Donelson, Andrew Jackson
- Patrick G. Williams
Donelson, Andrew Jackson (25 August 1799–26 June 1871), presidential aide, diplomat, and politician, was born near Nashville, Tennessee, the son of Samuel Donelson, who kept a store in partnership with his brother-in-law Andrew Jackson, and Mary Smith. In 1805 Jackson became his namesake’s guardian, Donelson’s father having died and his mother having remarried. Raised at the “Hermitage,” Donelson studied at Cumberland College in Nashville and later at the U.S. Military Academy. In 1820, after only three years, he graduated from West Point, second in his class. He subsequently served Jackson, by then territorial governor of Florida, as aide-de-camp. Donelson left the army in 1822 to study law at Transylvania University in Kentucky. Admitted to the bar the following year, he established a practice in Nashville. In 1824 he married a cousin, Emily Tennessee Donelson, whose dowry included both land and slaves. Establishing their home adjacent to the Hermitage, the couple eventually had four children....