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John Tyler and his Wives

Posted by janis_g z7GA (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 16, 06 at 22:30

John Tyler was the first Vice President to be sworn in as
President due to the unexpected death of the President
William H. Harrison. His (detractors) soon dubbed him (His Accidency).

John Tyler had married Letitia Christain who bore him eight
children before she had a stoke at the age of forty-nine which left her an invalid.
John as vice president had planned on continuing his duties from his plantation in Virginia because he thought his wife would be more comfortable there.
This changed when he assumed the office of President.
He moved his family to Washington and set up a special
area for his wife in the White House. She was never
seen in public and no one ever mentioned her illness.
She died at the White House September 10, 1842 and
lay in state in the East Room.

This account is just one of the fancy dress balls in the Tyler White House.
It was given by the President for his eldest granddaughter,
Mary Fairlee Tyler. The little girl was dressed as the queen
of the fairies, with gossamer wings, a diamond star on her forehead and a silver wand in her tiny hand. She stood at the door of the East Room to welcome all her little
friends to Queen Titania's relm.

After the death of his wife, John Tyler met and married
Julia Gardiner, much to the disapproval of his children, she was only 24 and just 5 years younger than her husband's
eldest daughter. He was 54 at the time.

Julia quickly took over the duties of First Lady. She wrote home that "I have commenced my auspicious reign and am in quiet possession of the Presidential Mansion". "This winter, I intend to do something in the way of entertaining that shall be the admiration and the talk of the Washington world".
Julia was often criticized, she always received, seated in a large armchair on a raised platform in front of the windows in the oval room. She wore three feathers in her hair and a velvet dress with a long train.

Tyler died during the Civil War.
The most famous thing to happen during his presidency was the annexation of The Republic of Texas in 1845.
He fathered 15 children, 8 by his first wife and 7 by his second wife Julia. That was more children than any president before or after him. His youngest child, Pearl died 100 years,1 week and 6 days after his eldest daughter Mary.
Pearl died June 30, 1947.

Tyler Texas gets it's name from this President
I think all Julia needed was a CROWN.

It was interesting to me to find that Dolley Madison
was friends with the Tylers and she helped guide Tyler's
daughter-in-law while she was standing in for First Lady Letitia as hostess at the White House.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: John Tyler and his Wives

Oh, Jan!!! These behind the scenes history lessons make the Presidents come alive.
Thank you so much for them!

RE: John Tyler and his Wives

Jan, As I was reading your post I was thinking that I was going to reply that Tyler, TX was named for Pres. Tyler, but you beat me to it.

The interesting thing about families back then, besides the truly incredible number of children they had is that the birth of the children spanned such a long period of time. Those poor wives were having babies for 20 - 25 years!

Pricilla Cooper Tyler

I thought i'd just pass along this little tidbit about Pricilla Tyler, the daughter in-law John Tyler asked to be his hostess at the White House due to Letitia's illness.

Priscilla Cooper was born in New York City in 1816.
Her father Thomas Apthorpe Cooper was a successful stage actor and producer. Her mother Mary Fairlee Cooper was a New York socialite. Priscilla began to work as an actress at the age of 17. Pricilla's father was a great success in the theater business and the Coopers lived in a grand house on Broadway. Unfortunately the family's fortunes were reversed during the Panic of 1837. The family lost their house and at one point were reduced to subsisting on radishes and strawberries.

Pricilla met the former US Senator John Tyler's eldest son Robert Tyler while playing Desdemona in a production of Othello in Richmond, Virginia. In Victorian America, acting was considered a scandalous profession and actresses had little social standing. It would seem unlikely a young actress with financial problems could ever marry the son of a wealthy plantation owner, however despite their social differences, the couple wed in Bristol, Pennsylvania on September 12, 1839, and the Tyler's warmly welcomed her into the Tyler family.

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