Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson's tomb

Andrew Johnson's tomb

Buried: Greeneville, Tennessee

Died: July 31, 1875

See him: I expected to see this tomb last, simply because it takes some doing to get here. The closest airport is Charlotte, three hours away, so a trip to Greeneville requires some driving. But it is very, very worth it: this tomb, high atop a hill in what’s now known as Andrew Johnson National Cemetery, is in a gorgeous location, looking down on some scenic Smoky Mountain vistas. And the monument above the graves of Andrew and Eliza Johnson is pretty sweet too – as president Johnson considered himself a defender of constitutional principles against the Radicals in Congress, so he declared that, in death, he didn’t want anything fancy – “I need no softer pillow than the Constitution and no warmer blanket than the American flag.” He got both in his coffin, and both are represented in his monument, too – the eagle atop the obelisk sits atop a representation of the flag, and there’s a scroll that says “Constitution of the United States” as well.

See also: Downtown Greeneville is home to the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, and is a sound spot for more presidential lore. This is Johnson’s town for sure, even if once, in a fit, he wrote to a friend that “If I should happen to die among the dam spirits that infest Greeneville… take my dirty, stinky carcass after death, out on some mountain peak and there leave it to be devoured by the vultures and wolves, or that it might pass off in smoke and ride upon the wind in triumph over the god-forsaken and Hell-deserving, money-loving, hypocritical, back-biting, Sunday-praying, scoundrels of the town of Greeneville.” He was kind of a grump. Don’t listen to him.

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