The tenth (1841-1845) President of the United States.


John Tyler, President of the USA, was born 29 March 1790 in Charles City County, Virginia, United States to John Tyler (1747-1813) and Mary Armistead (1761-1797) and died 18 January 1862 Richmond, Virginia, United States of stroke. He married Letitia Christian (1790-1842) 29 March 1813 in Cedar Grove plantation, New Kent County, Virginia, United States. He married Julia Gardiner (1820-1889) 26 June 1844 in New York, United States.

A long-time Democrat-Republican, he was elected Vice President on the Whig ticket and on becoming president in 1841, broke with that party. His term as Vice President began on March 4, 1841 and one month later, on April 4, incumbent President William Henry Harrison died of what is today believed to have been viral pneumonia. Harrison's death left Tyler, the federal government, and the American nation briefly confused on the process of succession. Opposition members in Congress argued for an acting caretaker that would continue to use only the title Vice President. The act of taking over as official president, rather than as acting president, came from the influence of the Harrison cabinet and some members of Congress. Members of Harrison's cabinet feared an acting leader would compromise the ability to successfully run the country. Tyler took the presidential oath of office, initiating a custom that would govern future successions, and became the first U.S. vice president to assume the office of president upon the death of his predecessor. It was not until 1967, that Tyler's action of assuming full powers of the presidency was legally codified in the Twenty-fifth Amendment. His most famous achievement was the annexation of the Republic of Texas in 1845. Tyler was the first president born after the adoption of the U.S. Constitution.

For a detailed biography, see the biography tab.


They married on Tyler's 23rd birthday at Cedar Grove, her family's home. Their 29-year marriage appears to have been a happy one. Letitia Tyler avoided the limelight during her husband's political rise, preferring domestic responsibilities to those of a public wife. During his congressional service, she remained in Virginia except for one visit to Washington during the winter of 1828–1829. In 1839, she suffered a paralytic stroke that left her an invalid. As first lady, she remained in the upstairs living quarters of the White House; she came down once, to attend the wedding of her daughter (Elizabeth) in January 1842.


Together, John and Letitia Tyler had four daughters and three sons live to maturity:

  1. Mary Tyler-Jones (1815–1848), who married Henry Lightfoot Jones, a prosperous Tidewater planter, in 1835.
  2. Robert Tyler (1816–1877), who was a lawyer, public official who served as his father's private secretary in the White House. He settled in Philadelphia, where he practiced law and served as sheriff's solicitor. He also was chief clerk of the state supreme court. He married Priscilla Cooper Tyler, an actress, who at the age of 24 assumed the position of White House hostess, and she served as official hostess at the White House during the first three years of the Tyler administration. As a leader of the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania, Robert Tyler promoted the career of James Buchanan. At the outbreak of the American Civil War, he fled Philadelphia when an anti-southern mob attacked his home. He returned to Virginia, where he served as register of the Treasury of the Confederacy. Penniless after the war, he settled in Montgomery, Alabama, and there regained his fortunes as a lawyer, editor of the Montgomery Advertiser, and leader of the state Democratic Party.
  3. John Tyler III (1819–1896), who was a lawyer, public official. Like his older brother, he also became a lawyer and served as private secretary to his father, campaigning for James Buchanan. During the Civil War, he served as assistant secretary of war of the Confederacy. After the war, he settled in Baltimore, where he practiced law. Under the Grant administration, he was appointed to a minor position in the IRS in Tallahassee, FL.
  4. Letitia Tyler-Semple (1821–1907), an educator married James Semple, whom her father appointed a purser in the U.S. Navy, in 1839. The marriage was an unhappy one. At the close of the American Civil War, she left her husband to open a school, the Eclectic Institute, in Baltimore. After her mother's death in 1842, and after her sister-in-law Priscilla moved away, Letitia served her father as the White House social hostess, the title later known as First Lady. Her father remarried in 1844.
  5. Elizabeth Tyler-Waller (1823–1850), who married William N. Waller at a White House wedding in 1842. She died from the effects of childbirth at the age of 27.
  6. Alice Tyler-Denison (1827–1854), who married the Reverend Henry M. Denison, an Episcopal rector in Williamsburg, in 1850. She died suddenly of colic, also at the age of 27.
  7. Tazewell Tyler (1830–1874), who was a doctor who served as a surgeon in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.


Offspring of John Tyler and Letitia Christian (1790-1842)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Mary Tyler (1815-1848)
Robert Tyler (1816-1877) 9 September 1816 Charles City County, Virginia, United States 3 December 1877 Montgomery, Montgomery County, Alabama, United States Elizabeth Priscilla Cooper (1816-1889)
John Tyler (1819-1896)
Letitia Tyler (1821-1907)
Elizabeth Tyler (1823-1850)
Anne Contesse Tyler (1825-1825)
Alice Tyler (1827-1854)
Tazewell Tyler (1830-1874)

Offspring of John Tyler and Julia Gardiner (1820-1889)
Name Birth Death Joined with
David Gardiner Tyler (1846-1927)
John Alexander Tyler (1848-1883)
Julia Gardiner Tyler (1849-1871)
Lachlan Gardiner Tyler (1851-1902)
Lyon Gardiner Tyler (1853-1935) 24 August 1853 Sherwood Forest Plantation, Charles City County, Virginia, United States 12 February 1935 Richmond, Virginia, United States Anne Baker Tucker (1855-1921) Anne Baker Tucker (1855-1921) Susan Ruffin (1889-1953)
Robert Fitzwalter Tyler (1856-1927)
Pearl Tyler (1860-1947)


Footnotes (including sources)

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