The Hermitage, Home of President Andrew Jackson has a series of Sunday summer treats for those who've wished they could step back in time and witness history with their own eyes. For the third year, Sundays Live! living history programs at The Hermitage will be presented by Myers Brown, Curator of Extension Services for the Tennessee State Museum. These costumed programs discussing significant events during the lifetime and influence of Andrew Jackson will be ongoing from 1:30-4:30pm in and around the backyard of The Hermitage mansion. Programs are free with the purchase of regular admission.
June 27: "Regulars by God: The US Army and the War of 1812" - Based on a quote from a British officer who wrongfully assumed the US army he faced to be no more than a simple militia, this program depicts the life of an early American soldier - what he ate, what he earned, and how he fought.
Summer Camps at The Hermitage
One down, one to go! The Hermitage is pleased to offer "Camp Citizenship" (July 19-23). Space is still available - head over to the Education page or call 615.889.2941, ext 243 for details!
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The Hermitage is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from April 1 - October 15, and 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p. m. from October 16 - March 31. The Hermitage is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the third week in January.
Students (13-18) $11.00
Children (6-12) $ 7.00
Children (5 & under) Free
Family Pass $45.00
(2 Adults and 2 Children; Each Additional
Slavery by Wagon Tour $10.00 (with paid admission)
Groups of 15 or more adults/seniors $12.00
Groups of 15 or more high school/college students $8.00
Groups of 15 or more students thru 8th grade $5.00
Active military: Free w/ID
The Hermitage is located 12 miles east of downtown Nashville and is accessible from Interstate 40, exit 221A (The Hermitage exit). From I-65 North the Hermitage is accessible from exit 92, (Old Hickory Boulevard South exit).
Get more detailed driving directions from MapQuest .
The Jacksons' Tomb When you arrive ample free parking is available in the lot adjacent to the Andrew Jackson Visitor Center, with a separate lot for buses, motor coaches, and RVs. All tours of The Hermitage begin at the Andrew Jackson Visitor Center. Be sure to allow at least two hours to enjoy the full tour.
Please note that you are not permitted to use cameras or video recorders in The Hermitage mansion. However, they are permitted elsewhere on the property. Food and drink are not permitted in the Hermitage mansion or in the Center, except for sealed water bottles. For your safety and security, all backpacks, camera bags, and large bags must remain in your vehicle. Any items worn or carried are subject to search. Pets are not permitted anywhere on the historic grounds of The Hermitage.
The Hermitage welcomes special needs visitors. For visitors needing just a little extra help, The Hermitage has a golf cart available to transport visitors from the Andrew Jackson Center to the Hermitage mansion. Wheelchairs are available for those unable to walk around the grounds. The Andrew Jackson Visitor Center, with the introductory film, exhibit gallery, gift shop, and the Garden Gate Cafe is completely accessible. Hermitage pathways are smooth asphalt and there is a ramped entrance to the garden. The Hermitage mansion is accessible on the first floor and a photographic tour of the second floor is available for our visitors unable to climb stairs. Motorized and non-motorized wheelchairs are welcome in the mansion; however, the size of the interior spaces prevents the use of motorized scooter chairs in the mansion. If necessary, visitors can transfer to a wheelchair provided by The Hermitage for their mansion visit. Assistance animals are always welcome. Printed mansion and film scripts are available for those with hearing problems.
For visitors who do not speak English, The Hermitage has printed translations of the Hermitage mansion tour in Spanish, German, French, Russian, and Japanese. The Hermitage welcomes foreign language interpreters.
The Andrew Jackson Visitor Center
At the Andrew Jackson Visitor Center, you purchase your tickets and can watch a fifteen minute introductory film on Andrew Jackson and The Hermitage. While at the Center be sure to view the exhibits on Jackson and The Hermitage and explore the gallery's changing exhibits. The Hermitage Museum Store and Garden Gate Cafe' are also located in the Center. Leaving the Center you will walk about 300 yards to the Hermitage mansion. Feel free to return to the Center at any time to investigate the exhibits, shop in the Museum Store, or enjoy a southern style meal at Garden Gate Cafe' at The Hermitage.
The Hermitage Mansion The Hermitage Parlors The Hermitage mansion has been meticulously restored to its 1837 appearance and today looks much as it did when Andrew Jackson returned to it after finishing his second term as President. After the home was damaged by fire in 1834, Jackson had it remodeled in the Greek Revival style. Today, six wallpapers installed after the fire still hang on the walls and the majority of the furniture in the home was purchased by the Jackson family to replace pieces damaged in the fire. Personal objects, like Jackson's swords and books, also adorn the home along with the Jackson family's collection of portraits.
When you arrive at the Hermitage mansion costumed historical interpreters greet you and prepare you for your tour. Inside historical interpreters stationed throughout the house tell you about Jackson, his family, and his home and answer any questions you have. On average, the Hermitage mansion tour lasts twenty minutes.
The Hermitage Grounds
Self-guided tours of The Hermitage grounds have much to offer including the Hermitage garden, Jackson's tomb, and the Beyond the Mansion tour of sites related to slavery, farming, and nature at The Hermitage. All paths are well marked with directional and interpretive signage. Visitors are also welcome to drive approximately one-half mile to the Hermitage Church and Tulip Grove mansion. These two buildings are currently available for exterior viewing only (click to learn more about Tulip Grove or the Hermitage Church). If you have any questions about the grounds please ask our helpful staff.
Audio Tours (included in the general admission price)
Included in the general admission rates, is our popular Audio Tour which brings the Jackson's plantation to life for guests of all ages. The audio tour interprets over 40 sites throughout the large property in order to better understand Andrew Jackson and his extraordinary impact on American history, Jackson's farm and garden, the lives of slaves, museum exhibits, and many historic sites.
Guests can choose between the Adult tour and the Children's tour , led by Jackson's pet parrot, an African Grey named “Poll.” Both tours are also available in Spanish . All tours feature special sound effects, professional narration, period quotes, and music. The Audio Tour supplements the traditional Hermitage mansion tour led by our popular costumed interpreters.
There is no additional charge for the Audio Tour.
The Hermitage by Wagon (Additional Fee)
From April through October, The Hermitage by Wagon offers visitors a look into The Hermitage's past from a truly unique perspective. This half-hour tour of the Hermitage grounds by horse-drawn wagon takes visitors to the First Hermitage where Jackson lived from 1804 to 1821, to the site of the Cotton Gin and Press, to the Field Quarter, and to several archaeological sites associated with slavery and farming. As the tour winds it way across The Hermitage, the wagon driver will relate to the riders what life was like on this 1000 acre cotton plantation for Andrew Jackson, his family, and his slaves. Tickets for The Hermitage by Wagon can be purchased at The Hermitage Ticket Office and cost $10 per person (with regular admission) with children age 5 and under riding for free. Groups can purchase tickets in advance, but please note that the wagon can only accommodate 14 people per trip.
For more information contact:
Home of President Andrew Jackson
4580 Rachel's Lane
Nashville, TN 37076
P 615-889-2941, ext. 220
E-Mail Visitor Services
British attacks the Waxhaws From 1778 to 1781, the American Revolutionary War raged in the Carolinas. The war had a devastating impact on Jackson's life. When he was thirteen, Jackson and his brothers joined the patriotic cause and volunteered to fight the British. His oldest brother Hugh died of heat stroke following the Battle of Stono Ferry in 1779. The following year, Jackson saw battlefield action in the Battle of Hanging Rock. In 1781, Jackson and his brother Robert were captured. After their capture, a British officer slashed Jackson with his sword because he refused to polish his boots. He and his brother Robert were taken prisoner-of-war and both contracted smallpox in prison. Jackson's mother arranged for their release in a prisoner exchange. Jackson eventually recovered, however, his brother died. After he recovered, his mother traveled to Charleston to aid the war effort by nursing injured and sick soldiers. She contracted cholera and died. By war's end, Jackson was an orphan.
Born to poor Irish immigrants on March 15, 1767, near Camden, South Carolina, no one could have possibly written the story that would become Andrew Jackson's life. Two years earlier, his parents, Andrew and Elizabeth, and two older brothers, Hugh and Robert, had emigrated from northern Ireland. Jackson was named after his father who had died shortly before he was born. Jackson spent his early life in the Waxhaw settlement located near the North and South Carolina border. Raised by his widowed mother, Jackson grew up with a large extended family--aunts, uncles, and cousins— who were also Irish immigrant farmers. As a youth, Jackson attended a good school and his mother had hopes of him becoming a Presbyterian minister. However, young Jackson's propensity for pranks, cursing, and fighting quickly dashed those hopes.
After the war, Jackson briefly resided with members of his mother's family, but soon went to Charleston and embarked upon a campaign of youthful adventure and mischief. When his money ran out, Jackson finished school and although he disdained studying, he even worked as a schoolteacher for a short period. Tall and lanky with red hair and piercing blue eyes, Jackson was known for his fiery temper, fearlessness, playful personality, and daring spirit.
Jackson refuses British commands At age seventeen, Jackson made the decision to become an attorney. He moved to Salisbury, North Carolina, where he studied law by apprenticing with prominent lawyers. In 1787, after three years of studying law, Jackson received his license to practice law in several counties scattered through the North Carolina piedmont. To supplement his income, he also worked in small-town general stores. While living in North Carolina, Jackson gained a reputation for being charismatic, wild, and ambitious. He loved to dance, entertain, gamble, and spent much of his free time with friends in taverns.
Soon after Jackson celebrated his twenty-first birthday, the North Carolina legislature elected John McNairy, whom Jackson studied law with, Superior Court Judge of its “Western District,” which stretched from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River, and McNairy appointed Jackson public prosecutor. In 1788, Jackson followed the Wilderness Road across the rugged mountains to Jonesborough. Jackson practiced law in Jonesborough and Greeneville. He boarded in a log farmhouse outside Jonesborough where he trained racehorses. Jackson purchased his first African-American slave, a woman named Nancy, in 1788 while in Jonesborogh.
Little written documentation exists about slave life at The Hermitage. What we know about their daily lives has been retrieved through years of archaeological research at their dwellings and at their work sites.
The Hermitage was a 1,050 acre self-sufficient farm. The slaves performed the hard labor on this farm and as it grew so too did the slave population. In 1804 Jackson owned 9 slaves, by 1829 over 100, and at the time of his death in 1845 approximately 150 slaves lived and worked on the property.
A Gun Lock Found Near a Hermitage Slave Dwelling. Slaves were housed in three different locations on the property. They lived in ìfamily unitsî in small 20 foot square cabins with one floor, one door, one window, a fireplace, and a small loft. Our work, in and around these cabins has informed us about aspects of their lives where they had some measure of control and choice.
Coin Found Near Slave Dwelling Domestic and wild animal and fish bone suggest that the slaves hunted and fished for themselves in addition to the provisions supplied by the Jacksons. Guns, knives, and fishing tools excavated from slave dwellings add to this understanding. The presence of coins combined with documents that indicate payment to certain slaves provide proof that they had money and therefore access to cash markets. They accumulated numerous possessions and probably traded with a local network of slaves from other plantations. Within each cabin we have excavated root cellars which all vary in their size and construction. Their presence in the standardized housing indicates that they were built by the slaves and may have been used to store food, their possessions, and possibly items that they wanted to hide from the Jacksons.
In this runaway notice Jackson offers a $50 reward for the capture of one of his slaves. He also offers a $10 bonus for every hundred lashes the slave is given up to 300 lashes. Although the slaves had some material possessions and lived in what would be considered larger than average slave dwellings, they were none-the-less unfree. While Jackson cared for his slaves as evidenced by adequate food, housing, and the ability of the slave women to reproduce, slavery was a brutal and cruel system. When Jackson felt offenses were severe, he did permit slaves to be whipped and did post runaway notices.
Slave Families at the Hermitage
Hannah Jackson, c. 1880 Andrew Jackson purchased six year old Aaron in 1791. He purchased Hannah, born about 1794, when she was between eight and twelve. Hannah was Rachel Jacksonís personal companion and later became head of the house servants. Aaron trained as a blacksmith, a very important position on the plantation. They married about 1820 and had ten children (Byron, Rachel, Charlotte, Moses, Mary, Martha, Abraham, Ned, Margaret Ellen, and George Washington) all of whom lived to adulthood. Hannah was present at the death of both Rachel and Andrew Jackson.
Research into the lives of the enslaved at The Hermitage has been under way for the past two decades, but much work remains. What follows are brief histories of three Hermitage slave families.
Hannah and Aaron Jackson
This c. 1867 photo may be of Betty and her great-grandchildren. When Andrew Jackson Junior and his wife Sarah briefly moved to Mississippi in between 1858 and 1860, they entrusted care of The Hermitage to Hannah and Aaron. Hannah showed Jacksonís biographer, James Parton, around when he came in 1859 to do research. During the Civil War, Hannah and her daughter Martha left The Hermitage to move to Nashville, even though the slaves had not yet been freed. In Nashville Hannah worked as a midwife and Aaron as a huckster. Aaron died in 1878 and Hannah about 1895.
Old Hannahís Family
Betty's son Alfred sitting by the Hermitage South Portico, c. 1890. Andrew Jackson bought Old Hannah (1770- 1846) and her daughter Betty (1793-1870) in 1794. Later Hannah had two more children, Squire (b. 1799) and George (b. 1800). This family held several important positions at The Hermitage. Old Hannah was originally the cook, a position Betty inherited. George was Jacksonís personal servant and later the family carriage driver. Squire Hayes (the name he took in emancipation) also served as Jacksonís personal servant and later ran the cotton press to bale the ginned cotton. Operating the cotton press and its fragile cast iron screw was a position of trust and Jackson specifically wanted Squire to operate it. Squire also played the fiddle and provided music for parties.
Bettyís son Alfred assisted with the horses, maintained the wagons and the farm equipment, and after emancipation was a tenant farmer on The Hermitage. He lived at The Hermitage longer than anyone, white or black, and worked as a handyman and tour guide for the Ladiesí Hermitage Association when the house opened as a museum. He died in 1901 and his funeral was held in the center hall of the mansion. Alfred is buried in the Hermitage garden, near Jacksonís tomb.
Georgeís wife Amanthus lived on another plantation and we know nothing about their children. In the late 1840ís, Amanthusís owner moved to Memphis and the Jacksons hired George out to a Donelson relative there so he could be near her. Squire Hayes and his wife Gincy (b. 1811), a weaver, had at least fourteen children (Morgan, Betty, Amanthus, Alexander, Buck, Hannah, Jim, Matilda, Cancer, George/Davy, Smith, Molly, Squire, Tom). Squire and Gincy lived in the Hermitage neighborhood after emancipation.
Old Nancyís Family
While Andrew Jackson was president, he purchased several slaves from a Colonel Hebb in the Washington area. An early history of the LHA states that one of the family was a free woman named Nellie Richards who worked at the White House and asked Jackson to buy her mother and siblings. Nancy (before 1790-1849) had three other daughters, Gracy (1810-1887), Louisa (about 1816-1888), and Rachel (about 1816- 1868) and a son Peter Ferguson (1820-1885).
Gracy Bradley, the plantation seamstress, was the personal servant of Sarah Yorke Jackson. She married Bettyís son Alfred Jackson and had two children, Sarah and Augustus. Louisa was the nurse for Andrew Jackson Juniorís children. She married Smith Williams, a farm worker who cared for livestock. They had three children, Joseph, Ruben, and Harriet. Rachel, who had one child, Nancy, when Jackson bought the family, worked in the mansion and married John Fulton a trusted servant who worked as butler for both Andrew Jackson Donelson and Andrew Jackson Jr. They had three more children, Billy, Nellie, and Johnney. This is only a small part of the history of the slave community at The Hermitage. Andrew Jackson encouraged stable families. Family-based slave communities proved easier to discipline and control. In turn, the multiple generations and extensive kin ties within the community provided structure and strong connections for those who lived as Jacksonís slaves.
On January 5, 1829, a list of Hermitage slaves was made by the overseer. Ninety-five slaves were recorded. Andrew Jackson purchased his first slave in 1794. Over the next sixty-six years the Jackson Family would own over 300 slaves, with about 150 being the most they ever owned at one time. View the complete list of slaves known to have been owned by the Jackson Family. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the file.
Click here to view a complete list of Hermitage slaves.
Slave Descendants Reunite at The Hermitage. Andrew Jackson owned about 150 slaves at the time of his death. By reviewing letters, plantation records, census documents, and other materials, we have accumulated over 500 names of persons enslaved at The Hermitage or their descendents. Over the years, many descendents of Andrew Jacksonís slaves have come to The Hermitage looking for information on their families. We welcome their interest. If your family has a tradition that your ancestors were enslaved at The Hermitage or in the neighborhood at one of the Donelson plantations, we would be pleased to hear from you.
Home of President Andrew Jackson
4580 Rachelís Lane
Hermitage, TN 37076