Andrew Johnson: The Homestead

Visitors to Greeneville, Tenn., are on their own much of the time to absorb the information available at the various features of the Andrew Johnson historic site. But the tour of the homestead, where Johnson lived during much of his political life, is guided by rangers from the National Park Service.

      

   

The focus of the homestead tour is the Johnson’s troubled family life. I didn’t take notes, but here are the details as I recall them: One of Johnson’s sons was killed during the Civil War; his two others died fairly young, at least one from substance abuse; and one of his daughters left her husband and their children.

The house on the homestead stayed in the family long after Andrew Johnson’s death, and one of his descendants gave tours even after the National Park Service took over the property. The home, including an expansion, has been restored to look like it did when Johnson lived there after his presidency. It consists of Johnson’s office, six bedrooms, a kitchen and dining room, and quarters for the slaves.

      

     

  

Many of the furnishings, including some of Johnson’s canes and one of his shirts, are original. A section of wallpaper in one of the bedrooms also has been peeled back to reveal some of the anti-Johnson graffiti left there when the house was occupied by Southern troops during the Civil War.

     

      

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