Tennessee Ghost Stories: Presidential Greiving

During the contentious 1828 Presidential election, Andrew Jackson鈥檚 wife Rachel became the target of a vicious smear campaign by John Quincy Adams and his allies.

Before meeting Andrew Jackson, Rachel was married to Lewis Robards in Kentucky. When their marriage fell apart, Robards sent Rachel home to Nashville and filed for divorce. However, during this time Kentucky was a territory in Virginia and not a state. Robards filed the paperwork in Virginia, but before it could be ruled upon by a judge, Kentucky became a state and their case got lost in the shuffle.

Living in Tennessee away from everything, Rachel assumed she was divorced and began dating and eventually married Andrew. A short time later it was revealed that the divorce was never finalized and she was still technically married to Robards.

This snafu haunted Rachel for years as her husband entered into politics it caused her immense stress, health problems and a few duels for her husband. A few days before she and Andrew were to leave for the White House, Rachel suffered a heart attack and died. She was buried on the grounds of the Hermitage in the dress she bought to wear to the inauguration. 鈥淥ld Hickory鈥 was furious and vowed to never forgive his enemies in Washington who caused her death.

After he left Washington, Andrew spent time in the afternoons visiting his wife鈥檚 tomb. It is said that he would smoke a cigar and talk aloud to the love of his life as if she was right beside him.

Today those who work at the Hermitage claim to smell cigar smoke around the tomb that now contains both Andrew and Rachel. One former staff member told me they attribute the smell to Andrew who she believes is still roaming the property.

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