Fifty Famous People by James Baldwin: THE YOUNG SCOUT and America First-100 Stories from Our History
Fifty Famous People by James Baldwin
THE YOUNG SCOUT
(1) WHEN Andrew Jackson was a little boy, he lived with his mother in South Carolina. He was eight years old when he heard about the ride of Paul Revere and the famous fight at Lexington.
(2) It was then that the long war, called the Revolutionary War, began. The king’s soldiers were sent into every part of the country. The people called them the British. Some called them “red-coats.”
(3) There was much fighting; and several great battles took place between the British and the Americans.
(4) At last Charleston, in South Carolina, was taken by the British. Andrew Jackson was then a tall white-haired boy, thirteen years old.
(5) “I am going to help drive those red-coated British out of the country,” he said to his mother.
(6) Then, without another word, he mounted his brother’s little farm horse and rode away. He was not old enough to be a soldier, but he could be a scout-and a good scout he was.
(7) He was very tall-as tall as a man. He was not afraid of anything. He was strong
and ready for every duty.
(8) One day as he was riding through the woods, some British soldiers saw him. They quickly surrounded him and made him their prisoner.
(9) “Come with us,” they said, “and we will teach you that the king’s soldiers are not to be trifled with.”
(10) They took him to the British camp.
(11) “What is your name, young rebel?” said the British captain.
(12) “Andy Jackson.”
(13) “Well, Andy Jackson, get down here and clean the mud from my boots.”
(14) Andrew’s gray eyes blazed as he stood up straight and proud before the haughty captain.
(15) “Sir,” he said, “I am a prisoner of war, and demand to be treated as such.”
(16) “You rebel!” shouted the captain. “Down with you, and clean those boots at once.”
(17) The slim, tall boy seemed to grow taller, as he answered, “I’ll not be the servant of any Englishman that ever lived.”
(18) The captain was very angry. He drew his sword to hit the boy with its flat side. Andrew threw out his hand and received an ugly gash across the knuckles.
(19) Some other officers, who had seen the whole affair, cried out to the captain, “Shame! He is a brave boy. He deserves to be treated as a gentleman.”
(20) Andrew was not held long as a prisoner. The British soldiers soon returned to Charleston, and he was allowed to go home.
(21) In time, Andrew Jackson became a very great man. He was elected to Congress, he was chosen judge of the supreme court of Tennessee, he was appointed general in the army, and lastly he was for eight years the president of the United States.
America First-100 Stories from Our History by Lawton B. Evans
(1) ANDREW JACKSON is one of the most picturesque characters in American history. He was born of Scotch-Irish parents on the border-line between North and South Carolina. His father died about the time he was born, and his mother had to support her three boys by spinning flax.
(2) Jackson grew up to be a tall, slender lad, with red hair and a freckled face. He was very wild, quick-tempered, and mischievous. He had many quarrels with his companions, and many fights, but, at home, he was devoted to his mother, and showed kindness to the horses and other animals on the farm. He was a fearless rider, and all his life owned fine horses.
(3) When Jackson was fourteen years of age, the Revolution was still in progress. The British army had swept through the neighborhood of his home, and the boy had seen his relatives and neighbors suffering and dying.
(4) The local church was used as a hospital, and Jackson’s mother often went there to nurse the sick and wounded. Andrew and his brother Robert ran errands for her and were in and out of the church so often that they soon became familiar with the horrors of war.
(5) At one time, Andrew and his brother were taken prisoners by the British, and were confined in the house of their own cousin. The English officers had everything they wished, and one of them ordered Jackson to clean his muddy boots.
(6) Andrew replied, “I am a prisoner of war, and not a servant or a slave. You may clean them yourself.”
(7) This enraged the British officer to such an extent that he struck at the boy with his
sword, wounding him on his head and hand. Jackson carried the scars with him all his life. Robert also received rough treatment from the brutal officers.
(8) The boys were carried forty miles away, to a prison camp, and not allowed any
food or water. There, smallpox broke out, and both boys were quite sick with it. Their mother secured their release, but Robert, suffering from wounds and fever, died two days after he reached home, and Andrew was ill for many weeks. Before he was quite well his mother also died.
(9) At seventeen years of age, he began to study law. When he was twenty-one, he moved to Tennessee, and became a prominent lawyer in that new and wild country. In his efforts to preserve law and order among the frontiersmen and adventurers of that section, he had many personal difficulties. He was hot-tempered and a good shot, and frontier life was rough.
(10) One day, when he was at a public dinner, some of his friends began to quarrel at the other end of the table from where Jackson was sitting. He immediately sprang upon the table, and strode along it, scattering the dishes and glasses as he went. Thrusting his hand behind him, he clicked his snuff-box. Thinking he was about to draw a pistol, the guests ran out in haste, crying in alarm, “Don’t shoot, Mr. Jackson! Don’t shoot!”
(11) Once, when Jackson was driving along the road, he was stopped by some drunken wagoners, who told him to dance, or they would cowhide him. Jackson coolly said, “I cannot dance in these heavy boots. Let me get my slippers out of my bag.”
(12) To this the wagoners agreed, but, instead of slippers, he drew forth two big pistols. Pointing them at the wagoners, he said, “Now dance yourselves, or I will fill you full of bullets.” The wagoners danced the best they could, while Jackson roared with laughter.
(13) During the War of 1812, Jackson did great service as a soldier. He fought against the Indians in the South, and was prominent at the battle of New Orleans. A band of Creeks attacked Fort Mimms, in southern Alabama, and killed four or five hundred white people. Tennessee raised a body of troops to go after the Creeks and punish them. Jackson was chosen Commander.
(14) He was in bed at the time, suffering from wounds he had received in a quarrel two weeks before. His physician ordered him to stay where he was, but Jackson arose, put his arm in a sling, and, though almost fainting from weakness and loss of blood, he mounted his horse and started on the campaign. He was gone eight months, and the Creeks were severely punished.
(15) Once, during the campaign, some soldiers grew mutinous because food was scarce, and they threatened to leave. Jackson, with his arm in a sling, rode up to them, and, taking his pistol in his free hand, said, “By the eternal, I will shoot the first man that moves.” The soldiers knew he would do it, and there was no further trouble.
(16) His endurance during this campaign earned for him the name of “Old Hickory,” because he was so tough; and because, though he would often bend, he would not break. In appearance, he was tall, erect, and spare, with dark blue eyes and heavy eyebrows. All through life his temper was fiery, and easily aroused when he was opposed.