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Named for the 7th president of the United States—the first to be born in a log cabin, the son of poor Scotch- Irish immigrants who was orphaned at age 14, grew up in the Carolinas, then moved to Tennessee where he became a successful lawyer and landowner. Jackson won fame as an Indian fighter and as a General in the War of 1812. He was nicknamed “Old Hickory” because of his toughness.More…
Jackson was one of the founders of the Democratic Party and was elected as President because of the growing political power of the states on the frontier. He had the support of farmers and working people. Earlier presidents had not provided strong leadership. They did not appeal to the people over the heads of Congress. Jackson insisted that American democracy could work only if the President provided such leadership and he believed that he should use his constitutional powers to the fullest limit.
He vetoed more bills than all the Presidents before him put together. He stood ready to argue with Congress or the Supreme Court in the name of all the people. His slogan was “let the people rule.”
Jackson, a sandy-haired boy with freckles, had a quick temper. He attended school but sports and cockfighting occupied more of his time than did studying.
At age 13 he joined the South Carolina militia and he and his brother served in a battle in which an uncle was wounded and a brother was killed. Later he was captured by the British and carried scars for the rest of his life after a British officer lashed out with his sword when Jackson refused to clean his boots.
He studied law under a wealthy lawyer in Salisbury, NC after the Revolutionary War and was appointed attorney general for the region that is now Tennessee. On his way to Nashville, he stopped in Jonesborough to take part in a civil suit so he must have traveled through Rogersville on that trip west.
Tradition is that Jackson spent the night at the Rogers Tavern as well as the Hale Springs Inn, and while at the Tavern one night, Mary Amis Rogers was being given a “hard time” by another traveler who arrived after the house was full.
The story goes that Jackson told the unruly traveler that he would show him to a private room—whereupon he took him behind the tavern to the corn crib and locked him in for the night.
In 1836, Jackson had just finished his second term as president and was on the way from Washington to Nashville when he came through Rogersville where a large celebration was planned with a banquet at the McKinney Tavern(Hale Springs Inn).
Jackson had been to Rogersville before – both while he was serving in the U. S. Senate and as a military general. A mounted delegation, including the mayor and all the other dignitaries from town, left early in the morning to meet the general’s entourage at Yellow Store – Jacob Miller’s place near Surgoinsville. They were to escort Jackson down Old Stage Road to the town square where a huge crowd was awaiting his arrival.
After the escort left town that morning, two anti-Jackson residents on East Main St., both described as “loud mouthed Whigs”, strung a banner across Main St. on which they had painted an insulting motto.
The crowd awaiting Jackson was incensed and a rider was sent to meet Jackson and his escort before they reached town.When the entourage arrived at River Road (Colonial Road) they turned left and led the general down what is present day Washington St. to Church St., where they turned north to Main St. and the town square.
The general saw the banner and complimented his escort on “flanking the obstruction.” Speeches were made by Mayor Nicholas Fain, General Jackson, and other notables and a large banquet was held at McKinney’s Tavern which ran late into the night. Jackson spent the night at the Tavern and continued his journey to Nashville the next morning.
On an earlier trip through Rogersville and up Carter’s Valley, Jackson spent the night at Long Meadow, home of the Young family. At that time, he was accompanied by his “little Indian” —a young orphan whose parents were killed in an Indian battle led by Jackson.