John Tyler isn’t the best-known US president, but two of his grandsons are alive today, in 2020.
President Tyler's best known as being the second half of the phrase “Tippecanoe and Tyler too,” which most American students learn in history class, although most of the people who have heard that phrase have no clue what it means or who it is referencing.
Tyler's other claim to fame is being the first vice-president ever to ascend to the presidency after the death of a president. John Tyler was the Vice-President under William Henry Harrison who died only 31 days after becoming president.
How can his grandsons still be alive?
This could all be explained in four simple words: old men, young wives.
Clearly, John Tyler was a very fecund man. He had 15 children in total. This is the most of any US President so far.
His first wife was Letitia Christian, who was the same age as Tyler. They married in 1813 and together they had 8 children. Letitia died of a stroke in 1842 while she was First Lady.
Two years later, in 1844, at the age of 54, President Tyler married Julia Gardiner who was 30 years younger than her. Tyler was the first sitting president to ever be married while in office.
Together they had 7 children. One of those children was Lyon Gardiner Tyler, who was born in 1853 when President Tyler was 63 years old.
Lyon Tyler followed in the family tradition of having children late in life. His first wife died in 1921 when he was 68 years old. He then took a second wife, Sue Ruffin, who was 35 years his junior.
With Sue, he had three children, two of whom lived into adulthood.
Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Jr, who was born in 1924 when he was 71, and Harrison Ruffin Tyler, who was born when he was 75, in 1928.
Both of these men are still alive today, at the ages of 96 and 92 respectively.
To summarize: A man born in 1790 has a child at the age of 63, who then has children in his 70s, and those children live into their 90s. That is how you can get three generations which span the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.
If you want to take this one generation further, President Tyler’s father, John Tyler Sr., the great-grandfather of the two men in question, was 44 when President Tyler was born.
Tyler Sr. was born in 1743. That's 277 years ago!
Think about it: It is relatively common for people to know their great-grandparents today.
- If you plan on having children at older ages, you should consider having some permanent life insurance in your portfolio.
- If you marry someone that is significantly younger and have more children later in life, then you should consider owning permanent life insurance.