Greeneville in Greene County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
The Heart of the Household
Andrew Johnson National Historic Site
“At four in the morning I had to be up. I went up and made the fire in [Johnsonís] room, shined his boots, and then made a fire in the kitchen stove. I stood by his side at the table . . . then I washed the dishes.” † † † William Johnson, slave to Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson purchased his first slave, Dolly, in 1842 while living in the house in front of you. Fourteen-year-old Dolly was scheduled to be sold at auction when, according to her son William Johnson, she approached Andrew Johnson and asked him to buy her. The bill of sale (right) is for Dollyís 12 year-old brother Sam whom Andrew Johnson also bought. Dolly, her brother Sam, and Johnsonís other slaves worked in and around this house doing the familyís cooking, cleaning, and other domestic chores.
“I, Andrew Johnson, do hereby proclaim freedom, full, broad and unconditional to every man in Tennessee!” † † † Andrew Johnson, Military Governor of Tennessee, 1864
Johnson believed in gradual freedom for slaves. According to local tradition, Johnson freed his slaves, including Dolly and her family, on August 8, 1863. In 1864, as Tennesseeís Military Governor, Johnson proclaimed freedom for all enslaved men in Tennessee a year before slavery was formerly abolished by the 14th amendment to the constitution.
Erected by National Park Service.
Location. 36° 9.766′ N, 82° 49.753′ W. Marker is in Greeneville, Tennessee, in Greene County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of E Depot Street and N College Street, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Greeneville TN 37745, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. An Early Home (a few steps from this marker); "I Have Wrestled With Poverty" (a few steps from this marker); Andrew Johnson (within shouting distance of this marker); Margaret Johnson Patterson Bartlett / Andrew Johnson (within shouting distance of this marker); Benjamin Lundy (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Greeneville, Tennessee (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Andrew Johnson (about 400 feet away); Olde Greene County Gaol (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Greeneville.
More about this marker. The background of the marker contains a picture of the 1842 Bill of sale for Sam. Next to this are photographs
Also see . . .
1. Andrew Johnson National Historic Site. National Park Service website. (Submitted on August 14, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
2. Biography of Andrew Johnson. The White House website. (Submitted on August 14, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • African Americans •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 14, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 350 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 14, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.