Sarah Yorke Jackson

Sarah Jackson
First Lady of the United States
De facto
In role
November 26, 1834  March 4, 1837
President Andrew Jackson
Preceded by Emily Donelson (De facto)
Succeeded by Angelica Van Buren (Acting)
Personal details
Born (1803-07-16)July 16, 1803
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died August 23, 1887(1887-08-23) (aged 84)
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Spouse(s) Andrew Jackson Jr.
Children 5

Sarah Yorke Jackson (July 16, 1803 August 23, 1887) was the daughter-in-law of U.S. President Andrew Jackson. She served as White House hostess and de facto First Lady of the United States from November 26, 1834 to March 4, 1837.


Early life

Sarah was born on July 16, 1803 into a wealthy family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1] Her father Peter Yorke, a sea captain and successful merchant, died in 1815.[1] Her mother Mary Haines Yorke died during a trip to New Orleans in 1820 leaving Sarah and her two sisters orphaned.[1] She was raised by two aunts, Mrs. George Farquhar and Mrs. Mordecai Wetherill.[1]

Adult life

Sarah married Andrew Jackson, Jr., the adopted son of Andrew Jackson, in Philadelphia on November 24, 1831.[1][2] After an extended honeymoon at the White House, the new couple left for The Hermitage, Jackson's plantation in Tennessee.[1][3] The couple remained at the Hermitage managing the plantation until a fire destroyed much of the main house in 1834.[1] The couple and their two young children went to Washington to live with President Jackson at the White House.[1]

Sarah arrived at the White House on November 26, 1834.[1] She immediately began to take on the role as co-hostess of the White House along with the President's niece Emily Donelson, who had served as White House hostess and unofficial First Lady since the beginning of the President's term in office.[1] The President referred to Sarah as the "mistress of the Hermitage" rather than White House hostess, apparently to avoid any possible ill feeling between the two women.[1] The arrangement was somewhat awkward but appeared to work relatively smoothly. It was the only time in history when there were two women simultaneously acting as White House hostess. She took over all duties as White House hostess after Emily Donelson fell ill with tuberculosis and died in 1836.[2]

She remained at the White House until Jackson's term expired in 1837, but made several lengthy trips including one to the Hermitage to oversee its reconstruction.[1] She lived at the plantation with her husband and father-in-law until the former President’s death in 1845.[1] The couple continued to live at the Hermitage until shortly before the Civil War when they moved to Mississippi.[1] The state of Tennessee later purchased the plantation as a memorial to Andrew Jackson and allowed Sarah to live there until her death.[1]


She died on August 23, 1887 in Nashville, Tennessee.[1]


Honorary titles
Preceded by
Emily Donelson
De facto
First Lady of the United States
De facto

Succeeded by
Angelica Van Buren
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