Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A Different President

Today, February 12, would have been celebrated in my youth as the birthday of Abraham Lincoln.  We now have a combined holiday (more on that next week) but I am reminded of a post from 2012 about a different President.

Back then, I blogged about the Amazing Secret of Sherwood Forest.  So let us consider, for a few minutes, another president of the 19th century, John Tyler.

No, the amazing secret of Sherwood Forest doesn't have anything to do with Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Although it would have been interesting to watch them fight in the Civil War, dressed in their bright green clothes and using their longbows and clubs to fight....well, I don't know if they would have sided with the Union or the Confederates.  But Friar Tuck would have been quite the sight.

No, I am talking about Sherwood Forest Plantation, in Virginia, which became a bit of an Internet sensation in 2012 because of a man who lived there. His name is Harrison Tyler, and he happens to be the grandson of President John Tyler, a U.S. President who served from 1841 to 1845.

John Tyler was born in 1790.  In other words, a man born in 1790 has two living grandsons.

(And yes, in 2019, they are both still alive and in their 90's, from what I can find. Call it more Living History or Human Wormholes).

So, putting Harrison Tyler aside, what is so fascinating about President John Tyler?

Although John Tyler's administration is interesting from an aspect of studying pre-Civil War history, his actions after states started to secede is what holds fascination for me.

A Peace Conference was held in February 1861 to reach a compromise and enable the Union to continue.  It was hoped a settlement could be reached before Lincoln took office in March of 1861. (unlike today, Presidents in that era took office on March 4 and not January 20).  John Tyler came from his home at Sherwood Forest Plantation to attend.

John Tyler, sent by his native Virginia, was the head of this conference.  It did not succeed, although a Constitutional amendment was proposed. 

After the failure of the Peace Conference, Tyler sided with the Confederacy, and was a delegate from Virginia to the  Provisional Confederate Congress.  When elections to the First Confederate Congress were held in 1861, Tyler was elected to their Congress but died before he took office.

Tyler is buried in Richmond, VA near the grave of President James Monroe.  As he was in rebellion his death was not officially mourned by the Union.  On the other hand, the Confederacy declared him a hero.  A grand funeral was held in his honor.  I've visited the James Monroe grave, but somehow missed Tyler.  Perhaps, if I am in Richmond again, I'll remember.

One more thing: if not for a twist of fate, we may have better known Tyler as a musician.

Which may lead me to an interesting Music Moves Me one Monday.


  1. All I remember about Tyler is "Tippecanoe and Tyler too." I guess it was a campaign slogan.

  2. How very, very interesting. As you know, I'm also a Civil War researcher via my Family Genealogy. A perfect post for Presidents Day. Well done.

  3. Interesting facts. Thanks for taking a look at our history.

  4. I had no idea he sided with the Confederacy. Yikes. I did read about his grandsons a few years back, though.

  5. I'm sorry to say I didn't know any of this. I'm sure at some point in my education I learned all of our country's history, but I'm afraid I didn't retain it all. I may need to go back and reacquaint myself with some of these fascinating stories.

  6. What is so cool, is that only three generations of the Tyler family have seen every president we have had in this country. Pretty amazing.


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