I’m deviating outside of the location of Tennessee; however, since the story regards my favorite Tennessean, I feel justified in telling it.
Completely insane patriot and dairy farmer Colonel Thomas S. Meacham and Jackson’s followers wanted to show their thanks to the new democracy by giving Jackson what he loved best: cheese. This idea was not original, but was an ode to Jackson honoring the giant cheese (15 inches thick, four feet wide, 1234 pounds) given to Thomas Jefferson by the town of Cheshire, Connecticut in 1802. The Cheshire cheese was a symbol of “profound respect…to the popular ratification of his election” for Jefferson.
Jackson’s followers knew this story and in 1835 commissioned Meacham to create a monster wheel of cheese that was two feet thick, four feet around and weighed 1400 pounds.
The only problem was, even now in the days of refrigerators and air conditioning a four foot wheel of cheese is completely ridiculous and unmanageable. In 1837 (two years after he had received the “gift”) Jackson, known as the “people’s president” decided to invite his constituents (over 10,000 attended) to the White House lawn to cut the cheese, if you will.
The enormous symbol of Jacksonian Democracy was devoured within two hours. The reception was his last public appearance as President before Jackson returned to the Hermitage, but the smell of the rotting cheese was talked about by Washingtonians for years after his death.