Grandsons of man born in 1790 are still alive today

An interesting article in the Daily Mail today.

John Tyler, the tenth president of the United States, was born in 1790. He grew up on a Virginia plantation, became a lawyer, and went on to the White House after the death of his predecessor, William Henry Harrison in 1841. …

But it has been revealed that two of the president’s grandsons are still alive – and were born nearly 140 years after their grandfather was.

Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr. was born in 1924 to Lyon Gardiner Tyler, the son of the late president.

His brother Harrison Ruffin was born four years later, according to records kept by the Sherwood Forest Plantation Foundation, the home of President Tyler.

This extraordinary feat was possible in part because their father had Lyon and Harrison whilst in his 70s.

Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Sr., after all, was born while the nation fought the Civil War.

His two surviving sons were with his second wife, Sue Ruffin, who was born in 1889.

29 March 1790: John Tyler [=the father] born in Greenway, Virginia
1811-1839: Served as United States representative, state governor and senator 
1841: Became president, known as ‘His Accidency’ after the sudden death of William Henry Harrison
1853: Lyon Gardiner Tyler [=the son] born; becomes historian
18 January 1862: John Tyler dies, aged 71
1923: Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Sr., marries second wife Sue Ruffin, two years after first wife dies
1925: Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr. [=grandson] born
1928: Harrison Ruffin Tyler [=grandson] born
12 February 1935: Lyon Gardiner Tyler Sr. dies, aged 81

Which I think we can all agree is a very interesting set of statistics.

Transposing that to ancient terms, it’s as if someone born in AD 90 had surviving grandchildren in 312 AD.  And, in view of the availability of slave women to old men of fortune, it perhaps happened rather more often in those days than today.

Averages and probabilities are useless things in history.  All  that really matters is evidence.  What is not evidenced should never be stated as a certainty. 

1 Response to “Grandsons of man born in 1790 are still alive today”


  1. Maureen

    President Garfield’s granddaughter is pretty impressive, too.

    He was of course the only ex-preacher ever yet elected president; he was also the only classicist. He could write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other, simultaneously, and his wife was once one of his Greek students.