Seems impossible, but two brothers living among us today are the grandsons of President John Tyler, the 10th President, born just a year after George Washington became our first President. Even with today’s relatively long lives, three generations normally cover about 130 years from the birth of the first to the death of the third. The three Tyler generations have spanned 229 years, 14 years short of the life of our country. How can that be?
President Tyler’s first wife died in 1842 after giving him eight children. He then married a much younger woman, and they had seven more. His youngest child was Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Sr. who was born in 1853 when John Tyler was 63. Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Sr. also married a second time to a much younger woman after his first wife died in 1921. He had six children, the youngest two being Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Jr. (top right above), born in 1924, and Harrison Tyler (bottom right above), born in 1928. Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Sr. was 75 when the youngest, Harrison, was born. So, President Tyler and his son both having had children very late in life coupled with the President’s grandsons living long lives, currently at 94 and 90, resulted in a phenomenal three generation life span of well over two centuries. In this particular case, the three generations have lived in four centuries– the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st. Also, each of the three lived in two centuries. Is you head beginning to hurt?
Harrison Tyler spent his career as a chemical engineer and businessman, eventually selling his company for $435 million upon retirement. He now lives on the family plantation, Sherwood Forest, in Virginia founded by President Tyler. Lyon Tyler, Jr., had a brief career as a lawyer before getting his PhD in History and teaching at the University of Richmond, Virginia Military Institute, and the Citadel. He now lives in Franklin, Tennessee.
It was common in the 19th century for older men to have second marriages to younger women, especially after a first wife’s death. In fact, our government is currently paying a Civil War pension to a daughter of a veteran of that war now living in North Carolina. Irene Triplett, age 86, collects $73.13 each month from her father’s military pension earned when he fought for the Union 153 years ago. Her father who married a woman 50 years younger begat her when he was 83 (Don’t go there, just accept it; the government does.)
(Some of this information came from Curt Mills, writer, U.S. News & World Report.)