The Revolutionary War that soon followed, was very bloody in the rather wild and poor country where they lived, and Jackson at 13 years, joined a regiment. Captured by the British, he was wounded and nearly killed by a sword for not polishing a British officer's boots.
He and his brother, imprisoned together, contracted smallpox. Jackson's mother got the boys released, but his brother died on the long trip home. The mother later went to tend wounded American prisoners and was fatally stricken by cholera.
Jackson, living with neighbors and relatives, managed to finish school, then teach for a year or two. He was now 14 years old and without any immediate family.
With the war over, he took up saddle making and schoolteaching. With a $300 inheritance from his grandfather, he went to Charleston, South Carolina, then the biggest city in the South. There he cut a dashing figure in society until his money ran out.
At 17 he set out to become a lawyer, acting as clerk for a lawyer in Salisbury, North Carolina, in return for access to his books (the usual "course of study" in those days).
Salisbury, the county seat of Rowan County, is located in the heart of the beautiful Piedmont area, the industrial heart of North Carolina. Located on Interstate 85, 35 miles from Charlotte and Winston-Salem, Salisbury is one days' travel time to any major city on the east coast. It is the approximate halfway point between Washington, DC and Atlanta.
Population of Salisbury today is 25,444. The deed for the town is dated February 11, 1755. The court center, called prior to this time Rowan County House, was a bustling little village of seven or eight log cabins, the courthouse and a jail and pillory, according to Governor Arthur Dobbs who visited here in late 1755.
In his first independent days, living in a tavern with other students, Jackson gained quite a reputation for charisma, and wildness and hooliganism.
Next--the Young Jackson