The Haunting of Andrew Jackson’s “The Hermitage”

The Hermitage –Davidson County, Nashville, Tennessee

Photograph ©Southern Travel News

4580 Rachel’s Lane
Nashville, Tennessee 37076
(615) 889-2941

Built in 1819 by our former president, Andrew Jackson, The Hermitage now stands as a museum in honor of Old Hickory and a lifestyle that died with the ending of the Civil War. The Hermitage sits on a 1,120-acre estate, where tourists can also enjoy the Andrew Jackson Visitors Center, a theatre and café.

During Jackson’s lifetime, he shared this beautiful home with his wife, Rachel. Apparently Rachel was unable to conceive an heir for Andrew but this was an obstacle overcome by adoption and the happy couple became parents to Rachel’s orphaned nephew, naming him Andrew Jackson, Jr. Over the years the couple adopted many children and carried on as any typical family would until the year of 1825.

During 1825 Rachel began to suffer from medical problems; her condition worsening in 1828 while her husband was running for another term as president. On December 22, 1828, Rachel passed away, leaving her husband and family behind. Rachel Jackson was buried in the family cemetery in The Hermitage garden.

In 1845, at the age of 78, Old Hickory died of chronic tuberculosis, “dropsy” and heart failure. President Jackson’s body was then buried beside his beloved wife.

After President Jackson’s death, Andrew Jr. took over the estate. Andrew Jr. devoted his time and money in the ironworks and the lead mine, which turned out to be a poor choice of investments. In 1856, after selling off portions of the land for money, Andrew Jr. sold nearly all of the estate, including the house, to the state of Tennessee for $48,000.

After the state purchased the land, it was determined that there was not enough money in the budget to put it to use and the state of Tennessee allowed the Jackson family to stay on in the mansion as tenants.

Two years later, Andrew Jr. decided to sell what remained of the land and then moved his family to Mississippi to a cotton plantation. Unfortunately this business failed as well and the family was forced to move back to The Hermitage. All of these family members were eventually buried in the family cemetery in the garden.

In 1887 the state legislature transferred the title of the estate to the Ladies Hermitage Association. The house underwent very few changes over the century that followed.

In 1996 the Ladies Hermitage Association completed a $2.5 million restoration project on the house. Great pains were taken to ensure that the home was authentic; from the restoration of the original French wallpaper to the purchase of furniture originally owned by President Jackson himself!

It is believed that the last two people who worked for the Jackson family were aware of strange happenings in the house. These two individuals would faithfully work during the daylight hours, however, they refused to sleep overnight on the premises.

Early members of the Ladies Hermitage Association learned their lesson the hard way when they decided to sleep over to protect the house from thieves and vandals, until a night watchman could be hired.

Several members of the association were awakened in the middle of the night by the sounds of a horse’s hooves on the main stairs! These women later presented that they heard the voice of Andrew Jackson himself ordering them to wake up and fix his (badly decaying) home!

These same women also reported hearing the sounds of chains being clattered and dragged across the front porch of the house, as well as, quite a bit of noise coming from the kitchen. The following morning, the ladies association investigated the kitchen and front porch and found nothing out of place and all of the windows and doors were still locked, as they were the evening before.

After the restoration of the home, no known reports of Jackson’s apparition have been made, however, others have claimed to hear unexplainable noises and voices inside and outside of the house. Some have even claimed to see the apparitions of former slaves upon the balcony that sits outside of President Jackson’s former bedroom.

It is conceivable that the Jackson family is happy with the restoration of their family home and they can finally rest peacefully in the garden cemetery. The former slaves however, are thought to still walk the halls and the grounds of this beautiful mansion today.