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The Haunted Hermitage
In the town of Hermitage, Tennessee on Rachel’s Lane, rests the old home of Andrew Jackson and his wife, Rachel. Once known as the Southern White House, and also called Rural Retreat, but now called The Hermitage, this plantation house was where Jackson was residing at the time of his death on June 8, 1845. Many visitors to the historic house, a museum since 1889, are certain Jackson’s spirit is still roaming his old home.
Andrew Jackson farmed cotton with his African American slaves on the property. He built the eight-room mansion in 1819 and 1820 for his dear wife, Rachel. They only lived in the home for a little longer than seven years, when Rachel passed away a few days before Christmas in 1828.
Although deeply saddened by the loss of his wife, Jackson went on to become President Jackson on March 4, 1829. After retiring from the presidency in 1837, he went back to live at the Hermitage plantation, which was now well over 1,000 acres, and being worked by over 160 slaves.
After Jackson’s death in the early summer of 1845, Andrew Jackson Jr. took over the property. Unfortunately, Jr. was not a good business manager, and eventually was forced to sell off parcels of the property. The home itself was sold to the state of Tennessee for 48,000 in 1856.
Sadly, the home and property were neglected and allowed to deteriorate. In April of 1888, the Ladies’ Hermitage Association, formed to preserve and restore the Hermitage, took custody of the house. Two ladies from the organization went to spend the night in the home to keep it safe from vandals and thieves.
It was a hot July evening when the ladies showed up at the house. A deaf and nearly blind man who had once been a valet for Jackson, and a young housekeeper, met with the women upon their arrival. The housekeeper informed the two women that she would be gone well before dark.
Later in the evening, after the two ladies had eaten their supper and secured the house, they settled in for the night in the front parlor, on a mattress that they had brought down from upstairs.
A loud clanging noise awakened the women a few hours after they had fallen asleep. The visiting ladies were certain that someone was in the kitchen of the house banging around on the cooking pots, and throwing plates and dishes on the floor!
They heard the sound of rattling chains from one end of the porch to the other, and a charging horse could be heard running up and down the hallways on the floor above them, and on the stairs!
Right away, the ladies lit a kerosene lamp nearby, and the noises ceased. There was no activity for the rest of the night, and the women found nothing amiss on their search the following morning.
Nothing out of the ordinary occurred during the day, but that night at about midnight, all the same noises from the previous night began to happen again. The women were subjected to this experience every night until a caretaker was found, and the ladies could again sleep at their own homes. They refused to speak about the events for many years.
No one has stayed overnight at The Hermitage since then, and the only other reported haunting is that of an apparition caught in a photo of one of the bedrooms.
Belanger, Jeff. Encyclopedia of Haunted Places. Franklin, NJ: New page Books, 2009
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