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President John Tyler’s Grandson

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John Tyler was the 10th president of the United States serving from 1841 to 1845. That’s a long time ago. Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Jr., Tyler’s grandson just died at age 95. Here is the story and a few tidbits about President Tyler and his family.

Lyon’s father was Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Sr. (1853 – 1935). He was the son of President Tyler and was born 8 years after Tyler left the presidency when Tyler was 63 years old. Tyler was born in 1790, the year after Washington become our first president, so three generations of that family cover the life of the United States. Tyler’s father and Lyon Jr’s great grandfather served in the Continental Army and was a governor of Virginia. He was also Thomas Jefferson’s college roommate and his lifelong friend. The Tyler’s were not obscure people.

Tyler was added to William Henry Harrison’s ticket to attract Southern voters since Tyler was a slave owner and champion of states’ rights. Harrison was against slavery and was well renowned for the battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. Their election campaign slogan is one of the most famous and was “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too.” When Harrison was inaugurated he was quite old at age 68. The weather that day was pretty nasty and his wife told him to dress warm and he told her not to bother him and he did not wear a coat or hat. He also spoke for an hour which was long for an inaugural address at 8445 words. By way of comparison, Washington’s first address was 1419 words and his second was 135 words. Harrison caught pneumonia and died a month later.

Harrison was the first president to die in office and there was no precedent of how this would be handed. Tyler proclaimed himself president while his enemies insisted he was acting as president and not president. They also called him “His Accidency.” However, Tyler acted quickly and decisively and he prevailed.

Under Tyler, Texas became a state and Florida was annexed and he had a few foreign policy achievements, but not much else happened since no one from either major party liked him. This was big-time gridlock. When the Civil War started he sided with the Confederacy and was elected to its legislature making him a traitor; however, he died before taking office.

Tyler had 15 children. 8 with his first wife who died in 1842 and 7 with his second wife who was 24 when she married the 54-year-old president in 1844. Lyon Sr’s father’s first wife died and Lyon Jr. was born in 1925 from his father’s second marriage when his father was 72. He is survived by a brother and a daughter. I find the length of the string of this historic connection fascinating.

A lot of this information came from the New York Times obituary published on October 8, 2020.

If you have any business or financial issues you want to discuss please do not hesitate to contact me at emendlowitz@withum.com.

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