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Andrew Johnson NHS and Cumberland Gap NHP – TN

April 1, 2016

March 14, 2016 – Andrew Johnson National Historic Site is in Greeneville TN.  Johnson became the 17th President of the United States when President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 15, 1865.

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He was born in Raleigh NC but settled in Greeneville TN where he established a tailor shop.  The shop is now preserved in the Visitor Center.  He was a self-made man with no formal schooling.

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He was an Alderman, Mayor, TN State Legislature, TN Senator, U.S. Representative, TN Governor, U.S. Senator, Military Governor of TN, Vice President and then President of the U.S.  A man of political experience!  This was his house during the 1830s and 40s.  It is across the street from the Visitors Center

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In 1851 his family moved to a larger house – The Homestead

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Johnson was pro-Union and had to move to Nashville when Confederates controlled East Tennessee and confiscated his house.  He did not return until after his Presidential term in 1869.  While President, he sought to restore the Union, opposed radical Reconstruction, signed the purchase of Alaska and in 1867 was impeached.  Impeachment failed by one vote in the Senate!  In 1868 he proclaimed general amnesty for secessionists.  By request he was buried on a prominent hill on his property.  A very beautiful and scenic location.

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Cumberland Gap National Historical Park – is actually in three states, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee.  During the mid-18th century the route through the “Gap” provided a path through the Appalachian Mountains for the first great wave of migration from the eastern seaboard to the Ohio Valley.  It followed well-worn bison and Indian trails.  In 1775, Daniel Boone was commissioned to blaze a road through the gap.  Boone’s Trace eventually became known as the Wilderness Road.  There are many trails in the park; because of time and weather, I choose to hike the Wilderness Road from the Iron Furnace in the town of Cumberland Gap on the east side to the Thomas Walker parking area on the west side – about 1.3 miles.

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I started on the Tennessee Road Trail, which leads up to the Wilderness Road Trail

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Before European settlement of America, the “Warriors’ Path” passed through the Gap.  It connected Cherokee country in the south to Shawnee country in the north.

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It was an arduous trip for the 200,000 to 300,000 settlers who crossed Cumberland Gap between 1776 and 1810

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This was at least the third time I had passed through the Gap.  The first two times were by road.  In 1996 a tunnel for US 25E was completed bypassing the Gap.  The road was eliminated allowing for the current trail system.  Helen and I had hiked to Tri-State Peak (1990 ft) and the Tri-State monument before we had children.  This point on the trail is at the highpoint of the Cumberland Gap.

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Indian Rock – it had started to rain at this point

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End of the Trail!

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Helen picked me up and we went to the Visitor Center where I could change clothes and dry off before driving to Springfield – 5 hours

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