Rachel Jackson - A Gentle and Virtuous Being

Rachel Donelson Jackson married future American President Andrew Jackson in 1791. Unusually for those times Rachel was a divorcee - her first husband suffered jealous fits and rages which made him impossible to live with.

Shortly after their marriage, Rachel's first husband, Captain Lewis Robarts announced that he and Rachel were not divorced at all and that he had only filed a suit for separation. He then filed to divorce her on the grounds of her adultery with Andrew Jackson.

The future president was forced to re marry Rachel in 1794. Throughout his political career he was dogged by rumours of adultery and bigamy. By all accounts they were a devoted couple, Andrew Jackson is known to have fought at least one duel to defend his wife's honour.

Sadly they were never able to have children, but numerous waifs and strays, as well as extended family members were welcomed in to their home, 'The Hermitage' , near Nashville, Tennessee. Rachel Jackson is described as having "unpretentious kindness [and] won the respect of all who knew her"

When Andrew Jackson was ran to become the seventh President of the United States in 1828, old rumors about his illegal first marriage to Rachel resurfaced. Rachel was accused of adultery and attacked without mercy. Despite the slur campaign, Andrew Jackson prevailed at the election and he was due to be inaugurated in March 1829, with Rachel as his first lady.

Only two weeks after his election victory, Rachel died suddenly of a heart attack, possibly as a direct consequence of the stress which resulted from attacks on her personal character. She was buried just before Christmas in 1828, wearing the dress she had just purchased for the inauguration ceremony. She never got to serve as First Lady.

Her epitah reads:

"A being so gentle and so virtuous slander might wound, but could not dishonor"

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