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Hard Times at The Hermitage, 1845-1865:
After Jackson's death, national economic forces as well as Andrew Jackson Junior's own business mistakes led to financial problems. In addition, Andrew Junior, unlike his father, never had a salary from government positions to add to the family's income. By 1856, the situation had become untenable. Andrew Junior sold the portion of The Hermitage containing the mansion to the state of Tennessee, as his father had wished. The state offered it as a southern branch of the United States Military Academy, but Congress turned it down. He sold the remaining acreage to private owners.
Andrew Jackson's adopted son tried to live up to his father's standards but never met with success. He tried lead mining and iron smelting in Kentucky as well as farming cotton in Mississippi and Louisiana. Accidents, natural disasters, and overwhelming debt brought failure in every venture.
"We offer for sale... the remaining half of 1,000 acres of the Hermitage tract, situated about 12 miles from Nashville, near the Lebanon Pike, about 200 acres finely timbered. Several fine springs, good cotton gin, overseer's house, saw mill, four double brick negro cabins, blacksmith and carpenter's shops &c. All persons wishing to buy one of the choicest farms in the State, should by all means examine the above before purchasing..." -- Nashville Union & American, June 28, 1856
Andrew Junior purchased a plantation on the Gulf Coast and he and Sarah moved there. In 1860, he sold it and bought a plantation in Delhi, Louisiana but with the Civil War looming, he leased the Hermitage mansion and farm from the state and moved back to Tennessee. The number of slaves at The Hermitage, already diminished by a cholera epidemic, sales made for business reasons, and the movement of some to Louisiana, grew even smaller as slaves freed themselves during the war simply by leaving. Just a few days after the surrender at Appomattox, Andrew Jackson Junior sustained injuries in a hunting accident and died of tetanus.
Andrew Jackson III (1834-1906) graduated from West Point and served in the U.S. Army until resigning his commission to join the Confederate Army at the start of the Civil War. An artillery colonel, Jackson III was taken prisoner at the siege of Vicksburg in 1863 and not freed until after the Civil War's conclusion.
"Little" Rachel Jackson (1832-1923) attended boarding school in Virginia during the late 1840s. She married Dr. John Lawrence in 1853 and moved to a nearby farm named Birdsong. Rachel and John had nine children.
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