CBS Local — While some people can trace their family tree back to the founding of America, two men can say they’re the grandchildren of the nation’s 10th president, John Tyler. What makes their story even more remarkable is that President Tyler married their grandmother 174 years ago.
In an interview with CBS News, 89-year-old Harrison Tyler and his son William explained how three generations of Tylers has managed to span nearly two centuries of American history.
John Tyler was the first vice president to become president because of a death in the White House. President William Henry Harrison died after a month in office in 1841. Now the president, Tyler’s first wife Letitia Tyler died of a stroke while serving as first lady in 1842. Two years later, Tyler married Julia Gardiner who was 30 years younger than the current president. The couple had seven children, including Lyon Tyler, who was born when President Tyler was 63 years old.
Lyon Tyler, like his famous father, also remarried after his first wife died and had a son when he was 75 years old. That son was Harrison Tyler, born in 1928.
Asked if people believe his father is the grandson of the 10th President, William Tyler joked, “I find it hard to believe.”
Even though he only served one term from 1841 to 1845, President Tyler also became the first commander-in-chief to marry while in office and is remembered for the annexation of Texas. On his final day in office, Tyler signed the bill making Florida the country’s 27th state.