John Donelson

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John Donelson
John Donelson.jpg
Born 1718
Died 1785
Nationality American
Occupation frontiersman, ironmaster, politician, city planner, explorer
Spouse(s) Rachel Stockley Donelson
Children Rachel Jackson, Jane Donelson Hays, Mary Donelson Caffery
Relatives Andrew Jackson (son-in-law)
Donelson Caffery (great-grandson)
Patrick T. Caffery (great-great-great grandson)

John Donelson (1718–1785) was an American frontiersman, ironmaster, politician, city planner, and explorer, who along with James Robertson, was one of the co-founders, of the frontier settlement, of Fort Nashborough, in Middle Tennessee, which would later, become the present-day city of Nashville, Tennessee. Donelson was also, the father in law, of future U.S. president, Andrew Jackson, who married his daughter, Rachel.

Early life[edit]

John Donelson was born in 1718.[1]


Donelson served in the Virginia House of Burgesses before moving to the Watauga settlements on the Holston and Watauga Rivers in Washington District, North Carolina. From about 1770 to 1779, he operated the Washington Iron Furnace at Rocky Mount, Franklin County, Virginia.[2] Along with James Robertson, he co-founded Fort Nashborough, in 1780, which would eventually become the present-day city of Nashville, Tennessee.[1] A collection of his diaries are kept in Cleveland Hall, in Nashville.

Personal life[edit]

Donelson married Rachel [née Stockley] Donelson (1730-1801) in 1744.[1] Their daughter, Rachel Jackson, married the seventh President of the United States, Andrew Jackson.[1] His great-grandson, Donelson Caffery, of Louisiana, was a U.S. Senator from 1892–1900. His great-great-great grandson, Patrick T. Caffery of Louisiana, was a U.S. Representative from 1969 to 1973.

Death and legacy[edit]

Donelson died in 1785. Donelson, Tennessee was named in his honor.

See also[edit]


  • Crabb, Alfred Leland (1957). Journey to Nashville: A Story of the Founding. New York: Bobbs-Merrill. 
  1. ^ a b c d National First Ladies' Library: Rachel Jackson
  2. ^ Anne Carter Lee (September 1972). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Washington Iron Furnace" (PDF). Virginia Department of Historic Resources. 

External links[edit]