President John Tyler has living grandchildren! How did this happen?
Two of the president’s grandsons are still alive – and were born nearly 140 years after their grandfather was. Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr. was born in 1924 to Lyon Gardiner Tyler, the son of the late president. This extraordinary feat was possible in part because their father had Lyon and Harrison while in his 70s.
John Tyler, the tenth president of the United States, was born in 1790. He grew up on a Virginia plantation, became a lawyer, and went on to the White House after the death of his predecessor, William Henry Harrison in 1841.
New York Magazine interviewed one of the grandsons recently:
It’s a really interesting story that you’re still, you know, around. Could you just explain how this happened? How someone born in 1790 still has living grandchildren?
Well, he was a good man! [laughs] Both my grandfather — the president — and my father, were married twice. And they had children by their first wives. And their first wives died, and they married again and had more children. And my father was 75 when I was born, his father was 63 when he was born. John Tyler had fifteen children — eight by his first wife, seven by his second wife — so it does get very confusing. I really do not know — it’s amazing how families drift apart. When I was a child, I did know most of the descendents, but as you get more generations down the line, it’s hard to keep track of everybody.
In the years leading up to his presidency, horse-drawn carriages were the mode du jour; Arkansas, Michigan, Maine, and Missouri became states; and across the sea, Napoleon Bonaparte was conquering Europe.