The Mystery of Lyncoya

Did you know that Andrew Jackson never had children of his own, but the brain child of the Indian Removal Act adopted a Creek child? Paradoxical enigma that he is, Jackson sent home a child found on a battlefield (disputed either the Battle of Talladega or the Battle of Horseshoe Bend) with his dead mother and raised him as his own. His name was Lyncoya. Lyncoya received the very best education and had hopes to attend West Point but because of his ethnicity he could not. Instead, he became a saddle maker and died of tuberculosis when he was around 16 years old.

As with anything Andrew Jackson, there is perhaps a darker side to the story.

Historians speculate that Lyncoya may have been brought home as a plaything or ‘pet’ for his other adopted son, Andrew Jackson, Jr. It was not uncommon for African slaves to tour the world in “Human Zoos,” and some think that his initial intentions might have been more along those lines given Jackson’s betrayal of Native Americans just two short years after Lyncoya’s death.

For whatever reason, historians can document that Lyncoya was well cared for, although the romanticism that he warmed Jackson’s cold, black heart may be just that as his body has never been found. In 2003, cadaver dogs searched the property of the Hermitage looking for slave burial grounds and for Lyncoya. While the rest of the family, and even Jackson’s most loved slave Alfred are buried in the same area, but Lyncoya still remains lost today.

Below are the graves of Alfred (buried close but still separate) to the large gazebo-esque monument atop Jackson and his wife, Rachel. The rest of the family lie in the bottom right section of the grave site.








  1. I STRONGLY disagree with the speculation that Lyncoya was to be a “pet” or a “plaything ” for Andrew JR. I do not know the date that Jr. was adopted or Lyncoya was brought to the Hermitage. This should be considered if this has not. Who ws first? Even though you write of Jackson’s “black heart” , there was a soft spot in there too. especially for the ophaned child he found after his Mother was killed. I’m sure you are aware that Jackson himself was an orphan. He never knew his father as he died before Andrew was born. He saw his 2 brothers and his Mother die by the time he was a young teenager. But here was a baby that had no one to care for him. So with that soft spot he sent him to Racherl to be loved and cared for —- NOT a “play thing”. By the way I guess you also know that the boy adpoted as their son , A.J. Jr. was one of twins being born to one of Rachels sister- in – law’s and brother who already had 9 children. I would like to think that this soft spot in Andrews heart offered to help the family by adopted one of the twins since Rachel evidently could not have children. Rachel and Andrew also became the guardings to another nephew of Rachels, Andrew Jackson Donelson. Later going to Washington with his uncle. Yes, it was wrong to take the Indians lands and send them West. But we have to consider the mindset of the times , which is hard to do. I ,too, have often wandered why they do not know where Lincoya was buried . I was raised in the Doelson/ Hermitage area and have been a Nashville tour guide for 30 years. Having been to the Hermitage on many many tours it is my favorite. My tour guest always enjoy the story of Andrew and Rachel I tell on the way to the Hermitage as the Hermitage does not mention their life there. His politics are the focus. As the former film they use to show there said, “you either loved him or hated him” . By the way , Uncle Alfred’s grave is as close to Andrew’s on one side as the family’s graves, “still separate” are on the other side of Andrew. Descendents are still allowed to be buried there. All from Rachel’s side. Linda Bradshaw ________________________________________

    1. One reason the term pet surfaces is it’s the one Jackson used for the child: “Jackson told Rachel to keep Lyncoya in the house, rather than giving him lodging with the enslaved people at the Hermitage. Jackson called Lyncoya a “pett”—a diversion for Andrew Jr., who would wield some kind of undefined power over the 4-years-younger child.”

  2. I agree with Linda. I think it’s super hip to be an Andrew Jackson hater and this post just follows that trend. She uses speculation here to fire the imagination (something I’ve done a lot of myself) to assume even worse things. We love to sit back and project our 21st century moralities onto Jackson and others and make him into some kind of racist. When you go so far back in time that term just isn’t applicable. I don;t get all butt-hurt over this insult to Jackson. He’s a big boy and few people could have filled his shoes. Having been born on the outskirts of his plantation I see him as kin. Now I’ve moved on down to Spanish Florida (Miami) to conquer or reconquer other lands 😉 just like my ancestors did in Middle Tennessee. History is a series of subsequent waves of conquest. The Cherokee were removed from those lands they occupied after having taken it from others and it goes all the way back to the paleoindians and likely before. I know Angela is just a story teller having fun here and I appreciate her writing, her spirit and fun speculation but Jackson isn’t Hitler lol.

  3. To clarify I know she didn’t call him Adolph Hitler or use the word racist I don’t think. I’m mainly referring to the trendiness of Jackson-bashing and assuming something evil is at work because the the Indian kid’s tomb isn’t to be found.

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