Of all the tokens of appreciation governments sent him after the Battle of New Orleans, a small gold box, about the size of a deck of cards, was one of only five Jackson mentioned in his will. The snuff box was recently returned to Jackson’s home, but for years, it seemed the box might never leave the Hermitage at all.
The engraved box was a high honor bestowed on Jackson by the City of New York. It named him one of the nation’s greatest heroes.
It came with the freedom of the city, which was basically kind of making him a temporary citizen.
Hermitage curator Marsha Mullin says Jackson wanted the box to be returned to New York after his death as an award for another great warrior. And so, in 1857, Jackson’s adopted son set off by train to present it to the man a committee had chosen as the most valiant New York officer in the Mexican-American War.
But while he was on the road, a veterans group launched a protest over the choice. The honor was rescinded. Hundreds had gathered for a planned ceremony, but Andrew Jackson, Jr. turned right back to Nashville, box in hand.
Another recipient was eventually chosen, but then another war broke out.
So he didn’t come until after the Civil War to actually pick it up. And Andrew Junior had also by that time passed away.
Once he got it, General Ward Burnett treasured the prize. It was handed down from father to son for several generations of his family. And recently, after that line of descendents died out, the family returned it to The Hermitage. The gold box goes on display January 8.