustees were nominated before the 
Governor, and he had the necessary commis- 
sions sent to them. Governor Taylor's only 
choice was Adolph S. Ochs, of Chattanooga. 
These trustees were : Ex-Gov. James D. Porter, 
Paris, Tenn. ; Dr. J. Berrien Lindsley, Nash- 
ville, Tenn. ; Gen. W. H. Jackson, Nashville, 
Tenn. ; Ex-Gov. John C. Brown, Nashville, 
Tenn. ; L. F. Benson, Nashville, Tenn. ; W. 
R. French, Tullahoma, Tenn.; E. S. Mallory, 
Jackson, Tenn. ; Adolph S. Ochs, Chattanooga, 
Tenn. ; and H. H. Ingersoll, Knoxville, Tenn. 

Before selecting these gentlemen I had 
talked with L. F. Benson, Dr. Lindsley, and 
probably others who were interested. Mr. 
Benson suggested W. R. French, and Governor 
Taylor himself selected Adolph S. Ochs. Then 
the writer, as Secretary, called a meeting of the 
Board of Tnistees, and the first meeting was 
held in the office of Dr. J. B. Lindsley at the 
Capitol. Ex-Governor Porter was elected 
President and Dr. Lindsley Secretary. 

The By-Laws Are Made. 

One of the provisions of the act of convey- 
ance of the twenty-five acres from the Legis- 
lature was that the trustees be empowered to 
**make and enforce such by-laws as may be 
necessary to put into operation and continual 
execution the objects and purposes for which 
this trust is created." That w^as more than 
twenty-five years ago. Women had not dem- 
onstrated their abihty to do things as at pres- 
ent, and the wise solons no doubt thought that 
the women would never be able to "make and 
enforce by-laws." Even so the provisions of 
the act remain to this present day, and the 
Association must work under the by-laws as 
given by the Board of Trustees. 

The by-laws have been amended several 
times at the request and suggestion of the 
Board of Directors as the needs and require- 
ments of the Association developed, but the 
making of them still rests with the trustees. 
It may be added that thev have been ver>' satis- 


The By-Laws Are Made, 49 

factor}'; and it is very well that the matter 
stands as it does, for it saves complications. 

After the first meeting of the Board of 
Trustees and the appointment of a By-Law 
Committee, on that same day that committee 
made the by-laws. The committee appointed 
consisted of Dr. J. Berrien Lindsley, of Nash- 
ville, Tenn., E. S. Mallory, of Jackson, Tenn., 
and W. R. French, of Tullahoma, Tenn. 
These three gentlemen met at the residence of 
Mrs. Mar}^ L. Baxter, that lady and the writer 
of these annals being present. 

In these by-laws paragraph 2 reads: "The 
first biennial meeting of the Association shall 
be held on the third Wednesday in May, 1889, 
and every two years thereafter at such place in 
Nashville, Tenn., as may be designated in the 
call." This by-law^ is as unalterable as the law 
of the Medes and Persians and must never be 

The first biennial election was held at the 
residence of Mrs. J. B. Lindsley. Again it 
was my privilege to select the first Board of 
Directors. Dr. Lindsley and l^.Ir. Benson were 
the advisers of the writer. Tlie following 
Board was elected and the other offices filled as 

50 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

follows: Mrs. Nathaniel Baxter, Sr., Regent; 
IMrs. A. S. Colyar, First Vice Regent; Mrs. J. 
M. Dickinson, Second Vice Regent ; Mrs. D. R. 
Dorris, Secretary; Mrs. William Morrow, Mrs. 
John Ruhm, Mrs. W. A. Donelson, directors; 
L. F. Benson, Treasurer; Mrs. Nathaniel Bax- 
ter, Sr., Mrs. J. M. Dickinson, and Mrs. W. A. 
Donelson, Executive Committee; Col. J. M. 
Crews, Memphis, Tenn., General Agent. Nine 
ladies were elected directors, but two took no 
interest and were soon dropped. 

And now the Ladies' Hermitage Association 
must begin the work of putting money into its 
purse to carry out the obligations of its trust. 
It had accepted a great work and a difficult one 
without one dollar of appropriation from the 
State or any resource whatever. The Associa- 
tion hoped to raise the money by private sub- 
scriptions and by giving such entertainments 
as might be possible. 

Knowing that funds would be needed before 
anything at all could be done, the writer, as- 
sisted by Miss Will Allen Dromgoole, on April 
10, II, and 12, 1889, produced the beautiful lit- 
tle operetta "Birds of Tennessee" at the Ven- 
dome Theater for the benefit of the Ladies' 

The By-Laws Are Made, 51 

Hermitage Association. The operetta was 
Miss Dromgoole's own composition. It was a 
most pleasing musical extravaganza and was 
well patronized. Miss Dromgoole personally 
superintended the production, while the writer 
gathered seventy-five or one hundred children 
and grown people to participate, rented the the- 
ater, and was advertising agent, business mana- 
ger, and general utility man. We had wonder- 
ful success and cleared about $125, which was 
put in a bank for the needs of the Association 
at its first call. 

Aside from the money spent for the charter, 
there were a number of incidental expenses, 
which were personally paid by the writer. 

Mrs. W. A. Donelson contributed ten dollars 
from her "Old Folks' Concert" receipts, and 
afterwards she gave an "Old Folks' Concert" 
for the benefit of the Association, turning over 
to the Association forty dollars as the result 
of her efforts. 

■ This small sum of money represented the en- 
tire assets of a great enterprise that was to in- 
terest the whole nation and build up a suitable 
memorial to our great hero, Andrew Jackson. 
At the meeting of the Board of Trustees Gen. 

52 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

William H. Jackson, who had had much experi- 
ence in such matters, advised that I get out ter 
thousand booklets to send broadcast over the 
land for advertising purposes. Acting under 
this advice, I prepared a booklet, containing 
an address to the public, the names of the trus- 
tees and directors, the charter of incorporation, 
the act of the Legislature, and the by-laws, 
making sixteen pages. The address to the 
public in this booklet is even now good matter 
and may interest the present-day reader. It is 
as follows: 

An Appem. to the Public. 

The General Assembly of the State of Tennessee has 
assigned to the care of the Ladies' Hermitage Associa- 
tion the house and tomb of General Jackson and twenty- 
five surrounding acres to improve, beautify, and keep 
forever in perpetual memory of the great hero. 

The Association proposes to do its work thoroughly — 
to purchase the relics, to renovate the house, to beautify 
the grounds, and to make the Hermitage the most beau- 
tiful spot, as it has been the most interesting spot, in all 
the Southland. It will be a national museum, inviting 
pilgrims from the North, the South, the East, and the 
West, who will delight to honor the memory of him 
who said : "The Federal Union must and shall be pre- 

The Association proposes to keep in continual repair 
the house and tomb and ground^. For many years 

The By-Laws Are Made. 53 

nothing has been done in this regard. There is conse- 
quently great need for a repairing fund, and the first 
money collected into the treasury will be devoted to 
restoring to its original beauty the grand old historic 
mansion, the tomb, and to adorning the grounds. 

The Association also wishes to purchase the relics 
and furniture now at the Hermitage and owned by Col. 
Andrew Jackson and which have been pledged to said 
Association. These relics are both valuable and inter- 
esting, and a large sum of money will be required to 
purchase them. It will readily be seen that to put the 
homestead in thorough repair, to purchase the relics, 
and to create an endov/ment fund by which the Asso- 
ciation is to become self-sustaining, a large sum of 
money will be required. 

The Association is national in its character, as An- 
drew Jackson was national in reputation. He belonged 
to the people, and to them the Association now appeals 
for assistance in this great work. 

The by-laws require a membership fee of one dollar. 
By this means the Association hopes to realize at least 
one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, as it is the belief 
that there are fully that many citizens in the United 
States who would gladly give that sum to the restora- 
tion of "Old Hickory's" home. Contributions of any 
sum from one dollar or less to any great sum a munifi- 
cent benefactor may be willing to give are solicited. 
Any contribution may be sent to the Treasurer, L. F. 
Benson, Nashville, Tenn., and will be receipted by him 
and placed to the credit of the Association. We hope 
that this appeal will strike the keynote of patriotism 
and that in a very few years the home of Andrew 
Jackson, the beautiful Hermitage, will be the Mecca of 

54 Presentation of the Hermitage. 

all true patriots in the United States and of historic 
interest to the touring stranger. 

Mrs. Nathaxiel Baxter, Sr., Regent; 

Mrs. a. S. Colyar, First Vice Regent; 

Mrs. J. M. Dickinson, Second Vice Regent; 

Mrs. D. R. Dorris, Secretary. 

Ten thousand of these booklets were printed, 
costing about one hundred dollars of the little 
fund. At that time the writer had not an 
idea how great a bulk ten thousand booklets 
would make, and her house w^as entirely over- 
run with them. They were in every closet and 
on every available shelf. It was too many to 
get out at one time; but they have served a 
good purpose, and to. this day, after twenty- 
five years, they are still doing duty as a matter 
of information. 

If the writer was going to be the Secretary, 
she knew^ that she would need a minute book; 
so she invited Mrs. Lindsley to go with her 
to purchase one. This book showed her faith 
in the Ladies' Hermitage Association, for she 
purchased a leather-bound "cap-size" record 
book of seven hundred pages. This book did 
duty for sixteen years, from the organization, 
May 1 6, 1889, to May, 1905. It is a complete 
record of all the transactions of the Associa- 

The By-Laws Are Made. 55 

tion during that time. All of its struggles, all 
of its enterprises, all of its successes are here 
recorded and may be preserved forever. 

When the Ladies' Hermitage Association 
took possession of the Hermitage it found the 
property in a state of extreme dilapidation. 
The fences were down, and the lawn had 
grown up in sprouts as high as a man's head. 
The house v\^as in bad shape. The roof leaked, 
shutters were off, glass panes were out of the 
windows, and the old historic cabin was a tum- 
bling ruin. 

During the Civil War Gen. George H. 
Thomas, commandant of the post at Nashville, 
had placed an armed guard at the Hermitage 
to protect it during the internecine strife. 
While this prevented the house from being 
pillaged and the outhouses from being burned, 
it did not check the ravages of time. 

The adopted son, Andrew Jackson, Jr., 
after selling the place to the State of Tennes- 
see in 1856, moved from there in 1858 to a 
Mississippi plantation. At the invitation and 
solicitation of Gov. Isham G. Harris he re- 
turned to the Hermitage at the breaking out 
of the Civil War, probably in 186 1. He died 

56 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

there in 1865, and his widow remained as cus- 
todian until her death, in 1887. Col. Andrew 
Jackson III. lived at the Hermitage, his moth- 
er's support and protector. They knew not 
what day they would be asked to surrender 
possession of the property, therefore they 
did not make repairs, nor did they have the 
means to sustain so large a place. The State 
did nothing, with the exception of putting an 
iron rail around the tomb, which was done 
during the administration of Gov. William B. 
Bate, when he was the State's chief executive, 
in 1882. There was ever}'thing to do and no 
money to do it with, and the very first problem 
was to determine how to gatlier money to carry 
on the work. 

Edward Everett had gone out over the en- 
tire nation and lectured for the benefit of the 
Mount Vernon Association. He was the finest 
orator in the United States, and he turned 
over to that Association the munificent sum of 
$69,964, but not until they too had struggled 
and almost failed. The Ladies' Hermitage 
Association had no such champion; but its 
promoters thought that by solicitation alone 
monev in sufficient sums would flow into its 

The By-Lardjs Are Made. 57 

coffers and that $150,000 would soon be raised. 
But not so. The money came in slowly and 
by the most strenuous efforts. Y.\tvy kind of 
entertainment was given here in the city of 
its founding, from a ten-cent mirror show to 
the Theodore Thomas Orchestra concerts. 

The mirror show proved the best money- 
maker. The Theodore Thomas Orchestra 
proved a disastrous venture, and the Associa- 
tion had to pay a large deficit. It was the only 
losing proposition ever entered into. There 
were four concerts, costing fifteen hundred 
dollars each. The Mendelssohn Quintet Club 
netted to the Association two hundred dollars. 
It was managed by the Secretary and Mrs. 
Maggie L. Hicks, a director, who sold one 
hundred dollars' worth of tickets. Blind Tom 
played under the auspices of the Association 
twice, the first time netting two hundred dol- 
lars and the second seventy-five dollars. Miss 
Louise Baxter, daughter of the first Regent, 
brought in many contributions. 

Mrs. John G. Carlisle gave a concert in 
Washington City for the benefit of the Asso- 
ciation and sent as a net result six hundred 
dollars on May i, 1894. Emma Abbott, the 

58 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

prima donna, presented to the Association one 
hundred dollars, and the Nashville Hibernian 
Society made a donation of twenty-five dol- 
lars. Gen. Andrew Jackson became a mem- 
ber of the Hibernian Society of Philadelphia in 
18 19. Other friends in Washington City 
helped gather funds, notably Mrs. Joseph E. 
Washington, wife of the Congressman from 
the Hermitage District, Hon. James L. Norris, 
and Miss Mary E. Wilcox, whose mother was 
born at the White House during Jackson's 

The Andrew Jackson Club in Chicago sent 
substantial assistance; and our sister city of 
Memphis gave two splendid Jackson Day balls, 
which netted six hundred and seventy dollars 
to the Association. A number of individuals 
contributed as much as one hundred dollars, 
some fifty, others twenty-five, ten, and on 
down to the one dollar membership fee — all 
helping to swell the fund for the patriotic 
work. Little by little the funds were accumu- 
lated, and little by little the work of repairing 
went on. 

No salaries have ever been paid to any 
member of the Association. At one time a 

The By-Lcnvs Are Made. 59 

very capable lady, Mrs. C. P. Wright, who was 
called the Secretary at Large, was engaged. 
By a \'igorous canvass she brought in a con- 
siderable amount and was given twenty per 
cent of all moneys collected. 

As pointed out in the letter of Mrs. Philodea 
Eve, the Mount Vernon precedent and organ- 
ization did not exactly suit that of the Ladies' 
Hermitage Association. The very fact that 
the property was owned by the State prevented 
contributions in many instances. A notable 
one was that of Daniel E. Sickles, who was 
solicited for a contribution. He said : "I do 
not see how it is possible that the State of 
Tennessee could allow any one to aid in pre- 
serving Andrew Jackson's home." And yet 
was not Andrew Jackson a national hero? 

In this connection it is well to make a state- 
ment in regard to a matter which has caused 
much misunderstanding and will continue to 
do so unless explained. When the by-laws 
were made. Dr. J. Berrien Lindsley, a warm 
friend and constant adviser of the writer in all 
the work she was doing, had inserted in the 
by-laws the clause "and receive for her service 
a salary of twenty-five dollars per month." 

6o Preservation of the Hermitage. 

Dr. Lindsle}' had said to the writer before 
the by-laws were made: "Now, you must be 
the Secretary, for you know that the Secre- 
Ury is the drudge worker." Dr. Lindsley 
himself was the Secretary of the State Board 
of Health and appreciated the duties of secre- 
tary. At a general meeting of all the mem- 
bers on March 24, 1897, there was a large 
attendance. In the minutes of that day, on 
page 300 of the minute book, there is the 
following self-explanatory entr}': 

Mrs. Mary L, Baxter, Regent, and Mrs. Albert S. 

Marks, Acting Regent : 

This is to certify that I hereby donate to the Ladies' 
Hermitage Association any 'and all amounts due me as 
Secretary of the Association for the past eight years. 
This receipt is given inasmuch as at the last meeting of 
the Board of Trustees it was at my request that by- 
law No. 5 was amended by striking out the words "and 
receive for her service a salary of twenty-five dollars 
per month." This salary I have never drawn, knowing 
full well the inability of the Association to pay such 
a salary and believing that the service should be gra- 

In Ma5% 1^2, I managed the May Musical Festival 
of Theodore Thomas for the benefit of the Association. 
There was a deficit of $336.70, which the Association 
paid and which was accredited to me as back salary, 
but from which I received no personal benefit. 

I make these statements and present this receipt that 

The By-Laws Are Made. 6i 

there may be no future legal complications arising and 
that the gift of this salary, to which I was legally en- 
titled, be full and free to this Association and not sub- 
ject to the claims of either myself, my heirs, or assigns. 

I hereby give my receipt in full. 

Very respectfully, 

Mrs. Mary C. Dorris^ Secretary. 

March 24, 1897. 


The Option on the Relics — Active Work 


Closely following upon the first biennial 
election a meeting was called by Mrs. Mary L. 
Baxter at her home June i8, 1889, which was 
the very first meeting of the new organization. 
It is worth while to note the names of those 
present, representing almost the entire strength 
of the Association at that time. These were 
Mesdames Nathaniel 'Baxter, William Mor- 
row, J. M. Dickinson, A. S. Colyar, John 
Ruhm, W. A. Donelson, and D. R. Dorris. 

To carry out the national idea the effort 
was made to appoint vice regents in every State 
of the Union, and the following ladies were 
appointed: Mrs. Grover Geveland, of New 
York; Mrs. Potter Palmer, of Illinois; Mrs. 
A. K. McClure, of Pennsylvania; Mrs. Judge 
Grant, of Iowa; Mrs. William Mack, of In- 
diana; Mrs. Lee, of Virginia; Mrs. Merrick, 
of Louisiana; ]\Irs. William E. Eakin, of Con- 
necticut; Mrs. W. C. P. Breckenridge, of Ken- 

option on Relics — Active Work Begun. 63 

tucky; Mrs. Henry W. Grady, of Georgia; and 
Mrs. Ellen Call Long, of Florida. They were 
notified by the Secretary, but none of them 
took up the work nor did anything, with the 
single exception of Mrs. Ellen Call Long, of 
Florida, whose father, General Call, was one 
of Jackson's aids. Later others were selected. 

The immediate business of the meeting was 
to arrange all the details of an excursion to the 
Hermitage and of the concerts to be given dur- 
ing the meeting of the National Educational 
Association in Nashville in July. 

This was the very first effort of the new 
Association after organization was effected. 
The Hermitage w^as then thrown open for the 
first time in its history as a public institution. 
The date was from July 17 to 20, 1889. It 
was a difilicult matter to handle owing to the 
great inaccessibility of the place. Boats were 
chartered, landing on the Cum_berland River 
three miles distant from the Hermitage. It 
was the landing from which General Jackson 
shipped his cotton to New Orleans and received 
from there sugar, molasses, and other supplies 
for the plantation, and often furniture and 
household articles not to be procured in Nash- 

64 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

ville. Trips were made by rail, the station 
also being three miles from the Hermitage. 
Either vray there was a three-mile drive to be 
made ere the Hermitage was reached. Wag- 
ons were engaged, and after meeting the train 
they had the trip to m.ake to the river over 
a rough and unused road. About one thou- 
sand persons visited the Hermitage during the 
four days, and a great advertisement was given 
the enterprise, but very little money was left 
in the treasur}^ after all the expenses were paid. 

An interesting event of the occasion was the 
arrival at the Hermitage, just one hour before 
the first pleasure wa^n of excursionists got 
there, of a little stranger, the last one of the 
Jackson name ever to be born at the Hermitage. 
The visitors were much interested in the new 
arrival ; and a committee of the educators pre- 
sented the little boy with an up-to-date primer, 
laying the baby hands upon it when he was but 
a few hours old. The President of the Na- 
tional Educational Association was Albert 
Prescott ]Marble, a most worthy gentleman 
from New England, and the little fellow was 
named Albert Marble Jackson in his honor. 

On June 25, 1889, another meeting was 

option on Relics — Active Work Begun, 65 

held by the Board of Directors to take action 
upon an option given by Col. Andrew Jackson 
on the relics. At the time the Ladies' Hermit- 
age Association was organized the relics, fur- 
niture, and belongings were all in the house, 
just as they had been in General Jackson's life- 
time. There were beautiful and costly things 
there, for General Ja,ckson's house was a per- 
fect and handsome* type of the old Southern 
homestead, and all the furnishings were not 
only pretty but elegant. 

The house is a large two-story brick, with 
a spacious central hall and rooms opening into 
it from each side. These rooms, four down- 
stairs and four upstairs, are twenty feet square. 
The two wings give eleven rooms in the main 
building; and while there are not so many 
rooms, it is a large and commodious house. 
Large porticoes on the front and rear, sup- 
ported by fluted columns, give a grand and 
imposing appearance to the mansion. 

All of these rooms were elegantly furnished 
with solid mahogany, plain but handsome. All 
of this furniture was the property of Col. An- 
drew Jackson, having been willed to him by his 
mother. One of the first thoughts of the 


66 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

Association was to secure these relics and this 
furniture, for they were the actual belongings 
of Gen. Andrew Jackson and were owned and 
used by him. There were the bed he died upon 
and his room just as it was the day he died, 
June 8, 1845. There were mirrors, portraits, 
tables, chairs, bedsteads, sofas, and, in fact, 
all the belongings of a well-to-do Southern 

On these relics Colonel and Mrs. Jackson 
gave an option for $17,500 and four years' 
time for all that was in the house, including 
silver, cut glass, souvenirs, bric-a-brac, etc., to 
the number of five 'hundred articles, w'hich 
were catalogued and given in the option. 
Colonel and Mrs. Jackson continued to reside 
at the Hermitage as its custodians, awaiting 
the result of the efforts of the Association to 
raise the fund for the purchase of the relics. 

The Association not having possession of 
the Hermitage farm. Colonel Jackson was left 
entirely without resource; and as there was 
not a superabundance of money coming in, it 
was difficult to make suitable arrangements 
for his necessary expenses. A plan was made 
by which lie was to receive three per cent on 

option on Relics — Active Work Begun. 6y 

the value tied up in the relics. This was paid 
part of the time; but all arrangements proved 
more or less unsatisfactory, for the needs of 
his family were not sufficiently provided for. 

To redeem the Association's trust to the 
State it was necessary that the bulk of the 
funds accumulated be devoted to the work of 
repairing and improving. The very first work 
done was on the old historic cabin, which was 
the first home of Andrew Jackson on the Her- 
mitage farm. This old log house, at once a re- 
minder of pioneer days as well as a reminder of 
Andrew Jackson, was at one time a two-story 
building, with other log houses around it, and 
was erected in 1804. Aaron Burr was enter- 
tained there in 1805. The little baby boy, An- 
drew Jackson, Jr., the son of his adoption, 
was taken there in 1809, and in 1815 Gen. 
Andrew Jackson returned to its humble doors 
a conquering hero and the idol of the nation. 
In this block house hospitality reigned su- 
preme, and it is said that in his home "the 
humblest peddler was as welcome as the Presi- 
dent of the United States" and that Andrew 
Jackson was the "prince of hospitality." 

68 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

From the minutes of the Association is taken 

the following : 

Shortly after the National Educational Association 
excursions in July [1889] the precarious condition of 
the old historic cabin was pointed out to the Secretary; 
and, although limited in funds, the order was given and 
a contract made for its proper restoration. The chim- 
ney had fallen, the sills on one side were rotted away, 
and its downfall seemed imminent. Several visits were 
made to the Hermitage during its renovation by the 
Regent and Secretary, that its historic character might 
not be lost, and the cabin was restored as near to its 
original character as possible. The chimney was re- 
built of the same fallen brick and in the same style. 
Six new sills were added. A new board roof was put 
in the place of the one that had been lost by decay and 
a new floor put in. 

The old pieces of wood not decayed were 
used to make souvenirs— -dainty match safes 
and toothpick holders — and all sold well to 
visitors going to the Hermitage. 

When the work of renovation was going on, 
the carpenters doing the work called the atten- 
tion of the Regent and Secretary to the beaded 
joists forming the ceiling of the first floor 
room, but w^hich are now supporting the 
ground floor and which can be seen only by 
looking up under the house as it now stands. 

Cornelius Hankins, then a vouno: artist, vis- 

option on Relics — Active Work Begun. 69 

ited the Hermitage the day after the Associa- 
tion was given possession and asked permis- 
sion of Col. Andrew Jackson to paint a picture 
of the cabin and was referred to the Regent. 
The artist came back to the city, and that night 
a heavy windstorm blew down the chimney 
and careened the whole cabin, making it all 
the more picturesque for the artist's purpose, 
but causing dismay to the Association. A 
copy of the picture was presented to the Asso- 
ciation by the artist, and it may now be seen 
at the Hermitage in the relic collection of in- 
teresting articles and shows one of the things 
that the Association had to contend with. 

The old block house was changed by Gen- 
eral Jackson himself from the two-story to a 
one-story house and was used for years as one 
of the cabins for the habitation of his negro 
slaves. The brick house on the present site 
was built in 18 19. General Jackson said that 
he built it for his wife, that she might have 
the comforts of a suitable home after his 
death. His health was much broken by his 
arduous campaigns, and his thought was that 
the woman he loved would long survive him. 

But such was not the case; for his beloved 

70 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

Rachel died at the Hermitage December 22, 
1828, just before the President elect left his 
home for Washington City to be inaugurated 
President of the United States. She did not 
live to share his triumphs nor to sustain him in 
his greater work to the nation. 

The brick house was burned in 1834 while 
Jackson was absent at Washington, when the 
adopted son, Andrew Jackson, Jr., and his 
family were sojourning there. It was rebuilt 
in 1835 upon the same site and in very much 
the same style. 


Mrs. Mary L. Baxter. 

It seems that the Association, through all 
its vicissitudes, had moments of inspiration; 
and it was some such moment as this which 
prompted the writer, after the Association was 
founded and chartered, to ask ^Mrs. Mary L. 
Baxter, w4fe of Judge Nathaniel Baxter, to 
become its Regent. Mrs. Baxter was a woman 
of much culture, fine intellect, and great experi- 
ence in organized work. She entered upon the 
duties of Regent of the Ladies' Hermitage 
Association with a faithfulness and zeal which 
was characteristic of her and which argued 
well for the Association. From the time she 
accepted the position until laid upon a bed 
of illness, during a period of eight years, she 
showed an untiring zeal and energy that many 
a younger woman might have envied, giving 
almost her entire time and thought to the work. 
She was prominent in social circles and had 
a broad acquaintance not only in this city and 
State but all over the Union. This wide ac- 


72 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

quaintance was of great value to the Associa- 
tion and enabled her to bring to her support 
many influential people. After the first elec- 
tion, when i\Irs. Baxter Avas made Regent, the 
Secretar>% who lived only two blocks away, 
often ran up to see her on business of the Asso- 
ciation or talked with her over the telephone, 
until it was laughingly said : "The Ladies' Her- 
mitage Association is always in session." 

In these early days efforts were made to 
interest as many persons as possible. Meetings 
were held whenever necessary, but it was some 
time before a regular, definite day was settled 
upon. All the meetings were held at Mrs. 
Baxter's home. 

The Association had taken the trust, as has 
been said before in these pages, without one 
dollar of appropriation from the State and 
conducted the work, repairing and improving, 
without the State's aid for six years. Those 
first months were truly busy ones, and every- 
body or organization that came to the city was 
solicited for funds. While a great deal came 
from outside the State, the continued, persistent 
efforts were sustained by the citizens of Nash- 

Mrs. Mary L. Baxter, 73 

The National Prison Association, of which 
Ex-President Rutherford B. Hayes was Pres- 
ident, met in this city, and from it Mrs. 
Maggie L. Hicks, a most heroic worker, se- 
cured forty members. The Prison Association 
was taken on an excursion to the Hermitage. 
Of it I find in the minutes, under the date of 
November 12, 1889, the following: "The 
Association finds a greater gain in these excur- 
sions than in almost any other form of adver- 
tising, the beautiful Hermitage and its inter- 
esting relics speaking for themselves." 

Another fine source of revenue, and one of 
the best-patronized events, was, and is, the an- 
nual celebration of Jackson Day, January 8, 
the anniversary of the battle of New Orleans. 
The custom is to give a brilliant ball, as that 
was the mode of entertainment in Jackson's 
time. An effort has always been made to give 
the ball a historic feature, and many pretty 
ideas have developed as each Regent put her 
best thought into it. 

The first celebration of Jackson Day after 
organization was such a beautiful affair that 
it is even now remembered with pleasure. It 
was a historic costume reception, and Andrew 

74 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

Jackson, Mrs. Rachel Jackson, the Cabinet, and 
diplomatic corps were personated by ladies and 
gentlemen of the city. Handsome engraved 
cards of invitation were issued, fifteen hundred 
in number. An admission card was inclosed, 
for which three dollars was charged for two 

Copying from the minutes of January 13, 
we find the following : 

The day was a grand success. The citizens entered 
heartily into the enthusiasm of the day, and the city 
was elaborately decorated with bunting for the occasion. 
It was a general holiday, and the streets were thronged 
with people. Col. Jere Baxter called out the militia; 
and the day, which was bright, beautiful, and balmy, the 
sunshine glorious, began with a grand military pageant 
through the streets, in which prominent citizens acted 
as marshals, Governor Taylor and his staff also par- 
ticipating. The troops passed in review before Governor 
Taylor and staff and the Ladies' Hermitage Association 
on the south side of the State Capitol. Entering the 
Capitol, speeches were made by prominent citizens, and 
the Jackson Club was formed, with Col. A. K. McClure 
as President. The Jackson flower, the hyacinth, was 
largely worn. Beautiful floral tributes from President 
Harrison and from the Governors of Connecticut, New 
Jersey, Maryland, Arkansas, Florida, and Wisconsin 
were placed on the Jackson statue and afterwards 
taken to the Hermitage. The floral tributes were pho- 
tographed. . . . 

Mrs, Mary L. Baxter, 75 

The Andrew Jackson Historic Costume Reception 
was a brilliant success. Andrew Jackson and his wife, 
Mrs. Rachel Jackson, the entire Cabinet, and diplomatic 
corps were personated by handsomely dressed ladies and 
gentlemen, the most prominent people of the city. An 
interesting feature was the lighting of the historic can- 
dle found in Lord Cornwallis's tent at Yorktown. It 
was held aloft by Col. Jeremiah George Harris (at one 
time purser of the navy and who represented General 
Jackson) and allowed to burn only one minute. 

This candle was presented to General Jack- 
son with the suggestion that he light it on every 
8th day of January, which custom he always 
observed. The candle was one of the relic 
collection owned by Colonel Jackson. The 
gross receipts from this reception were four 
hundred and eighty dollars ; but the net receipts 
were rather small, for the expenses were heavy. 

On March 30, 1890, the Association tried to 
lease seventy-five acres of the woodland from 
the soldiers* home trustees, to pay therefor five 
dollars per acre. The proposition was not ac- 
cepted. I find from the minutes that in April, 
1890, a new roof had been put on the main 
building and all of the outhouses covered with 
the old tin which was removed. The latter, of 
an extraordinarily good quality, was probably 
put on when the house was rebuilt after the 

76 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

fire in 1835. The roof was in very bad condi- 
tion, leaking badly, causing the plastering to 
fall in upstairs bedrooms and on the porticoes. 

The pictorial wall paper, representing the 
"Legend of Telemachus," was hanging in 
shreds and threatened with destruction. An 
expert wall paper man was sent out and spent 
two weeks putting the paper back on the wall. 
As Mrs. Baxter aptly remarked, "It was like 
so much darning'' ; but it was rescued from de- 
struction and is now in a very fair state of 
preservation. A general utility man was sent 
there and spent days repairing locks, insert- 
ing lost screws, putting in window panes, 
and doing like odd jobs that hardly showed 
for the work put ujxin them, yet it was much 
needed and added to the general renovation. A 
new fence was put around the entire twenty- 
five acres. 

About this time Mrs. Baxter and her co- 
workers made great efforts to get a railroad to 
the Hermitage, its inaccessibility making 'it 
very difficult to handle anything out there. All 
repair work cost more, workmen were hard to 
get, material difficult to deliver, and, in fact, 
into every enterprise this inaccessibility inter- 

Mrs, Mary L. Baxter. ^y 

jected itself disagreeably. Therefore one of 
the very first efforts was to get a railroad. 

Mrs. Maggie L. Hicks and Mrs. Isabella 
M. Clark had been added to the Board of 
Directors and were made a Railroad Com- 
mittee. They reported that the probable cost 
would be ten thousand dollars for four miles 
of track, but a regular railroad would cost 
at least thirty thousand dollars and would be 
a constant expense. However, the Nashville, 
Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railway made the 
proposition, through IMaj. J. W. Thomas, to 
build and equip a road from the station to the 
Hermitage if the Association would secure the 
right of way and raise five thousand dollars. 
It was this sum that Mrs. Baxter was working 
for. She succeeded in getting three thousand 
dollars subscribed, but could never attain to the 
greater sum, and the plan was finally aban- 
doned. To this day the crying need for the 
successful operation of the work of the Asso- 
ciation is a railroad or a trolley line to the old 
historic Hermitage. 

On May 20, 1 891, was held the second bi- 
ennial election. In the reports It was found 
that three thousand five hundred dollars had 

78 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

been raised and expended in the two years. 
The election resulted as follows : Mrs. Mary L. 
Baxter, Regent; Mrs. Albert S. Marks, First 
Vice Regent; I\Irs. J. B. Lindsley, Second Vice 
Regent; Mrs. D. R. Dorris, Secretary; Mrs. 
William Morrow, Mrs. John Ruhm, Mrs. W. 
A. Donelson, Mrs. John M. Gaut, Mrs. Mag- 
gie L. Hicks, directors; Dr. William Morrow, 
Treasurer. While the reports did not show a 
very large business, yet it was still progressive 
and in a fair way to do more and better things. 

One of the most successful of the enter- 
prises of the Association was a grand ball given 
at the Ponce de Leon Hotel, in St. Augustine, 
Fla., on February 4, 1892. The hotel was 
given the Association free of charge by Mr. 
Henry M. Flagler, the New York millionaire. 
Mrs. Baxter and Mrs. C. P. Wright visited 
St. Augustine and made all the arrangements, 
and the latter put it through. The net result 
was $2,082, and it was the best enterprise the 
Association had ever managed. A large dele- 
gation went from the city of Nashville. This 
money was put in the bank as a "nest tgg^' for 
the purchase of the relics. 

Acting under the advice of Dr. Lindsley and 

Mrs. Mary L. Baxter. 79 

Gen. W. H. Jackson, the Legislature was asked 
to appropriate fifteen thousand dollars for the 
purchase of the relics, but not then nor ever 
afterwards did such effort succeed. 

The option on the relics expired in July, 
1893; and still, not having secured the pur- 
chase money, there was no alternative but to 
allow the valuable collection to be removed by 
their owner. Colonel and Mrs. Jackson moved 
away from the Hermitage, taking with them 
everything in the house, leaving bare walls and 
naked rooms, in which there was but a memory. 

It became necessary to engage a caretaker 
to superintend the premises and protect it from 
all dangers. A suitable man, one who under- 
stood horticulture, for there was great need 
in that direction, was engaged. It was very 
necessary, with the limited income of the Asso- 
ciation, that the caretaker be also a man who 
could give a good day's work on the grounds 
or house if needed. The new caretaker did 
good work in the garden, which was a perfect 
wilderness and overgrown with weeds, and im- 
proved its appearance not a little. He trans- 
planted bulbs, moved shrubs, cut down trees 
which had voluntarily sprung up, dug up 

So Preservation of the Hermitage. 

sprouts, and otherwise brought order out of 
chaos. He remained at the Hermitage two 
years and performed a wonderful amount of 
very much needed work. 

Then a stalwart young farmer from the 
neighborhood was engaged. He happened to 
be not only a good farmer but a good carpen- 
ter, a fair painter, and, in fact, an ingenious, 
industrious man, ready to turn his hand to any- 
thing that was needed. He had not been long 
married; and his wife, a comely little matron, 
was equally adapted to the work. Both fitted 
into the place m.ost admirably and have proved 
to be the right persons in the right place. The 
fact that they have continued in the service of 
the Association for twenty years and at this 
writing are still there proves their eminent fit- 
ness for the position. Their only child was 
born there. They have grown up, so to speak, 
with the Association. They understand its 
needs and know its wishes as well as do the 
members of the Board themselves. They are 
Mr. and Mrs. T. L. Baker and may still be 
found rendering faithful and efificient service 
at the Hermitage. 

In 1895 Mrs. Albert S. Marks, wife of Ex- 

Mrs. Mary L. Baxter, 8l 

Governor Marks and First Vice Regent of the 
Association, after consultation with the Board 
of Directors and free discussion of the subject, 
went before the State Legislature and secured 
an appropriation of fifty dollars per month 
from that body, the first that had ever been 
appropriated by them for the benefit of the 
Association. This enabled the Board to pay 
their caretaker without exertion on their part. 

On May 2;^, 1895, an admission fee at the 
door was first charged; and as there was then 
very little to be seen inside the building, this 
fee was put at ten cents. As the minutes state, 
this was to "ser\^e as a restraint to large visit- 
ing bodies, who were apt to overstep the bounds 
of privilege while there, rather than as a source 
of revenue." 

In 1896-97 Mrs. Baxter's health, always del- 
icate, began to fail. For eight years she had 
stood bravely to the forefront, working with a 
zeal and a will to see the Association put upon 
a firm foundation. She had seen a measure of 
success in the improved appearance of the Her- 
mitage house and grounds, though it was far 
from being as she most desired it. She saw 
an Association still determined, still indefati- 

82 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

gable, working to carry out its trusts ; and now 
she must leave it to other hands and minds to 
carry on the work she so loved and could only 
look on for many more months from her bed 
of pain. 

Into the hands of ]\Irs. Albert S. Marks, 
First Vice Regent, the work was intrusted, and 
she took up the burdens of administration. 
Mrs. Baxter had been so efficient, so loyal, 
so brave, and had carried on the work so suc- 
cessfully, even when physically unable to take 
upon herself any burden, that it was hard for 
any one to take her place. In Mrs. Marks she 
found a worthy coworker, though Mrs. Marks 
herself was of fragile health. 

Mrs. j\Iarks conducted the affairs of the As- 
sociation whenever Mrs. Baxter was unable to 
preside, taking the chair first at a meeting May 
13, 1896. It was during Mrs. Mark's admin- 
istration as Acting Regent that the Tennessee 
Centennial Exposition was held in Nashville, 
and she carried to a successful issue the repre- 
sentation of the Ladies' Hermitajre Association 


at the exposition. It was while this exposition 
v/as going on and during the administration 
of Mrs. ]\larks that the first purchase of the 


Mrs, Mary L, Baxter. 83 

valuable and interesting relics owned by Colo- 
nel Jackson was made and the return of the 
relics to their old home in the Hermitage was 
actually begun. 

While the exposition was going on Colonel 
Jackson wrote to the Association, offering the 
old historic State coach used while Andrew 
Jackson was President and in which he made 
several trips to and from Washington City 
during his administration, the journey requir- 
ing thirty days. The price asked was one hun- 
dred dollars, and the Association immediately 
became the purchaser of this most interesting 
and quaint old carriage, and it was put in the 
transportation building at the exposition as one 
of its most interesting exhibits, where it at- 
tracted a great deal of attention. 

The next acquisition was the bedroom fur- 
niture of Gen. Andrew Jackson which he used 
during his life, consisting of a bed, a dresser, 
a washstand, a couch or sofa, a table, chairs, 
fender and andirons, all the portraits, and a 
scrap of carpet. The price asked was one thou- 
sand dollars. This the Association gave, and 
the furniture was shipped by Colonel Jackson 
from Cincinnati. From this time on the relic 

84 Presentation of the Hermitage. 

furniture began to flow back to its old home. 
The hah furniture came next; and from time 
to time, as the Association accumulated the 
money, some coveted article was secured, and 
the good work went on. 

^Mrs. Marks continued to administer the af- 
fairs of the Association from 1896, relieved at 
times by Mrs. Baxter, whenever able, and oc- 
casionally by Mrs. J. Berrien Lindsley, at whose 
home a great many of the meetings w^ere held. 

On April 5, 1898, Mrs. Albert S. Marks, 
having failed in health, requiring tlie attend- 
ance of trained nurses and physicians, resigned 
the acting regency and from the Board. 

Now and then Mrs. Baxter was able to pre- 
side; but the burden of administration fell upon 
Mrs. J. Berrien Lindsley, assisted sometimes 
by Mrs. P. H. Manlove, who had been elected 
Treasurer, the first woman to hold that office. 
Mrs. Baxter was Regent for ten years, but for 
at least three years of that time she was too ill 
to manage the affairs of the Association. In 
1897 the by-laws were revised, and a limit of 
four years, or two terms of two years each, 
was put upon the office. 

On May 9, 1902, Mrs. Mar\^ L. Baxter died 

Mrs. Mary L. Baxter. 85 

after years of illness. The regular meeting of 
the Board of Directors, which was in session 
when her death was announced, adjourned out 
of respect to her memory. A beautiful floral 
tribute was sent, and the Association attended 
the funeral in a body. Resolutions of respect 
to her memory were passed. 

The Regents. 

In 1899, at the regular biennial election in 
May, Mrs. J. Berrien Lindsley was elected Re- 
gent, another happy choice in the selection of 
a leader. 

Mrs. Lindsley had been connected with the 
Association from its very first organization 
and always had its every interest at heart. Her 
husband, Dr. Lindsley, was one of the first 
trustees, and her daughter. Miss Louise Grundy 
Lindsley, was a charter member. She had been 
a lifelong friend of the Jackson family; and 
in girlhood she had often been a welcome guest 
at the Hermitage house parties with the fair 
young Rachel Jackson, the granddaughter of 
the old hero. During her administration many 
relics were added to the collection, and the old 
home began to look as it did when Jackson's 
tall form was reflected in the long mirrors. 
The relic collection had grown to such an ex- 
tent that it became necessary to place iron 
guards at the doors to protect the furnishings. 

The Regents. ^7 

Mrs. Lindsley's house became the home of ilie 
Association; and all the meetings were held 
there, her spacious parlors affording- ample ac- 
commodations for any number of guests. 

During Mrs. Lindsley's administration the 
admission fee was raised from ten cents to 
twenty-five cents. The, sale of flowers was in- 
augurated, by which much money was made. 
The colors of green and white were selected 
for the Association, and a badge designed by 
Miss Louise Lindsley was adopted. The badge 
is a wreath of hickory leaves of green enamel 
with the intitials *'L. H. A." in white enamel. 

Some distinguished visitors were entertained 
at the Hermitage during Mrs. Lindsley's ad- 
ministration—Admiral and Mrs. Dewey and 
Admiral and Mrs. Schley. Admiral Dewey 
and his wife came in the summer time, when 
the garden was a glorious flower bed. A bar- 
becue was given him, and the tables were laid 
beneath the beautiful spreading maples of the 
rear yard. Hundreds of guests were present. 
Admiral and Mrs. Schley came in the winter 
season, in the very coldest weather. 

During Mrs. Lindsley's administration in- 
surance was taken out on the house and fur- 

88 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

niture and has since been carried in reasonable 
but not large amounts. If destroyed, articles 
in the house could never be replaced, and every 
precaution is being taken to prevent fire. Just 
after the Tennessee Centennial Exposition 
eight fire extinguishers were purchased and put 
in the building. 

It was also during Mrs. Lindsley's regency 
that an appropriation of one thousand dollars 
was made by the State for needed improve- 
ments and repairs. Previous to this five hun- 
dred dollars had been appropriated by the State 
for the same purpose. 

On June 4, 1903, the Board of Directors 
met with the Regent, Mrs. J. Berrien Lindsley, 
and much important business was transacted. 
It was the last time those present ever had an 
opportunity of meeting with the beloved and 
honored Regent. By the next meeting, July 
3, the angel of death was hovering near; and 
two days later, July 5, 1903, she passed away, 
her life having been a benediction to all around 

The Hermitage and its works in the twelve 
years that Mrs. Lindsley was connected with 
it had been the one thing in life that interested 

The Regents, 89 

her. She was ever gracious and tactful and 
gentle in her rulings, and the Association pros- 
pered in every way under her administration. 

On August 5, 1903, the vacancy caused by 
Mrs. Lindsley's death was filled by electing her 
daughter, Miss Louise Lindsley, on the Board 
of Directors, and Mrs. A. M. Shook was elect- 
ed Regent. 

During Mrs. Shook's regency there was 
much done. At a meeting on September 2, 
1903, the Treasurer, Mrs. Walter Allen, re- 
ported that Mr. A. P. Foster had turned over 
to her $276.03 as a result of the canvass made 
by Col. Jere Baxter, son of Mrs. Mary L. 
Baxter, through the Nashville News, to apply 
on the purchase of the relics. The effort was 
made to raise ten thousand dollars with which 
to purchase those relics still owned by Mrs. 
Andrew Jackson; but less than three hundred 
dollars w^as raised, though the utmost efforts 
were put forth by the News Company to se- 
cure the necessary amount. All of which goes 
to prove that it was only by continued efforts 
that the relics have been purchased, and not by 
any easy or whirlwind methods. 

The State of Tennessee, through private 

90 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

committees of citizens, reproduced the Hermit- 
age as the State building at the World's Uni- 
versal Exposition, held at St. Louis in 1904. 
Andrew Jackson's bedroom was reproduced, an 
exact replica of his room at the Hermitage, the 
Association using some of the historic furniture 
for the purpose, which added much to the in- 
terest of the exhibit. Another interesting fea- 
ture of the World's Fair Hermitage w^as the 
presence of Mrs. Rachel Jackson Lawrence, 
granddaughter of General Jackson, as the host- 
ess of the Tennessee building on the exposition 

The writer was' appointed by Mrs. Shook 
and the Board to represent the Association at 
this same exposition and remained in St. Louis 
for seven months, or during the entire time 
it was being held, Mrs. W. J. McMurray serv- 
ing as Secretary during the regular Secretary's 
absence. The writer was also a commissioner 
of the State and lived in the W^orld's Fair 
Hermitage, which was the State's building. 

Maj. E. B. Stahlman and Maj. E. C. Lewis 
were the promoters of the work of replicating 
the Hermitage; and they carried out the fur- 
nishings in ever\' detail, creating a most beau- 

The Regents. 91 

tiful replica of the historic Hermitage, which 
made a grand appearance with the other histor- 
ic State buildings on the exposition grounds. 
The pictorial wall paper of "Telemachus'* was 
reproduced by hand-painting on canvas, the 
young lady artist sitting in the halls of the 
Hermitage for three months to make the copy. 
After the exposition closed this hand-painted 
copy was presented to the Ladies* Hermitage 
Association; and it is now on the walls of the 
upper hall, all the papering there having been 
lost by the damp and the depredations of relic 

The Hermitage building, being an old brick 
one and not having had fire in any of the cham- 
bers for many years, was dreadfully affected 
by the dampness. Whenever there was a 
change in the weather it caused a dense fog in 
the rooms, which gathered into water on the 
walls and trickled down to the floor. Mrs. 
Shook caused to be installed an up-to-date hot- 
air furnace, which corrected all the dampness, 
has made the building warm and comfortable 
through the severest weather, and is one of 
the most needed and best improvements ever 
made there. Mrs. Shook also caused a tele- 

92 Presentation of the Hermitage. 

phone to be placed there, which had ahva}s 
been a necessity; but up to that time the Asso-- 
ciation had never felt able to afford such an 

On May 17, 1905, the writer of this history 
was elected Regent, having served continuously 
as Secretary during the entire life of the Asso- 
ciation, sixteen years. One of the first works 
of this administration was to build a two-room 
cottage for a dining room and kitchen for the 
caretaker, which gave to the family a home 
privacy and allowed the old historic kitchen, 
always interesting, to be fitted up as a part of 
of the exhibit. 

In 1907 President Roosevelt, then the chief 
executive of the nation, visited the Hermitage, 
and it was the privilege of the writer as Regent 
to receive him. The venerable Mrs. Rachel 
Jackson Lawrence, granddaughter of General 
Jackson, the Board of Directors, and the mem- 
bership generally, assisted. The President was 
so pleased with his visit and so enthusiastic with 
the work that he pledged himself to secure 
from Congress an appropriation for the benefit 
of the Association. The President urged the 
matter in his message to Congress; and Sena- 

The Regents. 93 

tor James B. Frazier and Congressman John 
W. Gaines secured an appropriation of five 
thousand dollars, which enabled the Regent to 
carry out some long-cherished plans. 

A system of waterworks was installed, bring- 
ing water from the spring to the garden and 
the house. The spring has a capacity of from 
fifty thousand to sixty thousand gallons daily. 
The spring itself was greatly improved, and a 
stone wall was put around the pool in a sub- 
stantial and permanent manner. The interior 
woodwork was painted for the first time since 
the State became its owner, in 1856. The 
woodwork was in very bad condition and need- 
ed numerous coats of paint to whiten it, the 
mantelpieces requiring no less than seven coats 
of paint to bring them to the desired condition. 

The wall paper in the upper chambers is the 
same that was put on when Andrew Jackson 
lived, and the house was rebuilt in 1835. This 
paper is very quaint and old-fashioned. In 
a guest room at the head of the stairway 
the pattern is in huge bunches of roses, each 
design being in a block of paper not more 
than three feet long and not in a continuous 
roll, as is done at present. Owing to the damp 

94 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

and the falling off of the plastering in this 
room, when the plaster was renewed some 
years previously there was a large section in 
the northwest corner that showed only the 
white finish on the wall. This white corner, 
extending almost halfway on each side, was 
deftly and beautifully frescoed in by an artist, 
who reproduced the huge bunches of roses so 
perfectly that even the closest inspection fails 
to note any difference between the frescoing 
and the old wall pajDer. 

Each of the Regents after 1897 has added 
to the relic collection; and some very valuable 
articles were purchased during the administra- 
tion of the writer, including the very valuable 
and historic portrait of Jackson known as the 
Healy portrait. There are only two of Healy's 
paintings of Jackson extant. One hangs at the 
Hermitage and the other in the Louvre, at 
Paris. There are many duplicates, for it is a 
favorite subject of copy ; but there are only two 
original Healy's. 

The story of the painting at the Hermitage 
is very interesting. The artist, Healy, had 
been commissioned by Louis Philippe to paint 
the portraits of prominent Americans for the 

The Regents. 95 

French gallery. Healy was at the home of 
Henry Clay, in Kentucky, when he learned that 
Andrew Jackson was in a low state of health 
and liable to pass away any day. He hastened 
to the Hermitage, having to travel by private 
conveyance, and arrived there while Mrs. Sarah 
Yorke Jackson, the General's daughter-in-law, 
had gone to the city for the day. 

The old hero was placidly awaiting his final 
summons in his bedchamber when the artist 
arrived at the door. Dick, the house man, an- 
swered the artist's ring and told him that Gen- 
eral Jackson was very ill. The artist presented 
his card and sent it into the sick chamber. 
Dick returned and said that General Jackson 
was too feeble to meet him. But the artist did 
not give up and sent the man back, following 
him into General Jackson's bedchamber. 

The old General was seated in front of a 
small wood fire, for the day was a cool one in 
early June. The artist rushed past the serving 
man and threw himself upon his knees at the 
feet of the sick man. Startled and astonished, 
the old General, retaining his poise, said : "Rise, 
sir; rise! Kneel to no one but your Maker!" 
Reassured, the artist sprang to his feet, reached 

96 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

in his pocket for his papers, and presented the 
commission from Louis PhiHppe. The old 
General read them and slowly and feebly said : 
"Young man, never forget your credentials." 
This was just eight days before the old hero's 

The artist began his sittings and made two 
portraits, one for the gallery of the Louvre and 
the other for the Hermitage. He was domi- 
ciled as a member of the family during the sit- 
tings and remained there for some time, mak- 
ing a third portrait, which he copied from a 
painting there. This he presented to Mrs. 
Marion Adams, the widowed sister of Mrs. 
Sarah Yorke Jackson, who was a member of 
her household. This latter portrait was after- 
wards sold in New York City. 

The price paid by the Association for the 
Healy portrait was seven hundred and fifty 
dollars. Other valuable and interesting relics 
were purchased during the administration of 
the writer. The home of the Regent became 
the home of the Association, and all the meet- 
ings were held there. At each general meeting 
light refreshments were served and a social 
hotu* enjoyed. The membership increased 


The Regents, 97 

largely during this administration, growing 
from seventy-five accredited voters in 1905 to 
two hundred and thirty-eight in 1909. At the 
close of the regency, which expired by limita- 
tion after four years* incumbency, the retiring 
Regent again took the office of Secretary, 
which office had been ably filled by Mrs. Walter 
Allen during the writer's administration as 

In 1909 Miss Louise G. Lindsley, a charter 
member and daughter of one of the first trus- 
tees and the second Regent, Dr. and Mrs. J. 
B. Lindsley, was elected to the regency and 
entered upon the work with ability and enthu- 
siasm. Her familiarity with the work qualified 
her in no small way for the requirements of the 
position. The former administration had left 
in the treasury two thousand five hundred dol- 
lars of the congressional appropriation, and 
she had this fund to continue to apply to the 
work of improvement. 

The writer might here state that no moneys 
ever appropriated by the State or given by Con- 
gress has ever been applied to the purchase of 
relics. All the moneys, a total at this writing 

98 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

of fifteen thousand dollars, has been raised by 
the Ladies' Hermitage Association. 

At this writing the Hermitage is beautifully 
and completely furnished with the genuine rel- 
ics and furniture, the actual belongings and 
mementos of General Jackson. All these rel- 
ics and this beautiful furniture have been pur- 
chased by the Ladies' Hermitage Association. 
The Association alone is the sole owner, not 
even the State of Tennessee having the slight- 
est claim upon them. 

From the first founding of the Association 
there has been no retrograde movement. The 
progress has been slow but sure. The improve- 
ments are of the most substantial and perma- 
nent character. The Association has always 
been conducted upon a high plane, and year by 
year it has grown in power and influence and 
has always ranked as one of the finest organi- 
zations in the State. By clever management 
the Association has almost made one dollar 
do the work of two, and with the assistance 
of the caretaker himself it has accomplished 
wonders with a minimum outlay. 

The ladies have proved good financiers, and 
thev have never had a debt which was not well 

The Regents. 99 

in hand. In buying relics an obligation was 
usually made, but the obligation was amply 
provided for and paid when it fell due. From 
1899 to 1 90 1 Mrs. A. M. Shook served as 
Treasurer. From 1901 to 1904 Mrs. Walter 
Allen held the ofifice. Then, at the special re- 
quest of the Board, Mrs. P. H. Manlove again 
took the books and has managed the finances 
to the present writing, her ability and judg- 
ment and her correct and conscientious han- 
dling of the funds making her a valuable mem- 
ber of the Board. 

The new Regent, Miss Lindsley, entered ac- 
tively into the work and carried on the improve- 
ments to a higher degree. The cottage, con- 
sisting of just two rooms and a pantry, was 
moved farther to the north and the rear. Sev- 
eral rooms were added, with a bathroom and 
all conveniences, hot and cold water, and an 
altogether livable, habitable place of abode was 
fitted up for the caretaker and his family, giv- 
ing them the privacy of their own home. 

At the same time this arrangement allowed 
the entire main building to be thrown open as 
an exhibit. The two rooms (the bedrooms of 
Mrs. Sarah Yorke Jackson) formerlv ncmpied 

loo Preservation of the Hermitage. 

by the caretaker were fitted up with some of 
the genuine furniture. The former nursery 
adjoining was fitted up as a museum, none of 
the nurser}^ furniture being available. 

The purchase of relics continued. Colonel 
Andrew Jackson died in Knoxville, Tenn., in 
December, 1906; but his widow, Mrs. Amy 
Jackson, continues to sell the relics, holding 
them until such time as the Association is 
able to purchase. Miss Lindsley inaugurated 
the system of regular monthly payments upon 
the purchases, which not only made it easy for 
the Association to meet the obligations, but 
gave a regular income to Mrs. Jackson. 

One of the most important purchases was 
that of Hiram Powers's bust of Jackson, 
which was not only a historic relic, but a 
work of art as well. The price paid for it was 
three thousand dollars, the highest-priced and 
most valuable single article ever purchased by 
the Association. 

Another very important work of Miss Linds- 
ley's administration was that of the "tree doc- 
tor" on the splendid old monarchs of the forest 
on the front lawn. Eight hundred dollars was 
piit into this work, repultinjr ven^ benefici^llv to 

The Regents, loi 

the grand old trees which were threatened with 

Miss Lindsley's administration brought in 
more money than any previous administration ; 
for she managed successfully several very large 
outings and barbecues for various organiza- 
tions. One of the most brilliant affairs was 
the entertainment of the Secretary of War in 
President Taft's Cabinet, Hon. Jacob McGav- 
ock Dickinson, who was in Nashville during a 
grand military encampment in July, 19 lo. 
Under Secretary Dickinson's direction all the 
United States soldiers of the encampment were 
ordered to the Hermitage, and a President's 
salute of twenty-one guns was fired over Jack- 
son's grave. 

Many distinguished bodies and many distin- 
guished men have visited the Hermitage during 
the twenty-five years of the Association's life; 
and it has become the one spot that all visitors 
to the city are shown by their hosts, whether 
individually or as guests of our commercial 
organizations. These visits always result in 
financial benefit to the Association, for an ad- 
mission fee of twenty-five cents is charged at 
the door. The automobile has greatly helped 

102 Presewation of the Hermitage, 

the attendance at the Hermitage. Every effort 
to secure a trolley line has failed, and yet many 
thousands of visitors go there annually. 

Another feature of Miss Lindsley's adminis- 
tration was the increase in 191 1 in the State's 
appropriation from six hundred dollars to 
twelve hundred dollars annually. 

Among the painful experiences of the La- 
dies* Hermitage Association are the dangers 
which have threatened the Hermitage. Had it 
not been for the effort in the beginning, there 
would to-day be no Hermitage, no attractive 
historic place for tourists to visit and admire. 
Were it not for the vigilance of the Associa- 
tion, other things would have come in and 
hemmed the memorial in on all sides with a 
boundary of only twenty-five acres. 

A few years ago it was suggested that the 
reform prison be placed on the Hermitage 
farm, and the proposition was warmly advo- 
cated in certain quarters; but the Ladies* Her- 
mitage Association, ever vigilant and jealous 
of any infringement upon their rights to the 
beloved Hermitage, were soon up in arms and 
defeated the project. From the very inception 
of the memorial it has been the desire of the 

The Regents. 103 

Association to possess more ground and to de- 
vote, not a small plot of twenty-five acres, but 
a glorious farm of three hundred or even the 
whole five hundred acres to the memory of the 
great Andrew Jackson. It had always been the 
thought of the ladies that when the Confeder- 
ate Soldiers' Home Association ceased to use 
it as a home the memorial association would 
be given possession of the entire tract, and to 
that end it has always worked. 

In 191 3, during the regency of Miss Linds- 
ley, the most formidable of all rivals appeared 
upon the scene. The Seaman A. Knapp School 
of Country Life entered a petition before the 
State Legislature for the entire four hundred 
and seventy-five acres of the Hermitage farm. 
The idea came as a surprise to the Association ; 
but the Regent, Miss Lindsley, immediately 
took alarm and, summoning her workers 
around her, v/ent before the Legislature and 
called their attention to the fact that they were 
about to part with the title to Andrew Jack- 
son's home, which the State had so long owned. 
The Knapp School is a most laudable and 
worthy enterprise; but the Association con- 
tended that there were other smiling acres in 

I04 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

Tennessee for the establishment of a memorial, 
and, as the Rev. C. D. Elliott said twenty-five 
years ago, "The State can never in honor part 
with the title to the Hermitage." The result 
was that the Hermitage remained as it had 
been for the past twenty-five years, and the 
State gave to the Seaman A. Knapp Memorial 
School twenty-five thousand dollars in lieu of 
the Hermitage farm. 

The time limit of four years having expired, 
Miss Louise Grundy Lindsley retired from the 
regency, and IMrs. B. F. Wilson was elected. 
The election was in May, 1913, and Mrs. Wil- 
son was traveling in .the Riviera. She was 
cabled the news of her election, and she ac- 
cepted. Miss Lindsley, who became First Vice 
Regent, acted until the new Regent came home. 
Upon Mrs. Wilson's return she took up the 
reins of government with an earnest determi- 
nation that argued well for her administration 
and undertook the w^ork with enthusiasm and 
ability. She is a social leader with a great deal 
of taste and tact and with an unlimited gener- 
osity tow^ard the work that causes her to help 
out many an enterprise that would otherwise 
fail. She has effected the purchase of many a 

The Regents. 105 

relic that might not have been procured but for 
her liberaHty. 

The membership now boasts four hundred 
persons, most of whom are in Nashville; but 
there are members all over the Union, and such 
sustaining members are always desired. There 
are a good many life members, who have paid 
twenty-five dollars for membership and who 
continue to take an interest in the work. 

For years the Association had looked for- 
ward to the one hundredth anniversary of the 
battle of New Orleans with a resolve to make 
it a memorable and brilliant occasion and to 
celebrate it with all the pomp and ceremony 
that such a great event demanded. 

The attention of the Regent, Mrs. Wilson, 
was early given to the work; and to insure 
full and complete cooperation, such as was de- 
sired, she called upon the Andrew Jackson Me- 
morial Association, of which Maj. E. B. Stahl- 
man is President, to join in and assist with the 
celebration. At a joint meeting held with the 
before-mentioned organization Mrs. Wilson 
fired tliem with her enthusiasm and spirit and 
kindled within them the desire to observe the 
day properly ; and to that end work was begun, 

io6 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

and all planned together to celebrate the one 
hundredth anniversary of Andrew Jackson's 
great victory and the one hundred years of 
peace between the United States and Great 
Britain which began with the close of the battle 
of New Orleans. 

At the request of Mrs. Wilson the day had 
been declared a holiday both by the Governor 
of the State and the Mayor of Nashville. Dur- 
ing the time of the passing of the parade the 
stores were closed, and the streets were 
thronged with spectators. In fact, Nashville 
responded enthusiastically, with patriotic unity, 
in her observance of the anniversary ; and thou- 
sands of her citizens left their homes and their 
places of business to take part in the elaborate 
program which had been arranged to honor the 
memory of Andrew Jackson, Tennessee's great 
soldier and statesman. The members of the 
General Assembly, which was just convening, 
took a recess and left the legislative halls to 
join with the citizens of Nashville in doing 
honor to "Old Hickory." 

The events of the day were begun with a 
mammoth procession, in which the various de- 
partments of the city government, military 

The Regents, 107 

organizations, business associations, and other 
bodies joined in making a demonstration un- 
surpassed in the history of the city. 

Mrs. Wilson was particularly happy in the 
selection of a grand marshal; and when she 
invited Mr. Thomas W. Wrenne to plan for 
the day and arrange the demonstration, she 
made success doubly assured. Mr. Wrenne 
immediately began to marshal his forces and 
had in line a detail of police, the uniformed 
Confederate companies, under Gen. John P. 
Hickman, and two companies of the National 
Guard, under Maj. J. H. Samuel, each with 
its staff of officers, and every available body 
to make more imposing the parade. Reduced 
railroad rates brought a large contingent from 
the neighboring tov/ns, including some of their 
military bands, of which there were six in line. 

The entire procession passed in review be- 
fore Chief Marshal Thomas W. Wrenne and 
staff. Gov. B. W. Hooper and officials, and 
prominent citizens. On Capitol Boulevard, 
fronting our beautiful State Capitol, a sham 
battle, replicating the battle of New Orleans, 
was had, cotton bales being used as they were 
one hundred years ago. 

io8 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

The sham battle over, speeches were in or- 
der, and fine addresses were made by Gov. B. 
W. Hooper, Judge S. F. Wilson, and Maj. 
E. B. Stahlman. Members of the Ladies* 
Hermitage Association were seated on the 
speakers' stand ; and !Mrs. Wilson made a beau- 
tiful address preceding the flight of white 
doves, the messengers of peace between the 
two countries, the United States and Great 
Britain. Three little girls, granddaughters of 
the principal participants, released the white 
doves, which sped over the city. 

The ceremonies on Capitol Boulevard over, 
the Ladies' Hermitage Association adjourned 
immediately to the bronze statue of Andrew 
Jackson on the Capitol grounds, followed by a 
large crowd, in which were the State legislators, 
for the crowning of "Old Hickory." The 
statue had been beautifully decorated for the 
occasion with flags and bunting. Upon the 
head had been placed a laurel wreath ; and with 
appropriate sentiment Mrs. Wilson placed on 
the statue an immense wreath made from the 
evergreens around the tomb at the Hermitage, 
tied with the national colors. On one of the 
ribbons were the words, 'The hero of New 

The Regents. 109 

Orleans/' The head of each patriotic society 
present placed a bunch of evergreens on the 
base of the statue, forming a garland entirely 
around it, each expressing some sentiment as 
the token was placed. The company generally 
and the school children present all paid this 
same tribute and placed a bunch of evergreens 
on the statute, thus completing the beautiful 

In the afternoon at three o'clock the Andrew 
Jackson Memorial Association, in the presence 
of a large audience, planted a hickory tree at 
Centennial Park. Superintendent Keyes, of the 
Nashville public schools, brought his high 
school trained chorus, and there were patriotic 
songs and speeches. 

At 6 P.M. the Andrew Jackson Memorial 
Association had a grand banquet at the Max- 
well House, where there was more brilliant 
oratory, and mingled with the grand tributes 
paid to the old hero himself were warm words 
of commendation of the great work the Ladies' 
Hermitage Association was doing in preserv- 
ing his home and keeping his memory green. 

The day closed with the usual brilliant ball 
at the Hermitasre Hotel, in which the vouth 

no Preservation of the Hermitage. 

and the beauty of the city participated. The 
ballroom was decorated with Jackson vine 
and beautifully made cotton bolls and many 
United States flags. The portrait of the old 
hero looked down in approval upon the scene, 
surrounded with flags used in the centennial 
celebration of the battle of the Horseshoe, 
which forever broke the power of the red man 
in America. The loggia, where refreshments 
were served, was elaborately decorated with the 
colors of the Association, Jackson vine, and 
white snowballs. The important battles were 
noted in the different stations, Talladega, 
Emuckfau, Horseshoe,* Mobile, leading up to 
New Orleans. A pretty feature of the ball 
was the eighteen States of the Union at the 
time the battle of New Orleans was fought, 
represented by eighteen young ladies suitably 
attired with sashes in the national colors, who 
danced a special dance, with flags for the oc- 

On Saturday, January 9, the United States 
Daughters of 18 12 made a pilgrimage to the 
Hermitage and held beautiful exercises there. 
The State President, Mrs. William G. Spen- 
cer, spoke of the great good fortune of the 

The Regents. 1 1 1 

Ladies' Hermitage Association in having the 
home of Jackson, the tomb, and his venerable 
granddaughter, Mrs. Rachel Jackson Law- 
rence, to inspire them, which the Tennessee 
organization of the United States Daughters 
of 1812 could also enjoy with them. 

The Ladies' Hermitage Association, in ap- 
preciation of the grand three days' celebration 
held at New Orleans, sent two handsome 
wreaths made of evergreens growing about 
Jackson's tomb, tied with ribbons in the na- 
tional colors and bearing the words, "181 5 — 
Greetings, Ladies' Hermitage Association— 
191 5." One of the wreaths was placed by the 
United States Daughters of 1 812 on the mon- 
ument erected on the field of Chalmette, the 
other on the equestrian statue of General 
Jackson, in Jackson Square at New Orleans, 
by the Louisiana Historical Society. 

The general observance of the day by the 
Andrew Jackson Clubs, Tennessee societies, 
and other patriotic organizations all over the 
United States, the grand three days' celebra- 
tion at New Orleans, made most im.posing and 
impressive, and, above all, the very elaborate 
and distinctive pageant and ceremonies in 

112 Preservation of the Hermitage, 

Nashville were very gratifying to the Ladies' 
Hermitage Association, which had worked so 
long and so faithfully to that end. 

And now to continue this great work there 
is the present Board of Directors, consisting 
of the following: Mrs. B. F. Wilson, Regent; 
Miss Louise G. Lindsley, First Vice Regent; 
Mrs. A. M. Shook, Second Vice Regent ; Mrs. 
Mary C. Dorris, Secretary; Mrs. P. H. Man- 
love Treasurer; Mrs. Bettie M. Donelson, Mrs. 
Maggie L. Hicks, Mrs. R. A. Henr\', Miss 
Carrie Sims. Two meetings each month are 
held — the directors' meeting, when all the busi- 
ness is transacted, and the general meeting, 
which is largely social. 

The present Board of Trustees are: Gen. 
J. W. Lewis, Paris, Tenn., President; Mr. 
Percy Warner, Nashville, Tenn., Secretary; 
Col. A. M. Shook, Nashville, Tenn. ; Hon. 
John W. Gaines, Nashville, Tenn. ; Gen. John 
A. Fite, Lebanon, Tenn. ; Ex-Senator James B. 
Frazier, Chattanooga, Tenn. : Hon. Samuel G. 
Heiskell, Knoxville, Tenn. ; Mr. Lewis R. 
Donelson, Memphis, Tenn.; Mr. John M. 
Gray, Nashville, Tenn. 

It will alwavs seem a most wonderful and 

The Regents, 113 

marvelous thing that the Legislature of a great 
State should have seen so much of promise, a 
long time ago, in the efforts of a few patriotic 
women organized, it is true, but at best a very 
small band to put into their hands so great a 
trust. It was well that the act was hedged 
about with provisos and regulations in case 
the Ladies' Hemiitage Association "failed" or 
"refused" to carry out the trust. It would 
seem that the Providence that overrules all 
things had exercised a special care over the 
Hermitage. Circumstances strange and in- 
scrutable had preserved it through a long 
stretch of years until the memorial association 
idea had time to be conceived and to grow and 
become a possibility. Another decade such as 
had passed, and rescue would have been almost 
impossible, for the relics would have been 
scattered and the old Hermitage destroyed, ut- 
terly obliterated. It seemed as if all the cir- 
cumstances of years had worked together for 
good to the home of Andrew Jackson, preserv- 
ing it so that it might ever be a monument to 
him and an object lesson to the rising genera- 

Was all this work accomplished in a day 

114 Preservation of the Hermitage, 

or in a year ? Not so. Untiring has been the 
zeal, devoted the fidelity that has clung to the 
one idea. Andrew Jackson himself could not 
have shown more tenacity of purpose nor more- 
heroic fortitude than these women banded to- 
gether under the name of the Ladies' Hermit- 
age Association. Perhaps it is its continuity 
that explains the secret of its success. 

The organization now has four hundred 
local members and others over the Union and 
occupies a dignified and exalted position among 
the women's organizations of the State. It 
has done the State a great serv^ice in preserv- 
ing this interesting memorial, which is appre- 
ciated more and more by our State govern- 
ment, by its legislative body, and by our com- 
mercial organizations as the years go by. 

Regularly a biennial meeting of the trustees 
is held and a report made to the Legislature, 
and never once has either the Governor or the 
General Assembly . said to the Association, 
*Thou shalt" or "Thou shalt not" do this or 
that, but has looked on apparently with sat- 
isfaction and seen the work progress and the 
place grow in beauty. 

Day by day and step by step the work of 

The Regents, 115 

repairing and improving has gone on, here a 
little, there a little, and all the time the valu- 
able relics were drifting back to their old home, 
adding a renewed interest as each piece was 
returned to its accustomed spot in the building. 
The slender means of the Association were 
made to accomplish a great deal, and, woman- 
like, the managing board has held fast to its 
dollar until it was quite sure that it had se- 
cured a full dollar's worth of material or serv- 
ice. Many of the experiences were truly grat- 
ifying, some were ludicrous, some very disap- 
pointing, and some even disastrous; but all 
were interesting. But there was always a for- 
ward movement, and the Association has made 
its way to the heart and interest of the people. 

And now, after the grand celebration of the 
one hundredth anniversary of the battle of 
New Orleans and of peace between the Eng- 
lish-speaking people, the Ladies' Hermitage 
Association is better prepared than ever to 
continue its work and keep in perpetual remem- 
brance the hom.e of Gen. Andrew Jackson. 

Uncle Alfred and Gracey. 

When the Ladies' Hermitage Association 
was given possession of the Hermitage, it was 
also given a ward in the person of Uncle 
Alfred, the old colored man who for so long 
told the story to visitors. He was one of the 
most unique and interesting characters in all 

Born a slave on the Hermitage farm, in the 
smaller of the two' cabins forming the kitchen 
of General Jackson's frontier house, Uncle Al- 
fred had never lived anywhere but at the Her- 
mitage. His life was bounded by its horizon. 
He was born there, lived there, died there, and 
was buried there by the Association. He was 
with the family of the Hermitage through all 
their joy and prosperity and remained with 
them through all their sorrows and vicissi- 
tudes. He witnessed the changes through 
nearly a century of time, for he was ninety- 
eight years old when he died. 

The death of Uncle Alfred was the break- 

Uncle Alfred and Gracey, 117 

ing of another link that bound the present day 
with the old slave times of long ago. The 
class to which Uncle Alfred belonged is fast 
passing, and soon a genuine specimen of the 
old plantation slave of long ago will have en- 
tirely disappeared. Uncle Alfred was a thor- 
ough type of the plantation negro. He pos- 
sessed all of his characteristics, cherished all of 
his superstitions, and, despite constant associa- 
tion with educated white people, spoke his lan- 
guage and used his dialect. 

In his way Uncle Alfred was a haughty aris- 
tocrat. He had always been a faithful and 
trusted servant in a wealthy and prominent 
family, which, coupled with the fact that "old 
marster'' was President of the United States, 
warranted him in thinking "a powerful sight 
o' hisself,*' as he expressed it. There were 
grades and classes among slaves in those 
days as well as among their owners. The 
slave of a rich and powerful citizen felt that 
part of the family distinction fell upon him 
and that he was really better than the slaves on 
the adjoining plantation whose owner had not 
near so many acres, raised smaller and more 
insignificant crops, and owned fewer negroes. 

1 18 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

On the plantation itself there were grades in 
station. The housemaids, nurses, seamstresses, 
coachmen, and house men felt themselves su- 
perior to their fellows and the ordinary ''corn- 
field nigger," whom they spoke of contemp- 

Indeed, they did have an advantage ; for con- 
stant association and close contact with master 
and man, mistress and maid produced a meas- 
ure of culture from which the better class of 
the negro race come to-day. The old planta- 
tion families in those days were surrounded 
with maids and servants who anticipated their 
slightest wish, did their bidding, and deftly 
and neatly waited upon and served them. 

Uncle Alfred was very chivalrous and cour- 
teous in his own individual, characteristic way, 
which served him well when he became the 
guide at the Hennitage after it was made a 
public place. He had an unerring instinct in 
meeting genuine ladies and gentlemen, or those 
whom he quaintly designated as "de fust class," 
and every attention was paid them. But he 
was apt to be impertinent sometimes to those 
whom he discovered to be "de second class." 
His judgment of those with whom he came in 

Uncle Alfred and Gracey. 1 19 

contact was entirely with themselves and 
founded upon the conduct of the individual 
while he was guiding him over the Hermitage. 
To him Gen. Andrew Jackson was the em- 
bodiment and concentration of all human 
grandness and nobility of character. No man 
who had ever lived approached him in attain- 
ments. No general had ever achieved such 
victories. No President had ever equaled his 
hero. He had facts to support his beliefs, and 
his memory was stored with incidents of Jack- 
son's career. His loyaUy to General Jackson, 
his exaltation of his fame, and his devotion to 
his memory approached the sublime and made 
of Uncle Alfred a great man in his own way 
and an invaluable as well as interesting guide at 
the Hermitage. Any want of appreciation of 
Gen. Andrew Jackson, his ideal and hero, any 
slur on his memory, or any lack of respect to 
the place, was sure to bring forth a tart remark 
about ''de fust class" and "de second class." 
In fact, he held visitors on their honor not to 
deface, mutilate, or destroy anything on the 
place or surreptitiously appropriate a souvenir 
by saying with all due reverence and respect : 
"Now, when de fust class comes here I doesn't 

I20 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

have any trouble, but when de second class 
gits in I has to watch 'em." Then he would 
say: "De ladies had to put dese guards [pro- 
nounced by him gyuards] here to keep out de 
second-hand folks." 

Uncle Alfred was very intelligent. He was 
a full-blooded negro and, had he chosen, could 
have been a leader among his people. But he 
never seemed to care for latter-day politics nor 
to take any very active interest in the rise or 
fall of the political parties. Possibly he would 
have been a Democrat because General Jack- 
son was, but he was probably a Republican 
from policy. 

He had a marvelously retentive memory and 
could tell by the hour stories of the history of 
the Hermitage, of the early Indian wars, and 
of the crowning victory at New Orleans. He 
remembered the names of the generals and 
officers with whom Jackson was associated, 
knew the names of statesmen and politicians, 
was particularly apt with dates, and he had 
woven it all into an eloquent story, which he 
repeated again and again to visitors until he 
became one of the most interesting features of 
a visit to the Hermitage. When it was known 


Uncle Alfred and Gracey. 121 

that a party was going there or a visitor was 
to come from a distant city, the injunction 
always was : **Be sure to see Uncle Alfred.'* 

He had an excellent judgment and a com- 
prehensive grasp of ideas really wonderful. 
He was a natural orator, rising to a climax 
in his story and winning applause from his 
listeners. After a particularly good story, 
hands would go down into pocketbooks, and 
the coin would jingle in his palm. If visitors 
forgot or neglected this important part, he 
would say pleadingly, "Yer ain't a-gwine ter 
fergit de old man, is yer?" which produced 
the desired effect. He was apt in rejoinder 
and frequently paid a delicate compliment, sur- 
prising even to those who knew him best. 

Uncle Alfred came from a very long-lived 
family and nearly attained his century mark. 
So did his mother and his grandmother. The 
latter lived so long and was so shriveled and 
mummy-like that all the children on the place, 
black and white, and not a few of the elders, 
believed that she was a w^tch. The grand- 
mother had cooked for General Jackson, but 
had resigned the work to the hands of her 
daughter. Betty, Alfred's mother, even before 

122 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

they moved to the Hermitage farm, prior to 

Bettie was a skillful cook, a thorough adept 
in the requirements of a frontiersman's kitchen. 
She desired nothing better than the great 
yawning, cavernous fireplace, with its spits 
and cranes, its pots and skillets, and its roar- 
ing log fire, to prepare a most delicious meal. 

The spring, nature's cool, abundant foun- 
tain from which the family drew its water 
supply, was not less than a quarter of a mile 
av/ay; and this, with other duties, required the 
services of several little dusky satellites, who 
churned, "toted" water, or kept a brisk fire 
with fresh wood from the woodpile. 

These same little satellites, with but one 
coarse long garment to cover them, were pic- 
turesque figures of the farm life in those days. 
The bare brown feet v/ere nimble and quick, 
and never a drop was spilled of the clear crys- 
tal water in the cedar pail balanced deftly upon 
the woolly heads as they ran nimbly with it 
from the spring. One of these same dusky 
pickaninnies was employed to wield the fanci- 
ful fly brush, made of peacock feathers, while 
the family were at meals. 

Uncle Alfred and Gracey, 123 

Betty cooked at the Hermitage until her 
death, in 1852, having been for more than 
fifty years the cook in General Jackson's fam- 

Those old plantation days were not so bad. 
Oftentimes there was genuine affection and 
esteem between owner and slave, and this 
was the case with Uncle Alfred. He was 
very expert with horses and was sometimes a 
teamster on the farm. He frequently rode 
General Jackson's horses in the races and was 
a good carriage driver. He had a favorite 
team which he called Dicey and Sugar Stick, 
and when hauling, his stentorian tones could 
be heard afar off, before he neared the house. 
He was faithful in the performance of every 
duty, and the utmost confidence was placed in 
him by the family. When he was driving the 
carriage, the ladies always felt safe. 

Uncle Alfred was constantly in attendance 
upon General Jackson or his son. The latter 
sometimes took pleasure trips with Alfred as 
his valet, who always managed to get the very 
best there was for his young master. Once 
they were traveling on a steamboat, and the 
accommodations were very poor. All the pas- 

124 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

sengers washed their faces in the same basin 
on the deck. One morning young Andrew 
heard loud voices and a contention in which 
he recognized Alfred's tones. Quickly dress- 
ing, the young man went out and found Alfred 
with the basin under one arm and the towels 
under the other, vowing that no one should use 
them until his young master had bathed. 

While living in Washington during Presi- 
dent Jackson's administration Mrs. Sarah 
Jackson met a Colonel Hebb, an excellent and 
once wealthy gentleman of Virginia and own- 
er of many slaves. He became financially in- 
volved and felt compelled to sell his negroes. 
He was a kind and considerate master, and he 
was much concerned and troubled at the neces- 
sity that forced him to part with them. Hop- 
ing to avoid separating families, he gave them 
permission to select homes and purchasers for 

From one of the families a grown woman 
named Gracey was sent for by a sister, a f reed- 
woman living in Washington City. The latter 
had been employed as pastry cook at the White 
House and knew Mrs. Sarah Jackson. This 
sister sent Gracey to Mrs. Jackson, who was 

Uncle Alfred and Gracey, 125 

so favorably impressed with her and interested 
in the situation that she took her in to see the 
President and laid the matter before him. 
Without a moment's hesitation he purchased 
the whole family, consisting of the old mother, 
three daughters, and one son. 

The mother, one daughter, and the son were 
sent on to the Hermitage; but Gracey and her 
sister Louisa remained at the White House as 
nurses to Mrs. Sarah Jackson's two children, 
Rachel and Andrew. General Jackson gave 
Gracey to his daughter as her own maid, and 
a warm friendship sprung up between them 
which lasted until death, both living to an 
advanced age at the Hermitage. 

When the family returned to the Hermitage, 
Alfred for the first time met Gracey. He soon 
desired to marry her and did so in the fall of 
1837. Mrs, Sarah Jackson took the greatest 
interest in the affair. She had the couple 
stand in the large hall while they were mar- 
ried and gave them a fine wedding supper. 
These two favorite servants were given a cabin 
very near the house. They reared a family 
and lived an exemplary married life for over 
fifty years. 

126 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

Since Uncle Alfred's death a curious rem- 
iniscence of the Emancipation Proclamation 
was found among his papers. After Lincoln's 
proclamation all of the newly freed slaves were 
told to legalize their marriages made as slaves, 
remarrying by license according to the law of 
the State where it was to be solemnized. Un- 
cle Alfred and Gracey, who had lived together, 
faithful and true, for twenty-nine years, feel- 
ing the new command or injunction to be ob- 
ligator}% were remarried April 29, 1866. 

Gracey did not disappoint the expectation of 
her mistress, for she relieved her of most of 
the household cares, supervised the other serv- 
ants, nursed the children, and was an expert 
seamstress. She was invaluable in illness, and 
nothing could soothe the mistress as did the 
ministrations of Gracey. Her needlework was 
unexcelled. In those days, when every stitch 
had to be put in by hand, a good seamstress 
was a very necessary adjunct and a valuable 
acquisition to every family. One of the beau- 
tifully made ruffled shirts of General Jackson, 
made by Gracey 's deft fingers, is now preserved 
at the Hermitage. The ruffles are of thread 
cambric and the shirt of linen. Gracey made 

Uncle Alfred and Gracey, 127 

them in sets of one dozen at a time, and the one 
now owned is one of a dozen made while Jack- 
son was yet an active man. 

This excellent servant won not only the 
esteem but the affection of the family, and 
even now she is spoken of gratefully. She 
had no superiors, few equals, and her life was 
a chapter in the old slave days full of beauty 
and interest. 

Gracey joined the Hermitage Church^ and 
lived a consistent communing member until her 
death. Her children were taken there when in- 
fants and baptized. Alfred joined this Church 
after Gracey's death, but later moved his mem- 
bership to a Church of his own people in the 

Alfred and Gracey were the witnesses and 
participants in all that happened to the family 
at the Hermitage, in their greatest joy, their 
heaviest sorrow. After the beginning of the 
Civil War, when the effects of it began to be 
felt more and more at the Hermitage, the 
qualities of Alfred and Gracey showed the 


After the Emancipation Proclamation all 
the former slaves took advantage of their new- 

128 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

found freedom and left for other homes. 
Some came to the city, and others took posses- 
sion of little cabins and set up housekeeping 
for themselves in the country. But Alfred 
and Gracey elected to remain in their log cab- 
in on the old farm. In a measure they re- 
versed the old order of things, particularly 
after the death of the adopted son, and became 
the protectors of Mrs. Sarah Jackson and her 
sister, Mrs. Adams, all that were left of the 
once sunny household. It was Gracey who 
prepared the now frugal meals, and it was Al- 
fred who did the man's work of the household. 
The business of farming no longer went on, 
and the Hermitage household was conducted 
upon very simple and economical plans indeed. 
When the war was over and a new order of 
things was instituted, Alfred and Gracey still 
lived at the old home, from which at last death 
removed them, Gracey preceding her mistress 
to the grave but a few months. 

Uncle Alfred's Story. 

After the Ladies' Hermitage Association 
was organized, Uncle Alfred, by a sort of nat- 
ural arrangement, drifted into the position of 
guide to show visitors over the place. All the 
fireside stories of General Jackson's exploits, 
the history of the Indian wars, the battle of 
New Orleans, and the incidents of family life, 
were now Uncle Alfred's stock in trade. He 
delighted visitors with his quaint way of tell- 
ing the story and won the plaudits of his 

The old man was rugged and highly pictur- 
esque in his personal appearance. His hair and 
stubby beard were iron-gray, his form was bent, 
his sight was defective (one eye had a cata- 
ract), one hand was twisted by the ravages of 
rheumatism, making him appear like a gnarled 
and knotted oak that had withstood the stomis 
of many winters, as indeed he had. 

After the Hermitage became a public insti- 
tution, visitors were more numerous and Uncle 
Alfred more interesting. He had his own way 
9 (129) 

130 preservation of the Hermitage, 

of telling the story, was systematic, taking a 
certain round, and sometimes arbitrary; but 
he was so quaint, so original, and so pro- 
nounced a type that visitors, as well as the 
Association of ladies, overlooked his short- 
comings and regarded his story as a product 
of the old plantation days, of which Uncle 
Alfred was a most interesting exponent. 

When visitors arrived he would invite them 
to register by saying: "Jes' write yo* name in 
dat book over dar. De ladies put dat book 
dar, an* dey wants ever}'body to write down 
dey name." His strong suit was his dates. 
He would give dates for ever3^thing, remem- 
bering marvelously, and was generally correct. 
He would begin his story thus: **Dis here is de 
wall paper General Jackson put on in 1835. 
It was fetched from Paris an* cum up de river 
on a steamboat from New Orleans an' was 
bought for General Jackson's house. Dar is 
de umberel stan', an* dat*s de hatrack, an* 
dis here is de sofa General Jackson always lied 
upon after he done et dinner. Dis here is one 
o* de pier tables, an* de bust is Lewis Cass. 
He was in de President*s Cabinet. An* dat's 
de portrait of Christopher Columbus." 

Uncle Alfred's Story. 131 

Opening the parlor doors with great cere- 
mony, he would say: "Dese is General Jack- 
son's parlors; an' many's de time I've seed him 
take Mis' Sarah (dat's de 'dopted son's wife) 
an' dance up an' down dese floors when de 
parlor was full o' company. General Jackson 
bought dat sofa right dar in de year 1825, an' 
up over it is de picture of de battle of New 
Orleans an' de death o' Pakenham. Dat's 
him right down dar in de front o' de picture. 
Dis is one o' de pier tables; t'other one's over 
dar. We got four o' dese, all General Jack- 
son ever had. Dis is de bust o' Levi Wood- 
bury. He was in General Jackson's Cabinet. 
Dat's de letter what he writ when he sont it 
to him. Dese is de damask curtains dat was 
bought in 1837, when dey all come back from 
Washington. Dis is de portrait o' Mis' Ra- 
chel Jackson an' was give as a present to Gen- 
eral Call, who stole his bride an' was married 
right over dar in dis parlor in 1825. Mis' 
Jackson stood right dar while Colonel Earl 
drawed her, [Uncle Alfred had the modern 
photography slightly mixed with the old-time 
portrait-painting.] General Call's daughter 
give it back to de ladies arter de things was 

132 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

all tuk away. Dis here is de H'ltalian mantel- 
piece put here in 1835, an' dese andirons was 
bought in 1836. Dis center table was present- 
ed to General Jackson an' Mis' Jackson in 
181 5 by de citizens of New Orleans. It is one 
o' de things saved when de house got burned 
down in 1834. Dis mantelpiece is jes' like 
t'other one, an' hit's made o' Tennessee mar- 

Uncle Alfred's memory was of great assist- 
ance to the Ladies' Hermitage Association in 
replacing the furniture in the house as it was 
purchased from time to time. He was fre- 
quently called upon to say where certain arti- 
cles belonged. Among other purchases were 
three pairs of brass andirons. 

"Uncle Alfred," said one of the managers, 
"these andirons that you say belong to the 
bedroom upstairs are handsomer than those 
in General Jackson's room." 

"Course dey is ! course dey is ! Dey's bought 
fur Miss Rachel; an' didn't Marse Andrew 
an' Mis' Sarah think dat Miss Rachel was er 
angel jes' cum down from heaven? 'Twarn't 
nothin' too good fur Miss Rachel." 

Uncle Alfred's Story. 133 

A lace cap worn by Mrs. Rachel Jackson 
when the beautiful pearl miniature was painted 
is one of the articles secured by the patriotic 
Association. It has been mounted upon a 
stand and placed in a mirrored glass case, lined 
with blue satin, in the museum. 

Uncle Alfred's sight was very poor, and he 
could but dimly see the outline of articles he 
was pointing out. His story was told more 
by memory than by sight. He had a great 
scare once about the lace cap. "Now, ladies 
an' gentlemen, dis here's Mis' Jackson's cap," 
said he as he stood in front of the case. 

"Where, Uncle Alfred?" chorused the 
crowd, looking into the case and seeing noth- 

"Dat's hit right dar in dis case." 

"There's no cap there. Uncle Alfred." 

Thrusting his hand into the space, he found 
it vacant; then he was seized with a panic. 
"Tore Gawd, somebody's done tuk Mis' 
Jackson's cap !" 

"Miss Ulsey ! Miss Ulsey !" he called to the 
curator's wife. "Whar's dat cap o' Mis' Jack- 

She had removed it until the case could be 

134 Preservation of the Henn'Uage. 

made more secure, for she, as well as Uncle 
Alfred, knew that the relic hunter would **think 
it no harm" to cut off just a little piece of lace 
for a souvenir. This is what has happened 
to the fringe of the silk curtain at the window. 
One tassel after another disappeared, no one 
knew when or how. Some of the historic man- 
tel of hickory has been taken, piece by piece, 
and even the historic wall paper has not been 
sacred from the petty pilferer. 

Uncle Alfred was fretted, nevertheless, about 
the cap and returned to his party grumbling, 
"Wish folks would *tend to dey own business," 
and it was some tinae before he regained his 

*'Dese mahogany cheers was here in 1824. 
Dese four portraits yo* see roun* here is Gen- 
eral Jackson's staff. *His military family,' he 
called 'em. Dis one behin' de door is Lieuten- 
ant Eastland, dat one over dar is Colonel 
Gadsden, dis one is Dr. Bronagh, an' dis one 
is General Coffee. Dese is General Jackson's 
candlesticks, an' dat lookin'-glass was carried 
off by one o' de servants. De ladies bought it 
an' put it back here." 

Uncle Alfred would nev^er tell that the look- 

U^icle Alfred's Story. 135 

ing-glass was bought from Hannah, also a 
valued and esteemed servant at the Hermitage 
and a rival to Uncle Alfred in longevity and 
reminiscences. He never mentioned Hannah, 
for there was a feud between them and a riv- 
alry as to which would live the longest and tell 
the best story of their recollections. 

"Uncle Alfred, we want to see the tomb," 
an impatient visitor once remarked. "We'se 
coming to dat bime-by, madam. You jes* 
wait till we gits dar." He didn't mean to be 
impertinent, but took privileges and was al- 
lowed some that belonged to no other. 

A lady visitor expressed doubt one day 
concerning some piece of furniture, saying: 
"This never belonged to Jackson." "Ef you 
knows more about it den I does, madam, den 
you jes' go on an' tell it." 

A French clock that was in the house during 
Mrs. Rachel Jackson's lifetime was purchased. 
It is a beautiful clock, but its days of useful- 
ness were over long years ago. The idea of 
setting the hands at the hour the old hero died 
suggested itself, and investigation was made 
as to the correct hour. Accepting Uncle Al- 
fred's recollection, the hands were set at twen- 

136 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

ty minutes past two. A further investigation 
and consultation with Mrs. Lawrence proved 
the hour to have been twenty minutes past six. 
The next time one of the directors went to 
the Hermitage the hands of the clock were 
changed to the correct hour. 

"Uncle Alfred," she said, "we had this 
clock wrong. General Jackson died at twenty 
minutes past six." 

"Who sez so?" he asked quickly. 

"Mrs. Lawrence." 

"Mis' Lawrence fergits." 

"Well, history says so too." 

"Dat's all right den* jes' suit your own self 
*bout it. I ain't gwine to 'spute 'bout it." 

He was afterwards heard to give the cor- 
rect hour in his narrative. He tacitly admit- 
ted that he was wrong, though he did not often 
yield a point. 

Some young girls rushed up to him one day 
and exclaimed : "Uncle Alfred, did you tell us 
that General Jackson was born in this house 
or in that log cabin over yonder?" pointing to 
the historic log cabin some distance away. 

"Huh!" said Uncle Alfred contemptuously. 
"Yo's got yo' hist'ry mixed. He wam't 

Uncle Alfred's Story. 137 

borned dar, an* he warn't borned here; he's 
horned in South CaroHna." 

Uncle Alfred always reached his climax 
when he told the story of the ''eighth of Jan- 
uary" mantelpiece in the large State dining 
room, where Uncle Alfred was fond of telling, 
and truly, that seven Presidents had dined. 
Gathering his listeners around him in front 
of the mantelpiece, he would say: "Now, la- 
dies an' gentlemen, dis here is de *eighth day 
o' January mantelpiece/ Dey warn't nair bit 
o' work done on it 'ceptin' on de eighth day 
o' January, an' den it was give to General 
Jackson on de eighth day o' January. An' de 
pieces o' hickoi-y what yer see dar was cut of- 
fen de fort w^har de battle was fought, down 
dar at New Orleans, at de mouf o' de Missis- 
sippi River. You-all knows whar 'tis." 

*Tell us about it, Uncle Alfred," chorused 
the crowd. 

"Well, den. On de mornin' de battle was 
foug:ht General Pakenham — he's de British 
general — sont General Jackson word he gwine 
ter eat his breakfas' in New Orleans; an' Gen- 
eral Jackson sont him back word ef he et his 
breakfas' anywhar he gwine ter make him eat 

138 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

it in hell. Den he drawed his sw-word an* say : 
'Come on, my brave boys, de day is cum/ 
He's ridin' Juke [Duke] dat day; he warn't 
ridin' Sam Patch, dat 'ar white horse hangin' 
dar in de parlor what Ise already done tol' yer 
about. He's ridin' Juke. An' Juke he dance 
Yankee Doodle on three legs; an' he dance it 
so plain dat de ban' struck up and play : 

'Jackson, Jackson, yer's de man for me; 
Jackson, Jackson, yer set us all free.* 

Den General Jackson say : 

*De star-spangled banner, long may she wave 
O'er de Ian' o' de free .an* de home says de brave.*" 

This was Uncle Alfred's masterpiece, and it 
brought forth showers of silver coin by way 
of appreciation. He would rise to real elo- 
quence and in his ow^n quaint negro dialect 
give the story. With his rugged form and 
his own peculiar characteristics he was an ob- 
ject of the greatest interest, especially to vis- 
itors from the North, to whom his type and 
reminiscences of old slave days were a novelty. 

From the dining room Uncle Alfred took the 
visitors to the General's bedroom, and here he 
would tell his story of the deathbed scene. The 

Uncle Alfred's Story, 139 

chamber is as it was the day the old hero died, 
all the furniture and belongings having been 
secured by the Ladies' Hermitage Association 
and restored to their places. Iron guards pre- 
vent the visitor from entering, which Uncle 
Alfred explained was to keep "de second class*' 
from taking things. He continued his story of 
the deathbed scene : 

"Early dat morning Mis' Sarah sont me to 
Nashville arter Dr. Esselman an' Major Lewis 
an' fer some medicine an' things. When I 
cum back Mis' Sarah say: 'Alfred, you got 
to go back.' An' I got me a fresh horse an' 
went back to Nashville an' fetched out some 
more things. When I got back to de Her- 
mitage all de servants was standin' 'roun' de 
front window, an' I knowed General Jackson 
was wusser. I tuk de things an' went in de 
room an' stood a roun' an' waited on him. 
Den me an' George an' Dick hilt him up. De 
servants was at de window, an' some of 'em 
was in de room. Major Lewis say, 'Hadn't 
we better send 'em away?' but General Jack- 
son say, *No.' Dey'd been faithful servants, 
an' he wanted 'em to stay right whar dey wuz. 
When he see 'em all a-cryin' he say : 'Weep not 

140 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

fer me; weep fer yo'selves.' Den he say: 
*Dere'll be no mo' reunion 'less everybody be 

"Dat's de picture o* Mis' Jackson over de 
mantelpiece dar. Dat was de las' thing he 
looked at 'fore he died. Dis picture over here 
is de 'dopted son, and t'other one is Miss 
Rachel, de 'dopted son's daughter. Dat little 
picture over de do' was tuk by a young man 
dat come here from de East. General Jack- 
son 'lowed he didn't want to be pestered wid 
havin' his picture tuk, but de young man say 
he was a poor man an' wanted to make a hon- 
es' livin'. Den General Jackson say: *Ef it's 
anything to yo', go 'long an' take it.' De 
picture's got writ on it — let me see — I fergits 
— ^jes' wait a minute. *No free country can 
exist widout virtue among its people,' dat's 
hit, an' it's writ 'roun' on the picture. 

"Dis is de office. You-all calls it de library, 
but 'tain't no library ; hit's de office, an' here's 
whar General Jackson seed all de great men 
dat come here to ax him something or to jes' 
see him." 

For thirty years, or from the great victory 
at New Orleans in 181 5 until the death of 

Uncle Alfred's Story. 141 

General Jackson in 1845, the Hermitage was 
the political center of the United States, and 
all the countr}^ paid deference to the old hero 
passing away there. The library, or office, ad- 
joins the bedroom of General Jackson; and 
the old General received all visitors in this li- 
brary and transacted all business there, holding 
council with all the great men of the country, 
who came and stayed for days and sometimes 
for weeks, seeking advice and inspiration from 

The library is a beautiful room now. It 
was one of the most abused in all the house 
when the Ladies' Hermitage Association took 
possession. It contains General Jackson's five 
bookcases, filled with his books, four hundred 
and fifty volumes; the old walnut secretary 
used by Jackson when he was a practicing at- 
torney; a chair presented to Jackson by Chief 
Justice Taney; and a chair presented to the 
Ladies' Hennitage Association by Miss Ellen 
DeQ. Woodbury, daughter of Levi Woodbury, 
whose bust is in the house. 

Showing the visitors the carriage drive one 
day, Uncle Alfred said : "Yo' sees dat o-it-dar," 
waving his hand toward the front. 

142 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

*'0 yes, Uncle Alfred, you rot there all 

*'l means de git-dar." 

*'Yes, we understand," and they laughed. 
**Pretty clever. You always get there. Uncle 

"That's not what he's telling you," said one 
of the informed ones. ''Don't you see the 
drive is shaped like a guitar." 

"O, to be sure !" and the guests had the laugh 
turned on them and ever afterwards told it as 
one of Uncle Alfred's best. 

Uncle Alfred never approached the tomb 
without reverence, and* he exacted the same 
reverence from others. A member of the As- 
sociation upon one occasion thoughtlessly 
stepped upon the slab immediately above Gen- 
eral JacksoiVs remains bearing the inscription. 
He rebuked her respectfully but in such a man- 
ner that the lesson w^as never forgotten. 

Uncle Alfred could neither read nor write, 
but when he reached the tomb he was always 
asked to "read" the beautiful inscription upon 
the tablet above Mrs. Jackson's remains. With 
uncovered head he stepped to the foot of the 
slab, looked at it as if he were seeing every 

Uncle Alfred's Story. 143 

word, and from memory **read," without an 
error from beginning to end, the beautiful 
tribute. He would pronounce the words in 
his own way, in the plantation dialect, giving 
an added charm. 

His stories had nothing set and stilted, but, 
while following the main facts, were varied 
according to questions asked him, the inspira- 
tion of the moment, or as memory called up 
new facts long hidden in her secret storehouse. 
His life had been lived at the Hermitage, and 
he viewed everything from this point of view. 
The visitors w^ho came there were the only 
strangers he ever saw, but all his life he had 
been thrown more with white people than with 
those of his own race. When large conven- 
tions or organizations visited there. Uncle Al- 
fred was introduced as the most interesting 
relic on the place. 

Admiral and Mrs. Dewey, with a large as- 
semblage of Nashville people, visited the Her- 
mitage IMay II, 1900. They were permitted 
to enter General Jackson's bedchamber. The 
party stood within General Jackson's room, and 
Uncle Alfred was telling the story. Pointing 
to the portrait of Mrs. Rachel Jackson over 

144 Preservation of the Hermitage > 

the mantel, he said to Mrs. Dewey: *'I hope 
you'll have better luck den she did, madam." 
Many a Beau Brummel might have failed of 
as pretty and delicate a compliment. It was 
understood at that time that Admiral Dewey 
would be a candidate for the presidency. Mrs. 
Rachel Jackson had died after her husband's 
election and before his inauguration. 

Uncle Alfred could never be induced to ad- 
mit that any man had ever been or ever could 
be as great as General Jackson. Members of 
the Ladies' Hermitage Association were much 
mortified on one occasion at the old man's 
bluntness. Ex-President Rutherford B. Hayes, 
while attending the National Convention of 
the Prison Association which met in Nashville, 
was extended the courtesies of the Hermitage 
and was taken there by some members of the 
Ladies' Hermitage Association. Calling Uncle 
Alfred forward, he was introduced with the 
remark: "Uncle Alfred, this is President 
Hayes. Come and shake hands with him." 
He grasped the ex-President's hand and said: 
**Ef you'd been as great a man as General 
Jackson was, I could a'most er shook yer han' 














Uncle Alfred's Story. 145 

One time a prominent judge visited the 
Hermitag-e before Uncle Alfred began to show 
the feebleness of age, although he was past 
eighty years old. He was vigorous and stal- 
wart and proud of his great age. ''Now, 
Judge, how old does yer think I is?" he asked 
after a conversation. **Well, I should say 
about fifty," replied the Judge, thinking to 
please him. "O, Judge!" whispered a lady 
who overheard the remark. "You break the 
old man all up. Tell him a hundred." "Well, 
sir, Ise eighty-nine years old." 

Another time he was asked what he thought 
of a distinguished visitor. He thought it over 
and said : "Folks has got a right to think what 
dey please, but when dey tells what dey think 
dey gets 'emselves in trouble." 

A lady visitor, having very indistinct ideas 
about the old institution of slavery and very 
wanting in tact, asked him: "Uncle Alfred, 
did General Jackson ever try to sell you?" 
The question irritated him, and he replied 
tartly, "Did any of your folks ever try to sell 
you, madam ?" which closed the query box. 

Another of the same kind asked him one 
day: "Uncle Alfred, how do you like being 

146 preservation of the Hermitage, 

free?" "What does yer call being free?" he 
replied. " 'Tain't nobody free as I know on. 
But if yo* means go whar yo' please an* when 
yo' please, I always is done dat." 

The old man's delight at seeing each article 
of relic furniture, a portrait, or a chair re- 
turned knew no bounds. Every article was 
recognized by him as an old friend. He told 
the story of its purchase, some interesting fact 
connected with it, and designated its place in 
the house. He longed to see the work of res- 
toration complete, but that pleasure was denied 

There was one pair of articles that he de- 
sired above all things to see in the old house. 
"Can't you-all get dem ar Mexican leggin's?" 
he would ask time and again. He must have 
thought they were pretty. They were present- 
ed to General Jackson by Sam Houston, and 
in Uncle Alfred's eyes they were of inesti- 
mable value. The Association has never yet 
procured the leggings. 

The directors of the Association visited the 
Hermitage frequently to supervise its affairs, 
rearrange its furniture, or restore some new 
acquisition to its place. On one of these visits 

Uncle Alfred's Story, 147 

the office was being arranged. Two steel en- 
gravings were removed from the hall and 
transferred to the office. As soon as Uncle 
Alfred entered the hall he missed the pictures. 
To his defective vision they were nothing more 
than dark blurs upon the wall, but he had 
missed the blur. He had incorporated them in 
his story and did not approve of their change 
of position. "What's you-all done wid dem 
pictures o' George Washington an' William de 
IV.?" he asked. "We have put them in the 
office, Uncle Alfred." "Good God-a-mighty ! 
You-all's ruinin' dis here place." 

Uncle Alfred understood thoroughly the 
value of a relic and the preservation of the 
memorial place, and he assisted the Association 
in keeping the entire premises just as General 
Jackson had. 

The time came when it was apparent that 
Uncle Alfred would one day be missed at the 
Hermitage and a new-made grave be all that 
was left of him. The idea suggested itself of 
preserving his voice and story by having him 
repeat it in a graphophone. An operator and 
an instrument were taken to the Hermitage and 

148 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

an effort made to get the story. He had never 
seen and probably had never heard of a graph- 
ophone, and yet when he had received instruc- 
tions he seated himself before the instrument 
and told his story as if pointing out and ex- 
hibiting each article. But the experiment was 
not a success. His voice was then too feeble 
and too guttural to reproduce in the instrument. 

It was not many months before Uncle Al- 
fred was confined to his cabin, the same in 
which he had lived when he married. He was 
never confined to his bed — "jest porely/' he 
expressed it. He C9ntinued ill nearly a year, 
and during that time visitors went to see him 
in his own cabin. He would try to tell the 
old stories and throw some of the old-time fire 
into them. His mind never seemed to fail nor 
his miem.ory to be less active, and to the very 
last he retained his faculties. When asked 
how he felt, he would always say, "I'm mend- 
in' a bit," and then add: "Ise gwine ter try 
ter git ter de house an' see dem t'other things 
you-all bought since I bin down here." 

Uncle Alfred w^as given every comfort and 
was grateful. When he died, the Association 

Uncle Alfred's Story, 149 

superintended his funeral and interment, bury- 
ing him in the garden near the "old marster" 
he had loved so loyally — a last longing desire 
with him. His funeral was characteristic and 
in keeping w^ith the long life he had lived. His 
- body was brought from his cabin and the casket 
set in the hall where, sixty-four years before, 
he had been married. 

More white people attended his funeral than 
colored ones, and the services were conducted 
by both white and colored preachers. The 
colored people sang *'0n Jordan's stormy 
banks I stand," a favorite with the old man. 
The singing was indescribable. The song was 
lined out in a sort of chant or monotone, then 
caught up and carried with a wail and a hang- 
ing on to the tones, now up, now down, quaint 
and peculiar, impossible to describe and never 
to be forgotten by those who heard it. It was 
a song that would lose by any attempt to 
imitate or put it in written form, such a song 
as only the plantation negroes of long ago 
knew and sang and which is now sung only in 
the rural districts far away from the educa- 
tional centers. 

150 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

A neat stone marks Uncle Alfred's resting 
place, inscribed: 

Alfred Jackson, 


A Faithful Servant. 

It is located just north of the tomb of Gen. 
Andrew Jackson. 

The Ghost at the Hermitage. 

After Col. Andrew Jackson, the third of 
that name, and his family moved away from 
the Hermitage, in 1893, and had taken with 
them all the relics, furniture, and entire house- 
hold belongings, there was left behind only a 
memory of things that had been. Not a single 
piece of furniture was left in the house. All 
belonged to Colonel Jackson, and all had been 
taken away. 

The grand old homestead, shorn of its 
adornings that for three-quarters of a century 
had been a part and parcel of the place, looked 
most pathetic and desolate. The mirrors that 
had reflected the tall, commanding form of the 
old General were missed from their accustomed 
places over the mantels. The portraits that 
had looked down upon him as he walked 
through the rooms, the chairs he sat in, the 
table over which he presided when hospitality 
reigned supreme, the sideboard laden with cut 
glass and silver, with its decanters and wine 


152 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

glasses, no longer fitted up the beautiful Her- 
mitage. The great empty rooms seemed to 
gain an immensity of space for want of a chair 
or a curtain to break the outline. The bare 
halls echoed to ever}^ footstep. Not a scrap of 
paper, not a broken chair, not a battered picture 
was left of all that had once belonged to the 
famous place. 

The walls that had once been adorned with 
portraits of the family and friends were now 
bare and but added to the forlorn desolateness. 
The vast chimney places that had glowed with 
roaring log fires, around which gathered merry 
and happy groups in the long ago, when joy 
reigned supreme, were now dark and cold. 
They had become the home of hundreds of 
chimney swallows, whose burrings and flutter- 
ings and tv/itterings made unearthly sounds as 
their restless wings beat against the sides, loos- 
ening bits of mortar and soot, which fell to 
the open space below. 

While the parlors, hallways, and living 
rooms downstairs were desolate and pathetic, 
the upper chambers were truly ghostly, the bare 
and vacant halls echoing to every footstep. 
There was something uncanny about it even in 





The Ghost at the Hermitage, 153 

broad daylight, with the bright July sun driv- 
ing away the vapors and dispelling all ghostly 

Isolation, desolation, death characterized the 
once famous Hermitage. Some divine hand 
seemed to have written "Ichabod" on the walls. 
Walking through the hall and upper chambers, 
deep in meditation and memory, one could well 
exclaim : 

"I feel like one who treads alone 
Some banquet hall deserted, 
Whose lights are fled, whose garlands dead. 
And all but he departed." 

Outside, the lawn was green and beautiful 
and the trees full-leaved; but the soughing 
winds, now soft and tender, now rustling gen- 
tly, now whispering mysteriously, but added to 
the melancholy that brooded over the place. 
Beautiful flowers were abloom in the garden, 
and. the birds sang as sweetly and joyously as 
of yore ; but the house itself was a bare, empty 
shell. The beings who had peopled it with life 
were all gone. The General and his beloved 
Rachel had long slumbered in the garden. The 
little babe who was adopted into their heart, 
their home, and their name had lived, loved, 

154 Preservation of the Hermitage, 

and died, and in time his wife had followed 
him to the tomb. Two little infant children, 
whose brief span was soon over, had two little 
mounds and a stone to their memory near their 
illustrious grandsire. Other graves were in the 
burial plat, and kindred dust crumbled together 
in the garden. 

Memories, memories, memories everywhere ! 
The house that had been so full of bustling 
life and illustrious history, with all of its 
achievements, ambitions, hopes, loves, and suf- 
fering, was now but a memory. Devoted 
women were there to revive anew the memory 
of Jackson, to summon back his spirit, and to 
show to all the world the house of the illus- 
trious man, preserved, restored, that no icon- 
oclastic hand might m.utilatc or destroy it. 

The spirit of "Old Hickory" lived in the 
hearts of these patriotic women, and they said : 
"The Hermitage must and shall be preserved.** 
Into the hands of women, organized into an 
Association, the State Legislature had intrust- 
ed the preservation of Andrew Jackson^s home. 
Two of these patriotic women arrived at the 
Hermitage early one Saturday morning in 
July, soon after Col. Andrew Jackson moved 

The Ghost at the Hermitage, 155 

away, prepared to spend as many days and 
nights as were necessary in the protection of 
the historic homestead until a permanent care- 
taker could be installed on the premises. Some 
small necessary articles for a temporary resi- 
dence had been purchased — a few chairs, two 
small tables, a mattress, and several cooking 
vessels. A young negro girl was employed 
from a neighboring farm to come each day and 
prepare the simple, necessary meals, but at 
night she returned to her home. 

Through the long, hot July days the Her- 
mitage was a most pleasant place — in fact, an 
ideal resort. The cool halls and spacious 
rooms were grateful retreats from the July 
sun. The day was spent by the two ladies, 
the Regent and Secretary, in making a thor- 
ough examination of the house and grounds, 
in forming plans for the future, in writing 
letters, and in devising ways and means for 
sustaining the enterprise. When nightfall 
came, a frugal supper was served in the old 
historic kitchen, having been prepared in the 
open, yawning fireplace by the colored maid 
with a few simple cooking vessels. Assisted 
by the colored maid, a careful inspection was 

IS6 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

made of the house, the windows closed, the 
doors locked, the mattress spread as a pallet 
on the floor of the front parlor, and the self- 
constituted guardians prepared to spend their 
first night alone in Gen. Andrew Jackson's 

Old Uncle Alfred, it was true, was in his 
cabin some distance from the house; but he 
was old, nearly deaf, nearly blind, and not to 
be left in charge of so important a trust nor 
depended upon in case of danger. 

The two custodians brought two of their 
newly purchased chairs, stiff-backed, uncom- 
fortable things that they were, to the front 
portico and sat with the quiet of nature all 
about them. The dusky form of the tempo- 
rary cook as she left for her home was the last 
living thing that enlivened the landscape or 
gave to the self-constituted guardians a glimpse 
of the life to which they were accustomed. 

A kerosene lamp, one of the purchases, was 
lighted and placed upon one of the tables in 
the vast, quaint hallway. Its dim light fell 
but faintly upon the pictorial wall paper, the 
"Legend of Telemachus," that adorns the 
walls, the only familiar thing in all the house. 

The Ghost at the Hermitage, 157 

As it burned faintly it was of itself ghostly, 
and ghostly shadows lurked in the recesses of 
the hallway. The darkness deepened, and the 
avenue of cedars seemed a vast tunneled arch 
in which the shadows played and lingered. The 
moon arose and cast poetic shadows all around 
the old house, peeping under the trees, silver- 
ing the woodland. 

A mocking bird, stimulated by what prom- 
ised to be a glorious night, poured out a joy- 
ous song from the magnolia tree that kept 
sentinel watch over the sleeping dead at the 
tomb in the garden. 

A tree, said to be the shittim wood, the 
sam.e of which Noah's ark was built, stood to 
the v/est of the house. As the two talked over 
their plans the quaint, weird, plaintive cry of 
a screech owl rang out from this old tree. It 
w^as hollow, and the birds had nested there. 
The shrill call to its mate had more of the 
sound of warning and alarm than of joy. 
The effect was mournful and piercing. 

Time dragged on, and it seemed to be grow- 
ing late ; but when they consulted their watches 
really at an earlier hour than was customary 
with them in their city homes, they sought 

158 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

their pallet on the floor in the front parlor and 
were soon wrapped in a profound slumber. 

Did General Jackson's spirit hover over that 
empty, ghostly room and the memories of the 
sweet-faced daughter-in-law, Sarah, come up 
before him while they danced again the Vir- 
ginia reel in the spacious rooms? 

Hours passed, and the two ladies slept calm- 
ly. Suddenly there arose through the house 
the most terrific noises. The pantry, which 
was near, seemed to have tossed all of its pans 
and dishes in a confused heap upon the floor, 
chains were heard clanking over the porticoes, 
and a confusion of sounds made a most deaf- 
ening clatter. It was as if General Jackson 
had mounted his war charger and was riding 
with a victorious shout at the head of his mili- 
tary forces through the hall and corridor. 

In a moment both ladies were thoroughly 
awake; and if fear possessed them, each was 
too brave to let the other know it. Both sat 
up on the pallet. The elder said to the 
younger, speaking calmly: **Light the lamp. 
You will find the matches on the floor near 
your head." The lamp was lighted, and as 
suddenly as the noises came they ceased en- 

The Ghost at the Hermitage. 159 

tirely. The ladies looked at each other in- 
quiringly. "Do you think any one was trying 
to break in?" said one. "It might have been 
the rats," said the other. The lamp was left 
lighted. The two talked together a little 
while, then dropped off to sleep again and 
heard nothing more. 

The next day was Sunday, a beautiful, calm 
July Sabbath day in the country. The maid 
came and prepared breakfast. The ladies did 
not discuss to a great extent the occurrences 
of the night before, and the noises were still 
unaccounted for. There was no sound of 
Sunday service, no bells ringing, no throng 
wending its way to church, and none of the 
characteristics of a Sabbath day in the city. 
There was no service in the historic Hermit- 
age church, but a half mile distant. 

The younger woman, without consulting the 
older, inspected the house thoroughly from 
one end to the other, spied into closets, peered 
up chimneys, examined the cellar, and investi- 
gated every possible nook and cranny that 
could by any means have harbored a ghost, to 
ascertain if the noises could be explained by 
any natural causes. A baffling sphinxlike con- 

i6o Preservation of the Hermitage. 

dition met her at every turn, and there was 
discovered absolutely nothing to account for 
the sounds. 

Sunday was passed as the other days, in 
walking over the place, meditating in the gar- 
den, and enjoying the cool quiet of the place. 
Literature had been brought from the city to 
while away the time. No visitor or stranger 
came to break the monotony of a long summer 

Again nightfall came, and again the care- 
takers seated themselves on the front portico. 
The moon was later in rising, and a few clouds 
flecked the sky. Ov^r to the west a long, low 
phosphorescent light showed where lay the 
city, with its teeming life and its busy people, 
the thought of which made more lonely and 
isolated the work of the caretakers. The owl 
again set up his plaintive cry, and the mocking 
bird's song sounded away over in the distant 

At about the same time as the evening be- 
fore the two ladies retired to their pallet. This 
night the lamp was not extinguished, and both 
soon fell into a sound slumber. As nearly as 
the ladies could judge, at the same time the 

The Ghost at the Hermitage » i6i 

same sounds were heard, unmistakable and 
ghostly — ^the same dishes falHng down in the 
pantry, the same sound of chains, the same 
war horse tread, the same arousing out of 
sleep, wondering what it could all mean, and 
the same willingness to leave it all to conjec- 
ture. Although very brave, two city ladies 
did not care to investigate mysterious noises 
in a large, empty country house at the mid- 
night hour. 

It was a long time afterwards before these 
two ladies could discuss, even together, the 
ghost at the Hermitage and laugh at their un- 
canny experience. But they never learned 
what caused the sounds and finally concluded 
that they had had an actual experience with 


Brides at the Hermitage. 

For all his stern military qualities, Gen. An- 
drew Jackson had a most romantic side to his 
nature, which needed nothing stronger to prove 
it than his own chivalrous marriage to Rachel 
Donelson. His was an unusually happy mar- 
riage and carried with it a beautiful home life. 
His devotion to his wife was not lessened even 
after her death. Nothing had so softened and 
subdued him as the loss of this beloved com- 
panion. He became so patient and so gentle 
that all wondered at the change in him, and 
it was said that he never uttered an angry 
word and scarcely ever an impatient one after 
her death. 

Long years ago Amos Kendall, who was in 
the Cabinet, wrote for the Democratic Review, 
a paper published in Washington during the 
Jackson administration, the following inter- 
esting article on the man himself and also paid 
a graceful tribute to Mrs. Jackson, Said he: 

The practice of reading or listening to a chapter of 
Holy Writ and sending up fervent aspirations to heaven 


Brides at the Hermitage, 163 

every night before he retired to rest General Jackson 
brought with him into the presidency. No man had a 
deeper sense of dependence on the Giver of all good 
or a more sincere and earnest desire to avail himself 
of the wisdom which comes from on high in the dis- 
charge of his arduous duties. But it cannot be doubted 
that in his devotional fervor there was mingled a holy 
and never-dying affection for his departed wife, whose 
presence was in his susceptible imagination as neces- 
sary an incident of heaven as that of the angels. 

A portrait of this dearest object of his earthly af- 
fection hung in his chamber. "Is that a good like- 
ness?" said a lady to him in my presence. "Pretty 
good," said he, "but not so good as this," taking a 
miniature from his bosom. 

On another occasion, calling upon him on some 
urgent business, I was invited into his bedchamber. 
I found him too ill to sit up. The curtains in front 
of his bed were open, and he lay with his head some- 
what elevated on a full pillow. Opposite the foot of 
his bed, nearly touching the post, stood a little table, 
and on it was the miniature of Mrs. Jackson leaning 
against a small Bible and a prayer book which had 
been hers. It was evidently so placed that he might, 
as he lay, gaze upon the shadow of those loved fea- 
tures which had enraptured his youthful heart and 
contemplate those virtues which in old age, even in 
death, rendered them dear to the bosom of the hero 
and statesman beyond any other earthly object. 

I was not then so thoroughly acquainted with Gen- 
eral Jackson as I afterwards became; but in witnessing 
this scene I said to myself: "This must be a good 
man." None other could entertain so deep, so abiding 
an afifection for a departed companion* however cher- 

164 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

ished while living. Love like this is all good, all 
heavenly, all divine, as nearly as anything on earth 
possibly can be. It cannot dwell in a bad heart; it can- 
not assimilate with a perverted mind. 

I had never seen Mrs. Jackson, but from that mo- 
ment I pronounced her a superior woman. None but 
a woman of surpassing virtues could so fix the affec- 
tions of such a man. None other could maintain such 
a hold on such a mind amidst the enjoyment of glory, 
the gratification of ambition, the cares of State, and 
the never-ceasing excitements sufficient to overpower 
and swallow up the kindly affections of ordinary men. 
None other could occupy in life and in death so broad 
a space in the remembrance and affections of one who 
in devotion to his country never had a superior. And 
I could not but regret that she had not lived, not so 
much to enjoy a signal, triumph over her own and her 
husband's traducers, but to comfort, advise, and sustain 
her devoted companion in the midst of never-ceasing 
evils and vexations, the heartlessness of false friends, 
and the assaults of unrelenting enemies. 

History has not been as kind to the memory 
of Mrs. Jackson as might be — in fact, very 
unkind — ^but she was indeed a superior woman, 
a beautiful housekeeper, a kind mistress to her 
slaves, an affectionate and generous sister, a 
devoted wife, and a pious Christian woman. 
The little Hermitage church was built that she 
might have Church privileges. 

While on one of his Eastern trips Andrew 

Brides at the Hermitage. 165 

Jackson purchased for her a piano, on which 
she played all the tunes of that day, *'Money 
Musk," *'Fisher*s Hornpipe," and others. 
One of their favorite evening pastimes was 
performing duets for piano and flute, she play- 
ing sweetly all his favorite tunes and singing 
his favorite songs. 

It was a home where love sat at the fire- 
side, presided over the abundantly provided 
board, glowed in every corner of the dwelling, 
hovered with wings of peace over the house- 
hold, and dwelt contentedly in the hearts of its 

General Jackson mourned his wife's death 
inconsolably, and this is the tribute he paid 
her memory : 

We lived together, happy husband, loving wife, for 
nearly forty years. In all those many years, whenever 
I entered my home it seemed hallowed by a divine 
presence. I never heard her say a word that could 
sully an angel's lips, nor knew her to commit an act her 
Maker could have condemned. What I have accom- 
plished I owe to her. Had I always taken her advice, 
deeds I now regret would have never been committed. 
She made earth a paradise for me. Without her there 
could be no heaven. 

The romantic vein in his own composition 

i66 Preservation of the Hermitage, 

made Andrew Jackson sympathize heartily 
with the loves of young people, and the Her- 
mitage became the Gretna Green of more than 
one romantic marriage. One of the most ro- 
mantic affairs he was ever connected with oc- 
curred before he built the log house at the 
Hermitage and while he was still a resident 
at Hunter's Hill. 

Samuel Donelson, the brother of Mrs. Ra- 
chel Jackson, was the law partner of Andrew 
Jackson and was a gay, dashing young fellow. 
He fell in love with Mary Smith, the only 
daughter of Gen. Daniel Smith, of Revolu- 
tionary fame. In Sumner County, Tennessee, 
still stands a comfortable dwelling, erected in 
the early years of the last century, called Rock 
Castle, built entirely of stone, in which General 
Smith and his family lived. 

Mary Smith was a piquant beauty and had 
suitors by the score; but none pleased her as 
did this same Samuel Donelson, but he did not 
meet with her father's approval. The saucy 
lady had a head of her own and a due appre- 
ciation of her charms. In a frolicsome mood 
she chose the family Bible in which to pour 
out her thoughts and therein inscribed: 

Brides at the Hermitage. 167 

Mary Ann Mickey is my name, 

And happy is my life. 
Happy will the young man be 

Who gets me for his wife. 

The Bible is an heirloom in the family now 
and is known and treasured as the Mary Smith 

Encountering parental opposition, the lover 
proposed an elopement, which at once appealed 
to her romantic nature. The elopement was 
planned, and the day arrived, but she gave no 
sign of the approaching event. Her listening 
ear ever and anon caught the sound of a wood- 
man cutting timbers in the forest. The sound 
was not unusual in those days, and she alone 
of all the household knew that a grapevine 
ladder was being constructed for the escapade 
that night and that the future President of the 
United States was assisting her husband that 
was to be. 

Night came, and the two drew near. The 
watchdog gave a sharp, questioning bark; but 
as the dog was acquainted with both visitors, 
a pat upon the head converted into a friend 
what might have been a frustrating enemy. 
The window of the fair one was on the oppo- 

1 68 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

site side of the hallway from that of her fa- 
ther, and she listened to his deep, stertorous 
breathing before she gave the signal for her 
lover to advance. 

Stealthily the grapevine ladder was thrust 
up to the window. Two dainty white hands 
grasped it and, with the ropes already attached, 
made it fast within. Unhesitatingly she clam- 
bered down and was received into the arms of 
the expectant bridegroom. The latter and his 
friend each caught her by the hand, helping 
her over rough places and tangled brush until 
they reached the spot where two horses and a 
preacher with a marriage license awaited them. 
In the dim light of the rising moon the two 
were made one, wnth Andrew Jackson for a 
W'itness. General Jackson w^as often heard to 
aver that the only man in the world he was 
afraid of was General Smith. The honeymoon 
was spent beneath the roof of Andrew Jackson 
at Hunter's Hill. 

The Gretna Green proclivity has clung to 
the posterity of Mary Smith through four 
generations, nearly every family having a run- 
away marriage. 

After moving once more to the wilderness 

(The Miniature.) 

Brides at the Hermitage, 169 

and taking possession- of the log house at the 
Hermitage, Andrew Jackson and his good wife 
were surprised one morning, before their early 
breakfast was served, by the arrival of Robert 
Armstrong and Miss Margaret Nichol, daugh- 
ter of Josiah Nichol, one of General Jackson's 
best friends. The parents of the young lady 
had chosen a husband for her other than the 
one she most desired, who possessed more 
money, but, in her opinion, was not the equal 
of the gallant Robert Armstrong. They had 
come on horseback, brought the preacher with 
them, and presented themselves to be married. 
Andrew Jackson's "God bless you, my chil- 
dren," carried with it a benediction, for the 
marriage proved a most happy one. The 
young girl's confidence was not misplaced, for 
her husband became not only wealthy but dis- 
tinguished. A long line of prominent citizens 
live to-day to tell the romantic story of the 
marriage of their grandparents at the Her- 

After General Jackson built the large brick 
mansion General Call, one of his favorite staff 
officers of the Florida war, stole his bride, 
Miss Mary Kirkman, hastened to the Hermit- 

i/o Preservation of the Hermitage. 

age, and was married beneath its roof. There 
were no automobiles in those days. The surest 
and swiftest mode of travel was on horseback, 
and the young couple that morning rode two 
fine horses that were sure and swift. General 
Jackson gave them as a bridal present por- 
traits of himself and wife executed by Earl. 
The portrait of Mrs. Jackson was presented 
to the Ladies' Hermitage Association by Mrs. 
Ellen Call Long, Vice Regent for Florida. 
She was a daughter of General Call and was 
herself an elderly woman at the time the As- 
sociation was organized. 

When Andrew Jackson went to Washington 
to be inaugurated, his adopted son was just 
twenty-two years of age. He was one of the 
handsomest men in all the country and of 
courtly, polished manners. He was a great 
favorite in Washington society and, being the 
son of the President, was much sought after. 
While visiting Philadelphia with a friend, 
Captain McCauley, of the United States army, 
he met one day the most beautiful lady he had 
ever seen. The young lady was accompanied 
by an elder lady, and both knew Captain Mc- 
Caulev. The latter raised his hat, as did also 

Brides at the Hermitage, 171 

the young Andrew Jackson, the ladies ac- 
knowledging the salutation with a bow. As 
they passed, Andrew Jackson, Jr., turned to 
look back for another glimpse of the beauty. 
At the same moment she too turned, and a 
saucy, piquant face flashed a smile at him. 
Both had fallen in love at first sight. Intro- 
ductions soon followed, and the young Andrew 
Jackson at once began an ardent wooing of 
the beautiful Miss Sarah Yorke. An engage- 
ment followed and in a short time a marriage. 
The adopted son, Andrew Jackson, Jr., took 
his bride to the White House, where she pre- 
sided as lady of the White House during the 
latter part of the Jackson administration, Mrs. 
Emily Donelson occupying that exalted posi- 
tion in the earlier years of the administration. 
Later Andrew Jackson, Jr., took his bride to 
the Hermitage. The President sent to his 
prospective daughter-in-law a cluster pearl 
ring with a lock of his hair beneath the set- 
ting, which was used as a wedding ring. 

This lovely young woman entwined herself 
around the old General's heartstrings, and he 
loved her with a fervent devotion. Her chil- 
dren filled the declining years of the old hero's 

172 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

life with sunshine and happiness. After his 
return to the Hermitage from the two admin- 
istrations, it is said of him : "He grew so quiet 
and so tender that one never heard him utter 
an Singry word and scarcely ever an impatient 
one." The little granddaughter Rachel was 
his pet and fireside companion, and upon her 
he showered all the wealth of his affection. 
This granddaughter still lives near the Hermit- 
age, and her reminiscences of ^'Grandpa" are 
indeed sweet. 

Not until this little Rachel was grown to 
womanhood was there another bride at the 
Hermitage. In those romantic days many 
suitors had paid court to the fair Rachel ; and 
in time she married Dr. John M. Lawrence, 
who was a most worthy mate for the beautiful 
daughter of the Hermitage. The wedding was 
one of the grandest affairs ever witnessed in 
this part of the countr}^ and occurred on Jan- 
uary 25, 1853. Great preparations were made 
for the event, new furniture for the bridal 
chamber was brought from Philadelphia, and 
more beautiful articles purchased for the al- 
ready beautifully furnished house. Prominent 

i^Nee Miss Carrie I^awrence.) 

Brides at the Hermitage. 173 

citizens, friends from all over the State, were 
invited, and the house was filled with guests. 

The auspicious beginning of their marriage 
was but an earnest of the long, happy years 
when children, little olive branches, sprang up 
around their table. The many vicissitudes that 
befell the Hermitage did not affect their hap- 
piness; and twenty-five years afterwards the 
couple celebrated their silver wedding in the 
same parlors, with the same surroundings, 
grown sons and daughters standing by their 

Time leaps forward, and the bright-eyed 
tots of to-day are the brides of to-morrow. 
Miss Sazie Lawrence, the eldest daughter of 
Dr. and Mrs. Lawrence, was the next whose 
marriage was to be witnessed by the long mir- 
rors in the Hermitage parlors. Two other 
daughters were married in the city and were 
given receptions at the Hermitage. Miss An- 
nie Lawrence married Joshua Smith, and Miss 
Marion Lawrence married J. Cleves Symmes. 

The last daughter of the household, Miss 
Carrie Lawrence, was married to Rev. W. D. 
Bradfield in the parlors of the Hermitage. 
Her bridal paraphernalia was that worn by 

174 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

her grandmother, Mrs. Sarah Yorke Jackson, 
when she married the adopted son in Phila- 
delphia in 1 83 1. The bridal gown was an 
imported French embroidered tissue (chiffon 
we would call it now), very rich and elegant 
and beautiful even now. The bridal veil was 
of pointe aplique lace. A necklace, bracelet, 
and brooch of the richest cluster pearls were 
the bridal jewels. 

The same pearl ring sent by the President 
of the United States to his son's bride was 
worn by Mrs. Rachel Jackson Lawrence when 
she was married and by her four beautiful 
daughters, and it was. always used as a wed- 
ding ring. The entire bridal outfit is pre- 
served in the family as a priceless heirloom 
and will doubtless be worn by another genera- 
tion of brides. 

The marriage of Miss Carrie Lawrence in 
the spring of 1892 was the last one to take 
place at the old Hermitage of any member of 
the family which had so long been identified 
•with the place. Even then it was under the 
control of the Ladies' Hermitage Association. 

In 1885 Col. Andrew Jackson, son of An- 
drew Jackson, Jr., brought his bride to the old 

Brides at the Hermitage. 175 

homestead. He was already becoming an 
elderly bachelor when he met Miss Amy Rich, 
of Hamilton, Ohio. He was soon attracted 
by her brilliance, her vivacity, and her beauty. 
He laid siege to her heart and had the joy of 
bringing to the Hermitage his own bride ere 
he should surrender possession of it forever. 
They had two fine sons, one of whom bears 
the name of Andrew Jackson, the fourth in 
line of the name. 

The Hermitage Church. 

Hardly less historic than the Hermitage 
itself is the Hermitage church, built by General 
Jackson upon his own farm in 1823. Mrs. 
Rachel Jackson was a most pious Christian 
woman, but had long been denied Church 
privileges with any degree of regularity. 

The neighborhood had grown populous, and 
a house of worship was needed. As soon as 
this was built it wgs incorporated into the 
Presbytery of Nashville and supplied with a 
minister. The leading denomination then in 
Tennessee was the Presbyterian, and it was 
the boast of many of the citizens of that day 
that they had been Presbyterians for more than 
two hundred years. 

Mrs. Rachel Jackson's grandmother, the 
first American Mrs. John Donelson (originally 
spelled Donaldson), was a sister of Rev. 
Samuel Davies, D.D., one of the early presi- 
dents of Princeton College. Her Presbyteri- 
anism was inherited from a long line of dis- 


The Hermitage Church. 177 

tinguished ancestors, just as her husband had 
his from the old Scotch-Irish ancestry. 

There were strong, sturdy Christians in 
those days, who, once committed to Church 
membership, would not for worlds be guilty of 
an act not countenanced by the Westminster 
Confession of Faith. They were stanch and 
stolid in their beliefs and had a faith that made 
devout women and strong men. 

General Jackson gave the ground for the 
church edifice on his own farm, then headed 
a subscription list with his own name and in- 
vited his neighbors and kinsmen to assist in 
erecting a house of worship. He did not be- 
lieve in committees, he said, and superintended 
the work himself. 

Shortly after the church was built Mrs. 
Jackson became a communing member and 
urged her husband to do the same, but he 
pointed out to her that if he did so then he 
would be accused of taking the step for polit- 
ical effect; but he promised her that as soon 
as he was "out of politics" he would join the 

The building is fifty feet long by thirty feet 
broad and is substantially built. Four win- 

178 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

dows were originally in the building (one on 
each side has been closed) ; the floor was of 
brick, afterwards covered with flooring, except 
the aisle, which is still of brick. Two huge 
fireplaces, one at each end, warmed the church 
to a comfortable degree. Later a change 
was made in the entrance. One fireplace 
was closed up, and the pulpit was placed 
at that end. The pulpit was once an anti- 
quated box affair, shaped like a half hexagon, 
and approached by a short stairway. The 
pews were substantial but somewhat heavy. 
A door of entrance was made on each side of 
the other fireplace afid continues there to this 
day. Some of the most distinguished Presby- 
terian divines of Tennessee have held services 
in the Hermitage church, among them being 
Revs. Dr. Scott, Carr, Hume, John Todd Ed- 
gar, J. Berrien Lindsley, and later J. W. 
Hoyte, E. D. Finney, and others of a still later 

The pastors of the distant city Churches 
fostered the work and delighted in discoursing 
to the cultured congregations assembled there 
to hear them. As long as Mrs. Rachel Jack- 
son lived the Church flourished : but after her 

The Hermitage Church. 179 

death and during General Jackson's absence in 
Washington the Church languished until the 
family returned to the Hermitage in 1837, 
when it was reorganized and again used regu- 

It was under the ministrations of Rev. John 
Todd Edgar, D.D., then pastor of the First 
Presbyterian Church at Nashville, that Gen- 
eral Jackson made public profession of the 
faith he had always held and which had sus- 
tained him through many a trying hour. As 
soon as he became a communing Church mem- 
ber he was elected unanimously a ruling elder, 
but he declined, saying: "No; the Bible says, 
'B?e not hasty in laying on of hands.' I am 
too young in the Church for such an office. 
My countrymen have given me high honors, 
but I should esteem the office of ruling elder 
in the Church of Christ a far higher honor 
than any I have ever received." 

He needed no argument to win him to a 
belief in his God; for he had always had a 
strong and abiding faith, the foundation stones 
of which were laid by his sturdy mother and 
had rooted and grounded his beliefs. But with 
him to publicly stand up before the man of 

i8o Preservation of the Hermitage, 

God and a waiting congregation was a mo- 
ment of due solemnity and vast import. He 
was fully alive to the obligations and the defi- 
niteness of his action. 

After the service at the church and partici- 
pation for the first time in the holy communion 
of the Lord's Supper, he returned to the Her- 
mitage silent and full of thought. His son 
and daughter, Andrew and Sarah Yorke Jack- 
son, were with him, but scarcely a word was 
spoken. Reaching his own front door, he 
took his daughter by the arm, conducted her 
to his own bedchamber, then knelt and poured 
out his soul in prayer. This man, who was 
so gifted in oratory, so powerful in inspiring 
address, so magnetic before the masses, was 
not abashed when talking to his God. His 
acquaintance with and constant reliance upon 
the God of his mother, the God of his wife, 
and his own God was so great and strong that 
he could and did pray often in the inner circle 
of home as long as he lived. 

From that hour General Jackson was a con- 
stant attendant at church, always using the 
same pew, which is now marked with a silver 
plate. The sermons then were the good old 

7' he Hermitage Church, i8i 


doctrinal Calvinistic discourses once so cus- 
tomary and acknoAvledged as the orthodox 
quality in all the Churches, and the songs were 
those grand old hymns that followed the 
psalm-singing of the earlier Christian Church 
and that even now hold their own, a perpetual 
classic in Church hymnology — **How firm a 
foundation!" "How tedious and tasteless the 
hours!" "Come, thou Fount," "When I can 
read my title clear," and others that linger in 
the heart and well up in the memory of those 
who have ever once made them their own. 

There was only congregational singing in 
those days. Some good old tuneful brother 
would "raise" the tune, and every voice would 
blend in the harmony of the religious refrain 
and feel a spiritual comfort as it rose and fell. 
The communion season was particularly re- 
freshing and soul-stirring. There in that little 
house of worship a solemn hush would fall 
over the congregation, broken only by the 
words of the preacher as he read, "This do in 
remembrance of me." Outside the bright 
sunshine and balmy air would all seem in ac- 
cord; and there is no doubt that in these sea- 
sons the souls of the waiting congregation 

i82 Preservation of the Hermitage, 

were lifted into a higher atmosphere, and all 
would drive away to their homes more 
thoughtful, more subdued, nearer to their God. 

Even the children were impressed. Chil- 
dren in those days were told that they were to 
be "seen and not heard," and their young souls 
were left each to find out for itself the mys- 
teries of life. Among the congregation were 
two little girls, aged, respectively, ten and 
twelve years, who lived in the neighborhood 
and were brought regularly to church by older 
sisters, their mother being dead. Their im- 
pressionable minds had imbibed the ideas in- 
culcated at the church and delighted in the 
songs. A deep religious impression pervaded 
their souls. 

A valued old slave belonging to their fa- 
ther, named Uncle Claiborne, died on their 
plantation. They had scarcely heard of death, 
and the mysterious awe that clung around it 
was to them distressing. They were mother- 
less children, but their mother's death had 
faded from their minds even if they were 
not too young when it occurred for it to 
impress them. Their minds were filled with 
the superstitions of the negroes; and many 

The Hermitage Church. 183 

of their ideas had been gathered from the old 
black "mammy" who had ministered to them 
and nursed them and from the little ebony- 
hued playmates with whom they were thrown 
most constantly. 

When they knew that Uncle Claiborne was 
dead and went to the cabin, none forbidding, 
to see his stiff, stark form, sheet-covered, they 
were overwhelmed with a nameless dread, a 
haunting fear, they knew not of what. All 
day, frightened and silent, they went around 
the house and yard or through the cabin where 
the dead slave lay. No one noticed the chil- 
dren; and if they questioned their elders, they 
were put off with an impatient word of rebuke. 
Night came on, and with it their fear in- 
creased, but all unnoticed. They were sent 
off to bed in a distant upper chamber. Sleep 
would not come to their eyelids; and they 
clung to each other, not daring to whisper 
what they felt, but clinging, each helpless, 
frightened little one, to the other. 

Uncle Claiborne had been a noted negro 
with his race. He had that force of intellect 
sometimes found in the cabin of the Southern 
slave and was esteemed by his master and re- 

184 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

spected by every one of his race. That night 
from other plantations near and remote the 
dusky forms began to come from ever}' direc- 
tion, to gather at the humble cabin where the 
mortal remains of the dead slave lay. The 
children could hear the arrivals and, connect- 
ing the sounds of footsteps with their fears, 
grew more and more terror-stricken. The 
night was intensely still, and the silence was 
oppressive. It was in midsummer, and the 
summer moon cast ghostly shadows in the 
nursery chamber. Hours had perhaps passed, 
and the little girls had reached the tenseness 
of suffering and fear .that was almost unen- 

Suddenly on the still night air there arose 
a sound. It was the negroes singing. The 
musical rhythm and cadence of their voices, 
mingled with the voice of the katydid and 
cricket, rising and falling in the still night 
air, the words of the song reaching the ears 
of the little listeners, "How firm a founda- 
tion, ye saints of the Lord!" the beautiful 
words of the old, old song sung to the old 
familiar tune, quaint and plaintive, sung by 
negro voices, brought comfort and peace and 

The Hermitage Church. 185 

banished all fear. Never in a long lifetime did 
those two forget the feeling of relief that the 
grand old song brought to their souls. Tears 
sprang to their eyes, and, sobbing but comfort- 
ed and clinging to each other, the little ones fell 

One of the characteristic spectacles at the 
church was the assembling of the vehicles on 
the church lawn. The congregation came 
from far and near and comprised the well-to- 
do farmers from all the country around. 
From the fact that the leader of the Church 
was Mrs. Emily Donelson, the lady of the 
White House, and one of its members the 
President of the United States, great elegance 
and even extravagance was displayed in the 
dress of the congregation, quite unusual with 
a country Church at that time. A glance at 
the pew of General Jackson or of Maj. Andrew 
J. Donelson aroused in the bosoms of many 
admiration and possibly the envy of more than 
one who worshiped there. 

As was natural, the church became a kind 
of social tryst; and after the congregation was 
dismissed the people lingered to discuss af- 
fairs of mutual interest — ^the crops, the latest 

1 86 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

news, and, it must be admitted, gossip. To 

go to church was as good as reading a weekly 


Upon one occasion a distinguished State 
geologist visited the neighborhood for a week's 
stay. He was connected by marriage with 
some of the families ; and as everybody in the 
neighborhood was more or less connected 
either by blood or marriage to ever}'body else, 
the visitor was something of a kinsman to the 
entire neighborhood. The hospitality of that 
day w^as : **Come early, bring your knitting or 
your patchwork, and stay all day." The good 
doctor was invited the rounds, one day at the 
Hermitage, one day at Tulip Grove, one day 
at Clifton, and so on. He was a whole-souled, 
genial man, happy anywhere and under any 
circumstances, and enjoyed nothing better than 
his occasional visits to the good people around 
General Jackson's home. 

The Sunday following the doctor's visit was 
a fine, bright day, very conducive to piety, and 
a full congregation was present at the service. 
At the after meeting the week's guest was the 
prominent subject of conversation. The 
housewives present began, as housewives will, 

The Hermitage Church. 187 

to tell what each one gave the distinguished 
guest for dinner, the good old-fashioned noon- 
day meal. 

"What did you have for dessert?" 

"The nicest fritters I ever made." 

"La, did you have fritters ? So did I." 

"And so did I." 

"And so did I," chorused each hostess in 

Fritters! Don't you know what they are? 
Visit the Southland and ask any old "Aunt 
Hannah" to make some for you. But, after 
all, the good doctor was very fond of fritters, 
and that was before indigestion was invented. 

The church was a favorite meeting place 
for the beaux and belles, and many a match 
was made in or near that same Hermitage 
church. But Church purposes were not all for 
which the little brick church was used. It 
also ser\^ed for a schoolhouse, and the pastor 
was sometimes the schoolmaster. The chil- 
dren in the community were sent to the Her- 
mitage church to school. The curriculum was 
very ambitious, and the pupils were given Lat- 
in almost simultaneously with the old blue- 
back speller. French too and even Greek 

1 88 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

were conned. The boys were prepared foi 
college and the girls fitted for the finishing 
seminaries, though many had only the Her- 
mitage church for their Alma Mater. There 
were good spellers in those days, none better 
anywhere, and many a little slip of a girl took 
the head of her spelling class early in the ses- 
sion and defied the foremost scholars in the 
school to dislodge her. 

Many of the older citizens of that commu- 
nity cherished to their dying day the fondest 
and brightest recollections of their school days. 
A gentle elderly lady, one of the most earnest 
students that ever attended the school, had the 
thought of it so interwoven into her being that 
through a long life ever in her dreams she was 
again and again at the Hermitage church, go- 
ing to school or attending church. Then the 
dream would change, and she had taken up 
her abode there and was living in it as a dwell- 
ing. Memory would cling around the old 
edifice and bring back the forms of loved ones 
who had gathered with her there, and the vi- 
sion would be most sweet. Dear sisters long 
since gone, girlhood friends, and the young 
boys with whom she associated came trooping 

The Hermitage Church. 189 

through memory's train, and she lived again 
in the past. A young sister had died in her 
early youth, and this sister was ever with her. 

The school had its fun and its frolics, its 
hopes and ambitions, its scholars and its dul- 
lards. AA hen a new teacher made his advent 
in the neighborhood the pupils were very anx- 
ious to present a fine appearance and impress 
him with the extent of the scholarly attain- 
ments in that vicinity. One day two little fel- 
lows brought some chestnuts gathered in the 
near-by forest. The new teacher asked : "How 
do they sell, my little man?" *Ten cents a 
point" was the reply. 

The church is still used week by week even 
to this day and maintains a regular Church 
organization. In those years long gone by the 
communion service was a silver cup and a sil- 
ver dish from the Hermitage. The cup is a 
silver tankard, one of a pair made in London, 
and is beautifully chased. The pair were pre- 
sented to General Jackson. The plate is one 
of the Martin Van Buren dishes purchased by 
Jackson. This same cup and plate are still used 
and are brought to the church on communion 
occasions by Mrs. Rachel Jackson Lawrence, 

190 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

who lives about two miles distant. Mrs. Sarah 
Jackson presented a table of solid mahogany 
from the Hermitage furnishings for a com- 
munion table. 

At the same time the Ladies' Hermitage As- 
sociation was being organized ( 1889) Mrs. 
W. A. (Bettie M.) Donelson was interesting 
herself on behalf of the Hermitage church. 
It, like the rest of the Hermitage property, was 
showing the marks of the finger of time and 
was in a very dilapidated condition. The roof 
was leaking, the plastering fallen in a great 
many places, several window panes were out, 
and the frame was rotting away. With won- 
derful executive ability Mrs. Donelson, un- 
aided and alone, got up an "Old Folks Con- 
cert," which she gave at the Vendome Theater 
in Nashville. There were many participants, 
and she offered as a prize a locket made of the 
hair of General and Mrs. Jackson to the one 
selling the most tickets. Hundreds of tickets 
were sold and nearly every seat taken. As a 
net result she had five hundred dollars for her 
effort. This money she expended on the 
church and put it in fine condition. Mrs. Don- 
elson lives in the Hermitage neighborhood and 

The Hermitage Church. 191 

is a constant attendant, member, and worker in 
all its affairs. She is a daughter-in-law of 
Maj. Andrew Jackson Donelson, private sec- 
retary to President Andrew Jackson. 

One of the greatest events of recent years 
was the visit of Admiral and Mrs. Schley to 
the Hermitage when they visited Nashville in 
1902. The visit was made on Sunday, the only 
day at their disposal, and services were held in 
the church. It was one of the coldest days of 
an unusually cold winter, but many braved the 
weather and went out from the city to attend 
the services held especially for the occasion in 
honor of the distinguished visitor. Members 
of the Church in the vicinity decorated the 
pulpit and Jackson's pew with evergreens from 
the Hermitage garden. A huge log fire burned 
in the old-fashioned fireplace and warmed the 
church comfortably. There is a cabinet organ 
there, and a city choir furnished the music. 
Admiral Schley was seated in General Jack- 
son's pew. He was an Episcopalian, the offici- 
ating minister, Rev. D. C. Kelley, was a Meth- 
odist, and the Church Presbyterian, making of 
it an interdenominational service. After serv- 
ice in the church the party and guests went to 

192 preservation of the Hermitage, 

the Hermitage, lingered there several hours, 
and had breakfast served ere they returned to 
the city. 

The State Legislature, at the session of 
1913, conveyed to the trustees of the Hermit- 
age Church living in the neighborhood two or 
three acres, more or less, surrounding it, and 
a manse for the pastor has been built in the 
churchyard. A pastor has been engaged, 
services will be held regularly, and the historic 
church will continue in a plane of usefulness. 

The Artist at the Hermitage. 

An interesting person at the Hermitage in 
those long gone by years was Ralph E. W. 
Earl. He had a distinguished lineage and was 
one of the collateral descendants of James 
Prime, who was at Mil ford, Conn., in 1644. 
The name and family of Prime are of Flem- 
ish origin, and a descendant of the Primes — 
viz., Ralph E. Prime — has compiled the gene- 
alogy of the family as far back as 1638 and 
traces it down, to present generations, and 
from this line of descendants we learn the 
genealogy of Ralph E. W. Earl. 

His grandfather, Ralph Earl, was born No- 
vember 13, 1726, at Leicester, Mass. He was 
a patriot and served as captain in the patriot 
army in the Revolution. He had the distinc- 
tion of having offered to him at the same time 
a commission as captain in each army and 
chose the patriot commission. His father, 
Ralph Earl, was born May 11, 1757. He was 
an artist of distinction, a pupil of Sir Benja- 

13 (i93> 

194 Presentation of the Hermitage. 

min West, and painted the first picture of 
Niagara Falls ever painted, which still exists 
in England. He also painted many portraits 
of the nobility and some of the royal family 
of England and portraits of many prominent 
New England people. He was also a soldier 
in the Revolutionary War. His mother was 
Sarah Gates Earl. They had four children, 
of whom Ralph E. W. Earl was the third. 

Ralph E. W. Earl was born in 1788. Tak- 
ing up his father's profession as an artist, he 
made a distinguished reputation of his own. 
He painted many pictures of distinguished per- 
sons in England, Prance, and America. He 
was a friend of General Jackson and married 
Jane Cafifrey, a niece of Mrs. Rachel Jackson, 
and thereafter became one of the family at 
the Hermitage. His young wife lived only a 
few months, but he never married again and 
continued to reside at the Hermitage. He was 
given the room immediately above General 
Jackson's bedroom, which he also used as a 

Earl was an industrious worker and left 
many beautiful specimens of his handiwork. 
His portraits of Jackson are so fine and so 


The Artist at the Hermitage. 195 

varied in style and position as to make a not- 
able exhibit all to themselves. His work is 
excellent, bearing the stamp of the true artist 
who had perfected himself in his profession. 
The beautiful portraits of Mrs. Rachel Jack- 
son, of the adopted son and his wife, Mrs. 
Sarah Yorke Jackson, and of little Rachel were 
all his work. Portraits of prominent people 
all over the country were painted by him. 

He went with General Jackson to the White 
House and was dubbed the "court painter" or 
"portrait painter to the king." After return- 
ing with General Jackson to the Hermitage, he 
died the same year, September 16, 1837, and is 
buried in the garden. His friend and patron 
marked his grave with a stone and put upon it, 
in addition to the name and dates, the words, 
"Friend and companion of Gen. Andrew Jack- 

After Earl's death all of his possessions, 
souvenirs, and relics were returned to his fam- 
ily connections as far as the Hermitage family 
were able to collect them. But in the collection 
of Andrew Jackson's books purchased from 
his heirs, numbering over four hundred and 
fiftv volumes, is one volume which evidentiv 

196 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

at one time was the property of Colonel Earl. 
It is a copy of Lord Byron's works, and in the 
volume, carefully pasted to the fly leaf, is an 
autograph letter from the great poet himself. 
This is a souvenir evidently picked up by Colo- 
nel Earl during a visit to or residence in Paris. 
It is old and worn and torn, but is thoroughly 
Byronic in character and very interesting. It 
is as follows: 

To the Editor of Galignani's Messenger. 

Sir: In various numbers of your journal I have seen 
mentioned a work entitled "The Vampire" with the 
addition of my name as that of author. I am not the 
author and never heard^ of the work in question until 
now. In a more recent paper I perceive a formal an- 
nunciation of "The Vampire," with the addition of an 
account of my residence in the Island of Mitylene, an 
island which I have occasionally sailed by in the course 
of traveling some years ago through the Levant and 
where I should have no objection to reside, but where 
I have never yet resided. Neither of these perform- 
ances are mine, and I presume that it is neither unjust 
nor ungracious to request that you will favor me by 
contradicting the advertisement to which I allude. If 
the book is clever, it would be hard to deprive the 
real writer, whoever he may be, of his honors; and if 
it is stupid, I desire the responsibility of nobody's 
dullness but my own. . . . You will excuse the 
trouble I give you. 

The imputation is of no great importance, and as 
long as it has been confined to surmises and reports I 

The Artist at the Hermitage. 197 

should have received it, as I have received many others, 
in silence. But the formality of a public advertisement 
of a book I never wrote and a residence where I have 
never resided is a little too much, particularly as I 
have no notion of the contents of the one nor the inci- 
dents of the other. 

I have a personal dislike to vampires, and the little 
acquaintance I have with them would by no means in- 
duce me to divulge their secrets. 

You did me a much less injury by your paragraph 
about "my devotion and abandonment of society for 
the sake of religion," which appeared in your Messen- 
ger during last Lent, all of which are not founded on 
fact ; but you see I do not contradict them because they 
are merely personal, whereas the others, in some degree, 
confuse the reader. 

You will oblige me by complying with my request 
for contradiction. I assure you I know nothing of the 
work or works in question and have the honor to be 
(as the correspondents to magazines say) your con- 
stant reader and very obedient humble servant, 

Venice, April 27, 1819. Byron. 

Monsieur Galignani, 

18 Rue Viviene, 
(Parigi.) Paris. 

The room the artist occupied at the Hermit- 
age is still called Earl's room and is now simply 
furnished with a colonial bedstead, dresser, 
wardrobe, washstand, straw matting, and white 
muslin curtains, a prevailing summer style at 
the Hermitage while Andrew Jackson lived. 

The Hermitage Garden. 

When Gen. Andrew Jackson built the man- 
sion for his wife in 1819 he set apart near 
its eastern doorway an acre of ground for 
a garden to supply the family with vegetables 
and at the same time to be a flower garden. 
The acre plat is laid off in four regular 
squares bisected by gravel walks some six or 
eight feet wide. A similar walk extends en- 
tirely around the outer edges about six feet 
from the inclosing fence. In the center of the 
garden where the main walks meet is an art 
circle for flow^er beds laid out in artistic de- 
sign, v;ith little walkways threading between 
them. All the walks are outlined by bricks 
made for the purpose when the house was 
built. They are one-half longer than an or- 
dinary brick and beveled upon the upper and 
projecting edge. 

The mistress of the Hermitage loved her 
flowers; and one of the greatest pleasures of 
her devoted husband was to procure for her 


The Hermitage Garden, I99 

new and rare plants, which he did when serv- 
ing as honorable senator in Philadelphia. The 
sweet spring blossoms that answer to the first 
warm kisses of the early sunshine are every- 
where abundant. They are the old-fashioned 
flowers that our mothers loved and that are 
to be found only in old-fashioned gardens. In 
all the long years since they were planted they 
have grown and flourished until now they are 
huge shrubs. The lilacs, white and purple, are 
large bushes; so are the crape myrtle and the 
snowballs, and they flower beautifully in the 

Many curious plants are there that are sel- 
dom grown now, but their beauty ever attracts 
attention to them. The dainty white fringe 
tree droops its fragile blossoms at the garden 
gate, and one flourishes at the tomb near the 
head of Mrs. Jackson. The smoke tree, with 
its curious blossoms, stands opposite a huge 
purple magnolia, the first harbinger of spring, 
with its sweetly scented blossoms. The fra- 
grant calacanthus is there, and the woodbine 
and honeysuckle climb over trellises near 
clumps of syringa and woo the honeybee to 
sip the sweets concealed in their dainty cups. 

200 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

All the shrubs have grown and flourished, 
undisturbed in the long years, and now have 
luxurious strength and fill with rich perfume 
the old historic garden. 

The early breath of spring calls from their 
slumbering beds hyacinths, lilies of the valley, 
jonquils, narcissi, purple shades, and the violet- 
odored bluebottles. Among the first of the 
early spring blossoms are the bluebells, found 
growing wild on the bluffs of the Cumberland. 
They were probably among the first of nature^s 
beauties to find their way to the garden. The 
native woodland and river banks also fur- 
nished the yucca, which thrives in many places 
in the garden and outlines the walk to the 
springhouse, and which, when in bloom, pre- 
sents a scene of great beauty. The orange- 
colored butterfly plant, or sesclepias, and the 
beautiful spirit lily also come from the native 
woodland. In the early spring the garden is 
a wilderness of bloom, for these plants have 
multiplied to a vast supply. Peonies planted 
long years ago, white, red, and pink, flourish all 
over the garden and have grown strong roots, 
producing a wonderful quantity of flowers. In 
their season the flowers may be cut by the wag- 


President Roosevelt received by the Regent, Mrs. Dorris, and the 
Ladies' Hermitagfe Association. 

The Hermitage Garden. 201 

onload, and the Ladies' Hermitage Association 
has turned this to account and made it a source 
of revenue. A chairman of a flower committee 
is appointed, the flowers (a wagonload) sent 
to the city, and the chairman and her commit- 
tee stand on the streets and sell them out, 
which is soon done. They also take orders 
and have sold many hundred dollars' worth of 
flow^ers. The old fragrant hundred-leafed rose 
has overnm some of the flower beds and even 
thrust its sprouts, trespassing, into the gravel 
walks. Along on the fence, supporting them 
as a trellis, are many climbing rosebushes, the 
fragrant micrafilia and the multiflora, the lat- 
ter in clusters, each a nosegay all to itself. 
The musk cluster, the pink cluster, and the old- 
fashioned daily rose that never fails to bloom 
all the year round, and the Louis Philippe, a 
brilliant red rose, are some of the other roses. 
Growing by the hundreds in strong, vigorous 
clumps are the ascension lilies, filling the gar- 
den with delicious perfume in the month of 

The poetic side of life was then in the as- 
cendancy, and flowers were often made the 
means of conveying the tender sentiment. 

202 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

Every flower had an emblem with which the 
young people were acquainted. Flowers were 
then, as now, sent as gifts, but always from 
one's own garden. Nothing was considered 
in worse taste nor a surer indication of ex- 
treme poverty or great penuriousness than for 
one to think of selling flowers. This was some- 
thing for the aesthetic taste alone, around 
which no commercial idea clung. 

Even then flowers were used for the dead. 
When the widow of Lewis Randolph (who was 
Miss Elizabeth Martin and was married at the 
White House during Jackson's administration 
to Lewis Randolph, 'the grandson of Thomas 
Jefferson) lived at home again with her father, 
near the Hermitage, she lost a beautiful, bright 
little boy just four years old named Lewis Jack- 
son Randolph. It was in the early summer, 
and the fragrant white ascension lilies were in 
full flower. All around and upon the little 
stilled form these sweet blossoms were placed. 
The young aunt, a girl of twelve years, loved 
the little fellow tenderly and grieved for him 
with all a child's strength of affection. She 
lived to be an elderly woman; but she never 
caught the odor of the lilies nor saw the fair 

The Hermitage Garden. 203 

blossoms but that the memory of this, her first 
childish grief, came back to her, and the spirit 
of the child was with her again. The sweet 
musk cluster and the dainty pink cluster, fra- 
grant little things that they are, pinned in tiny 
sprays all over the winding sheet used in those 
days, were nature's last offering to the dead. 

When Mrs. Rachel Jackson died at the Her- 
mitage it was in the beautiful garden that her 
grave was made, in the corner nearest the ris- 
ing sun. Her sad death will be remembered 
as occurring very suddenly of heart failure 
on the eve of the departure of her distin- 
guished husband for his inauguration as Presi- 
dent of the United States. The grave planted 
there in the chill of a midwinter day, forlorn 
and desolate, was ever a sacred place to her 
bereaved husband. His last act before leaving 
for Washington was to plant four willows, 
something that would grow, about her last 
resting place. He never lost interest in the 
garden nor the willows in all his long absence 
from the Hermitage. 

May 19, 1832, he wrote a letter to Mrs. 
Sarah Yorke Jackson, his daughter-in-law, 
from which the following is an extract : 

204 Preservation of the Hermitage, 

I sincerely regret the ravages made by the frost in 
the garden, and particularly that the willow at the gate 
is destroyed. This I wish you to replace. The wil- 
lows around the tomb I hope are living, and a branch 
from one of these might replace the dead one at the 
garden gate. It will grow if well watered and planted 
on receipt of this. 

When Andrew Jackson, Jr., sold the Her- 
mitage to the State of Tennessee he reserved 
a plat of one-fourth of an acre as a burial 
ground for himself and family. He and his 
wife are buried in the plat near the tomb, and 
there are several other famil}^ graves. The 
tomb of General Jackson and his wife is in- 
closed by an iron railing. 

A mysterious effort was made to rob the 
tomb of General Jackson in the summer of 
1894. An old man and his family had been 
installed in the Hermitage as custodians. One 
day in August a strange dark man appeared 
at the Hermitage, was shown over the house, 
visited the tomb in the garden, and talked for 
a long time with Uncle Alfred. He seemed 
in no hurry to leave and apparently took an 
unusual interest in the place. He questioned 
closely about the family, inquired into the 
family life, discussed the family histon^ and 

The Hermitage Garden. 205 

was deeply interested in the tomb. He left 
about midday and, as was afterwards discov- 
ered, went to the little country store on the 
Lebanon road and procured a lunch. In the 
afternoon he returned, which was very un- 
usual, for visitors generally took the train in 
time to reach the city before nightfall. Twi- 
light found the man still on the premises. 
The custodian and his family became suspi- 
cious and uneasy, causing them to use extra 
precautions in closing doors and windows that 
night. To their relief, when they had about 
decided to order him off, the man took his 
departure, and they never expected to see or 
hear of him again. 

The next morning when the old man, as 
was his custom, went into the garden, he was 
horrified to discover that a large hole fully six 
feet in diameter had been dug on the west 
side of the tomb, extending dow^n to the solid 
masonry of the foundation. It was in August, 
and there had been a long and distressing 
drought. The ground was hard and baked, 
making excavation no easy matter. When the 
vault was reached, a solid block of old-time, 
honest masonry protected tlie bones of the 

2o6 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

great man and his wife within the tomb. 
Nothing short of dynamite would have had 
the sHghtest effect upon it. These conditions 
and the early coming of dawn prevented what 
might have been the demohtion of Jackson's 
tomb and the theft of his bones from the 
strong vault which had so long held his per- 
ishing dust. 

Every effort was made to discover the iden- 
tity of the perpetrator. It was undoubtedly 
the strange dark man who had lingered there 
so long; but who was he, and where had he 
gone? Mrs. Baxter and the Secretary went 
immediately to the ' Hermitage and endeav- 
ored to find out the perpetrator, consulting 
the most famous detective of the city; but 
there was absolutely no clew beyond the facts 
already noted. There had been no actual dam- 
age that was not easily repaired ; and as the 
Ladies' Hermitage Association had no money 
to waste on useless inquiry, the mystery was 
left unsolved. 

Two other facts developed. An iron fence 
surrounds the tomb, and the gate is kept 
locked, but the fence is not so high that a man 
cannot easilv vault over it. The more readily 

The Hermitage Garden, 207 

to get within the inclosure, the marauder had 
used a plank from the near-by fence to aid 
him in chmbing over. The entire neighbor- 
hood was deeply interested. It further devel- 
oped that from the nearest neighbor the mys- 
terious stranger had the day before borrowed 
a spade, which he had punctiliously returned 
by leaving it within the yard inclosure, not 
waiting to say *'Good morning^' or even 
"Thank you." The spade, when loaned, was 
dull and rusty from disuse and was bright and 
shiny when returned, giving evidence of its 
contact with the hard, dry earth. 

The sequel ? Well, it came in a strange and 
incidental way. Some months after the occur- 
rence a correspondent from New York City, 
writing to an enterprising Cincinnati paper, 
told of a man who had just died in a hospital 
in New York. He was an Italian, and his 
name was Torrianni. His profession was that 
of a resurrectionist. Before his death he 
talked of his work and seemed to take a pride 
in his successes. He confessed that it was he 
v;ho had stolen the body of the father of 
President Harrison, who died just before his 
son became President. The rabberv was dis- 

2o8 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

covered immediately and the body found in a 
medical college and reinterred. The act caused 
a wave of indignation to sweep over the coun- 
try. Further than this, and what more nearly 
concerned the Ladies' Hennitage Association, 
the man also confessed that it was he who 
made the attempt upon the tomb of Andrew 
Jackson in the summer of 1894. 

When the retiring President was again in 
his home at the Hermitage, the family of his 
adopted son were the joy and solace of his life. 
Particularly was he fond of little Rachel, the 
namesake of his dear wife. She was his con- 
stant companion rn his rides around the farm, 
at his fireside, and in his walks about the place. 
He had a habit which he indulged in tv^ry 
evening at twilight. His footsteps would turn 
to the garden; and little Rachel would drop 
"grandpa's" hand, for she had learned that he 
desired to be alone. Oi>ening the gate, with 
bowed head and bent foi*m, his stick striking 
upon the graveled walk, mingled with the 
mournful cadences of the katydids, the old 
hero turned his footsteps to the tomb. There 
in the silence of the deepening twilight he 
communed with his God while the spirit of the 

The Hermitage Garden, 209 

gentle Rachel hovered near. The tomb had 
long been built under General Jackson's own 
supervision, and upon the slab had been put the 
beautiful inscription, the beauty and tenderness 
of which strike every one who reads it. It is : 

Here lie the remains of Mrs. Rachel Jackson, 
wife of President Jackson, who died the 22d of 
December, 1828, aged sixty-one years. Her face 
was fair, her person pleasing, her temper amia- 
ble, her heart kind. She delighted in relieving 
the wants of her fellow creatures and cultivated 
that divine pleasure by the most liberal and un- 
pretending methods. To the poor she was a ben- 
efactor; to the rich an example; to the wretch- 
ed a comforter; to the prosperous an ornament. 
Her piety went hand in hand with her benevo- 
lence, and she thanked her Creator for being 
permitted to do good. A being so gentle and 
so virtuous slander might wound, but could not 
dishonor; even death, when he bore her from 
the arms of her husband, could but transport 
her to the bosom of her God. 

When General Jackson died, he was placed 
by the side of his wife, and upon the slab are 
the simple words : 

General Andrew Jackson. 
Born March 15, 1767. 
Died June 8, 1845. 

2IO Preservation of the Hermitage. 

All his brilliant career, all his glorious re- 
nown are left to the historian and to live in 
the hearts of his countrymen. 

To-day the home of Andrew Jackson is as it 
was in the days wlien he and his beloved Rachel 
welcomed all with cordial hospitality. The old 
homestead is so filled with sweet memories of 
their devoted love, of the after happy life, when 
loving son and daughter ministered to his 
heart's longing and prattling babes grew up 
around him, that the visitor cannot fail to be 
impressed with the tender, loving side of the 
brave warrior as well as feel a pride in his 
heroic achievements. As one passes down the 
flower-bordered walks of the garden the sweet, 
fragrant blossoms seem to speak in their 
quaint poetic language of those who dwelt 
there in the long ago. In reverence one pauses 
and gazes in silence on their tomb. Sweetly 
and peacefully they lie sleeping there within 
the shadow of the home they loved so well, 
and the soughing winds sing an everlasting re- 
quiem over their last resting place. 



Some years ago it occurred to the writer that 
the time would come when the history of the 
founding of the Ladies' Hermitage Associa- 
tion would be written and that it would add 
to the interest of this history and annals to 
have the testimony of some who were closely 
connected with the work in its formative days. 
The following statements are taken from the 
minute book, in which they are written by the 
persons whose names are signed. The first one 
is from Mrs. Mary L. Baxter herself and is 
as follows: 

This is to certify that I was first asked to become 
the Regent of the Ladies' Hermitage Association by 
Mrs. Mary C. Dorris in 1889. 

May 18, 1897. Mrs. Mary L. Baxter, Regent 

At the solicitation of Mrs. Mary C. Dorris I was the 
first one to sign the charter of organization of the 
Ladies' Hermitage Association in the spring of 1889. 

June 20, 1906. Rachel Jackson Lawrence. 

In the spring of 1889 Mrs. Mary C. Dorris came to 
see me one night and asked me to sign the charter of 
the Ladies' Hermitage Association. I did so, becoming 
a charter member at her request. 

June 20, 1906. Mrs. Mary Hadley Clare. 


214 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

This is to certify that in April, i8^, shortly after 
the act conveying the Hermitage house and tomb and 
twenty-five acres to the Ladies' Hermitage Associa- 
tion, and in accordance with said act, authorizing the 
appointment of nine trustees for the State, Mr. and 
Mrs, D. R. Dorris came to my office to secure the ap- 
pointment of said trustees. Mrs. Dorris, as an officer 
of the Association, had a list of names which she rec- 
ommended, all of whom were appointed, Mr. Adolph 
S. Ochs being my selection, the others being selected 
and named by Mrs. Dorris. 

Robert L. Taylor, Governor. , 

At the suggestion of Mrs. Dorris I presided over 
the first meeting of the Hermitage Association. To her 
untiring efforts is largely, due the success of the praise- 
worthy effort of the Association to rescue the home of 
the immortal Jackson from the hands of strangers and 
to dedicate it to the memorj' of his great achievements 
in the field and forum. T. A. Atchison. 

Mrs. Mary C. Dorris has just called to ask my 
signature, which I give cheerfully. She has been a 
hard and earnest worker in the Ladies' Hermitage 
Association from its first conception, and to her it owes 
much of its success. I signed the charter at her request. 

July I, 1910. Mary G. Heiss. 

In January or Februar>', 1889, Mrs. Mary C. Dorris 
brought me the charter of the Ladies' Hermitage Asso- 
ciation, which I signed in her presence, mine being the 
fifth signature. Louise G. Lindsley. 

November 16, 1910. 

Appendix. 215 

For several years after moving to Nashville my 
husband, Robert B. Currey. and I lived with his mother 
at our old home, at the corner of Church and Spruce 
Streets. Mr. and Mrs. Dorris and their children also 
lived there. One day Colonel and Mrs. Jackson drove 
in from the Hennitage to make Mrs. Dorris a visit 
They came to ask her advice and interest her in the 
preservation of the Hermitage. She grasped the idea 
at once, becoming enthusiastic, and from that time on 
she was untiring in her devotion to the work. There 
was a great deal to be done, a great many people to be 
seen. Day after day she spent at the Capitol trying to 
get the Legislature to authorize a memorial associa- 
tion and give them control of the property. Often 
Colonel and Mrs. Jackson would come in from the 
Hermitage and hold a long consultation with Mrs. 
Dorris. Sometimes Mr. Alex Donelson made one of 
the party, and it was he who went with Mrs. Dorris 
to procure a charter for the Ladies' Hermitage Asso- 
ciation. All the work of founding the Ladies' Hermit- 
age Association was done in our old home, at the corner 
of Church and Spruce Streets, and I remember these 
meetings distinctly, but Colonel and Mr. Jackson, Mrs. 
Dorris, and Mr. Alex Donelson were the only ones then 
interested. Others of our family would occasionally be 
with them and hear them discuss the organization and 
knew every step that was taken. 

In fact, so much of Mrs. Dorris's time, talent, and 
energies were taken up that her brother (my husband) 
and her mother complained that she was neglecting her 
own interests for the Hermitage work. Once when 
Mrs. Jackson was present Mrs. Dorris's mother spoke 
of her devoting so much of her time to the Ladies' 
Hermitage Association. Mrs. Jackson said: "Hush, 

2i6 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

woman! She is making history. The day will come 
when her family will be proud of the work she has 

In 1890 I spent a delightful summer with Colonel 
and Mrs. Jackson at the Hermitage. The Association 
was still in its infancy. Mrs. Baxter was Regent, and 
Mrs. Dorris was Secretary'. i\lrs. Jackson and I were 
constantly thrown together, and our talks often turned 
to the Ladies' Hermitage Association, Mrs. Jackson 
predicting that it would be a great success. I often 
heard her say: 'Tt was an inspiration when Colonel 
thought of Mary Dorris, and from the day we saw her 
and she took hold of the idea I knew it would succeed." 
From that day to this her interest has never flagged. 

May 4, 1913. Mrs. Robert B. Currey. 

It is a privilege to say a word for Mrs. Dorris and 
for her book, a work whith has been to her a labor of 
love and of patriotic interest. The long years of beau- 
tiful service she has given to the upbuilding of the 
Ladies' Hermitage Association and her unswerving de- 
votion to it deserve the commendation of the whole 
country; for the Hermitage is not a local interest, but 
is one dear to the heart of the whole American peo- 

It was my privilege to have the honor of being in- 
strumental in raising the first funds for this notable 
work, and my chance came to me through Mrs. Dorris. 
I had written, however crudely, my first production, or 
attempted production, for the stage, the production tak- 
ing the form of a little operetta for young people, 
"Birds of Tennessee." One morning I confided to Mrs. 
Dorris this attempt on my part and ran over the libretto 
to her. She said: "Why, that's good! Let's give it 

Appendix. 217 

for the benefit of the Ladies' Hermitage Association." 
We did. With her help the work was put before the 
public and produced at the Vendome Theater for two 
or three evenings and made quite a pleasing little hit. 
Some of the best and most gifted of Nashville's young 
people came to our help. There wasn't a line of music 
written, but the airs were my own. I hummed them 
over to the leader of the orchestra, who caught them 
and arranged them for the other members, and in this 
crude fashion the singing parts were put together. 
Justin Thatcher, the sweet singer of Nashville, was one 
of those who helped us; and Robert Nichol was our 
mocking bird and was, of course, the leading figure 
in a carnival composed entirely of the song birds of 
Tennessee. Billy Porter and the late Ed Stahlman were 
also in the caste, Mr. Porter being a blackbird and Mr. 
Stahlman as good an owl as ever adorned the night 
Tom Norton was our jaybird and, as "the stylish Mr. 
Jay," was one of the real successes of the play. Mr. 
Norton also sang without music and learned the air of 
his song from having it hummed over to him. He aUo 
sang it in Franklin, when the play was produced there, 
and again made a great hit. 

On the last occasion the play was shown in Nash- 
ville the late distinguished and beloved Dr. J. Berrien 
Lindsley arose in the audience and said some very 
pleasant things of the play, the people in the play, and 
of the author. In the name of the Ladies* Hermitage 
Association he thanked all parties connected with it. 
These are very pleasing things to remember; and for 
this pleasure the author of that crude little play is in- 
debted to Mrs. Dorris, whose book, "Preservation of 
the Hermitage," now appears, . 

2i8 Preservation of the Hermitage, 

Mrs. Dorris should have a large and whole-hearted 
audience, and her work should appeal both to the inter- 
est and affection of the people of Tennesese. A hard 
and sincere toiler among the women of her State, she 
has not hesitated to grapple with the problem of meet- 
ing life alone and fighting her way, a soldier's sword in 
one hand and a woman's pen in the other. She has 
kept fair and beautiful her gracious gift of womanhood 
and has been a ready and appreciative listener to other 
women toiling along the same rough road her own feet 
have followed. Through all hardships and struggles and 
doubts and adversities she has not failed to keep the 
lamp of love aglow in her forehead, as beautiful as a 
star upon a rugged night at sea. A glad coworker in 
all that pertains to the welfare of her sex, her State, 
and her country, she has been an inspiration to many 

The public owes a good deal to Mrs. Dorris. A 
cordial reception on the part of the public is due her 
story, "Preservation of the Hermitage," and the Ladies' 
Hermitage Association, which has accomplished the real 
work of rescuing from oblivion or worse than oblivion 
the most notable building of the State, the home of the 
most noted man Tennessee ever produced. For, had it 
not been for the Ladies' Hermitage Association, the 
historic homestead would without a doubt long ago 
have suffered the fate of other notable landmarks of 
Nashville. As a pioneer in this great work Mrs. Dorris 
is entitled to a royal reception for her book. It is a 
privilege to speak for it. Will Allen Dromgoole. 

February lo, 1915. 

Appendix. 219 

The following directors have had control of 
the Ladies' Hermitage Association since its or- 
ganization : 

Elected May 15, 1889.— Mrs. Mary L. Baxter, Re- 
gent; Mrs. A. S. Colyar, First Vice Regent; Mrs. J. M. 
Dickinson, Second Vice Regent; Mrs. Mary C. Dorris, 
Secretary ; L. F. Benson, Treasurer ; Mrs. William Mor- 
row, Mrs. John Ruhm, Mrs. Bettie M. Donelson. 

Elected May so, 189 1.— Mrs. Mary L. Baxter, Re- 
gent; Mrs. Albert S. Marks, First Vice Regent; Mrs. 
J. Berrien Lindsley, Second Vice Regent; Mrs. Mary 
C. Dorris, Secretary; Dr. William Morrow, Treasurer; 
Mrs. William Morrow, Mrs. John Ruhm, Mrs. Bettie 
M. Donelson, Mrs. John C. Gaut, Mrs. Maggie L. Hicks. 

Elected June 7, i^pj.— Mrs. Mary L. Baxter, Regent ; 
Mrs. Albert S. Marks, First Vice Regent; Mrs. J. 
Berrien Lindsley, Second Vice Regent; Mr. Edgar 
Jones, Treasurer ; Mrs. John Ruhm, Auditor ; Mrs. John 
C. Gaut, Mrs. Bettie M. Donelson, Mrs. Isabel M. Clark, 
Mrs. J. M. Dickinson. 

Elected October 30, i895.—Mrs. Mary L. Baxter, 
Regent; Mrs. Albert S. Marks, Acting Regent; Mrs. J. 
Berrien Lindsley, Secorid Vice Regent; Mrs. Mary C. 
Dorris, Secretary ; Mrs. P. H. Manlove, Treasurer ; Mrs. 
John Ruhm, Auditor; Mrs. Hugh Craighead, Mrs. Bet- 
tie M. Donelson, Mrs. John C. Gaut, Mrs. Isabel Clark. 

Elected May 19, 1^97.— Mrs. Mary L. Baxter, Re- 
gent; Mrs. Albert S. Marks, Acting Regent; Mrs. J. 
Berrien Lindsley, Second Vice Regent; Mrs. Mary C 
Dorris, Secretary; Mrs. P. H. Manlove, Treasurer; 
Mrs. R. G. Thome, Mrs. J. M. Dickinson, Mrs. M. S. 
Cockrill, Mrs. A. M. Shook, Mrs. John C. Gaut. 

Elected May 17, i^pp.— Mrs. J. Berrien Lindsley, 

220 Preservation of the Hermitage. 

Regent; Mrs. J. M. Dickinson, First Vice Regent; Mrs. 
Eugene C. Lewis, Second Vice Regent; Mrs. Mary C. 
Dorris, Secretary; Mrs. A. M. Shook, Treasurer; Mrs. 
R, G. Thorne, Mrs. M. S. Cockrill, Mrs. John C. Gaut, 
Mrs. J. C. Buntin. 

Elected May 15, /po/.— Mrs. J. Berrien Lindsley, Re* 
gent; Mrs. A. M. Shook, First Vice Regent; Mrs. M. S. 
Cockrill, Second Vice Regent; Mrs. Mary C. Dorris, 
Secretarj' ; Mrs. J. Walter Allen, Treasurer; Mrs. Wil- 
liam J. McMurray, Mrs. Thomas M. Steger, Mrs. John 
C. Gaut, Mrs. J. C. Buntin. 

Elected May 13, Jpoj.— Mrs. J. Berrien Lindsley, 
Regent; Mrs. A. M. Shook, First Vice Regent; Mrs. 
M. S. Cockrill, Second Vice Regent; Mrs. Mary C 
Dorris, Secretary; Mrs. J. Walter Allen, Treasurer; 
Mrs. John C. Gaut, Mrs. W. J. McMurray, Mrs. Thom- 
as M. Steger, Mrs. J. G Buntin. (Mrs. Lindsley ex- 
piring July 5, 1903, Mrs. A. M. Shook was elected Re- 
gent and Miss Louise G. Lindsley a director.) 

Elected May 17, J905.— Mrs. Ivlary C. Dorris, Regent ; 
Mrs. M. S. Cockrill, First Vice Regent; Miss Louise 
G. Lindsley, Second Vice Regent; Mrs. J. Walter Allen, 
Secretarj^; Mrs. P. H. Manlove, Treasurer; Mrs. W. J. 
McMurray, Mrs. Thomas M. Steger, Mrs. J. C Buntin, 
Mrs. A. M. Shook. 

Elected May 15, 1907. — Mrs. Mary C. Dorris, Re- 
gent; iMrs. J. Walter Allen, First Vice Regent; Mrs. A. 
M. Shook, Second Vice Regent; Mrs. Walter Allen, 
Secretary; Mrs. P. H. Manlove, Treasurer; Mrs. !M. S. 
Cockrill, Mrs. Thomas M. Steger, Mrs. B. F. Wilson, 
Mrs. Joseph W. Ford. 

Elected May 19, 1909. — Miss Louise G. Lindsley, Re- 
gent ; Mrs. J. Walter Allen, First Vice Regent ; Mrs. A. 
M. Shook, Second Vice Regent; Mrs. Mary C. Dorris, 

'Appendix. 221 

Secretary; Mrs. P. H. Manlove, Treasurer; Mrs. M. S. 
Cockrill, iMrs. Cleves Symmes, Mrs. B. F. Wilson, Mrs. 
Joseph M. Ford. (Mrs. M. S. Cockrill expired in 1910, 
and Mrs. D. Shelby Williams was elected director.) 

Elected May J/, ipii.— Miss Louise G. Lindsley, Re- 
gent; Mrs. J. Walter Allen, First Vice Regent; Mrs. 
B. F.' Wilson, Second Vice Regent; Mrs. Mary C Dor- 
ris, Secretary-; Mrs. P. H. Manlove, Treasurer; Mrs. 
J. Cleves Symmes, ^Irs. John C. Brown, Mrs. A. M. 
Shook, Mrs. James H. Campbell. 

Elected May 21, 191 3.— Urs. B. F. Wilson, Regent; 
Miss Louise G. Lindsley, First Vice Regent; Mrs. A. 
M. Shook, Second Vice Regent; Mrs. Mary C. Dorris, 
Secretary; Mrs. P. H. Manlove, Treasurer; Miss Car- 
rie Sims, Mrs. R. A. Henry, Mrs. Bettie M. Donelson, 
Mrs. Maggie L. Hicks. 

The following gentlemen have served on the 
Board of Trustees: 

Ex-Gov. John C Brown;* L. F. Benson;* Ex-Gov. 
James D. Porter;* Dr. D. F. Porter,* Memphis; Hon. 
Julian A. Trousdale;* Hon. E. S. Mallory,* Jackson; 
Gen. John A. Fite, Lebanon; Hon. A. C. Floyd, Chat- 
tanooga; Judge H. H. Ingersoll, Knoxville; Gen. W. 
H. Jackson;* W. R. French;* Dr. J. Berrien Linds- 
ley;* Gen. John F. Wheless;* Judge J. M. Dickinson; 
Dr. Thomas A. Atchison;* Hon. James M. Head; Nat 
Baxter, Jr.;* Gen. G. P. Thruston;* Gen. J. W. Lewis, 
Paris; Percy Warner; Col. A. M. Shook; Hon. John 
W. Gaines; John M. Gray, Jr.; Ex-Senator James B. 
Frazier, Chattanooga; Hon. Sam G. Heiskell, Knox- 
ville; Lewis R. Donelson, Memphis.