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Andrew Jackson Reminds Himself to Answer a Letter from a Bereaved Friend
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ANDREW JACKSON. Autograph Endorsement Signed with Initials, September 1, 1833. On MARGARET D. ARMSTRONG. Autograph Letter Signed, to Andrew Jackson, August 17, 1833. 4 pp., 8 x 9¾ in.

Inventory #24588.02       Price: $1,500

Complete Transcript

[Jackson’s Endorsement:]

Margaret. D. Armstrong / to be answered. / answered 1st of / September 1833 / A. J.

[Letter:]

                     August 17th 1833

My much respected friend

            The friendship which has so long existed with us for you I hope will be a sufficient apology for my trespassing on your time with my trifling letter, but having just returned from visitting the Hermitage, I feel my heart is so full of melancholy reflections that I will feel some comfort in addressing one that I reverence as a father  do allow me the liberty of addressing you as a father  alas since I had the pleasure of seeing you I have been truly afflicted in the death of my dear dear father & my much lamented Motherinlaw, the poor old lady had come to the determination to end her days with us & travelled over the mountains for that purpose  her life was just spared long enough to receive our cordial welcome when she was attacked by that truly alarming disease. she lived only a few hours after she was attacked & was in Nashville only 3 days before her death, but amidst all our troubles we have reason to <2> thank God that she did not die on the road. I visited the Hermitage in company with Majr Armstrong and his Lady Capt Page Lieut Philips & Liet Lane. they all set off a few days ago for their different posts. they were much pleased with their visit to the Hermitage  I took the liberty of shewing them the garden & the spot where my ever lamented friend is buried  oh what a melancholy day that was to me. there hangs the likeness of one that I owe, with yourself, all the earthly happiness that I ever have been permitted to enjoy in this world. she is gone, but I trust I cherish her memory in my heart and will do so with every feeling of gratitude and affection as long as my life is spared  I visitted the old house where I was married  it looked solitary  oh what a fine likeness Mrs Jackson’s is  I could look at it allways. It looks like she looked when I was married. oh how times have changed. she with my dear father and mother in Law has paid the debt we all have to pay. I do pray to the Lord that we may all be as well prepared to die as I think they were and I do pray that the Lord may spare you to return to the Hermitage & live to a great old age. I hope to have the pleasure of shewing you my little Rachel Jackson. I feel proud to call her by that endeared name but I feel sorry that I did not name one of my oldest <3> daughters by that name, as I flatter myself that Mrs Jackson would have been pleased. Majr Armstrong set off yesterday with his family to Arkansas he was detained here much longer than he expected to have been by sickness  they went off in good spirits  Robert’s health has not been so good  I suppose it is owing to being so much confined both night and day. he sett off yesterday to meet the Post Master General  I hope the ride will be of service to him. remember me kindly to Mrs Jackson & Mrs Donelson. I hope you will excuse me for taking the liberty of addressing you when I tell you that I respect you next to my dear lamented father & I hope that will be a sufficient apology for my intruding myself into your notice

                                                                        I am respectfully your sincere friend

                                                                        M. D. Armstrong

P.S. Old Dick has just left here  he came in from the Hermitage to market  he says the black people are all well except some few little negroes that have the fever but are getting well

Historical Background

Rachel Jackson had died just days after Andrew Jackson’s election in late 1828 and before his inauguration in March 1829. They had no children, but they adopted three, including a nephew in 1809, whom they named Andrew Jackson Jr.

Margaret Armstrong was a close friend of Rachel Jackson, and the Jacksons hosted her wedding at the Hermitage in 1814. Margaret died less than a year after writing this letter, in June 1834. Her husband Robert Armstrong was postmaster of Nashville from 1829 to 1845. He received a commission as brigadier general during the Second Seminole War of 1836-1837, and served as consul in Liverpool from 1845 to 1849. In 1851, he purchased the Washington Union newspaper. He died in Washington, D.C., in 1854. Their daughter Henrietta Rachel Jackson Armstrong was born in July 1832 as their tenth and final child. She had five older sisters and four older brothers.

Robert Armstrong’s mother, Susannah Wells Armstrong, was born in 1761 in Baltimore, Maryland, and died on May 29, 1833 in Nashville, Tennessee. Margaret Armstrong’s father, Josiah Nichol, was born in 1772 in Ireland and died on May 31, 1833, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Margaret Dysart Nichol Armstrong (1798-1834) was the daughter of Josiah Nichol, a Tennessee merchant with whom Andrew Jackson frequently left his business affairs when he was away from the Hermitage. Margaret eloped with Robert Armstrong and married at the Hermitage on June 8, 1814, because her parents disapproved of the marriage. Apparently, Rachel and Andrew Jackson supported Margaret, and she was particularly close to Rachel.


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