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Andrew Jackson Statue  

By Historian Nancy Crockett

(Nancy Crockett is credited with the statue of young Andrew Jackson being sculpted by world renowned sculptress Anna Hyatt Huntington and it being placed in the Andrew Jackson State Park in Lancaster County. The following is Miss Crockett's account of how that sculpture came into being.)

The idea of a Huntington statue of Andrew Jackson for the Andrew Jackson Historical State Park was conceived in Brookgreen Gardens near Murrels Inlet in 1962. Mr. and Mrs. B. C. Hough of Lancaster had taken me by Brookgreen to see the Anna Hyatt Huntington statuary, as well as others, in a luxurious setting of native shrubs and trees. We learned from the curator, Gordon L. Tarbox, Jr., that Mrs. Huntington at age 86 was still sculpturing, her project at that time being a representation of Abraham Lincoln, a young lawyer on horseback.

"Wouldn't it be nice to have a statue of young Jackson for the 200th celebration of his birth at the Andrew Jackson Historical State Park in Lancaster county," mused Mrs. Hough. Mr. Hough replied, "Now, Perry Belle, that is a project for you and Nancy Crockett to work on." The rest is history!

Encouraged by Mr. Hough, aided and abetted by Mrs. Hough, my sixth grade class and I wrote Mrs. Huntington and asked her to consider a statue of young Andrew Jackson, set among the red clay hills of the Waxhaws where he spent the first seventeen years of his life. He was the only South Carolinian ever to become president of the United States. For the bicentennial of his birth (March 15, 1967), we said, "What a tribute it would be to have a statue of the seventh president by Anna Hyatt Huntington on a base built with pennies by the school children of Lancaster County!"

Imagine our surprise and delight when a letter arrived from Mrs. Huntington with two weeks, stating: Your suggestion of Andrew Jackson as a young man growing up among the rural activities of a small frontier settlement, is the only side of his life that appeals to me as a sculptor, as well as the interest the children seem to have in the project. A picture came to mind as I read over your letter and I have tried out the composition. I have Jackson as a young man of sixteen or seventeen seated bareback on a farm horse, one hand leaning back on the horse's rump and looking off over his native hills, to wonder what the future holds for him. . . . it would be some years before it could be developed as I have other work promised.

We wrote Mrs. Huntington. How thrilled we were and would be to have young Andy back home once again; we would wait, not patiently, but with understanding and eager anticipation for his arrival. Little did I know at the time of the logistics that would be involved in carrying this project to fruition. Without Perry Belle (Mrs. B. C.) Hough and Joe Croxton of the Lancaster County Historical Commission; Mr. Vreeland, Direct of the State Parks along with Dr. Flory, Mr. Jacocks and others of the Commission of Forestry, this dream would never have been realized.

It was four years before Mrs. Huntington's equestrian statue could be completed and cast in bronze. It was delivered to Columbia and trucked to Lancaster. The statue was almost 10 feet tall and weighed 25,000 pounds.

The base, a 20-ton slab of Kershaw pink granite, part of the same rock formation at Hanging Rock, was designed by Joe Croxton and paid for by the school children of South Carolina with their pennies and dimes.

There were anxious moments when the crane lifting the base into position buckled and dropped the base. Another crane was brought and the base and statue were mounted into position.

A gala celebration of the 200th anniversary of Andrew Jackson's birth was held on March 15, 1967 at Andrew Jackson State Park with a tribute to a great American from the hands of a gifted and perceptive sculptor.

- Nancy Crockett