The Hermitage on the Brink of Ruin, 1865-1889:
The death of Andrew Jackson Junior, Samuel Jackson, and the emancipation of the enslaved community left Andrew Jackson's daughter-in-law, Sarah, and her remaining son, Andrew III, to run The Hermitage in radically changed circumstances. The Jacksons moved to subsistence agriculture carried out by tenant farmers and hired help. They grew very little cotton and eventually abandoned it completely, as did nearly all of their neighbors. The Jacksons ventured into dairy cows and sold butter to supplement their income. The farm and the mansion deteriorated. Although the state of Tennessee still owned the farm, the state apparently interfered little in operations until the 1880s, when the legislature began to take a new interest and filed a number of reports. In 1883, the state had an iron fence built around Jackson's tomb. Andrew Jackson III married a schoolteacher, Amy Rich, and they had two sons, Andrew IV and Albert. Sarah's sister Marion died in 1877 and in 1887 Sarah Jackson died.
The Tennessee General Assembly took a special interest in the preservation of Andrew and Rachel Jackson's Tomb. In 1883, the Assembly had an iron fence installed to protect the tomb. The Assembly also recommended that the tomb's roof be repaired, but never allocated any funds for the work.
"We report the house in bad condition, the roof leaky and out of repair, the woodwork being in a decaying condition. Mortar had dropped out of the chimneys, rendering them liable to fall." -- Tennessee Legislative Journal, February 26, 1883