Before he was President: Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson, 1829-1837 saddle maker, soldier
By the time he was 15 Andrew Jackson had been a Prisoner Of War and ended up as homeless orphan. His father died just before he was born. He had 2 brothers: Hugh, the eldest died from heatstroke while serving as a soldier in the American Revolution. Both he and his brother Robert were too young to serve as revolutionary soldiers so they volunteered as helpers when the military needed extra laborers. However, in the course their volunteer work they were both captured by the British. While in custody they both caught smallpox and Robert died. Shortly afterward Jackson's mother died from disease while trying to retrieve two of Andrew's nephews held prisoner on a British ship. Jackson's work and education was sporadic in his teens; at one point he ended up in Nashville where he worked for in a saddle-maker's shop. Jackson enjoyed eating pancakes. When he left the office of the Presidency he had $90 to his name, but with the help of friends was able to pay off $7,000 in debt over the next year. Source Source2

Martin Van Buren, 1837-1841 lawyer, U.S. senator, governor of New York, vice president under Jackson
Van Buren did not attend college - which was not surprising for young men in the early nineteenth century - but in 1796 his father called in a political favor and managed to place his son with a lawyer's office as a law clerk. Martin clerked for Francis Silvester for seven years, sweeping floors or running errands by day and studying law at night. He moved to New York City—at that time inhabited by 60,000—for about a year, and gained admission to the state bar in 1803 at the age of twenty-one. Source

William Henry Harrison, 1841 Clerk of Hamilton County
William Henry Harrison, ninth President of the United States, was appointed Hamilton County Clerk of Courts in May, 1836 and was still the Clerk when he was elected president in 1840. Source

More stories: Duncan Hines   George Washington   Thomas Jefferson   Benjamin Franklin   James Garfield   Harry Truman   Henry Ford

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