Andrew Jackson and His Tennessee Lieutenants: A Study in Political Culture

By Lorman A. Ratner | Go to book overview

6
William B. Lewis: The Loyal Retainer

William B. Lewis's life seems to have been wholly dependent on Jackson.1 Reading the correspondence between the men one senses something close to a master-servant relationship. There is much irony in this. Lewis was rich and Jackson, who was not, often turned to Lewis when he was in financial difficulty. Jackson was provincial and Lewis worldly, but Major Lewis (it was his War of 1812 rank by which Jackson addressed him throughout their thirty-five year relationship) never stood tall among men. In this Tennessee society of men who by their character, displays of honor, selflessness, and shrewdness found success in the new country, Lewis was an anomaly. He came not from the southern hill country but from northern Virginia; his mother came from a prominent gentry family. He was twenty-five when he arrived in Nashville with claim of family prestige and good education, and like the others under study here enhanced both his wealth and position by marriage. Lewis married the daughter of William T. Lewis, one of middle Tennessee's most substantial landowners, who at his death had left his two daughters his estate and had put them in the care of a trusted and important man, Andrew Jackson. A year after the marriage, Lewis's wife died and all that was hers became his plus a relationship with Jackson and with another Jackson lieutenant, John Eaton, who married the other sister. William B. Lewis's gentry status was secure in economic terms, but it took more than

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Andrew Jackson and His Tennessee Lieutenants: A Study in Political Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 4
  • 1 - Home Left, Home Found 7
  • Notes 16
  • 2 - Andrew Jackson: In Search of Honor, in Defense of Reputation 19
  • Notes 33
  • 3 - John Overton: The Power Behind the Throne 35
  • Notes 40
  • 4 - John Coffee: Kin but by Blood 41
  • Notes 48
  • 5 - George Washington Campbell: Jackson's Man in the East 49
  • Notes 55
  • 6 - William B. Lewis: The Loyal Retainer 57
  • Notes 64
  • 7 - William Carroll: The People's Advocate 65
  • Notes 71
  • 8 - Hugh Lawson White: The Tennessee "Brutus" 73
  • Notes 82
  • 9 - John Henry Eaton: A Lost Man 83
  • Notes 90
  • 10 - James K. Polk: The Cause Above All Else 91
  • Notes 96
  • 11 - Sam Houston: The Prodigal Son 99
  • Notes 107
  • Epilogue 109
  • Bibliography 111
  • Index 119
  • About the Author 123
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