When you think of the early US presidents, say the first 15 or so, most people would think that the closest living descendant would at best chance be a great grandchild, or great great grandchild. But what many people may be surprised to discover is that the tenth US president, John Tyler, has two living grandsons. What makes this so amazing? President John Tyler served from 1841 until 1845, and was 51 when he entered office. But this shouldn’t be too weird, especially considering how late the last civil war widow died. But it a remarkable record nonetheless.
John Tyler is one of the least well known presidents. When many people rank him on a scale of performance in office, he routinely places near to the bottom. But his ranking, and performance for that matter could have something to do with how he came to office. He was the first president not directly elected in his own right to the role of commander in chief.
John Tyler was elected as vice president to William Henry Harrison. When Harrison died early into his term, Tyler took over the reins. This was the first time that a vice president had ever been called upon to replace a deceased president, and many people in congress didn’t exactly know what top do in the situation. Some believed that he should have been acting president, serving only in a care taker role until the next election, and others believed that congress should have been running the show. Tyler, on the other hand, believed that he was president, and enforced his position. But that didn’t help him much. Many people continued to refer to him as vice president or His Accidency. He wasn’t very highly respected.
Tyler also has the distinction of being the first to be impeached. When it was time for the next election, neither party endorsed him for presidential candidate, and he retires to his plantation ion Virginia. Later in life, shortly before his death, he sided with the Confederacy.
How is it possible that John Tyler has two living grandsons?
There are a few circumstances that allowed John Tyler to have two living grandsons. President Tyler had two marriages, and a lot of children. To be precise, he fathered more children than any other president, a total of 15. Following the death of his first wife in the White House in 1842, Tyler remarried to Julia Gardiner Tyler, a woman 30 years his junior. But even with a new wife 30 years younger than he was, more needs to fall into place for the numbers to add up. Well fate would have it that his son also fathered children late in life.
His living grandchildren are descendants from his second marriage to Julia Gardiner Tyler. His fifth born son from his second marriage, Lyon Gardiner Tyler (1853–1935), is the father of Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Jr who was born in 1924, and Harrison Ruffin Tyler who was born in 1928. As president Tyler had fathered his son, Lyon at the age of 63, and his son Lyon fathered his sons even later in life at the age of 69, this allowed for the math to fit perfectly into place.
While the tenth President of the US, John Tyler, has two living grandsons (as of 2012), the next oldest president to have living grandchildren is James A. Garfield who was president 40 years after Tyler. Presidents Lincoln and Buchanan have no living descendants of any kind.