John Tyler is one of those presidents who is often overlooked. An advocate of states’ rights, he was placed on the 1840 Whig ticket to bring in southern votes. Tyler became president only because William Henry Harrison passed away after just a month in office. From there, things went downhill for the Virginian. The Whig party, which had expected to control Tyler, abandoned him once it was clear that he wasn’t going to cave to their agenda. Tyler finished out Harrison’s term, with his only notable achievement being the signing of a joint congressional resolution agreeing to annex Texas. He was elected to the Confederate Congress but died before taking office.
One of Tyler sons was Lyon G. Tyler. Tyler was a former president of the College of William & Mary, as well as a prolific writer and editor. Two of his sons (President Tyler’s grandsons) were still living as of early 2010. One, Harrison Tyler, is a retired chemical engineer who owns Sherwood Forest, his grandparents’ plantation. The other, Lyon G. Tyler, Jr., who lives in the Nashville area, was a professor of history at the Citadel and still speaks to the public about his family’s history.
Pretty cool, eh?
UPDATED: This post was my original inspiration. Since I first wrote this post in 2010, other media have written stories on the two grandsons (for example, here and here).
8 thoughts on “The Living Grandsons of President John Tyler”
I had the pleasure of meeting Prof. Tyler at a conference at the Citadel during the early 1980s. I knew he was a descendent of Pres. Tyler but, given the passage of time, I assumed he was his great-grandson or even great-great-grandson. Imagine my surprise when he told me that Pres. Tyler was his grandfather. I tell the story to my undergraduates each year in the Early Republic course I teach at Rutgers, and I enjoy watching the expressions on their faces when they learn that a man who was born in the year 1790 has a grandson who is still alive in the 21st century.
Very nice story to have, Tom. Thanks for sharing.
I am Shelton Clyde Gallop II a double 4th gt. grandson of President Tyler and your surprise my grandfather Charles Leslie Coker Sr. 1884-1924 tied in via daughters Mary who married Wiliam R. Coker then Lightfoot Jones and Levenia Fly who tied into Elizabeth Tyler who married William Waller in the White House. I have pictures of the 7 generations from John thru the wedding and on down to myself. My grandfather was 15 when David Gardiner Tyler JR was born and I am about 16 years older than Gardiner’s grandson DGT IV. I knew Gardiner Jr. for well over 5 years and loved him as a grandfather yes we were close. My mother was a double 3 gt. granddaughter and via her mother 3th gt. to Pres. Monroe who was in fact a cousin to President Tyler as the grandmother of JAMES was Christian Tyler. I have found John Tyler’s ancestry back to Wat Tyler in 1381 Peasant’s Revolt against Richard II. I have Monroe’s line into the 1000s out of Burke’ last months Peerage. I have known Lyon and sad to know her has Dementia and would like to see him again as he shared a closeness to Gardiner as well. I am from other Presidents but enjoy helping others no matter whom they are searching their families.
I want to invite you to come to the Wreath Laying ceremony each March 29 at Hollywood Cem. usually at 11am and you may get the chance to see Harrison Lyon’s brother who was 88 month. Monroe is buried next to John Tyler what an honor that the two cousins rest near one another.
My oldest first cousin William Copeland Walston 1930-1999 was born about Feb. of 30 and Henry Tyler born Jan 1930 died at age two weeks was the youngest grandson of President Tyler and brother to Lyon and Harrison. Imagine this only about TWO WEEKS difference in age between the youngest grandson of Tyler and the oldest double 4th gt grandson of Tyler.
My gt. grandfather Coker was in the NC Jr. Reserves at age 15 so I am his gt. grandson and John Tyler was his gt. grandfather who was Chairman of the Washington Peace Convention. Strange things happen for me to be a gt. grandson of a great grandson of one in the Civil War.
I have been doing my family research since Oct. 1969 and now have over 139,000 names and over 1000 sources on the entire research. The best advice I can ever give anyone doing genealogical research do not have any preconceived notions and to expect anything. So many people tend to try to fit people into fixed dates for generations and to think there is a first-hand source for everything. In the 1800s on into the 1920s many researchers tended to take the conclusion that if a child later was unable to be traced that that child died an infant. Tom I have found more ancestors that broke out of supposed baby caskets or died young. There are some cases where the child died young or infant but not always. There are three schools of genealogists first the skepticist whose records are always suspect. The second is the Puriest who always has to find a first record or a record beyond doubt but here there are traps as one must always respect the puriest at in their eyes they never make a mistake SO LONG AS THEIR RECORDS ARE PERFECT. Next and best is the middle of the road because sure you try to find the most accurate of records but have to learn how to run a theory in case it pans out. One thing the middle of the road needs to be aware of is the best genealogists will from time to time revisit their research for new developments and especially when you find more accurate records. I have had to revisit and revise on occasions and to my surprise is usually a better line than originally thought correct. There is one thing that can give a clue to find a mother’s line when her maiden name is not given and that is to check the witnesses to a will which are usually there to protect her interests since until about the 1920s when a woman’s assets ie dowry the property and money went to the husband.
Tom hope you can make it to Richmond as you would enjoy meeting the Tyler cousins. Bring your class as it would br a good history lesson.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Thanks for that information, Clyde.
I am a fan of both History and Genealogy. Although I am Canadian, I enjoy American history as well with its rich history and content. Many of My family members from the Red River Settlement just outside of Winnipeg Manitoba ended up in the States. During the time of John Tyler’s Presidency, many of My descendants were following the buffalo in Red River Carts into the Dakotas. Some stayed in the Dakotas; some came back to Canada. This article garnered My attention from the Huff Post weird news Canada titled “Pres. John Tyler’s Grandchildren Are Still Alive ”
Thank you for sharing Mark.
Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m glad you liked the story of Tyler’s family.
Yes, Really cool and facinating. Just think his children lived through the Civil War and the Great Depression. Thanks for the research and genealogy. Mary Williams
It is quite the story, isn’t it? Thanks for reading and commenting.