Experience the American dream with today’s Patriots of the Past interview. I’m your host, John Gillespie.
It’s November 19, 1779. I’m in South Carolina at the home of twelve-year-old Andrew Jackson.
JG: “Andrew, what are your thoughts about your mother passing away last week in a British prison camp?”
AJ: “John, not only did my mother die of prison fever, but my oldest brother died, too. Those bloody red coats shot him. I will fight in their memory for liberty.”
Soon after, Andrew Jackson, at just thirteen years of age, joined the Continental Army and fought bravely for American freedom.
Before her death, Andrew Jackson’s mother left him with the following advice: “Andrew, if I should not see you again, I wish you to remember and treasure up some things I have already said to you. In this world, you will have to make your own way. To do that, you must have friends. You can make friends by being honest and you can keep them by being steadfast. You must keep in mind that friends worth having will, in the long run, expect as much from you as they give you. To forget an obligation or to be ungrateful for a kindness is a base crime – not merely a fault or a sin, but an actual crime. Men guilty of it, sooner or later, must suffer the penalty. In personal conduct, be always polite, but never obsequious. None will respect you more than you respect yourself. Avoid quarrels as long as you can without yielding to imposition, but sustain your manhood always. Never bring a suit in law for assault and battery or for defamation. The law affords no remedy for such outrages that can satisfy the feelings of a true man. Never wound the feelings of others. Never brook wanton outrage upon your own feelings. If you ever have to vindicate your feelings or defend your honor, do it calmly. If angry at first, wait until your wrath cools before you proceed.”
On his birthday, in 1815, Andrew Jackson said of his mother, “I wish she could have lived to see this day. There never was a woman like her. She was gentle as a dove and as brave as a lioness. Her last words have been the law of my life.”
John and Jan Gillespie are the founders of the Rawhide Boys’ Ranch; they have fostered 351 teenagers and wrote the book Our 351 Sons; they have also assisted numerous churches in developing youth programs and expanding their total church ministries. After running for U.S. Senate, John founded 1776 American Dream, which exists to demonstrate the vision of our founding fathers and help our generation of youth passionately embrace those values.