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Meet Amazing Americans U.S. Presidents John Tyler
'Hail to the Chief' sheet music
'Hail to the Chief' sheet music

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Tyler, His Family and His Allegiance to the South

John Tyler was admitted to the Virginia Bar in 1809 (allowing him to practice law). In 1813, he married Letitia Christian, who was also from a ruling family in Virginia. They had seven children who survived infancy (two others did not). Letitia suffered a stroke that severely weakened her before her husband became president. She died in 1842, shortly before her 52nd birthday.

Five months later, Tyler began courting Julia Gardiner, who was 22 (he was 52) and from a prominent New York family. They married in 1844 and had seven children together, the last when Tyler was 70 years old. Their last surviving child lived into the Truman administration of 1945-1953, amazing for a president who was born during George Washington's presidency!

Julia started the custom of having "Hail to the Chief" play when the president enters official gatherings. In 1845, Tyler and his wife retired to his Virginia plantation and the Old Dominion aristocracy, a world that was quickly fading. How do you think Tyler's background influenced his political career?

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