for You-The Love Story of Andrew Jackson and Rachel
Except for You-The Love Story
of Andrew Jackson and Rachel, is the latest painting by McWilliams.
After much research, he depicted the couple on horseback at
Springfield Plantation near Natchez, Mississippi, in 1791, at the time
of their marriage many years before he became President of the United
and story tell only a small portion of the very colorful and exciting
life of this couple. The painting along with the story by his wife,
Kay, narrated by Bill Ellison and the song, Except for You, written by
Ben Peters and sung by Paul Ott, available on CD, tells of the
enduring love of two people caught in a world of change and turmoil.
here to sample of the CD>
The Love Story of Andrew Jackson and Rachel
The following is
a true and timeless story of history and the enduring love of two
people caught in a world of change and turmoil. It happened at a time
in our history when our frontier was rapidly advancing westward into
the wilderness. News traveled slowly, was erratic at best, and had a
dramatic effect on the lives of Andrew and Rachel.
Andrew Jackson, the 7th
President of the United States, aka Old Hickory and The Border
Captain, had a humble beginning. The son of Irish linen weavers, he
was orphaned at an early age. He became a frontiersman of many talents
and interests. He raced horses, his fortunes rising or falling
accordingly. He became a traveling lawyer, judge, landowner, general,
senator, dueler, President of the United States, and last but not
least, husband of Rachel, the only woman he would ever love.
Rachel, a true frontier
woman, was influenced her entire life by the hardships she endured in
her early years. She and her family traversed 2000 miles by riverboat
to reach the Nashville area. Harsh weather, hunger and pain were their
constant companions. Sinking boats and scalping by savages were
commonplace. She was popular, due to her beauty and sweet nature, and
married Capt. Lewis Robards when she was only eighteen years old.
Adored by her mother-in-law, with whom they lived, there began a
three-year off-again, on-again relationship, due to Robard's jealousy.
He repeatedly drove her from their home on the slightest provocation.
No one, except her husband, not even her mother-in-law, ever accused
her of any wrongdoing.
Andrew met Rachel, at her
mother's blockhouse just outside Nashville, where he and others were
boarders. Rachel was a beauty to behold when seated on her spirited
horse, dark hair flying in the wind and full red lips smiling. Her
black eyes seemed to sparkle with hidden secrets. The young men were
taken with her spirit and sweet disposition, Andrew most of all.
Robards' jealousy was causing trouble and Andrew Jackson, as usual,
was brandishing his dueling pistols. He moved to other quarters not,
wanting to hurt Rachel's reputation.
One last reconciliation with
Robards failed and Rachel prepared for flight from his constant abuse.
Col. John Stark, a friend and elderly American-born Spanish subject,
was planning an 800 mile trip to Natchez by riverboat. Rachel saw a
way for escape to friends in Natchez. Jackson and others were
persuaded to go along for protection from the savage bands of Indians
following along the riverbanks. Rachel was finally ensconced with the
Abner Green family just outside Natchez. Jackson immediately returned
to Nashville and continued his practice of law.
Robards had filed for divorce
and let it be known that a divorce had been granted. Jackson went
immediately and asked Rachel's mother for her hand in marriage. He
then returned in the fall of 1791 and married Rachel at Springfield
Plantation, just outside Natchez, Mississippi. The newlyweds moved
into a log cabin at Bayou Pierre, overlooking the Mississippi River.
This would be the pinnacle of Rachel's happiness, but soon they had to
return to Nashville as public life was calling.
The events of 1793 would
shatter Rachel's peace-of-mind forever. Unknowingly, her divorce from
Robards had never been finalized which made her 1791 marriage to
Jackson invalid. When news of the final divorce decree was made
public, friends and family urged them to obtain another license and
hold another marriage ceremony. Andrew Jackson was a man with an acute
sense of honor and would never have hurt Rachel by marrying her had he
known that the divorce was not final. But, it was too late. A scandal
was brewing, one that would haunt her the remainder of her life.
Rachel was forever branded a "scarlet woman" by
Andrew's political enemies. Historians believe that the lack of
communications in the frontier wilderness was a primary factor in the
Andrew and Rachel were
married thirty-seven years and had a love for each other that never
waived. His political career careened ahead and he was elected
President of the United States. Rachel, happy for him but always
fearful of public life, was destined to never become First Lady.
Failing health and one final humiliating assault on her character,
overheard in a Nashville hotel, sent her home, to her bed, to her
Andrew Jackson was
inconsolable as the only woman he ever loved lay dead, leaving him to
lead the nation without her love and support. He laid his Rachel to
rest in her rose garden at their home, the Hermitage, in Nashville. He
left her there in the quiet, finally at peace, where she had been
happy and began the long lonely years as president without her at his
side. For the remainder of his life, a small porcelain portrait, with
a wreath of their entwined hair, was kept close to his heart. At
night, he would lovingly place the portrait on his bedside table. The
first thing he saw each morning was her beautiful, beloved face.
The Life of Andrew Jackson: The Border Captain & Portrait of a
President, by Marquis James, and Ladies of the White House by Laura