Thirty-one presidents have taken the oath of office since Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr.'s grandfather became the 10th president of the United States in 1841. John Tyler was the first American vice president elevated to the position of commander in chief due to the death of a sitting U.S. president.
After his running mate developed a cold that turned into fatal pneumonia only one short month into office, Tyler made history by rising to the presidency in April 1841. He served the office until 1845.
It didn't take a visit to ancestry.com for Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr. to trace his roots back to this historic American figure. There are no 'greats' attached to his connection to President Tyler.
With both Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr.'s father and grandfather expanding their families late in life, three generations of the Tyler family spread out more than two centuries.
President Tyler, born in 1790, fathered Lyon Gardiner Tyler in 1853, at the age of 63. Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr. was born in 1924, when his father was 71 years old. His younger brother, Ruffin Tyler, was born four years later. Both sons are still alive today.
On Monday afternoon, Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr. will visit with members of the Key Corner Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and serve as the guest speaker at the organization's regular monthly meeting. The meeting, which is free and open to the public, will take place at McIver's Grant Public Library at 2 p.m. Residents are encouraged to attend.
Tyler has led quite an interesting life, himself. He served as a naval officer in the Pacific theater in World War II and stayed in the armed forces after the war, serving in the Naval Reserve in Naval Intelligence until he retired with the rank of commander.
A graduate of the College of William and Mary, Tyler served as vice president of the Honor Council and president of the student body. He earned a law degree from the University of Virginia, later completing his doctorate in history from Duke University. He was a member of the honor societies Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Beta Kappa.
After serving as a law clerk to a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, Tyler practiced law in Virginia and was elected Commonwealth's Attorney for Charles City County. He later became the assistant director of the Virginia Civil War Centennial Commission.
Tyler finally turned to a career in teaching. He served as an educator at the University of Richmond, Virginia Military Institute and The Citadel. At VMI, he also served as director and designer of the new VMI Museum.