Tags: Presidential History | Andrew Jackson | pets

First Pets: Four-legged or Feathered Friends of President Andrew Jackson

By    |   Saturday, 07 Nov 2015 08:09 PM

Nearly all U.S. presidents found a common way to relax and unwind during their time in the White House: spending time with pets. President Andrew Jackson was no exception to this rule, keeping several notable pets during his time in office.

The nation's seventh president, Jackson is regarded as a tough, strong-willed man. Born in 1767, the White House reports that he did not attend school regularly while growing up. Still, he read law on his own for two years and became a respected lawyer in Tennessee, according to the White House Historical Association. He rose to national fame when, as a major general in the War of 1812, he defeated the British.

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Jackson was a presidential candidate in the election of 1824. Although John Quincy Adams won that year, Jackson felt he had only done so with the backing of Henry Clay, a candidate-turned-supporter who ultimately became Adams's secretary of state. Feeling that a corrupt bargain – support for a high position – had taken place between the two, Jackson started his campaign against Adams almost immediately and won the next two elections, serving as president from 1829 to 1837. Jackson's strong personality and personal code of conduct earned him the nickname "Old Hickory."

Jackson had several notable pets. He was fond of horses, owning so many that he had to ask Congress for approval to build new, more spacious stables, according to the Presidential Pet Museum. One inhabitant of these new stables was Sam Patch, Jackson's horse, a gift received during his presidency. The horse was named after a popular daredevil of the time who made several jumps into the Niagara River near the base of Niagara Falls. Jackson also had several racehorses, including the fillies Emily, Lady Nashville, and Bolivia, but the most famous by far was Thruxton. Jackson was so fond of his beloved racehorse that, when a race between Thruxton and another undefeated horse was canceled and the forfeit fee was disputed, he got into a deadly duel that ended with the other horse's owner's son-in-law, Charles Dickinson, dead and with a bullet permanently lodged in his own chest.

Jackson also had a pet parrot named Poll. Originally a gift for his wife, Rachel, the bird came under Jackson's care after his wife's death. Given his rough and tough nature, it is no surprise that the parrot added some vulgar words to its vocabulary. This fact became problematic at Jackson's funeral when the bird began cursing so continuously and loudly that it had to be removed from the building.

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Nearly all U.S. presidents found a common way to relax and unwind during their time in the White House: spending time with pets. President Andrew Jackson was no exception to this rule, keeping several notable pets during his time in office.
Andrew Jackson, pets
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2015-09-07
Saturday, 07 Nov 2015 08:09 PM
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