John Tyler, the 10th President of the United States, was a man of many superlatives: He was the first vice president to ascend to the top job after the death of the president (in this case, William Henry Harrison in 1841).
He was the first president to get married while in office. He had the most children of any president (15!). And he was the only president buried with a non-U.S. (read: Confederate) flag covering his coffin.
And, as of this writing, we can also add that Tyler — who died 158 years ago — is the only president born in the 18th century whose grandchildren are still alive.
Tyler’s family tree
Some clarification is necessary. Tyler had eight children with his first wife, Letitia, who died of a stroke while he was in office. Two years later, the 54-year-old Tyler married 24-year-old Julia Gardiner, with whom he fathered seven more children, the youngest of whom was born in 1860, when Tyler was 70.
Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Julia’s fourth son, took a page out of his father’s Book of Matrimony and married a second time at the age of 68, to Susan Ruffin, who was 35 years his junior.
Two of Lyon and Sue’s children, Lyon Jr. (born in 1924) and Harrison (born in 1928) are still with us in 2020 — 230 years after President Tyler was born.
“I find it hard to believe,” Harrison Tyler told CBS News. “I think it had to do with second wives.”
To put it into perspective, if you were born in 1960, your grandkids would need to still be around in 2190 to match the Tyler family’s feat.