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Rachel Donelson Robards Jackson

Rachel was born on June 15, 1767

Her family moved to Tennessee when she was 12. Tennessee was considered the frontier at that time.

She had many admirers when she was young. She was said to have lovely black eyes, dark glossy hair, full red lips and a lovely oval face with dimples.

At seventeen she married Lewis Robards. Her husband was jealous and had a bad temper. He sent Rachel to live with her mother.

She worked in her mother-in-laws boarding house. She and her husband lived in the boarding house.

Rachel became friends with a border named Peyton Short.

Her husband accused her of being unfaithgul. Rachel said she was inonocent bur her husband kicked her out to the house and sent her packing to her mother's boarding house in Cumberland.

Her husband Robards realized he had made a mistake and apologized to her and asked him to take her back. Rachel accepted his apology and Robards came to live with her in her mothers house.

Early panting of Rachel


This is where she met Andrew Jackson.

Once again Roards got jealous. When Jackson found out he talked to Robards and told him he was not involved with Rachel. Robards continued to argue and insult Jackson. Jackson had a short tempter and felt insulted. He challlenge Robards to a duel which Robards rejected. Robards once again left Rachel.

Jackson decided he did like Rachel and wanted to marry her.

In 1791, her husband divorced her.

Library of Congress


Later that year Andrew and Rachel go married. However, Rachel and Andrew thought the divorce had been compled, and were married in 1791. They later learded that the courts had not granted the divorous. When they learned about the official divorce in 1793, they were married a second time in January of 1794 in Nashville, Tennessee.

She never got a chance to serve as First Lady. She died of a heart attack 5 days after Jackson was elected President.

Mrs. Jackson would sometimes smoke a pipe and would often share it with her husband.

They lived at Hermitage, which was Jackson's plantation.

Rachel was amazed when she visited Washington, D.C. The social life was busy and the woman wore all the new fashions.

Rachel Jackson died on December 22, 1828 in Nashville, Tenn. She was 61..

Over 10,000 people attended her funeral.


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Sources of Information:

Barden, Cindy,Meet the First Ladies, Lorenz Corp.
Gormley, Beatrice,First Ladies: Women Who Called The White House Home (First Ladies) , Scholastic Paperbacks, 1997
Smith, Carter, Editor,Smithsonian Presidents and First Ladies DK Publishing, New York, 2002

Web Sites:
The White House:
Portraits of the Presidents and First Ladies:


This page was updated: January 23, 2016