Andrew Jackson Rachel Donelson Bigamy-> Rachel Donelson Robards Jackson, born Rachel Donelson, (June 15, 1767 – December 22, 1828) was the wife of Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of the United States.Donelson is said to have been among one of the first settlers of Tennessee. She was considered beautiful in her younger years and was quite vivacious. She had been in an unhappy marriage in Kentucky with Captain Lewis Robards, a man subject to irrational fits of jealous rage, and the two separated in 1790.
Andrew Jackson migrated to Nashville in 1788, where he boarded with Rachel Stockley Donelson, the mother of Rachel Donelson Robards. Jackson and the younger Rachel fell in love.
Jackson and Robards married after believing that her husband had obtained a divorce. As the divorce had never been completed, their marriage was technically bigamous and therefore invalid. Historians found that a friend of Lewis Robards had planted a fake article in his own newspaper, saying that the couple’s divorce had been finalized. The Jacksons later found out about Robards’ action in planting the article, and that he had never completed the divorce.
Rachel Robards ensured the divorce, the first in Kentucky history, was completed. She and Jackson remarried in 1794.
During the presidential election campaign of 1828, supporters of John Quincy Adams, Jackson’s opponent, accused his wife of being a bigamist, among other things. Despite the accusations, Jackson won by a comparative landslide; he was a popular military hero after his victory in the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812.
Jackson and his wife enjoyed a genuine love match. In 1813, she wrote,
“Do not my Beloved Husband let the love of Country, fame and honor let you forget you have me without you I would think them all empty shadows You will say this is not the Language of a Patriot but it is the language of a Faithfull wife…”
When she died, he was inconsolable. He refused to believe she was dead and insisted that blankets be laid on her body in case she woke up and needed warmth. He built a tomb for her in her flower garden. According to his granddaughter, Rachel Jackson Lawrence, Jackson visited Rachel’s grave every night at sunset. He placed her portrait at the foot of his bed so she would be the first thing he saw in the morning and the last thing he saw at night. He once said, “Heaven will be no heaven for me if she is not there.”
Jackson wrote his wife’s epitaph, which reads as follows:
“Here lie the remains of Mrs. Rachel Jackson, wife of President Jackson, who died December 22nd 1828, aged 61. Her face was fair, her person pleasing, her temper amiable, and her heart kind. She delighted in relieving the wants of her fellow-creatures,and cultivated that divine pleasure by the most liberal and unpretending methods. To the poor she was a benefactress; to the rich she was an example; to the wretched a comforter; to the prosperous an ornament. Her pity went hand in hand with her benevolence; and she thanked her Creator for being able to do good. A being so gentle and so virtuous, slander might wound but could not dishonor. Even death, when he tore her from the arms of her husband, could but transplant her to the bosom of her God.”