The Life of Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson served as the 17th President of the United States from April 15, 1865 to March 3, 1869. He is most known for being the first president to be impeached, but also as the creator of the Reconstruction program after the end of the Civil War.
Son of Jacob and Mary McDonough Johnson, Andrew was born in Raleigh, North Carolina on December 29, 1808. Jacob Johnson worked as a handyman in a tavern while his mother, Mary, was a maid in the tavern. When Andrew was only 3 years old, his father, Jacob passed away. Andrew's widowed mother supported her children by sewing and taking in washing for local residents.
Andrew's mother apprenticed him to a tailor when he was 13 years old. It has been predicted that the shop foreman probably taught him how to read since tailors usually employed someone to read to the workers as they sat at their tables stitching clothes.
Through reading newspapers and a few books, young Andrew became really familiar with the Constitution, American history, and politics.
Johnson's independent spirit set himself up as a tailor in Carthage, North Carolina, and then at Laurens, South Carolina. He soon moved west into Tennessee to seek a fresh start. In 1826, Johnson brought his poverty-stricken mother and stepfather to Tennessee in 1826. They settled in Greeneville.
On May 17, 1827, Andrew Johnson married Eliza McCardle, the daughter of a Scottish shoemaker. She taught him to write and to solve simple arithmetic. She also encouraged him to read and to study.
Through hard work, Johnson built a profitable tailoring business and bought property in town. He was a known to be a devoted father of 5 who worried about the health, education, and values of his children. When...