Sunday, March 20, 2011

Andrew Jackson and the McQuiston family

I have my theories about the family and quite often they are otherwise proven to be true. In the case of Andrew Jackson, I sent all my proof to Professor Rik Booream, then of Rutgers University, and he said there is nothing in our tradition that contradicts any known history of Andrew Jackson. That's a good beginning since he wrote Young Hickory, the most comprehensive book on the youth of Jackson.

Jackson's older brothers were Hugh and Robert, in that order. According to the standard Scotch-Irish naming convention, the first son was named after the paternal grandfather, which in this case was true, because Andy, himself, wrote that his grandfather was named Hugh Jackson. The second son is named after the maternal grandfather. While other names have been floated, this naming convention would indicate that Elizabeth Hutchinson's father was named Robert. We know he was the son of John Hutchinson, signer of the treasure will of Alexander McCuistion. It is most probable, though I am the only one pointing this out, that John's son was named Robert.

This "Robert" Hutchinson married Jean Moody, sister to Ann Moody. Jean, Ann, and one other sister received shares of Alexander McCuistion's treasure. Ann Moody went on to marry her first cousin, once removed, Thomas McCuistion, son of James who was a brother of Alexander. Another brother was Benjamin McCuiston of County Derry, N.I. and it was from him that Ann Moody descended.

It was Benjamin's daughter, Jean McCuiston, who married Thomas Moody. Their daughters included Ann and Jean, plus three others. Thomas Moody came to America and fought at 70 years old, or older, at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. This is proven by a request made for him by the American commander Nathanael Greene for a military pension.

If Moody's wife Jean McCuiston were still alive and with him when he came to America, she would be another of the earliest McCuistons in America, one we have seldom if ever even spoken of.

The treasure was also left to the "children of" another Ann McCuiston, a sister to Alexander, Benjamin, James and Robert (my McCuiston ancestor.) This Ann married Hugh Fleming and the words "children of" indicates at least two children. This would mean the treasure would have had to have consisted of at least 5 parts. Ann Moody's share appears to have been worth about $25,000 based on the worth of gold at the time x the 80 pounds Jackson is said to have estimated the barrel of gold to weigh - and also based on the 10,000 acres of Texas land that Ann's son, another Robert, purchased with it, at the going rate of $2.50 per acre.

This would put the total treasure of Alexander McCuistion at about $125,000 in money of the day, or millions of current dollars depending on which standard you use for the worth of today's money.

D.J. McCartney, in his book on the Jacksons of Ulster, written in conjunction with the Andrew Jackson Centre of Carrickfergus, N.I., says there is absolutely no proof that Jackson ever received any inheritance from anyone named Jackson in Ireland. Prof. Rik Booream says that Jackson most likely received his famous inheritance from his mother. If so, this would have been McCuistion treasure. Even the curator of the Hermitage, Jackson's old home and now a museum, told me she had heard scholars recently speaking of the money having come from Elizabeth Hutchinson's side of the family, not the Jackson side. These three people are substantial historians in the area of Andrew Jackson and all three indicate that the treasure must have been from the Hutchinson side of the family - the McCuiston side, that is.

On the approach of Cornwallis to the Waxhaws, Jackson's mother buried her gold under the floor of their house, just before going to Charlestown, where she died. She told Jackson about it. Later, on the approach of Cornwallis to Guilford County, Jackson went to the home of his great Aunt Ann Moody McCustion to tell her to hide her gold as well.

Jackson, in his own words, says he was above Charlotte on the approach of Cornwallis, and did not leave North Carolina until after Cornwallis did, which would obviously be after the Guilford battle.  Jackson's "ideal officer" Davies (the first person to give Jackson a pistol) was Commissary General at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, meaning Jackson should have been there if just doing his duty to his commander. Jackson was a messenger and thus would have had the opportunity to stop at Ann Moody's house with the message that Cornwallis was coming. He may have been one of the very first to know this fact.

The neighbor on one side of the McCuitions was the McNairy family and Jackson became best friends for life with John McNairy of that family. The McNairy's shared Old Gibson Cemetery with the McCuistions.

On the other side of the McCuistons lived David and Rachel Caldwell. Jackson attended Caldwell's school and passed "through the yard of his old relatives" according to North Carolina historian Eli Caruthers, who followed Caldwell as minister at the Buffalo and Alamance churches. Rachel Caldwell was the sister of Elizabeth Hutchinson's best friend. Ann Moody's husband, Thomas McCuistion, was on the run with David Caldwell shortly before the battle, both with prices on their heads placed by the British.

The Caldwell and McNairy families also have the tradition of Jackson being at their home. There can be little if any doubt that Jackson was at all three homes, the McNairys, Caldwells and McCuistions.

After his mother's death Andy recovered his buried inheritance and went to Charlestown looking for his mother's grave. Afterwards, he moved to the area where the McCuiston home was located and worked at a store owned by his friends Henderson and Searcy. There was a Henderson and McCuiston wedding, and also, Ann Moody McCuistion filed a document in the Guilford County Courthouse stating that she was the wife of Thomas McCuistion and the granddaughter of Benjamin McCuistion. Signed on that document are the names of Searcy and McNairy.

In Cornwallis's own war log he mentions taking over the McCuistion home as his headquarters. This is also mentioned in several records of the Guilford battle.

With all the evidence that Jackson was in the area and familiar with the McCuistion home, and the proof positive that Cornwallis was at the McCuistion home, it would be nearly insane to believe that Ann Moody would "make up" the part about Jackson being there earlier that morning to help her hide the gold. With dozens and dozens of friends and neighbors still living, she would be made a laughing stock for telling such a tall tale, especially since she already had a great story to tell of Cornwallis taking over her home - a proven story.

General Greene approached and left the Guilford battlefield by way of McCuiston Bridge, which crossed the Reedy Fork Creek, and then on up McCuiston road. Andrew Jackson later became caretaker of "the road that leads from the Reedy Fork bridge to the Widow Flack's property." The Widow Flack was Jane McCuiston, daughter of James, sister to Thomas, and sister-in-law to Ann Moody.

The evidence abounds of the connection of Andrew Jackson to the McCuiston family and there is not one single shred of evidence to the contrary. To disbelieve this family tradition would take the most harden of skeptics.

1 comment:

  1. Hopefully you can help. I'm researching the surname Nicholson. I know through my research that the Nicholson family was closely involved with the McNairy's, Jackson's, and I've found documents that state a Jean Nicholson married James McCuiston. My 5th GGrandfather Elisha Nicholson married Margaret McNairy duaghter of Francis McNairy. But I can't find any information past Elisha Nicholson, I was wondering if you knew any history about the family. Thank You.