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Examiner
  • Ted Stillwell: The Jacksons of the Waxhaws

  • Andrew Jackson’s mom and dad arrived at Philadelphia in 1765 aboard a ship from Ireland. Four of Mrs. Jackson’s sisters had already moved to the English lands of America and lived in a little place called the Waxhaws in the colony of South Carolina. With their two small boys, Hugh and Robert, the Jacksons start...
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  • Andrew Jackson’s mom and dad arrived at Philadelphia in 1765 aboard a ship from Ireland. Four of Mrs. Jackson’s sisters had already moved to the English lands of America and lived in a little place called the Waxhaws in the colony of South Carolina. With their two small boys, Hugh and Robert, the Jacksons started south by wagon through wild and lonely country. They crossed high hills and wide rivers before finally arriving at the Waxhaws.
    Mr. Jackson bought some land and worked hard cutting trees to clear the fields over the next couple of years, so he could plant corn and wheat. In the winter of 1767, Jackson was injured working in the fields and on a cold snowy day in early March he died.
    Mrs. Jackson, who was nine months pregnant, along with her friends, put his body on a mule drawn sled and pulled him over the snow and ice to the Waxhaw Church and buried him in the cold hard ground. She then took her two little boys and moved in with one of her sisters. It was there, before the sun came up on the morning of March 15, that baby Andrew was born.
    Young Andy had light red hair and blue eyes, he was a bright and quick child. Andy went to school at the Waxhaw Church and could read by the time he was 5, and by 8 he could read long words. Back in those days many grownups had never learned to read, so Andy often read their letters to them. He became a typical frontier child growing up climbing trees, fishing, hunting deer and bobcats and enjoyed watching the cock fights.
    Andy often visited his cousins, the Crawfords. There, he heard angry talk about King George III of England. They did not feel English anymore, since they had become Americans, and didn’t see why they should have to pay taxes to England anymore. In the Massachusetts colony there was even a battle going on between the Colonist and the English soldiers. Soon thereafter, the American Colonies went to war with England under the leadership of General George Washington.
    In June of 1776, more news came. English warships were in the sea off Charleston, S.C. The Waxhaw farmers took up arms and elected Andy’s Uncle Robert Crawford to be their captain and marched away to Charleston. They easily drove off the English and returned to their fields.
    Then, in August 1776, the postman brought a Philadelphia newspaper to the Waxhaws and 40 men crowded into the Crawford house as young Andy Jackson opened the paper and began to read the words that would change the world, the Declaration of Independence. It declared the 13 colonies free of England and now the 13 United States of America.
    However, the English returned to Charleston again and again, and even came up into the hills around Waxhaw. In one such encounter, Andy’s brother Hugh was killed. So, when Andy was only 13, and Robert was 16, they became American soldiers fighting against the English. Both boys were taken prisoner and locked up with many other soldiers in filthy quarters. They all came down with small pox, which claimed the life of Andy’s other brother, Robert. Their mother managed to obtain the release of Andy and took him back to Waxhaw. However, she felt the need to return to the prison and see how many more prisoners she could help, where she also came down with small pox and sadly, died, leaving young Andrew Jackson alone in the world.
    Page 2 of 2 - Today we live in Jackson County, which was named for the man who overcame adversity to become the seventh President of the United States of America.
    Reference: Meet Andrew Jackson, by Ormonde DeKay Jr.
    Ted W. Stillwell is available to speak before any club, church, civic, senior, or school groups.
    To reach Ted W. Stillwell, send an email to teddystillwell@yahoo.com or call him at 816-252-9909.
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