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Grave May Be Found From Deadly Jackson Duel

A discovery in the middle of a west Nashville couple's front yard could mean the chapter to a local legend is closed.
/ Source: WSMV-TV

A discovery in the middle of a west Nashville couple's front yard could mean the chapter to a local legend is closed.

Archaeologist Dan Allen believes he's solved the mystery surrounding the grave of Charles Dickinson, who was killed by Andrew Jackson during a duel in 1806.

Historians say the feud between the two men started over a horse race but escalated after Dickinson insulted Jackson's wife. Because duels were banned in Tennessee, the two men traveled to Kentucky.

Dickinson got in the first shot, hitting Jackson two inches from his heart -- a wound that would plague the future president for the rest of his life. But Jackson was still able to fire his gun and kill Dickinson.

"History sort of turned at that duel, and it should have gone the other way; Jackson should have been killed. Dickinson was a much better shot," said local historian Paul Clements.

The location of Dickinson's final resting place has been a mystery since the 1860s, when historians in Maryland claimed they discovered his coffin. But Allen followed historic documents, and after months of digging, probing and intuition found remains of Dickinson's wooden coffin.

While Allen says Dickenson's physical remains are long gone, the archaeologist feels confident he's closed this chapter in the history books.

"It puts it to rest. I mean, this has been a lost grave," Allen said.

The remains of Dickinson's grave are headed to the Old Nashville City Cemetery on Fourth Avenue for display.