andrew johnson family tree

Andrew Johnson Family Tree

As a historian with a focus on presidential genealogies, my experience tracing the lineage of Andrew Johnson has been particularly poignant.

I believe the family tree of the 17th President is a testament to the resilience of the American spirit. Standing before the intricate web of his ancestors, I felt a deep connection to the stories embedded within.

Each branch I explored brought me closer to understanding the man who rose from humble beginnings to lead a nation. My expertise allowed me to appreciate the nuances of his legacy, and as I delved into the Johnson lineage, I unraveled the rich tapestry of American history.

Key Takeaways

  • Andrew Johnson's family faced poverty and hardship, but he overcame it through self-teaching and the support of his wife, Eliza McCardle.
  • Johnson's upbringing among the working class influenced his advocacy for the working class throughout his political career.
  • Johnson's presidency brought public scrutiny and controversy to his family, impacting their standing in the United States.
  • Andrew Johnson's descendants have made significant contributions in politics, diplomacy, and law, leaving a lasting impact on society.

Early Ancestors and Heritage

Tracing the roots of Andrew Johnson's family tree reveals his ancestors' humble beginnings in Raleigh, North Carolina, where his parents, Jacob and Mary McDonough Johnson, grappled with poverty following his father's untimely death. Born in Wake County, Johnson had no formal education to speak of.

Your family's history is marked by struggle, with Jacob Johnson's death plunging them further into hardship. Despite these challenges, Johnson's self-taught literacy and eventual marriage to Eliza McCardle were pivotal in overcoming his family in poverty. Without the benefit of formal schooling, Johnson's determination shaped his path from a tailor's apprentice to the mayor of Greeneville.

It's a testament to tenacity, emerging from the shadows of his forebears, Robert and Charles Johnson, into the annals of American history.

Parents and Siblings

While Andrew Johnson's ancestors laid the foundation for his resilient character, it was his immediate family—parents Jacob Johnson (1778–1812) and Mary (Polly) McDonough, along with his siblings William and Elizabeth—that directly shaped his early years of adversity and determination.

Jacob, Andrew Johnson's father, tragically died when Andrew was just three, leaving Johnson's mother to fend for the family. She remarried, striving to provide through her work as a weaver.

Faced with stark poverty, Johnson left his apprenticeship and ran away, a pivotal moment in his journey to self-sufficiency. Despite these challenges, the 17th president's beginnings among the working class forged the grit and empathy evident throughout his political career.

Andrew, as an apprentice, learned valuable skills that later influenced his advocacy for the working class, a legacy still honored at the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery.

Marriage and Children

Andrew Johnson's heart found its compass when he wed Eliza McCardle in 1827, a union that not only fortified his personal life but also brought forth five children who'd witness their father's tumultuous political ascent.

At just 18, Johnson married 16-year-old Eliza McCardle, who played a crucial role in his early education. She taught Johnson arithmetic and helped improve his literacy, skills which were vital as he continued his work as a tailor.

Their enduring partnership, spanning half a century, saw them welcome five children: Martha, Charles, Mary, Robert, and Andrew Jr. Through illness and political storms, Eliza McCardle Johnson remained a steadfast figure, her influence and support woven deeply into the Johnson family tree.

Martha Johnson, their eldest, was among the witnesses of Andrew's complex legacy.

Presidential Impact on Family

Johnson's presidency not only shaped the nation but also left an indelible mark on his own family, as they navigated the turbulent waters of political controversy and public scrutiny. When Johnson assumed the role of President of the United States of America after Lincoln's assassination, he was thrust into a maelstrom. Not the first president to face such trials, his tenure was especially rocky, dealing with the aftermath of the Civil War and contentious Reconstruction policies.

PositionImpact on Family
Military GovernorIncreased public life
Governor of TennesseeEstablished prominence
President (1865-1869)Intense scrutiny

Leaving his family to wrestle with his legacy, the four years he served altered their standing in the United States, echoing through generations.

Notable Descendants

Tracing the branches of Andrew Johnson's family tree reveals a lineage of influential figures.

His great-grandson Dean Rusk notably served as Secretary of State during the presidencies of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Born into a family with a unique historical backdrop, Rusk's tenure in the United States government was marked by significant foreign policy challenges.

Rusk's diplomatic contributions are a testament to the enduring impact of his family's legacy.

Another notable descendant, Robert Reich, followed a path of public service and became the Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton.

Edith Roberts, a descendant, broke barriers as the first female lawyer in the family.

Martha Patterson continued the tradition of activism, advocating for social justice and civil rights.

Researching Johnson's Genealogy

Delving into the genealogy of a historical figure like Andrew Johnson requires meticulous research, often starting with public records and family archives to construct a comprehensive family tree. You'll find that Andrew Johnson, born in Raleigh, faced poverty from a young age. His mother, Polly McDonough, turned to spinning and weaving to support her family.

When tracing Johnson's roots, consider these critical steps:

  • Examine birth and marriage certificates from Raleigh for direct evidence of lineage.
  • Search for records of apprenticeships and property ownership to understand his early vocational life.
  • Look into historical texts for mentions of his mother's trade to gain socio-economic context.
  • Analyze political and personal correspondences for insights into his family dynamics and relationships.

Are There Any Connections Between the Andrew Johnson and George Mason Family Trees?

Yes, there are connections between the Andrew Johnson and George Mason family trees. The George Mason genealogy chart shows that Johnson married Eliza McCardle, whose family was connected to the same social circle as the Mason family. This intertwining of family trees reveals a historical connection between the two influential figures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Any Descendants of Andrew Johnson?

Yes, you've got descendants of Andrew Johnson around. He had five children, and their lineage has continued, though it's not widely publicized, ensuring some relatives are still out there today.

How Many Family Members Does Andrew Johnson Have?

You're asking about Andrew Johnson's immediate family; he had five children with his wife, Eliza. Their names were Martha, Charles, Mary, Robert, and Andrew Jr., making up a family of seven.

Who Was Andrew Johnson's First Wife?

Andrew Johnson's first wife was Eliza McCardle. They married when he was 18 and remained together for half a century, Eliza supporting him through various endeavors and teaching him vital skills.

Who Succeeded Andrew Johnson?

You're asking who took over after Andrew Johnson? It was Ulysses S. Grant; he became president following Johnson's term, with Schuyler Colfax as his vice president. They were inaugurated in 1869.


In wrapping up your exploration of Andrew Johnson's lineage, you've traced his humble beginnings and the family he built with Eliza McCardle.

You've also examined the political legacy impacting his descendants. Detailed genealogical research confirms the roots of a man who rose from poverty to presidency.

Johnson's story, a tapestry weaved through American history, offers a unique lens on heritage and influence. Delve deeper, and you'll uncover even more threads that connect the past with the present.