2020-10-05_bob_cox_yesteryear

A clipping mentions the incidents at the funeral for Andrew Jackson’s father.

In conversation with a number of friends a day or two ago, Mr. T. D. Faulkner, one of the oldest citizens of this community, related an interesting incident in connection with the funeral of the father of President Andrew Jackson. The story is worth printing.

The elder Jackson, as is well known, lived about 20 miles from Fort Mill, South Carolina, in the Waxhaw neighborhood of Lancaster, County, where “Old Hickory” was born.

Down there, as elsewhere throughout the world, and as is the way of man since old Adam ate the forbidden fruit something like 6,000 years ago, men sometimes die. This was the portion of the elder Jackson.

And it was the custom in that neighborhood then, as it is now, for friends to forgather at the house of respectable neighbors who had departed this life to accord them a Christian burial.

The elder Jackson was an upright citizen who was well liked in the community, so there was no scarcity of friends at his funeral.

In due course of time, the hour arrives for the funeral party to begin the journey of seven miles from the Jackson home to the burying ground at Waxhaw Church. No untoward incident occurred to mark the progress of the funeral party until Six-Mile-Creek was reached.

In these day wagons had not come into general use at least there seems not to have been one in the Waxhaw neighborhood and hearses were unknown. So the best the friends of the dead Jackson could do in transporting his body to the graveyard was to place it on a “slide.”

The slide was built close to the ground, not more than 18 inches high from the runners to the top. This was an important fact in connection with the elder Jackson’s funeral, for, when the creek was reached it was seen to be in a swollen condition from recent rains and therefore, could not be forded at the point where the funeral party intended to cross.

A consultation was held as to the best means of getting the body across the creek, and it was decided to send three or four of the party with the body to another ford several miles up the creek, where, where all were reasonable certain that no trouble be experienced in crossing a stream.

Some of the party remained behind either on horseback or afoot and consequently found it easy to cross. But for some reason, the party in charge of the body did not appear as expected.

For a time, little thought of the delay, as it was attributed to the bad roads of the time. Finally, after the minutes of waiting stretched into hours, all became apprehensive that something had gone wrong and two or three men were detailed to go in search of the party in whose keeping the body of the future president’s father had been entrusted.

At the moment, the searchers were ready to set out the party in charge of the body drove up to the crossroads – without the body.

Consternation reigned for a short period, but repeated inquiry elicited the information that the body had been lost along the way through the irresponsible condition into which its keepers had fallen by stopping too long at a country tavern and drinking too heartily of October ale.

In other words, they had got drunk and forgot about their mission. Of course, the body was recovered and after a delay of several hours was consigned to its last resting place in old Waxhaw Cemetery.

Mr. T.D Faulkner is a cousin of President Andrew Jackson. He was raised in the Waxhaw neighborhood, near the birthplace of “Old Hickory,” and he says that there is no doubt about the fact that “Andy” was born in South Carolina.

Reach Box Cox at boblcox@bcyesteryear.com or www.bcyesteryear.com.

Johnson City native Bob Cox is a longtime contributor to the Johnson City Press. He shares his vast knowledge of his hometown's history with readers each week. Reach Bob Cox at boblcox@bcyesteryear.com or www.bcyesteryear.com.

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