Following the walk down to another focal point is Rachel's Garden. Spring would be the ideal time to visit the Garden when it would be flourishing with color. Somewhat hard to imagine in the 1800's Rachel going to purchase flowers for the garden. She had a well-trained English gardener, William Frost to lay out the garden in 1819. The garden covers more than an acre and contains many of the flowers available in the 1800's. It was a place that she loved so much that President Jackson had a special gazebo like tomb erected for her burial. He then visited her gravestone on a daily basis.
- The border bricks were burned in the kiln at the Hermitage. They are beveled at the top and are longer and thicker than regular bricks.
- Near the tomb were hickory and magnolia trees planted by Jackson. Those were lost during the 1998 tornado. Once heavily shaded and shielded by trees, the tomb is now completely unblocked and visible from Lebanon Road.
- All floral areas in the garden are well marked with small markers placed in the ground to help with types of flowers. Most of these you would commonly find in any garden center.
Tulip Grove and The Old Hermitage Church
On the other side of Lebanon Road you will see the Old Hermitage Church and the Tulip Grove residence. Even though these are only open now to special tours or for rentals we would be remiss if we left them out of this review.
The Old Hermitage Church
In 1823, when the previous area church burned, Andrew Jackson took lead in providing a new church building for the neighborhood. He provided three acres of the Hermitage grounds for the new church building and assisted in gathering funds to help pay for construction.
- Sarah York Jackson gave the church a cherry drop leaf table, which has served as a communion table.
Andrew Jackson Donelson, who was the son of Rachel Donelson Jackson's brother, inhabited Tulip Grove. His father passed away when he was five-years old and President Jackson took a great interest in his education. He graduated from Cumberland College at the age of 16 and from West Point in 1820 where he was second in his class of thirty-one.
- In 1824, he married his first cousin, Emily Tennessee Donelson. Emily took the place of Rachel, who had passed away before her husbands election to the presidency, thus taking on the role of mistress of the White House.
- Emily passed away, in 1836, of tuberculosis at the age of 29. In 1841, Donelson married his second cousin, Elizabeth Donelson Randolph giving the home a new mistress.
- In 1858, Donelson sold Tulip Grove to a private owner.
- Then in 1963, the Ladies Hermitage Association was able to obtain the property for inclusion once again in the Hermitage grounds.
- In the house is a circular table, on indefinite loan, which had been given to Andrew & Emily Donelson by President & Mrs. Jackson. It is believed to have been a gift to the Jackson's from Sam Houston.
This concludes our in-depth tour of the wonderful home of President Andrew Jackson and his lovely wife Rachel. We hope you have enjoyed it as much as we have and we would like to commend the Ladies Hermitage Association for their foresight and dedication to the on-going preservation of the Hermitage.
To visit or find out more about the Hermitage please visit them on the web at www.thehermitage.com
Article Written & Submitted by Michelle Durham