From Africa to America
People of Color South
In Old
Tennessee

Genealogical History of the Slaves of President Andrew Jackson
of Hermitage, Tennessee (1840-1877)
BySandra G. Craighead
© 1998

     Few slaves of ex-presidents have generated the kind of attention genealogists and historians displayed several years ago debating the true relationship between President Thomas Jefferson and his slave, Sally Hemings, and her mulatto children. Alas, my reasons for researching and writing about President Jackson's slaves are strictly to satisfy my own curiosity and do not fall within the category of "tell all" journalism so popular in the print media today. As an African-American who is researching her own heritage, part of it rooted in slavery in Tennessee, I can attest to the difficulties and frustrations which lay ahead for those Jackson slave descendants and relations who struggle to uncover their roots. It is my sincere hope that this article will aid them in their task.
     I first became aware of the original manuscripts from the Andrew Jackson Estate when perusing the Index to the Manuscript Collection at Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio where I hibernate every Saturday. In my preparation of a bibliography of African-American resources at Western Reserve, it required that I review those manuscripts under the following headings: "African", "Afro-American", "Negro", "Colored", "Black", "Mulatto", "slavery", "bills of sale", "manumissions" and "plantations. To my great surprise, the last entry described MSS 1880, entitled Andrew Jackson, II Account Books 1845-1877 and MS-2067, James M. Parker Daybook 1840-1841. I immediately began an investigation of how the papers of a Tennessee native son, a president no less, came to be in the possession of a "Yankee" institution. According to Western Reserve's Library Director, Mr. Kermit Pike, the items were bought by one of the Society's trustees, Otto H. Miller, at a 1927 auction held by the American Art Galleries in New York City at the request of one of President Jackson's heirs and descendants, Andrew Jackson IV. (Andrew the IV's father was adopted by the President, who did not have any children of his own). In total, the books sold for $72.50.
     These manuscripts document the Jacksons as slaves, and later as freedmen, through various lists which state their names, ages, occupations and marital status (some giving marriage dates). From the largest book, it is revealed that Jackson often sent his Tennessee slaves back and forth to labor on his other plantation in Mississippi (note #1). Most importantly, however, are the lists of whole family units: husband and wife's names and the names of their children (some with birth and death dates). Because there exists a dearth of existing plantation records which reveal slave genealogy in Tennessee, and especially Davidson County, these manuscripts are unique.
     It was noted in the front of the Daybook that Parker was an overseer Andrew Jackson hired to work at his plantation, The Hermitage, in November of 1840. Through mere notes such as a simple inventory of plantation disbursements, we learn in the Daybook that Parker received $20 for tracking and returning a runaway to the plantation. Here, we realize that regardless of how well President Jackson is said to have treated his slaves, not everybody was happy to be a part of the Jackson family. The following is a transcription from the James M. Parker Daybook 1840-1841:

Men

Squire, forman
Ben, ginner
Byron
Aaron, blacksmith
Ned Davis (Note #2)
Henry, Carpenter
Smith
Moses, cattle foder
Alfred, waggoner
Jim
Old Tom
Campbell
Moses
Daniel
William
Ruben
Dick
 
 

Women

Gincey, spinner on machine
Creasy, weaver
E. Eliza, spinner on machine
C. Sally, weaver at times
Grace
Adaline
Maria
Eady
Dicy
Malinda
Charlotte
Martha
Nan
Florida
Sarah
Sally
Jane
Anny, milker
Mary
Old Charlotte
Molly
Mary, cook
Old Priss
Gracey's Priss
 
 

Boys

Washington
Juda
Canser
Orange
Ned
Harry
George
Peter
Old Marty
George
John
 
 

The following lists were transcribed, with identical remarks, from the Andrew Jackson, II Accounts Books (1845-1877):

Men at Hermitage - September 1846

Byron (went to Miss) (Note #3)
Polidore (sent to Miss 8th of Dec, 1846 married to Sally in)
Phil - do
John - do
Moses
Dick - in Miss
Harry
Orange
Moses
William
Daniels
Tom
Peter
Smith
Jim
Charles
Ben
Washington
Alfred
Ned
Aron
Cancer - in Miss
Ned
Squire
Henry - in Miss, married to Adeline -sold
George
Dick
John
Campbell
George
 
 

Women at the Hermitage - September 1846

Penny
Eliza - married
Adaline - married to Henry in Miss
Grace - married to S. Donelson (Note #4)
Sally - married to Polidore - went to Miss 12/8/1846
Prissy - in Miss
Sarah - married to Sampson
Old Prissy
Nan married to Peter
Maria - married to Moses
Mary
Gincey married to Squire
Amanthus
Pleasant -died in 1847
C. Sally - married to Ben
Sincy - married to Phil - gone to Miss 8.1846
Florida - married
Sally married to Dick
Jane married
Charlotte married to Charles
Creasey married to Ben
Anny married to John
Charlotter married
Edy married
Dicy in Miss
Malinda - died 1849
Molly - married to Tom, died 1846
Mary married to Daniel in 8/1846
Old Nancy died 1849
Old Hannah
Gracy married to Alfred
Lousia married to Smith
Rachel married to John F.
Nancy married to Byron in September 1846
Betty married to Ned
Hannah married to Aron
 
 

One of the pages notes, "Mr. Jackson left for Mississippi plantation on December 1846. Took Polidore and Polly also their children Lizzy, Phil, Sincy, John, Richard, Thornton, and Peggy," (Note #5).

The following pages are an inventory of slaves in family units. It appears that information was added periodically to update the lists:
 
 

Eliza's Children

George
Stephen
Daniels
Creasy
James
 
 

Adeline's Children

Margarette
Marion
Polidore (dead)
 
 

Sally's Children

Adeline (married)
Phil (married)
Toney dead in Miss
Prissey
John (Miss 12/8/48)
Lizzy (Miss - dead)
Richard (Miss- dead)
Thornton (Miss - dead)
Peggy (Miss -dead)
Baby
 
 

Grace's Children

Silvia married in Miss
Frankey do
Allen in Miss
Dick in Miss
Harry
 
 

Marie's Children

John
Albert Alsbury Dec. 17, 1846
Mary Indianna March 1849
 
 

Sarah's Children

Sampson
Coeff
Orange
Cornelia
Julia
William
Andrew
 
 

Little Sally's Children

Siney married in Miss
Jenny
Milly
Leander
Shadrach
Simon
Kutchina
Julius
Baby
 
 

Gincey's Children

Morgan in Miss
Amanthus
Cancer
George
Smith
Jim
Hannah
Matilda
Molly
Squire born Oct. 26, 1866
Tom born Oct. 1849
 
 

Dick and Sally's Children

Nam married
Florida
Jim
Kitty
Letty
 
 

Florida's Children

Rinda
Parry - March 1849
 
 

Charlotte's Children

Matilda born Dec. 26, 1845
 
 

Jane's Children

Beatrice
Aggy
Jessy
 
 

Edy's Children

Kitty
Anaca
Jack born Feb. 7, 1847
 
 

Creasey's Children

Sally married
Edy married
Decey in Miss
Julius in Miss
Malinda
Washington
 
 

Louisa's Children

Joseph
Rubin
Harriet
 
 

Gracy's Children

Augusus
Sarah
 
 

Hannah's Children

Byron
Rachel married in Miss
Charlotte married
Moses married
Mary married
Ned
Abraham
Martha
Margaret Ellen
George, born Aug. 9, 1845
 
 

Rachel's Children

Nancy
William
Nelly
John
 
 

Big Sally's Prissy

Johannah born Dec. 2, 1846
 
 

Anny's Children

Randal
Peter
Esaw born March 1847
Phily
 
 

Hannah's Jan. 7, 1855

Maria
Lizzy
Dick
Ben
Louisa
baby
 
 

Creasy and Argyle

Eliza
Lucinda
Louis
 
 

Ole' Prissy

Orange (married to Grace with kids: Andrew, Sarah, Medora)
Silvia
Julia
Cornelia (married to Henry with kids: Elquina, Lizzy, Baby)
Sarah
Sampson
 
 

Dick and Sally

Letty
Nan (married to Peter with kids: Maryann, Sammy, Peter)
Florida
Rindy
Matilda
 
 

Charles and Charlotte

Jane (married to Davy with kids: Aggy, Jessy, Elzina, Charles, Indiana)
Beatrice
Maria
Albert
Moses
 
 

Polidore and Sally

Augustine
Tennessee
Prissy
Johannah
Catherine
Saul
Sally
Richard
Thornton
John
 
 

Squire and Gincy

Buck
Molly
Tommy
Amanthus
Alexander
Cancer
Smith
Hannah
Matilda
Jim
 
 

Ben and Creasey

Sally
Julius
Kutchina
Rose
Edy
Analy
Bucker
Washington
Isaac
Dicy (married to Will, their kids: Creasy, Jack, baby)
Leanner
Lenny
Philip
Simon
 
 

Aron

Rachel
Matilda
Martha
Margaret Ellen
Taby
 
 

Betsy

Samantha
Amanda
Rachel
Candis
Tom
Will
Daniel
O. Hannah
Betty
George
Penny
Minor
 
 

     It is revealed that Jackson's overseer in Mississippi, Mr. Tanner, sent for additional hands and they arrived safely on April 20, 1849, only to die the next month from a cholera epidemic. The following Tennessee slaves died in Mississippi: Polly and her baby
Samuel and two children
Essex
Littleton
Nathan
Toney
Sam
King
Peggy (Polidore's child)
Tom Franklin (Note #6)
Nancy and Jack (Argyles children)
Child of Adaline
child of Silvia
 
 

     Without explanation given (but it can be assumed that these were survivors of the epidemic who were being allowed to travel northward) it is written that "Mr. Jackson removed the following named negroes to Kentucky on the 8th of April, 1850":
Jacob
Cancer
Moses
Dody
Isaac
Ned
Allen
Orange
Dick
Argyle
Rubin
Will
Jim
Will
Jim
Aggy
Morgan
Maria
Campbell
 
 

     Andrew Jackson, Sr.'s Will, recorded in October of 1845, in Davidson County, Tennessee Will Book 13, p. 291, further confirms some of Jackson's slaves' genealogy:

 "I give and bequeath to my beloved grandson, Andrew Jackson, son of A. Jackson, Jr., and Sarah his wife, a negro boy named Ned, son of blacksmith Aaron and Hannah, his wife, to him and his heirs forever. Fifth, I give and bequeath to my beloved little grandson Samuel Jackson, son of A. Jackson, Jr., and his much beloved wife Sarah, one negro boy named Davy or George, son of Squire and his wife Gincy, to him and his heirs forever. . . . to my beloved and affectionate daughter Sarah Jackson, wife of my adopted well beloved son, A. Jackson, Jr., I hereby recognize by this bequeath the gift I made her on her marriage of the negro girl, Gracy, which I bought her for her and gave her to my daughter Sarah, as her maid and seamstress with her increase, with my house servant Hannah, and her two daughters, namely Charlotte and Mary, to her and her heirs forever."

      The latter portion of the manuscript dated 1865 through 1877 contains voluminuous receipts for various types of transactions, including purchases for household goods and payment of wages for domestic services and farm laborers. A dozen first names of blacks were repeated year after year, but never referenced with a surname. All of these first names appeared on the slave lists, but we cannot assume that the persons they represent are one and the same without further documentation. For substantiation, the 1870 Federal Census for Davidson County and Early Middle Tennessee Marriages were reviewed for African-Americans with the surname "Jackson." Some of the same names noted in the manuscript were found and it is suggested that follow up research from these and other sources available at the Tennessee State Archives and Library be consulted by any descendant wishing to further their knowledge of Jackson slave genealogy.

NOTES
1. Andrew Jackson's plantation in Mississippi was located in Holmes County. See 1840 Federal Census of Holmes County, Mississippi, p. 267. On this census, the Jackson planation was home to 30 slaves.

 2. This man is one of only three slaves owned by the Jacksons who is revealed to have a surname. This reference could lead to the discovery of Ned's previous owner or the owner of his parents or grandparents.

 3. "Miss" refers to the Jackson plantation in Holmes County, Mississippi.

 4. This slave is the second one in the collection referenced as having a surname and interestingly enough, it is that of Andrew Jackson's wife Rachel's maiden name, Donelson. She or her parents possibly owned this male slave before her marriage to Andrew to 1794. Research of Donelson family papers may reveal more about "S. Donelson."

 5. Notations to a "Mr. Jackson" after 1845 refer to the deceased former president's heir, adopted son Andrew Jackson, who sometimes was referred to as Andrew Jackson, Jr.

 6. This man is the third and last slave to be referenced anywhere in the Jackson papers with a surname. He probably is the same Tom referenced as "Old Tom" in the Parker Daybook and the Tom noted on the page titled "Women of the Hermitage" which states that "Molly - married Tom, died 1846."
 
 


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