Andrew Jackson Marker
by Louise Pettus
When the birthplace of Andrew Jackson was marked in a special ceremony on May 24, 1929, it was the culmination of the dreams and work of many citizens.
The idea was originally conceived by Miss Annie Witherspoon (1850-1923), a private school teacher who was greatly beloved by generations of Lancaster school children. Before her death, Miss Annie passed along her dream to a life-long friend, Mrs. E. E. Cloud. Mrs. Cloud was an active member of the Catawba Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
T. Y. Williams of Lancaster was a prominent lawyer and served in both the South Carolina House and Senate. He happened to own the old James Crawford plantation land where it was claimed that Jackson was born. A. S. Salley, Jr. ,state historian and first director of the South Carolina Archives, selected the spot he felt the monument should be placed. Salley based his site selection on his 26 years of research into the question. T. Y. Williams proudly donated the land and was the master of ceremonies for the unveiling.
E. B. Blakeney of Camden donated the boulder which stands 6 feet tall and weighs 3 tons. The boulder was quarried in Lancaster County.
The unveiling ceremony was a simple one. After an invocation by Rev. Fred T. Grier, the audience sang "America," "Carolina" and "The Star Spangled Banner."
T. Y. Williams introduced Congressman William F. Stevenson who delivered the address. Stevenson was a history buff and had made valiant efforts through his congressional office to research all possible connections of Andrew Jackson to a South Carolina birthplace.
Mrs. W. D. Rice of Rock Hill, a Winthrop Training School teacher and regent of the Catawba Chapter, welcomed the visitors. Mrs. Rice and the chapter deserve the credit for actually coordinating and bringing off the project.
Mrs. John R. London of Rock Hill brought greetings from the South Carolina division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and Mrs. E. E. Cloud gave the history of the marker project.
Misses Ernestine and Jessie Cloud removed the white cloth that had draped the marker to reveal the inscription: "Andrew Jackson's Birthplace, erected by the Catawba Chapter, D.A.R., of Rock Hill, South Carolina." On the reverse side of the monument was inscribed extracts from a letter written by Andrew Jackson in 1832 to John Witherspoon of Lancaster in which Jackson said that he was always told that he was born on his uncle's plantation in South Carolina.
J. J. Sassi or Rock Hill, an Italian immigrant stonecutter who had been in York County for many years, made and lettered the marker. He was introduced to the crowd along with members of the marker committee from the Catawba chapter: Mrs. J. B. Johnson, Mrs. C. K. Schwrar, Mrs. W. D. Rice, Mrs. J. K. Roach and Mrs. W. C. Hutchison. Mrs. Hutchison was the author of the inscriptions on the marker.
On each side of the marker there were placed United States flags on staffs. Standing guard were Sergeants Buford Worthy and Jesse Threatt of the Rock Hill unit of the national guard.
Mrs. J. C. Symmes, great-granddaughter of Andrew Jackson, and her daughter, Mrs. M. A. Candler, were in the audience and were introduced.
The monument was situated very close to the North Carolina line. When Jackson was born in 1767 the boundary line between the two states was the Camden to Salisbury Road, traces of which are still visible today. The old road meandered along a path that today would place it mostly in South Carolina but occasionally in North Carolina.
On that May day in 1929, the audience could look over into North Carolina where there was still standing a log smokehouse, now used as a chicken house, that had been built by Jackson's uncle, James Crawford. According to Dr. S. H. Ezell, the owner of the building, a Mr. Neely had many years before dismantled the log building and moved it into North Carolina. The logs were hewn from heart oak timber.
Dr. Ezell offered to donate the old house to the Jackson marker site if any interested bodies wished to move and reconstruct it. There is no evidence that anyone ever took up the doctor's offer.