Did President Andrew Jackson Ever Visit Chattanooga?

Thursday, August 1, 2013 - by John Shearer

A recent story on past visits to Chattanooga by presidents resulted in a question by reader Tom Williams. Did Andrew Jackson ever visit Chattanooga while in office?

Mr. Williams, who edits the Red Bank-White Oak Historical Society’s newsletter, The Dry Valley Messenger, said he has heard for over 40 years of Mr. Jackson’s supposed visit to the area.

However, he said he has never been able to find any evidence to support these accounts.

Mr. Jackson, the nation’s seventh president from Tennessee, served from 1829-37.

Mr. Williams added that he has heard claims by historians of old that Mr. Jackson visited here, or even that he carved his initials in a Lookout Mountain cave. But Mr. Williams has never been able to substantiate or verify those statements.

Old newspaper articles on presidential visits also mention that he came here.

Daniel Feller, who heads up a University of Tennessee at Knoxville project collecting and publishing volumes of important papers related to Andrew Jackson, was contacted and also questions any Jackson visits while president.

 Although Dr. Feller said he has never researched that claim and would need to spend some time looking in detail to know for sure, he doesn’t think the president came here.

“He came down to Tennessee only in the summers of even-numbered years: 1830, 1832, 1834, 1836,” Dr. Feller said. “I know he didn’t visit Chattanooga in 1830."

“His normal practice was to travel between Washington and Nashville on the overland route (essentially the current site of Interstate 81 and I-40) one direction, and the Cumberland-Ohio steamboat and National Road (U.S. 40) route the other.

“This took him through Knoxville, but not Chattanooga. He might have dropped down during the summer of 1836, when he did some campaigning for (Martin) Van Buren as his successor to the presidency, but in a fast check I can’t find any record or indication of it.

“So it seems unlikely,” Dr. Feller added.

Chattanooga was also not an incorporated city until 1839, two years after Mr. Jackson left office.

But that would not have totally ruled out a visit, as it has been documented that President James Monroe visited the Brainerd Mission in Chattanooga about two decades earlier, and a number of white settlers were in the area by the time of Mr. Jackson’s presidency.

Former Chattanoogan Jon Meacham’s 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “American Lion,” which deals with Mr. Jackson’s years in the White House, also does not mention Chattanooga in the index.

 Whether Mr. Jackson came to Chattanooga before becoming president might be even harder to track down and verify.

If Mr. Jackson did come to Chattanooga, he likely did not get to enjoy Krystals or barbecue – as past presidents have enjoyed – unless one of the trading post operators was smoking a pig out back!

 Even if he did not come in person, Mr. Jackson, of course, still impacted the Scenic City greatly, as he ordered the Indian removal. Through that effort, many Cherokees left Chattanooga on a Trail of Tears route to the West.

To see the original story on past presidential visits, click here: http://www.chattanoogan.com/2013/7/29/255948/John-Shearer-Past-Presidential-Visits.aspx


Chester Martin Remembers St. Elmo

I am (highly) qualified to make the brash pronouncement that St. Elmo (Chattanooga's first suburb) is as much a state of mind as it is an actual place. It is a place that gets into your mind and into your blood, and sometimes under your skin - indelibly. I have witnessed the same phenomenon in distant cities, but I do not think it is so strong an emotion there as it is here ... (click for more)

Another Trip to the What-not Drawer: We Have the Answer

Update: The item has been determined to be a vintage set of pipe thread dies made by the Toledo Pipe Threading Machine Company.  The ridges on the dies cut threads into metal pipe for joining with a fitting. In my previous Memories article ( http://www.chattanoogan.com/2016/10/9/333673/Remembering-Scenic-Slide-Viewers.aspx ), I shared how I dared to open a what-not ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke, Lacie Stone Were At Swanky New York City Hotel While Bobby Stone Was Plying The River

Mayor Andy Berke's top advisor Lacie Stone accompanied him on a trip to New York City on April 12-13 and they ended up at a swanky spot where Ms. Stone's husband, Bobby, had taken her before. They sat at the Stones' favorite table.   Bobby Stone, who has accused his wife of having an affair with the mayor, has said that Lacie Stone told him that she and the mayor kissed ... (click for more)

Fire Displaces Family Of 7; Blaze Ruled Accidental

No injuries were reported in connection with a house fire on Saturday afternoon that displaced a family of seven. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at 4:11 p.m. and responded to 3308 Dodson Ave. with five fire companies. Captain Wadie Suttles with Engine 4 said heavy fire was showing when the first firefighters arrived on the scene. As additional firefighters ... (click for more)

Please, No Short Term Vacation Rentals In My Neighborhood

Approval of the short term vacation rental item on the City Council agenda for Tuesday  will be the next step toward commercializing our residential properties and communities to benefit those more interested in making money than preserving an old, well-established, rich community of like-minded families.    Anything requiring a business license is ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Kelly Could Win It

I am neither a sleuth nor an odds maker but I’d say there is about a one-in-three chance that Interim Hamilton County Department of Education Superintendent Kirk Kelly could become the permanent superintendent of our public schools next Thursday. I am assured something squirrelly is happening on our newly-seated school board. It has been seven months since the last superintendent ... (click for more)