• Andrew Johnson with Sioux delegation at White House

    Andrew Johnson

    National Historic Site Tennessee

Homestead Graffiti

Graffiti---self-portrait

A Civil War soldier - J.D. Williams - left his self-portrait on the wall of the Andrew Johnson home during his occupation.

An NPS Photo

With Andrew Johnson's Homestead unoccupied by the family during the Civil War, it became susceptible to anyone who wanted to enter. It was used as a temporary residence, as well as hospital and headquarters for both the Union and Confederate armies.

During the home's restoration by the Park Service in 1956, graffiti was discovered under the layers of wall paper, evidence of soldier's emotions. Although Johnson's daughter Mary covered the graffiti with wallpaper when she prepared the house for the family's 1868 return from Washington, the quotes remain on the plaster walls beneath. On a downstairs wall/this wall, some made gibes at his political career with "Fools names and monkey's faces are often seen in public places." Others swore vengeance - "Andrew you had best skedaddle for Lovejoy is after you and if he git you you are a goner sartin."

 
Graffiti
"Andrew Johnson - Traitor of the South"
NPS Photo
 
Graffiti---Looney
"Looney's Brigade" was one of the regiments who used the Andrew Johnson Homestead as headquarters. The members of this Confederate unit were particularly expressive in their disappointment of Johnson's Union stand.
NPS Photo
 
Graffiti---soldiers-names
J.C. Calhoun and P.W. Reavis of Looney's Brigade left their names on an upstairs wall.
NPS Photo
 
Graffiti---Scribbling
Some of the soldiers in the Homestead did not write messages. Some of them defaced the property in other ways, such as scribbling on the walls.
NPS Photo
 
Graffiti---confederate-states
"Confederate States of America"
NPS Photo

Did You Know?

Dolly and Andrew Johnson Stover

According to William Johnson, a former slave belonging to Andrew Johnson, William's mother Dolly asked Andrew Johnson to purchase her because she thought he looked kind. Johnson bought not only Dolly, but her brother Sam as well.