Rachel Donelson Dies

The campaign was very much a personal one.

Although neither candidate personally campaigned, their political followers organized many campaign events. Both candidates were rhetorically attacked in the press, which reached a low point when the press accused Jackson's wife Rachel of bigamy. Though the accusation was true, as were most personal attacks leveled against him during the campaign, it was based on events that occurred many years prior (1791 to 1794). Jackson said he would forgive those who insulted him, but he would never forgive the ones who attacked his wife. Rachel died suddenly on December 22, 1828, prior to his inauguration, and was buried on Christmas Eve.

Born in present-day Halifax County, Virginia, Rachel was the daughter of Colonel John Donelson and Rachel Stockley-Donelson. John Donelson was a surveyor and a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses at the time of Rachel's birth. Her father moved the family to Tennessee, and then later, to Kentucky. In 1780, John Donelson co-founded the fort of Nashborough in 1780, on the Tennessee frontier. We know Nashborough today as the city of Nashville.