Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy President's Day - President John Tyler

John Tyler was the 10th President of the United States.  He was sworn in upon the death of President Harrison in 1841.  He was born in 1790, the year after George Washington was President.  President Tyler is credited with the first trade mission to China, and expanding U.S. borders to the west.

Julia Gardiner

John Tyler was the most prolific of all American President: he had 15 children and two wives. In 1813, Tyler married Letitia Christian, the daughter of a Virginia planter. They had eight children. She was an invalid when Tyler became president and made only one public appearance, at her daughter Elizabeth's marriage in 1842. Letitia Christian Tyler, the President's first wife, died in the White House in September, 1842. A few months later, Tyler began courting 23-year-old Julia Gardiner, a beautiful and wealthy New Yorker. When they were married in New York City on June 26, 1844, Tyler became the first president to be wed while in office. He was 30 years older than his bride. As FIRST LADY, the new Mrs. Tyler captivated Washington with the size and brilliance of her White House receptions.

Why am I talking about this particular President?  His grandson, yes I said GRANDSON, was interviewed on television on CBS's Sunday Morning.  How is this even possible that over 222 years later his grandson is still alive?  And get this, there is not one but TWO grandsons still alive.  Amazing!

John and Julia's fifth child was Lyon Gardiner, born 24 August 1853.  His father was 63.  Now Lyon also married twice.  The second time to a much younger woman.  At the age of 71, in 1924, he fathered a son, Lyon Gardiner, Jr.  In 1928, Harrison Ruffin Tyler was born. His father was 75 at this time.  Both men are alive today.

Sherwood Forest Plantation
Harrison Ruffin Tyler is age 84.  He and his wife live at Sherwood Forest Plantation.  John Tyler bought this 1,200-acre plantation  in 1842, when he was still serving as 10th president of the United States, and it was his retirement home from 1845 until his death  in 1862.  He expanded the original 1780 frame plantation house into one of the longest private residences in Virginia—300 feet long but only one room deep.  For over 150 years, Tyler descendants have continually occupied and privately maintained Sherwood Forest.
It is the only presidential home in America with this distinction.

Dining Room
By this time, Tyler had already expanded the original plantation house.  One and one-half story wings already existed on either side of the two and one-half-story main block.  He added a covered hyphen to connect the east wing with an existing kitchen and laundry and built a new balancing west wing containing an office and ballroom, reportedly designed by Tyler for dancing the Virginia reel.  The two wings created a long narrow house with a unified, symmetrical fa├žade.  The interior displays ornamental woodwork based on the pattern-book designs of Minard Lefever and fashionable Greek Revival details.

The other living grandson, Lyon, lives in Tennessee.  I obtained my information from the following sites:;


Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch

Masterpiece Monday @ Boogieboard Cottage 

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