Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Alfred’s Cabin

Marker ID:  
Location: Alfred's Cabin behind The Hermitage mansion, Jackson's first Hermitage Home, on Rachel's Lane, Hermitage, TN
County: Davidson
Coordinates: N 36° 12.932    W 086° 36.768
  36.21553333    -86.6128
Waymark: None


Alfred’s Cabin
A Life of Toil

While the bold and dramatic claim center stage, history is also written in the quite, humble ways...and lives. Alfred Jackson was unique among the enslaved at The Hermitage. Born at The Hermitage to Betty, the cook, and Ned, the carpenter, Alfred became the wagoner in charge of Hermitage vehicles and horses. He married Gracy Bradley, Sarah Jackson’s personal maid, with whom he had two children, Augustus, and Sara. Alfred lived nearly his entire life here. He witnessed the growth of The Hermitage into a bustling cotton plantation, then its decline before and after the Civil War, and finally its rebirth as a shrine to Jackson.

After the Civil War, Alfred worked for the Jackson family and rented 24 acres from them, where he raised food and produced a small amount of cotton and butter for sale. By the 1880s he had moved into this log, dwelling that over time would become known as Alfred’s Cabin. When the Ladies’ Hermitage Association took over The Hermitage in 1889, Alfred worked for them as caretaker and a guide for visitors. Today, Alfred’s Cabin is maintained as it looked shortly before his death in 1901.

Alfred's Question
Alfred’s Question In 1848, Andrew Jackson Jr. hired Rocliff Brinkerhoff to tutor his two sons and his wife’s nephews. As they walked the grounds one evening, Brinkerhoff encountered a gloomy Alfred. Alfred said to You white folks have easy times don’t you.” Brinkerhoff countered by pointing out the benefits of Alfred’s situation, such as a kind master and a pleasant home. He even told Alfred “freedom had its burdens, as well as slavery.” At this, Alfred looked up at Brinkerhoff and asked, “How would you like to be a slave?’ Brinkerhoff had no answer.


More information:
The Hermitage, The Home of President Andrew Jackson
Wikipedia: Andrew Jackson
The White House: Andrew Jackson
Wikipedia: Slavery