10th President of the United States, John Tyler (1790–1862) still has two living grandsons!
A few days ago, the website Mental Flossposted an amazing, seemingly impossible piece of American trivia…Two grandsons of President John Tyler — who was born in 1790 and served as tenth president of the United States — are still alivetoday. “Thank goodness,” says Harrison Ruffin Tyler, one of those grandsons, who spoke to us earlier this morning from Sherwood Forest Plantation, the historical Tyler family home in Virginia in which he resides. Harrison Tyler is not an immortal vampire, or a 160-year-old freak of nature, but a mentally sharp octogenarian with a soothing Southern drawl and a more favorable opinion of his grandfather’s legacy than the ones held by most presidential historians.
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.
It’s amazing to think that a man born before the American Revolution ended, still has t living, breathing grandsons. I’m a history nerd, but this is fascinating to me.