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Receipt for Jewelry for Rachel Jackson
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In January 1828, a well-known Connecticut jeweler and watchmaker who had established a business in New Orleans supplied jewelry purchased by or for Rachel Jackson.

[RACHEL JACKSON]. Manuscript Document Signed by the recipients, January 10, 1828, New Orleans, Louisiana. 1 p., 6¾ x 7⅞ in.

Inventory #26377.03       Price: $1,250

Complete Transcript

Miss Bonney

                        Bo’t of Henry Harland

One set Diamond & Pearl                  $75

Topaz & Gold Cross                           15

  Do         Do   Heart                              5


Received payment for Mrs Andrew Jackson New Orleans
10th January, 1828 / For Henry Harland / John Bliss

Historical Background
Andrew and Rachel Jackson visited New Orleans on January 8, 1828, for the thirteenth anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans. The state legislature had organized a four-day event with festivities including a steamboat procession to the battlefield, a ball, and a public dinner, but then, dominated by supporters of John Quincy Adams, they refused to provide an appropriation. Ultimately, Jackson’s supporters funded the event. In November, Jackson won the state’s five electoral votes with 53 percent of the 8,687 votes cast. It was a relatively narrow victory, compared to Jackson’s margins in other southern and western states.

During Rachel Jackson’s visit to the city after the Battle of New Orleans in February 1815, “the ladies of New Orleans” presented her with a “valuable set of topaz jewelry” and gave Andrew Jackson a diamond pin.[1] This purchase in 1828 either by or for Rachel Jackson echoes that earlier gift. John Bliss, perhaps Harland’s partner at the time, signed this receipt for the jewelry. “Miss Bonney” apparently obtained the jewelry for Rachel Jackson or to give to Rachel Jackson, but her identity remains unclear.

Rachel Donelson Jackson (1767-1828) was born in Virginia to John Donelson (1718-1785), a co-founder of Nashville and his wife Rachel Stockley Donelson (1730-1801). She moved with her family to Tennessee at age 12. married Andrew Jackson in 1794. She died just days after his election as President of the United States. In 1787, she married Lewis Robards of Harrodsburg, Kentucky, but the two separated in 1790. She returned to her family home, believing he would seek a divorce. She married Andrew Jackson in 1791 in Natchez, Mississippi, but her first husband had not completed a divorce, so her marriage to Jackson was bigamous and invalid. Robards was granted a divorce in 1793 on the grounds of abandonment and adultery. Because the Spanish controlled Natchez and only recognized Catholic marriages when Protestants Andrew Jackson and Rachel Donelson Robards married there, these circumstances also raised questions about the legitimacy of their marriage. The two wed again in 1794 in a ceremony in the Donelson home. They never had any children, but they adopted her nephew in 1809 and named him Andrew Jackson Jr. In 1813, they adopted a Creek orphan boy whom they named Lyncoya. In 1817, the Jacksons adopted Rachel’s great nephew Andrew Jackson Hutchings. Supporters of John Quincy Adams targeted the circumstances of the Jacksons’ marriage in both the 1824 and 1828 presidential campaigns. The publicity and the death of their son Lyncoya Jackson in 1828 led Rachel Jackson into a deep depression. She died suddenly on December 22, 1828, of a heart attack. Jackson blamed his political enemies for her death.

Henry Harland (1789-1841) was born in Norwich, Connecticut, and apprenticed to silversmith and watchmaker Thomas Harland in about 1802. He worked as a silversmith, jeweler, and watchmaker in Norwich from 1810 to 1815, when he established a shop in New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1822, he married Abigail Leffingwell Hyde (1800-1888) in Norwich. He remained in New Orleans for most of his career, working alone, in partnership with H. [John?] Bliss as Harland & Bliss (ca. 1830), and in partnership with Daniel Blair as Harland & Blair (1830-1834), though he traveled regularly between New England and New Orleans.

John Bliss (1795-1857) was born in Norwich, Connecticut. He was a watchmaker in New Orleans from 1830 to 1834, in partnership with Edwin Whittemore. In 1835, he moved to New York City and entered a new partnership with Scottish watchmaker Frederick Creighton. Over the years, their firm trained many workers who eventually left to open competing shops.

Condition: Creasing from original folds; chipping along top edge.

[1] Laura C. Holloway, The Ladies of the White House, Or, In the Home of the Presdients: Being a Complete History of the Social and Domestic Lives of the Presidents from Washington to the Present Time (Philadelphia: Bradley & Company, 1882), 286; Sarah Knowles Bolton, Famous American Statesmen (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1888), 162.

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