Andrew Johnson
Burial Location Visited President Grave #
Greeneville, Tennessee July 18, 2006 29th Visited

After an eventful nighttime trek
to the Andrew Johnson National
Cemetery, my father and I returned
the following day to photograph
the president's imposing grave.

Johnson was visiting at his daughter's house
when he died in July of 1875. The temperature
was so high that his coffin had to constantly
be repacked with ice to slow decomposition.

Other Johnson-related sites that
can be visited in Greeneville
include Johnson's house and his
tailor shop, which is now enclosed
in a visitors center.

Per his request, Johnson was buried with his
body wrapped in an American flag and with
his head resting on a copy of the U.S.

*** Interesting Facts ***

* Few presidents grew up as impoverished as Andrew Johnson. Born and raised in North Carolina, he was the son of Mary and Jacob Johnson, although the latter passed away when Andrew was three years of age. This left Mary Johnson as the sole caretaker of her children. The widowed mother was able to support her family through sewing and weaving, but the Johnsons were still destitute. Andrew was never able to receive a good education, but at a young age was apprenticed to a tailor. In his late teens, Johnson ran away to Greeneville, Tennessee, where he set up his own tailor shop. It was in Tennessee that he would meet and marry the young Eliza McCardle. Just sixteen years old when she wed, Eliza was younger than all of the first ladies at the time of their marriage. She helped her husband enhance his reading and writing skills, as well as taught him arithmetic.

* Johnson took his first step toward the White House in 1829, when he was elected the alderman of the Greeneville town council. Before long, he became the town's mayor, and then a member of the the Tennessee House of Representatives. He was defeated in an attempt to be re-elected to that body for a second term, but returned upon winning the election two years later. A couple of years after that, in 1841, he began to serve in the Tennessee Senate, after which he was elected to the U.S. Congress. He served in the House of Representatives for five terms (ten years) before returning to the Volunteer State in 1853 to serve as its governor. Johnson made his way back to Washington in 1857 to serve in the U.S. Senate.

* In 1862, Andrew Johnson became the military governor of Tennessee. In 1865, Johnson left that post to serve as the United States' 16th vice president. In November of 1864, he and running mate Abraham Lincoln defeated opponents General George B. McClellan and George Pendleton in that year's election. Upon being sworn in on March 4th, the Tennessee politician replaced Hannibal Hamlin, who was dropped from the ticket because Johnson was a Democrat from the South who had remained loyal to the Union. Lincoln felt that having Andrew Johnson as his second-in-command represented unity, and was pleased to have him as the vice president. It was a position that Johnson would hold for little over a month, for an actor by the name of John Wilkes Booth shot and killed President Lincoln while he was attending a play in Washington.

* Though Booth assassinated Lincoln because he had sided with the Confederacy, his actions undoubtedly worked against the South. Prominent people such as Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and Congressman Thaddeus Stevens felt that members of the Confederacy should be punished further because of President Lincoln's death. Andrew Johnson, who had originally felt that the Southerners should be greatly reprimanded for committing treason, in the end chose to be lenient with them. He promised that all states that had seceded would be re-admitted to the Union as long as at least ten percent of their population would swear an oath of loyalty to the United States and if the states adopted the 13th Amendment. Additionally, Johnson said that all Confederate veterans who would take the oath would be pardoned. This angered numerous Northerners, who wanted nothing more than to see the South disciplined for their actions.

* In 1867, Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act, which limited the president's power to remove an officeholder that had been appointed by a prior president. The Tenure of Office Act made it so that only with Congress' consent could the officeholder be removed. Andrew Johnson had sided against the bill, but his veto was overridden. Nevertheless, Johnson suspended Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. The secretary of war barred himself inside his office, and Congress grew increasingly upset with the president. When Stanton was officially removed from the Cabinet, cries rang out for Johnson's impeachment. Members of Congress had no scruples about trying to kick the president out of office, as he had infuriated many of them with his stance on Reconstruction. After a long process, it was time for the Senate to vote. A two-thirds majority was necessary to remove Johnson from his post, meaning that at least 36 of the 54 senators would need to declare him guilty. Thanks to Kansas Senator Edmund Ross, who voted in favor of Johnson, the final tally ended up being 35-19. Thus, Andrew Johnson, the first U.S. president to be impeached, remained in office until he was succeeded by Ulysses S. Grant in 1869.

First Lady: Eliza McCardle Johnson

  - Spouse: Eliza McCardle Johnson (m. 1827-1875)

Political Party: Democratic Party

Vice President: None

Last Words: Unknown

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