Sarah Yorke Jackson

public profile

Is your surname Jackson?

Research the Jackson family

Sarah Yorke Jackson's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Sarah Jackson (Yorke)

Birthdate: (82)
Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA, USA
Death: August 22, 1887 (78-86)
Nashville, TN, USA
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Peter Stille Yorke and Mary Yorke
Wife of Andrew Jackson, Jr. (Adopted Nephew)
Mother of Rachel Lawrence; Thomas Jefferson Jackson; Samuel Jackson; Robert Armstrong Jackson and Col. Andrew Jackson, III, CSA
Sister of Marion Adams and Jane Lockridge Yorke

Managed by: James Hutchison
Last Updated:

About Sarah Yorke Jackson

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

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

Sarah married Andrew Jackson, Jr., the adopted son of Andrew Jackson, in Philadelphia on November 24, 1831. After an extended honeymoon at the White House, the new couple left for The Hermitage, Jackson's plantation in Tennessee. The couple remained at the Hermitage managing the plantation until a fire destroyed much of the main house in 1834. The couple and their two young children went to Washington to live with President Jackson at the White House. Later she was an artist for 15 years.

Sarah arrived at the White House on November 26, 1834. 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. 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. 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.

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. She lived at the plantation with her husband and father-in-law until the former President’s death in 1845. The couple continued to live at the Hermitage until shortly before the Civil War when they moved to Mississippi. The state of Tennessee later purchased the plantation as a memorial to Andrew Jackson and allowed Sarah to live there until her death.
Sarah Yorke Jackson

(July, 1805 - 23 August, 1887)

While Emily Donelson served as Andrew Jackson's hostess in the White House, it was originally intended that his daughter-in-law, Sarah Yorke Jackson, the wife of his adopted son would supervise the management of the Hermitage. A fire at the Hermitage, however, brought Sarah Yorke Jackson to the White House for lengthier stays and so she and Emily Donelson essentially served as co-hostesses, a unique situation in White House history.

Sarah Yorke Jackson was born into great wealth in July of 1805 in Philadelphia, the exact date unrecorded. Descendant of English Quakers, her great-great-grandfather had been a judge and officer of crown of England before immigrating to Pennsylvania, and she was also related to many of Philadelphia's wealthiest and most powerful families. Her father Peter Yorke was a sea captain, as had been his father, and amassed great wealth through his diverse mercantile enterprises; he had spent most of his business career on the sea and was familiar with a wide variety of cultures, having traded in ports through Europe, Africa, and Asia. He died in 1815. His wife, the former Mary Haines, on a trip to New Orleans, died in that city in 1820, thus leaving Sarah Yorke Jackson orphaned by age 15 and in the care of two parental aunts, a Mrs. George Farquhar and Mrs. Mordecai Wetherill. Throughout her life she remained close to her two sisters, Jane and Marian.

It is not clear how Sarah Yorke met Andrew Jackson, Jr. President Jackson was unable to attend their November 24, 1831 wedding at the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, but he sent the portrait painter and family friend Ralph Earl to represent him and present the bride with the gift of a pearl ring which contained a locket of the President's hair. The couple proceeded immediately to the White House, where the President stood on the front steps with open arms to greet her. He showed immediate affection to his daughter-in-law and they remained close until his death. The President held a number of parties in her honor, including a dinner to which the Cabinet and Diplomatic Corps were invited and she wore her wedding gown at the series of events. She and her husband remained at the White House through the holiday season of 1831 and the social season of 1832. She arrived at the Hermitage in late spring of 1832 to assume the management with her husband of the plantation. She gave birth there to her first child, named for the president's late wife, Rachel, in November. Sarah Jackson's cousin Emma Yorke Farquhar accompanied her to the White House and the Hermitage and married there one of Andrew Jackson, Jr.'s brothers, Thomas Jefferson Donelson on 17 September, 1832. Sarah Yorke Jackson returned to the White House in February of 1833 for the second Jackson Inauguration. She remained there through the summer when she and her family joined the president at his seaside vacation in Virginia. She returned to the Hermitage in August. Her second child, Andrew, was born there in April 1834.

During that stay, however, a fire partially destroyed the Hermitage and required rebuilding. Thus, Sarah Yorke Jackson once again returned to the White House, arriving on 26 November 1834. She was accompanied by Emily Donelson and to avoid any questions of who took precedence as the President's official hostess, Jackson declared Sarah Jackson to be "mistress of the Hermitage," and implied that he view ed that as more personally dear to him; there is no evidence of any rivalry between the two women who then essentially functioned as co-hostesses. In February 1835, however, Sarah Yorke Jackson made an extended visit with her children to relatives in Philadelphia and did not rejoin the presidential household until that summer when she was part of the family again vacationing in Virginia and from there she returned to Philadelphia for a month. Part of her time in that city was spent ordering new furnishings for the Hermitage. She and Emily Donelson helped to host a large Christmas party for the children of the family in the White House, in December of 1835. She once again returned to the Hermitage in the spring of 1836 and then for one last time came back to Washington in the fall of 1836. She visited with her Philadelphia relatives before overseeing the packing and shipping of Jackson's eight years worth of possessions in the White House as he prepared to retire in March of 1837.

Upon Jackson's retirement, Sarah Jackson and her family returned with him to the Hermitage, and she resumed charge of his household. Three more children - Samuel, Thomas, and Robert - would be born to Sarah Yorke Jackson at the Hermitage. Shortly thereafter, Sarah's widowed sister Marion Adams came to live there as well, with her three sons, John, Andrew, and William. After the death of the former President in 1845, debt-ridden Andrew and Sarah Jackson struggled to maintain their lifestyle on their plantation. Sometime between 1858 and 1860 they relocated to Mississippi, turning over the maintenance of the estate to two of the property's most trusted slaves, Hannah and Aaron. The state of Tennessee later purchased the property, intending to prepare it as an historic site, but permitted Sarah Jackson to live out her life there. She died at the Hermitage on August 23, 1887.

view all

Sarah Yorke Jackson's Timeline

July 1805
Philadelphia, PA, USA
November 1, 1832
Age 27
Hermitage Estate, Davidson, Tennessee, United States
Age 28
June 18, 1836
Age 30
Virginia, United States
June 9, 1837
Age 31
Hermitage Estate, Davidson, Tennessee, United States
June 18, 1843
Age 37
August 22, 1887
Age 82
Nashville, TN, USA