On Thursday of our vacation week, we headed over to Tennessee to visit the home of Andrew Johnson. He of course in the vice-president who became president after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. He was a southerner who supported the Union during the Civil War. He was a self-taught man, never having been in a school a day in his life.
During the war, his home changed hands many many times, from Confederate, to Union, back to Confederate, back to Union and so on. The soldiers who stayed into pretty much trashed the place. Stealing and destroying everything of value and putting graffiti on the walls.
After the war and at the end of his presidency, Johnson sent his oldest daughter home to remodel and refurnish the house.
Through the preservation of Johnson’s decendants, Johnson home is rather unique in that all of the furniture and belongs on display in the home are the very items that his daughter decorated and outfitted the house with.
They aren’t just random period pieces, but actually belonged to the Johnsons.
The Johnsons faced so much tragedy. Their eldest son was killed in an accident. Mrs. Johnson suffered for years with tuberculosis and died of it. Mrs. Johnson would spend years of her life in this upstairs bedroom mostly sleeping in the reclining chair to help with the never ending coughing.
Tuberculosis became so prevalent within their family unit that 11 members of their family eventually succumbed to it. Including, their only other son who died before ever marrying or having children. He actually overdosed on laudanum in his efforts to cure the symptoms of the disease.
They had many grandchildren through their daughters, but none through their sons to carry on the family name.
Before the war, they were also slave owners. A story is recorded of Johnson purchasing a 14 year old girl to come and work for them. As they traveled back to his home, the girl told him of her brother and how he was her only living relative. Upon dropping the girl off at his home, Johnson immediately began traveling again to go and purchase her brother. He gave them both their freedom well before the end of the war. Upon giving them their freedom, he offered them a job, which they accepted, and gave her his old tailor shop so that they would have their own home.
The kids loved playing in the dress-up clothes at the tailor shop. I think they would have fit right in back in the old days :)
And I loved learning about Andrew Johnson. He was only ONE vote away from being impeached by congress during his presidency. The congress didn’t like him because he vetoed many of their bills. And why did he veto them? Because he felt that what they were passing took away rights given by the constitution. He truly upheld the constitution and believed in it. I wish we had more politicians like him around today!
After a quick lunch, we headed over to the little cabin where Davy Crockett was born and a tiny museum about him.
They have a little wall there that has stones from all the states. We had to make sure to get a picture by the Florida stone!
It was good times at the home of the King of the Wild Frontier!