Presidential Hostess: Sarah Yorke Jackson

posted in: First Ladies, First Lady | 0

Sarah York Jackson also served as hostess for President Andrew Jackson, whose wife Rachel Jackson died before he took office. She served after Emily Donelson either became unable to serve or refused to continue serving. Eventually the two women would serve together until Emily’s death.

Sarah Yorke Jackson

Sarah Yorke was born to Peter and Mary Haines York on July 16, 1803 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Her father, a sea captain, died in 1815 and her mother died on a trip in 1820. Sarah and her two sisters were orphaned and went to live with an aunt and uncle.

Sarah married Andrew Jackson, Jr, who was the nephew and adopted son of Andrew Jackson, on November 24, 1831.

The couple lived at The Hermitage, where Sarah’s husband ran the plantation, until a fire damaged the main house in 1834.

By then the couple had two children, and the family moved to the White House.

She is said to have arrived at the White House on November 26, 1834 and immediately began serving as co-hostess with Emily Donelson. To avoid any tension between the women, President Jackson is said to refer to Sarah as “mistress of the Hermitage”.

After Emily Donelson‘s death in December 1836, Sarah took over all duties as White House hostess.

Sarah and her husband returned to The Hermitage, when President Jackson left office in 1837. The couple added three more children to their family, for a total of five children. The couple’s two youngest children both died in infancy.

Her husband inherited The Hermitage upon President Jackson’s death in 1845.

Shortly before the Civil War the family moved to Mississippi.

Her husband, Andrew Jackson, Jr died two days after President Abraham Lincoln on April 17, 1865. They were at the Hermitage when he died.

At some point, The Hermitage was sold to the State of Tennessee, but Sarah returned to her home and lived there until her death on August 23, 1887. She was 84 years old.

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