Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy 220th birthday to the nation's 10th president, John Tyler!

John Tyler: thank you for serving as the 10th president of the United States from 1841-1845,and also thank you being part of Staten Island's history also. happy 220th birthday!

John Tyler

Mar. 29, 1790Charles CityVirginia, USA
Jan. 18, 1862RichmondVirginia, USA

John Tyler, Jr. (March 29, 1790 – January 18, 1862) was the tenth President of the United States (1841–1845) and the first to succeed to the office following the death of a predecessor.
A longtime Democratic-Republican, Tyler was nonetheless elected Vice President on the Whig ticket. Upon the death of President William Henry Harrison on April 4, 1841, only a month after his inauguration, the nation was briefly in a state of confusion regarding the process of succession. Ultimately the situation was settled with Tyler becoming President both in name and in fact.

Tyler took the oath of office on April 6, 1841, setting a precedent that would govern future successions and eventually be codified in the Twenty-fifth Amendment.
Once he became president, he stood against his party's platform and vetoed several of their proposals. In result, most of his cabinet resigned and the Whigs expelled him from their party.
Arguably the most famous and significant achievement of Tyler's administration was the annexation of the Republic of Texas in 1845.

Tyler was the first president born after the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, the only president to have held the office of President pro tempore of the Senate, and the only former president elected to office in the government of the Confederacy during the Civil War (though he died before he assumed said office).

Early life:
John Tyler was born on March 29, 1790 in Charles City County, Virginia (the same county where William Henry Harrison was born). Tyler's father was John Tyler, Sr., and his mother was Mary Armistead Tyler. Tyler was raised, along with seven siblings, to be a part of the region's elite gentry, receiving a very good education. Tyler was brought up believing that the Constitution of the United States was to be strictly interpreted, and reportedly never lost this conviction.

While Tyler was growing up, Tyler Sr., a friend of Thomas Jefferson, owned a tobacco plantation of over 1,000 acres (4 km2) served by dozens of slaves, and worked as a judge at the U.S. Circuit Court at Richmond, Virginia; Tyler Sr.'s advocacy of states' rights maintained his power.

When Tyler was seven years old, his mother died from a stroke, and when he was twelve he entered the preparatory branch of the College of William and Mary, enrolling into the collegiate program there three years later. Tyler graduated from the college in 1807, at age seventeen.

Concise Biography & Facts About John TylerTenth President - John TylerLifespan - 1788 - 1824Place of Birth - March 29, 1790 in Charles City County, Virginia Term as President - 1841-1845 Political Party - WhigVice President / Vice Presidents - NoneReligion - EpiscopalianEducation - William and Mary graduate John Tyler, Military Experience - Second Seminole War - ended 1842 Name of Wife - John Tyler was married to Letitia Christian Tyler and to Julia Gardiner Tyler Career of John Tyler - Politician, StatesmanMember of Virginia House of Delegates, 1811-16 Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1816-21 Virginia State Legislator, 1823-25 Governor of Virginia, 1825-26 United States Senator, 1827-36 Vice President, 1841 (under W. H. Harrison) Member of Confederate States Congress, 1861-62 Place of Death - John Tyler died on January 18, 1862 in Richmond, Virginia
Major events in the biography of President John TylerSecond Seminole War ends (1842). Florida admitted (1845) In 1845 U.S. annexes Texas by joint resolution of Congress (March 1st). Webster-Ashburton Treaty with Britain.Facts and History in the biography of President John Tyler John Tyler served in the House of Representatives (1817–21), as governor of Virginia (1825–27), and as senator (1827–36). John Tyler didn't have a Vice President. He had been William Henry Harrison's VP, and the position was not filled when Tyler assumed the presidency. He joined the Confederacy when the Civil War started. Tyler was elected to the Confederate House of Representatives. He lived in retirement in Virginia until the outbreak of the Civil War, when he emerged as chairman of a peace convention and then as delegate to the provisional Congress of the Confederacy.
Presidential Facts and Trivia about President John Tyler
Description of President John Tyler - Height 5 feet 8 inches
He was always very thin
Age at Inauguration - 51 years old
He was playing marbles when informed that he had become president upon the death of Harrison
He suffered from the following illnesses : symmetric paralysis, dysentery, frequent colds, stroke
Tyler had 15 children
Tyler was the first president to have his veto overridden by Congress on March 3, 1845
Age at Death - 71 years old, ignored by the government as a sworn enemy of the U.S.
He died of a stroke
Presidential Facts and Trivia about John Tyler!
President Coin or President Dollar BillPresidential Money. The United States has placed likenesses of the Presidents on many types of coins and currency. John Tyler has not appeared on US currency.

Maladies and Conditions
Tyler was very thin all of his life.
While a 30 year old Congressman in Washington, Tyler developed an illness that remains difficult to diagnose. Based on Tyler's clear description of the illness, it would today be described as a symmetric, generalized, subacute paralysis. His recovery was so slow and prolonged that he resigned from Congress for two years.
Possible diagnoses include Guillain-Barre syndrome, myasthenia gravis, tick paralysis, diphtheritic paralysis, and botulism.
Tyler retired to his Virginia estate after leaving the White House. He suffered repeated attacks of dysentery in the summer , the causes of which are unknown.
Tyler had little faith in doctors. He regularly "took the waters" at various spas in Virginia. He became a believer in sulfur hydrotherapy. He also took "massive" doses of calomel regularly, which may have contributed to his gastrointestinal problems.
frequent colds
Tyler frequently suffered from respiratory infections in the winter.

During the last 8 years of his life, Tyler was afflicted with numerous unspecified aches and pains. He was prone to colds, arthritis, and kidney problems. He wrote: "I have many aches and pains. They will attend on a sexogenarian, however, so be it, for I am convinced that it is all wisely ordained by providence"

In January 1862, while serving in the Congress of the Confederacy, Tyler became dizzy and vomited, as he had in numerous previous episodes. He complained of a chill, and went downstairs for a cup of tea. He then slumped to the floor, unconscious, but revived.
Tyler was ordered to bed the next day, and the day following complained of a suffocating feeling. He was treated with mustard plasters, brandy, and a morphine-containing cough medicine. He died soon afterwards.
Most likely, Tyler died of a stroke. The episodes of dizziness beforehand were probably transient ischemic attacks.

Odds & Ends
When an influenza epidemic swept the nation during Tyler's term, it was called the "Tyler grippe."
Tyler's first wife died in the White House. While President, he married a woman 30 years his junior. Tyler had eight children by his first wife, and seven by his second.

Julia Gardiner Tyler (1820-1889) First Lady of the United States became President John Tyler's second wife in a secret ceremony in 1844. She moved to Staten Island in 1862 after the death of the former president. A Southern sympathizer, she flew the Confederate flag on her West Brighton lawn until it was removed by angry Unionists.

Streetscapes /The Gardiner-Tyler House, West New Brighton, Staten Island; Where a President's Widow Backed the Confederacy
Correction Appended
DURING the Civil War, the elegant Greek revival Gardiner-Tyler House, in West New Brighton, Staten Island, sheltered one of New York's most conspicuous rebel sympathizers, Julia Gardiner Tyler, widow of President John Tyler. When she was not involved in pro-Confederate activities, she was busy trying to reunite her family, scattered by the war. Now another family is reuniting in this grand temple-fronted house, as a new addition brings together three generations under one roof.
Now on a small plot surrounded by modest houses, the Gardiner-Tyler house was built around 1837 as a much larger country estate, apparently by an Eliza Racey, about whom little is known.
The main entrance -- under the temple front -- faces south across a wide valley, and the house is of simple plan, with a front to back center hall.
The precisely carved Corinthian capitals on the four double-height columns seem more sophisticated than the heavy scrolled brackets that connect the portico to the house, but it is difficult to tell if they are later alterations -- the earliest good photographs of the house are from the turn of the century.
Early occupancy of the house is sketchy, but Robert Seager's 1963 book, ''And Tyler Too,'' says that, according to Gardiner and Tyler family correspondence, Juliana Gardiner, Julia Gardiner Tyler's mother, bought the house in 1852.
Juliana Gardiner was the widow of David Gardiner -- a member of the Long Island family that owned Gardiner's Island. Gardiner had died in February 1844 after a cannon exploded during testing on a ship in the Potomac River. President Tyler had also been aboard.
Already friendly with the Gardiner family, Tyler became even more friendly with Julia and married her in New York City in June 1844.
Tyler had been elected Vice President in 1840 under William Henry Harrison and became President in April 1841 when Harrison died after only a month in office. Weakened in a dispute over tariff bills with his own Whig Party, Tyler withdrew from the 1844 presidential election.
The Tylers lived at their James River estate, Sherwood Forest, in Virginia. After 1852, Juliana Gardiner lived in the Staten Island house, called Castleton Hill. Tyler was generally identified with pro-slavery, pro-Southern policies -- he had about 70 slaves at Sherwood Forest.
In 1853 The New York Herald and other papers carried an article by Julia Tyler defending slavery, which aroused much comment. She said that the Southern slave ''lives sumptuously'' compared to workers in modern industrial economies. She was also an intimate of Jefferson Davis and his wife, Varina.
AT least as early as 1857 Julia and John Tyler visited Juliana Gardiner at Staten Island, and when the former President died in 1862, Julia crossed Civil War battle lines to live at the Staten Island estate, despite her own Southern sympathies.
On Staten Island, Julia Tyler worked for the release of Southern prisoners, for the relief of occupied Southern cities and for various peace efforts.
Julia Tyler went back and forth to her Virginia estate with a regularity that Northern patriots found suspicious. Her Southern sympathies brought conflict to the house, where she often violently quarreled with her uncle, David Lyon Gardiner, who was finally sent away by Juliana Gardiner, his sister.
During this time Julia Tyler was also trying to keep up Sherwood Forest, look after other children in the family, and come up with a way to live in the safety of her mother's house while safeguarding her teen-age sons, David and John, who were in military service -- on the Confederate side.
In April 1865, just hours after Lincoln's assassination, three Staten Islanders forced their way into the house to retrieve and destroy what one claimed in a letter in The New York Herald was a Confederate flag, describing Julia Tyler as the ''widow of the deceased rebel ex-President.''
In a letter to The New York Mail, Julia Tyler denounced the ''outrage committed at my house'' and said the flag was only an ornamental bunting, without political significance.
A June 1, 1865, census recorded Julia Tyler in the house with five of her children, as well as a tutor, an Irish-born coachman and two English-born servants. Juliana Gardiner died in 1868, and Julia got the Staten Island house after a venomous court fight with David Lyon Gardiner.
Her lawyer in the litigation, William M. Evarts, was also a family friend and lent her money, taking the house as security. Julia Tyler left New York in 1871 for Washington and then Virginia, and later in the decade Evarts, who was also prominent in politics, took ownership of the house, although it is not clear if he lived there.
IN the 1880's and 1890's the house was occupied by Douglas M. A. Brown, a wallpaper manufacturer, and in 1898 the land was divided into 157 building lots styled as ''Tyler Park'' in anticipation of a public auction to be accompanied by music and lunch. Included in the sale was to be the ''fine house'' occupied ''by President Tyler,'' although it appears he was never more than an intermittent seasonal guest.
After 1900 the house and most of the lots were purchased by Thaddeus J. Carlin; the 1920 census shows him in occupancy with an English servant and his 15-year-old son, Arthur. Arthur Carlin's granddaughter, Arlene Gillen McGinley, says that when her mother, Arlene Carlin, married Arthur Gillen, ''the house was so large they asked the Gillens to move in with them.''
The family gradually sold off the surrounding lots, and now the grand house is surrounded by low ranch houses, like Gulliver encircled by Lilliputians.
Mrs. McGinley moved out herself when she married Terrance McGinley in 1977, but now that Mr. and Mrs. Gillen are aging, she and Mr. McGinley have purchased the Gardiner-Tyler house from them and are adding a side wing in complementary style, designed by the architect Timothy Boyland, working with the preservation consultant Mary Dierickx. Mrs. McGinley, her husband and their three children are planning to move in next month.
The new wing will be accessible for people with disabilities, to make living there easier for her parents, and will also permit her older brother, Kevin, to visit more frequently -- he has multiple sclerosis and lives in a nursing home.
''When people hear I'm moving into that house they say, 'My gosh, that's a mansion,' '' and then I have to tell them I grew up in it,'' Mrs. McGinley says. ''I'm the fourth generation here, and my children, God willing, will live here in the future also.''

John Tyler Quote: "If the tide of defamation and abuse shall turn, and my administration come to be praised, future Vice Presidents who may succeed to the presidency may feel some slight encouragement to pursue an independent course."

Tyler retired to a Virginia plantation located on the James River in Charles City County, Virginia and originally named "Walnut Grove." He renamed it "Sherwood Forest" to signify that he had been "outlawed" by the Whig party. He withdrew from electoral politics, though his advice continued to be sought by states-rights Democrats.

Tyler and the Civil War:
On the eve of the Civil War, Tyler reentered public life to sponsor and chair the Virginia Peace Convention, held in Washington, D.C in February 1861 as an effort to devise means to prevent a war. Tyler had long been an advocate of states' rights, believing that the question of a state's "free" or "slave" status ought to be decided at the state level, with no input from federal government. The convention sought a compromise to avoid civil war while the Confederate Constitution was being drawn up at the Montgomery Convention. When war broke out, Tyler unhesitatingly sided with the Confederacy, and became a delegate to the Provisional Confederate Congress in 1861.

He was then elected to the House of Representatives of the Confederate Congress, but died in Richmond, Virginia before he could assume office.
Tyler's death was the only one in presidential history not to be officially mourned in Washington, because of his allegiance to the Confederacy.

Tyler is also sometimes considered the only president to die outside the United States because his place of death, Richmond, Virginia, was part of the Confederate States at the time. Tyler's favorite horse named "The General" is buried at his Sherwood Forest Plantation with a gravestone which reads, "Here lies the body of my good horse 'The General.' For twenty years he bore me around the circuit of my practice and in all that time he never made a blunder. Would that his master could say the same."

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