Belfast & Northern Ireland

Andrew Jackson and US Rangers Centre

Andrew Jackson was the 7th US President and the first of Ulster Scots descent. His farming parents, Andrew and Elizabeth, and their two young sons emigrated from Carrickfergus to North Carolina in 1765.

Two years later, and shortly before the future President's birth, Andrew Sr. died from a logging accident, leaving the resilient 'Betty' to raise their young family single-handedly. All three brothers served in the 1775-1783 War of Independence, Andrew Jr (aged 13) as a courier. Much of the immediate family, including one brother, died in the war and Jackson's mother died shortly after, leaving him orphaned at 14.

After an unremarkable education, and a short stint as a teacher, Jackson eventually entered the legal profession. In the following years, he became heavily involved in politics and served as a congressman in the Tennessee Supreme Court. Jackson's army credentials were reinforced during the War of 1812 when he defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans. General Jackson emerged a national hero and became known as "Old Hickory" after the hard, tough wood of the native American tree.

His "common man" credentials earned Jackson a massive popular vote and swept him into the Presidency for two consecutive terms from 1829-37. Jackson's wife Rachel died shortly before his inauguration, and in the midst of a scandal where it emerged the couple had erroneously married before Rachel was divorced from her first husband.

During Jackson's time in office, he became the first President to survive an assassination attempt. After his retirement, Jackson continued to take an active interest in politics. He died in 1845 at his home near Nashville, Tenessee.

The original Jackson family home in Carrickfergus was demolished in the 1860s to make way for the railway line; its alleged site is marked by a blue plaque. The nearby Andrew Jackson Centre is located in a single-storey farmhouse dating back to 1750. The house retains original period furniture and features, and contains an exhibition on the family's life and Jackson's Presidency.

Beside the house is a detailed exhibition on the formation and military history of the US Rangers whose 1st Battallion was raised in Carrickfergus in 1942. This famous combat unit was based on the British Commandos and first saw active service on the front lines of WW2.

Amenities

Guarded parking

Website

Price/Additional Info

Admission free. Open by appointment only.

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