Sunday, February 24, 2013

President Andrew Jackson and Rachel Robards

Forgive me, my love story post isn't from the old west, but it is a love story...

Even though he was known as the “People’s President” when elected as the 7th U.S. President, Andrew Jackson was not known as an endearing man. Often demonstrating a volatile temper and aggressive behavior, Jackson was nicknamed “Old Hickory,” (also due in part to the rugged life he led as a frontiersman). However, despite his toughness, when loved called, Andrew fell hard.

Born in 1767, Jackson was twenty-one in 1788 when he met Rachel Robards, a beautiful, vivacious young woman, while staying at her mother’s boarding house in Tennessee. At the time, Rachel, also born in 1767, was married to a man named Captain Lewis Robards, who was known for his jealous outbreaks. In 1790, when Jackson heard of Rachel’s separation from Robards and subsequent divorce, he immediately courted her. The two fell deeply in love and solely devoted to one another, married in 1791. Two years into their marriage they discovered Rorbards had never divorced Rachel. Supposedly a divorce proclamation had been published in a newspaper owned by Robard’s friend, but Lewis had not obtained an actual divorce.

Not only was divorce frowned upon at the time (Rachel’s was the first divorce in Kentucky), Andrew and Rachel refused to refrain from living together and Rachel continued to refer to herself as Mrs. Jackson. When her divorce was finalized in 1794, the two married again. Many disparaging and cruel remarks were made against Rachel, and Jackson spent a good amount of time in duels defending his wife’s honor. In one such duel, Jackson was struck by a bullet, which was lodged so close to his heart it could never be removed.

During their 37 years together, Andrew and Rachel adopted three sons, Theodore (an orphaned Indian little is known about), Andrew Jackson, Jr. (the son of Rachel’s brother) and Lyncoya (a Creek Indian orphan who died at the age of 16.) They also acted as guardians to eight other children, three of whom where Rachel’s brother’s children, one her great nephew, and three others who came to live with them after their widowed father, a friend of the family, died.

Though Rachel was known as a gentle, generous and religious woman, during Jackson’s bid for Presidency in 1828 his enemies insulted her non-stop, citing Rachel as a woman of loose morals and a bigamist. Despite all, Jackson won the Presidency in a downslide. However, two weeks later in December 1828, two months before her husband would take office, Rachel died of a heart attack.

Jackson, refusing to believe his beloved was dead, insisted she be covered with blankets so she wouldn’t get cold before waking. Ultimately, he built a tomb for her in her flower garden, and according to family, visited her grave every night before retiring.

Andrew blamed his political opponents for her death, and never forgave them. He appointed one of Rachel’s nieces, Emily Donelson (who was married to Rachel’s nephew), to act as his ‘First Lady’ fulfilling the role of hostess of the White House. Emily became estranged from Jackson during the Petticoat affair. (A scandal created by one of his cabinet members marrying a widow shortly after her husband died. Andrew, still mourning Rachel, agreed with the quick wedding, while all others thought a longer waiting period was needed.) Jackson’s daughter-in-law stepped in as acting First Lady until the scandal absolved, (after most of Jackson’s cabinet members were replaced). When Emily once returned to her role, it was the only time in history the White House had two First Ladies.

Dedicated to remaining faithful to Rachel, Jackson never married again. It’s said he kept her portrait at the foot of his bed so she was the last thing he’d see every night and the first thing he’d see every morning.

Jackson died in 1848, having proclaimed, “Heaven will be no heaven for me if Rachel isn’t there.”

Though my March 1st release, Inheriting a Bride, is set in Colorado in 1885, the relationship of Andrew and Rachel comes up in a conversation between my hero, Clay Hoffman and heroine, Kit Becker, because Clay’s horse is named after the President.

Blurb: Kit Becker travels to Nevadaville prepared to use any pretense necessary to discover why she must share her inheritance, and with whom.  

Clay Hoffman knows a thing or two about money-grabbing females, so when he finds one posing as his new ward, he's determined to get beneath every delicious layer of her disguises. Discovering she's telling the truth, Clay is torn--he should be protecting her, not thinking about making her his bride! All he knows for sure is that he's inherited a whole heap of trouble!

Excerpt: Not realizing she’d closed her eyes, Kit was surprised to see him standing beside her, holding out a small tin. “What’s that?”


“For what?”

He glanced around as if assuring their privacy, and then leaned closer to whisper, “For the saddle sore on your rump.”

“My r—” She swallowed the rest of the word, aghast.

“Yes, your rump.” Though he looked as if he was about to burst out laughing, he didn’t. “Saddle sores are a common ailment, and nothing to be embarrassed about.” His expression turned serious. “They’re also nothing to mess with. Especially once the boil forms.”

The intense heat of mortification covered her face. “I do not have a boil,” she insisted.

“Maybe not yet, but you will by the time we get to Black Hawk if you don’t take care of it.” He took her hand and laid the tin in her palm. “Go behind the trees and rub some on.”

Right now, she was willing to try most anything. The pain had become unbearable. “Will it hurt?” she asked.


She snapped her head up. The laughter was gone from his eyes. Sincerity and honesty shone there instead.

A large lump formed in her throat. “Yes?”

He nodded. “At first it’s going to sting like h— really sting, but within a few minutes it’ll ease up and soon the spot will be numb. You won’t feel a thing the rest of the way to town. At which point you’ll want to have Doc look at it. He may need to lance it.”

Her insides shook. “Lance it?”

Again there was nothing but truthfulness in Clay’s gaze. That and compassion. “Go on,” he insisted, turning her about by grasping her shoulders. “Andrew and I will wait here.”

Kit wished she had an alternative. Well, she did, but the thought of a boil wasn’t much of a choice, and she honestly didn’t think she could climb back on Andrew the way her backside stung—as if she’d backed up against a cookstove. “You won’t peek?”

Clay fought the urge to laugh. It wasn’t funny. Her backside had to be stinging as if she’d sat on a hornets’ nest. He doubted there was a person alive who hadn’t ended up with a saddle sore at one point in his or her life. Including him. But she looked so darn cute. “No,” he assured. “Neither Andrew nor I will peek.” The flicker of annoyance dancing in her coffee-colored eyes had a grin tickling the edges of his lips. He winked. “Yell if you need help, though.”

I’ll mail a paperback copy of this book to a commenter. (Either here or since I know how frustrating it can be to comment on some blogs, you can send an email to Lauri at Izoom dot net.) Please include your email address either place.



  1. Lauri, I learned something from your love story and from your excerpt. I didn't know saddle sores were like boils. I'd always figured they were like blisters or maybe calluses or maybe just aches from bouncing.

  2. Although I'm not a big Jackson fan because of his displacement of the Cherokee and disregard for their welfare, I can sympathize with his devastation over the loss of his one true love.
    A wonderful blog.
    All the best to you.
    Starcriter at Yahoo dot com

  3. Lauri--I've never heard this story about President Andrew Jackson's love, Rachel. It's a wonderful story, really, in that they took in and cared for so many children. That is truly impressive. She must have been quite a woman to soften the heart of "Old Hickory."
    Also, I loved the excerpt from your newest release. It's not often we read an excerpt about a boil on the heroine's rump! Very amusing the way you wrote it--although I'm sure it did hurt like h___!
    Thanks for such a good post.

  4. They can be all of those things, Caroline. I knew someone where a boil formed and they did have to have it lanced. I don't think he ever rode a horse again.

  5. Thanks for stopping by, Sarah!

  6. Thanks, Celia. I was looking for the excerpt that contained Jackson and Rachel in the story when I came across that one. I'd forgotten about it, and thought it would be a fun one to post.

  7. I've always been fascinated with Andrew Jackson's love story but I didn't realize how early his wife died. Though I should have due to the riots they had outside his home.

    I loved the excerpt from your new release. Saddle sores, ugh. I can't imagine in that day having to bare your butt for a doctor. Bet she was mortified!

  8. I've always loved the story of Andrew Jackson and his love for Rachel. Thanks for reminding me of their bittersweet roamance.

    Delightful excerpt from your book!

  9. Thanks, Linda. I have to admit, I knew very little about Andrew and Rachel Jackson's story until my hero declared he named all of his horses after U.S. Presidents. Amazing what those characters teach us.

  10. Thanks, Lyn. Andrew and Rachel were certainly dedicated to one another.

  11. I've been lucky enough to tour Jackson's home three different times and each one was a delight. The Heritage is beautiful and the gardens where Rachel is buried are extensive and lovely. One of my great, great granddads (I think that many greats) was in the war in New Orleans with Jackson and often stopped in Nashville for apples. Loved my connection. He definitely had an interesting life.

  12. What a wonderful story. I have never heard this before. Your books sounds really good and I love the cover. Thanks for sharing with us today.

    quiltlady110 AT gmail DOT com

  13. Wow, Paisley, awesome family history,and I'd love to see the Jackson family home. Might have to add that to my bucket list!

  14. Thank you, Quilt Lady, and thank you for stopping by today!

  15. I never knew this. What an amazing love story. Thank you!!


  16. Lauri, Insightful blog. It is amazing how men who are thought of as harsh and cruel by society had such undying love for a woman.

    Wishing you many sales on Inheriting a Bride. It's a great read!

  17. Thanks, Mary, I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

  18. I agree, Paty, just proves what a good woman can do to a man. :)

  19. What a great story, I didn't know these things. Learn something new every day. I love the sound of this book and cover. I would love to read it.

    quiltlady110 AT gmail DOT com

  20. Thanks all for posting a comment and for your emails. I drew a number and Lyn Horner is the winner of a copy of Inheriting a Bride. Lyn I've emailed you.

    Thanks again!


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