Skip to comments.JOHN TYLER …….10th President of the United States….slaveowner….died on this date in 1862.
Posted on 01/18/2005 11:55:32 AM PST by PeaRidge
If you have visited the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia, you know that it is called the Arlington of the Confederacy due to the fact that many famous Confederate people are buried there. Upon entering the cemetery, one finds Confederate President Jefferson Davis first. Then you drive to what is called on the map as President's Circle. In the middle is James Monroe.
A few yards away is John Tyler. Aside from these two presidents, there are 26 Confederate generals buried here. Among the more famous are JEB Stuart, George Pickett, Henry Heth and Fitzhugh Lee.
John Tyler was an interesting person. He was the first vice-president to be elevated to the presidency when the sitting president died. He was the only president to switch parties while he was in office. He also was the only president to get elected to the Confederate Congress.
Tyler was born on a plantation in Virginia. He became the 6th Virginia born president. He went to the College of William and Mary (like Jefferson and Monroe). He was the son of the Governor of Virginia. He was a natural for politics, which he entered in 1811. He was elected Governor of Virginia himself in 1825.
He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1827 and switched parties. Now a Whig, he became William Henry Harrison's running-mate for the 1840 presidential election. He was the "Tyler" in "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too". They easily defeated the unpopular Martin Van Buren.
One month into his presidency, Harrison died. Tyler, who was at home in Virginia did not even know Harrison was sick. On a Sunday morning, in April of 1841, a messenger came to his home in Williamsburg, Virginia to inform him that the president was dead. This started a major controversy, since he was the first vice president to become president.
A southern slaveowner, he was not seen as being presidential enough. Also, no one seemed to know if he was the president or the acting president. John Quincy Adams referred to him as "His Accidency". His cabinet, inherited from Harrison, told him that they had to approve everything he did. Tyler stood up to them and everyone else, feeling he was the president, just as if he was elected. The cabinet backed down as did everyone else and Tyler was sworn in as president three days later.
In 1842, while he was president, his wife Letitia, who had already suffered a stroke, died. Tyler was the first president to become a widower while in office. Within months, he was remarried to Julia Gardiner, who was 30 years younger than him. This marriage produced seven kids, to go along with the seven from his first wife. Tyler was easily our most prolific president. Incidentally, it was his wife Julia that started the tradition of playing "Hail to the Chief".
As a Whig president, Tyler got into trouble with his own party when he started going against many of their plans. A stubborn and uncompromising man, he was called a traitor to the Whig Party. Within six months, all but one of Tyler's cabinet members resigned in protest. Prominent Whig politicians Henry Clay and Daniel Webster even introduced Impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives, which went no where.
Of course, at the end of his term, he was not nominated for re-election. He left Washington D.C. for his plantation "Sherwood Forest".
After the White House, Tyler stayed involved in politics in Virginia. In 1861, after Virginia seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy, he was elected to the Confederate House of Representatives. He moved into a Richmond (the Confederate capitol) hotel in early January.
On January 12, after his wife joined him he became sick and collapsed in the hotel dinning room. The doctors diagnosed him as suffering from bronchitis and a liver disorder. He planned to return to his Virginia plantation, but died the night before.
He never got the chance to serve in the Confederate Congress.
Tyler's body lay in state in the Confederate Congress draped with a Confederate flag. His funeral was in St. Paul's Episcopal Church and a large procession (around 150 carriages), which included Confederate President Jefferson Davis, escorted him to Hollywood Cemetery. Ironically, he was buried right next to President James Monroe who was a staunch Federalist.
Considered a traitor by many in Washington D.C., his death was officially ignored. It wouldn't be until the 20th Century when an official marker was placed on his grave by Congress.
Born: March 29, 1790 in Greenway, Virginia Served: April 6, 1841 - March 3, 1845 Died: January 18, 1862 in Richmond, Virginia Buried: Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia
Good post. Lots of interesting history that I didn't know (I'm too young to remember back then.)
Even Bill Clinton did not betray his country as much as did John Tyler.
Tyler was instrumental also in rebuilding the U.S. Navy (much to the detrement of the Confederacy in later years). He directed the Navy to modernize, which resulted in the first steam ship powered with a modern screw: USS Princeton. He also had a giant gun commissioned...it was a 50-pound version of the old 32-pound frigate gun patterned after British ordnance. Tyler was so impressed by the gun's promise, he put a party of dignitaries aboard USS Princeton and sailed down the Potomac to watch it shoot (it had about a 3-mile range). After the performance, as the Princeton was rounding the Potomac's curve around Mount Vernon on its way back to the Navy Yard, Tyler ordered a salute to the first president. Unfortunately, the gun blew up--killing his Secretary of State Cecil Upchur, his Secretary of the Navy, Thomas Gilmer, and his future father-in-law, N.Y. Congressman Tom Gardner.
Hollywood Cemetary is a treasure, but be careful negotiationg the rapids below! I have a scar on my ankle to remind me that the falls at Hollywood can be dangerous.
John Tyler's *grandson* and his wife currently reside at Tyler's plantation, Sherwood Forest:
thanks good post
It is ironic that Arlington Cemetary was Lee's home. The Army of the Patomac began buring bodies there, so that it would never be returned to R.E. Lee.
Great links and posts.
Hail to President John Tyler! He was no traitor to us Southrons, who fought for our honor, our traditions, our rights, and our independence.
Tyler also, correctly, vetoed the central bank bill congress had recently passed (hooray!):
In 1841 Congress began its war with Tyler by passing a bill that reestablished the Bank of the United States. Tyler vetoed the bill as unconstitutional because it gave the states no right of approval over bank branches set up within state borders. A second bank bill was promptly passed by Congress and as promptly vetoed by Tyler. This second veto caused Tyler to be solemnly read out of the Whig Party. His action also led to the resignation of his entire Cabinet except for Secretary of State Daniel Webster.
John Tyler is my wifes great, great, great grandfather. In fact, she is named after his wife. And he was no traitor.
William Henry Harrison was my great(x6)-uncle. Please extend my greetings to your wife.
And his great-great grandson is the front man for the group Aerosmith.
Oh, don't pay him no nevermind. He's just here to pimp his book.
He was the original 'Johnny Reb'.
In 1861, your state WAS your country. Robert E. Lee would've worn a blue uniform if Virginia had not seceded.
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