President John Tyler’s grandson, Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr., dies 175 years after his grandfather left the White House

For many Americans, going two generations back takes them to World War II.

a group of people sitting at a table using a laptop: Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr. signs his name on the inside of a desk drawer with other descendants of past presidents who gathered in Washington in August 2018.

© Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post/Getty Images
Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr. signs his name on the inside of a desk drawer with other descendants of past presidents who gathered in Washington in August 2018.

For Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr., who died September 26, two generations stretched to a century earlier, when steam locomotives ruled the land and his grandfather was 10th president of the United States.

Tyler, 95, was the grandson of John Tyler, who served as president from 1841 to 1845.

He died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. A younger brother is among his survivors.

That someone in the 21st century could have a grandfather who knew Thomas Jefferson can be attributed to late-in-life paternity, second wives and longevity in his family: Three generations of Tyler men spanned an incredible 230 years.

While Tyler, a World War II veteran, lawyer and history professor at the Virginia Military Institute and The Citadel, was proud of his ancestor and spoke about him, it was not what defined his life.

His daughter, Susan Selina Pope Tyler, said Thursday that her father was a humble and compassionate man of faith who mentored others.

“He was kind and loving to everyone, even the marginalized,” Susan Tyler wrote in remarks planned for a memorial service next week, which she shared with CNN.

“I’ve had many share with me how my father affected their lives, through his advice or his practical help.”

Tyler lived in Franklin, Tennessee, at the time of his passing. He grew up in Virginia. His younger brother, Harrison Ruffin Tyler, 91, is now the last surviving grandson of the president.

John Tyler was elected vice president in 1840, but he was thrust into the role of commander-in-chief when President William Henry Harrison died just one month into office. His detractors consequently called him “His Accidency.”

While most historians don’t place him high in the pantheon of presidents, Tyler’s family said he should be remembered for his honesty and integrity — even if it cost him politically.

President Tyler, who served one term, fathered 15 children. His first wife, Letitia, had eight children before dying in 1842, and second wife Julia had seven. John Tyler was 63 when son Lyon Gardiner Tyler Sr. was born.

Lyon Sr., who went on to become president of William & Mary, was 71 when Lyon Jr. was born to his second wife.

The younger Lyon was a lawyer before turning to an academic career.

While John Tyler was a slave owner, his great-granddaughter Susan Tyler said her father and late mother, Lucy Jane Pope Tyler, championed civil rights.

Lyon Tyler Jr. himself had a bit of humor about being related to a US president.

“I heard too much about presidents growing up,” he wrote in one speech he delivered. He related that when he was three or four, a woman asked, “Are you going to be President when you grow up?” He answered, ‘I’ll

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Grandfather receives brutal note from neighbor about his ‘ridiculous’ house decorations

A grandfather recently received a vicious note from his neighbor that many people online are calling racist.

Earlier this week, Twitter user @goldenstef posted a picture of the letter saying: “Someone REALLY sent this to my grandpa…… my man is just trynna [sic] decorate his house and……. I f—ing hate people.”

The letter was signed by “the decent, middle-class people with Class of Thunderbird Hills sub-division,” but appears to have only been written by one person, who used the phrase “my wife and I” at the very beginning of the note. Thunderbird Hills is in San Antonio, Texas.

The letter writer begins by explaining that he and his wife occasionally walk around their neighborhood to exercise, but whenever they pass the grandfather’s place they see he has “yet another new decoration or ornament in front of your house.”


“Oh my God — Enough already,” the neighbor wrote. “All the people that we know in our neighborhood have commented on the EXCESSIVE decorations in front of your house — and am sorry to say, you’re [sic] house has become, and is, the laughing joke of the neighborhood.”

“Some of our friends have even purposely driven in front of your house just to see how RIDICULOUS all those decorations look like — and needless to say, they all laugh,” the neighbor added. “All those decorations are in ‘bad taste’ and only goes to prove to everyone that a ‘low class Mexican family’ lives there, or some Gypsy family.”


The neighbor goes on to complain about the man’s “pot plants in the middle of the lawn.”

“Oh my God, where do you people come from?” the neighbor wrote. “It makes absolutely no sense to have ‘plants’ in the middle of the lawn. Also, do you realize that you have four or five American flags displayed in your front. Hello? Do you think that’s going to make people think you’re patriotic? Believe me, they will think like we do — at how Ridiculour [sic] that looks.”

“Apparently you people must have come here to our neighborhood from the deep West side or the deep South side where all the poor people with no class live,” the neighbor added. “Believe me when I tell you that your house is an EMBARRASSMENT to the neighborhood.”


To conclude the note, the neighbor recommended that the grandfather “start looking at the other houses around here and then take a look at your own house.”

“And then come to realize how ridiculous and embarrassing your excessive house decorations look to the rest of us,” the neighbor wrote.

Since the post went up, the tweet has had more than 237,000 likes, 39,800 retweets and 5,400 comments, with

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