Saturday, December 03, 2005

First Lady Julia Tyler

Julia Tyler - Biography about Julia Gardiner Tyler (1820-1889) from the National First Ladies' Library.

Julia Tyler was the youngest First Lady of the United States. She was only 24 when she married President Tyler during his presidency. She started the tradition of having "Hail to the Chief" played at state occasions. Julia married the President after her parents were tragically killed in an accident. President Tyler married Julia after his wife (and first First Lady) died and made him a widower in the White House.

Mrs. Tyler would go on to bear the President 7 children. (He already had 8 from his first marriage!) John Tyler has the record for the fertility of an American President.

During the American Civil War, she was put in an awkward position. She was a New Yorker but her husband was from Virginia. He swore allegiance to the Confederacy when Virginia illegally seceded from the Union. When President Tyler died in 1862, she was left in a tough spot. She had trouble living in both New York and Virginia and frequently moved between them during the conflict.

All in all, I have to say that Julia Tyler is one of the more interesting First Ladies in American history.

From the site:

By 1841, Senator Gardiner’s two daughters had taken Washington by storm, so much so that, by 1843, he had to take a few extra rooms in their boarding house to entertain the gentlemen callers. Sometimes Julia entertained her guests by playing the guitar and singing. In 1842, she met her future husband at a White House reception. Between 1841 and 1844, Julia received proposals from no less than 2 Congressmen, one Supreme Court Justice and one from President Tyler, now a widower. Christmas Eve 1843 the Gardiner’s were invited to the White House. By February 1844, the gossips were making much of the friendship between President Tyler and Julia. Tragedy interrupted the talk. Dolley Madison had arranged a trip up the Potomac on the gunboat, The Princeton, on February 28, 1844. Among the guests were President Tyler, most of his cabinet, and the Gardiners. One of the guns that was fired while passing Mount Vernon exploded, killing the Secretary of State and Senator Daniel Gardiner, among others. Julia, hearing the explosion, fainted into the arms of the President. She said later that, after her father’s death, the President seemed to fill the void that no younger man ever could. Amidst great secrecy, John Tyler married Julia Gardiner on Gardiner’s Island on June 26, 1844. Dolley Madison prided herself on the role she played in helping the romance along.


stan aylor said...

Excuse me, I hate to be a carbuncle or anything, but Virginia legally seceded from the Union and was subsequently illegally invaded by the Federal Government.

M said...

"Excuse me, I hate to be a carbuncle or anything, but Virginia legally seceded from the Union and was subsequently illegally invaded by the Federal Government."

Thanks for the comment.

Can you find anywhere in the American Constitution where there is evidence that a state may secede? I can not find it but if you can please let me know.

Under your argument, as Virgnia was illegaly invaded, it must still be undergoing military occupation, right?

I am sorry if I disagree. This illegal occupation nonsense is used by tons of separtists movements around the world including the legally American states of Hawai'i, Texas, and Alaska. Are all of the southern states and these extra states not legally a part of the USA?

International law does not agree with you. There is not a single nation in the world that recognizes an independent Virgina or the soveriegnty of the
Confederacy. Hence, Virgina must have illegally seceded...

stan aylor said...

It seems to me that if they had put something in the Constitution that a state could never secede once it became a part of the Union, then the Constitution never would have passed. There were certainly many people who thought it was a right, not only in the South but in New England in the early 19th Century (was it the Albany Convention?) and this was within the lifetime of the founders. Of course it's not in the Constitution, but neither is it there that a State may not secede. Virginia was under military occupation for at least 10 years. The Confederacy had to establish its right to exist on the battlefield and failed to do so, sort of like the United Colonies had to do and did.

It's such a huge subject and has so many angles, it's hard to give it justice. Our disagreement here goes back 200 years when persons of good will had differing opinions of the subject. Obviously The War settled it.

It's interesting that Tyler was against secession until he met with Lincoln, then favored it strongly. He thought that the states of the Old Northwest would follow her lead, leaving New England and New York as the United States.

Jennie W said...

I had always heard that Texas did have the right to secede from their initial accession into the US. But as I did some research, I found that there is no absolute code on this point (hence 200 years of agrument). As Stan pointed out, though, whether or not secession is "legal" dosen't mean it didn't happen. After all, the US succeeded from Britian in 1776 (and I'm sure King George didn't consider it legal) - we just got away with it because we won. Had we lost that war, we would have been in the same place as the Confederacy was in 1865.

vern_mckinley said...

Sorry to go away from the topic of seceding (one of my favorite topics), but one clarification is in order. First Lady Julia Taylor was later supplanted as youngest first lady by Frances Cleveland. She married Grover Cleveland in the White House at the age of 21.