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The third President of the United States to “spend the night at the Hale Springs Inn” would have been President Andrew Johnson.More…
A tailor by trade, Johnson and his family came from North Carolina to Greeneville around 1826 where he married Eliza McCardle, the daughter of a Scottish shoemaker. She taught him to write and to solve simple arithmetic problems and encouraged him to read and to study. They had five children.
Johnson’s political beliefs were strongly influenced by a fellow Tennessean, Andrew Jackson. Like Jackson, Johnson had firm faith in the common people and saw himself as their champion against great landowners who controlled Tennessee.
He entered politics in 1828 – the year Jackson was elected President. A group of friends entered him as a candidate for alderman and he won a place on the Greeneville Town Council. After three terms, he was elected Mayor and in 1835 voters sent him to the Tennessee House of Representatives.
In 1843 he was elected to the U.S. Congress and in 1851 when his opponents gerrymandered his congressional district so that the Whigs had a Majority ,so instead of running for Congress, he ran for governor of Tennessee and was easily elected.
He returned to Washington in 1857 as U. S. Senator and his stand “in Favor of both the Union and slavery” made him a logical compromise candidate For President. Tennessee voted for him in the 1860 Democratic convention, but he withdrew his name and supported Democrat John C. Breckinridge.
He was a big opponent of secession – but while East Tennessee supported Johnson’s position, the state as a whole voted to secede.
In 1862, Lincoln appointed Johnson military governor of Tennessee and he held free elections for “Tennessee voters who would take an oath against the Rebellion and would accept the Emancipation Proclamation.”
Johnson’s devotion to the Union and his record as military governor made him a national figure and he was elected vice president in 1864.
Lincoln was assassinated in April 1865 and Johnson took the Oath of Office the next morning. Impeachment charges were later brought against Johnson but he was acquitted and the result “saved the power and prestige of the Presidency.”
Johnson’s last important official act was a proclamation on Christmas Day 1868 of a complete pardon for all Southerners who had taken part in the Civil War. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1874, and thus became the only former President to serve as a Senator.
After returning to Tennessee, Johnson visited his daughter at Carter Station where he suffered a paralytic stroke and died in July 31, 1875. He was buried in Greeneville. Mrs. Johnson died there five and a half months later and was buried beside her husband.