Sarah Jackson
Acting First Lady of the United States
In role
November 26, 1834 – March 4, 1837
PresidentAndrew Jackson
Preceded byEmily Donelson (acting)
Succeeded byAngelica Van Buren (acting)
Personal details
Born
Sarah Yorke

(1803-07-16)July 16, 1803
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedAugust 23, 1887(1887-08-23) (aged 84)
The Hermitage, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
NationalityAmerican
Spouse(s)
Andrew Jackson Jr.
(m. 1831; died 1865)
Children5
RelativesAndrew Jackson (father-in-law)
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Sarah Jackson (née Yorke; July 16, 1803 – August 23, 1887) was the daughter-in-law of U.S. President Andrew Jackson. She served as White House hostess and first lady of the United States from November 26, 1834, to March 4, 1837.

Biography

Early life

Sarah was born on July 16, 1803, into a wealthy family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1] Her father Peter Yorke, a sea captain and successful merchant, died in 1815.[1] Her mother Mary Haines Yorke died during a trip to New Orleans in 1820, leaving Sarah and her two sisters orphaned.[1] She was raised by two aunts, Mrs. George Farquhar and Mrs. Mordecai Wetherill.[1]

Adult life

Sarah married Andrew Jackson, Jr., the adopted son of Andrew Jackson, in Philadelphia on November 24, 1831.[1][2] After an extended honeymoon at the White House, the new couple left for The Hermitage, Jackson's plantation in Tennessee.[1][3] The couple remained at the Hermitage managing the plantation until a fire destroyed much of the main house in 1834.[1] The couple and their two young children went to Washington to live with President Jackson at the White House.[1]

Sarah arrived at the White House on November 26, 1834.[1] She immediately began to take on the role as co-hostess of the White House along with the President's niece Emily Donelson, who had served as White House hostess and unofficial First Lady since the beginning of the president's term in office.[1] The president referred to Sarah as the "mistress of the Hermitage" rather than White House hostess, apparently to avoid any possible ill feeling between the two women.[1] The arrangement was somewhat awkward but appeared to work relatively smoothly. It was the only time in history when there were two women simultaneously acting as White House hostess. She took over all duties as White House hostess after Emily Donelson fell ill with tuberculosis and died in 1836.[2]

Sarah remained at the White House until Jackson's term expired in 1837, but made several lengthy trips including one to the Hermitage to oversee its reconstruction.[1] After the death of General Jackson in 1845, debt accumulated during his time in office spiraled out of control under the continued poor management of the Hermitage by Andrew Jackson Jr. This forced the sale of the Hermitage to the state of Tennessee in 1856. With moneys from the sale, Andrew Jr. eventually purchased several properties near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, where they would eventually move in February 1859. It was a short-lived venture due to both Andrew Jr's bad judgement and weather-related disasters. By fall 1860, they returned to the Hermitage, where they ended up as tenants of the state. It would be a very meager existence for the Jacksons for the next 30 years. Sarah lost her husband to a hunting accident in 1865 and her son Samuel in the Battle of Chickamauga during the Civil War. Sarah died at the Hermitage in 1887, two years before the Ladies Hermitage Association acquired the Hermitage back from the state of Tennessee and began restoring it.[4]

Death

She died on August 23, 1887 in Nashville, Tennessee.[1]

References

Honorary titles Preceded byEmily DonelsonActing First Lady of the United StatesActing1834–1837 VacantTitle next held byAngelica Van BurenActing