The Who2 Blog

Wait, John Tyler's Grandson Is Still Alive?

Yes, it's true.

Harrison Tyler, age 81, grandson of President John Tyler, is alive and well and living in the family homestead in Virginia.

Let's back up. John Tyler was president from 1841-45. How can a guy who became president 168 years ago have a living grandson?

It helps if the president is a distinguished horndog who keeps fathering children until he's 70 years old. Lyon Gardiner Tyler, his 13th child, was born in 1853, when John Tyler was 63.

Going his father one better, Lyon Tyler lived to be 81 and fathered a son at age 75, in 1928. That son was Harrison Tyler -- born 66 years after the death of his grandfather and still living today.

John Tyler was the 10th president, and Barack Obama is the 44th, so 34 presidencies have passed between John Tyler and his grandson. For that matter, President Tyler was born in 1790, when George Washington was president... so those three Tyler generations span every single president of the United States. 

Amazing.

Harrison Tyler went to the College of William & Mary (like his grandpa) and became a chemical engineer. He still lives in Sherwood Forest Plantation and seems like a good egg. Keeping up the Tyler political tradition, he even donated $1250 to the Virginia Republican Party in 2008.

And he's got a sense of humor about the family fecundity. Here he is encountering some college couples fooling around (it seems) near busts of his ancestors at William & Mary:

Shortly after the dedication of the sculptures, Tyler was returning from an alumni event at the University Center and visited the garden, which was occupied by two young couples enjoying the evening.

"I said, 'That's my father, that's my grandfather, and that's my great-grandfather,'" he says. "And they could not be any happier about what you all are using this for.'"