The Past is Around Us

And it’s much closer than one would think:

Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr. did not meet his paternal grandfather when he was growing up in Virginia in the 1930s. He never had the chance to walk through fields with his grandfather or hear his stories about an earlier time — tales about growing up when George Washington was president and of going to Monticello, where he listened as a family friend played the fiddle. The friend was Thomas Jefferson.

In later years, Dr. Tyler went on to become a Navy officer, a lawyer and a professor of history — and practically the living embodiment of almost the entire history of the nation.

Until his death on Sept. 26, Dr. Tyler had been one of two living grandsons of John Tyler, who was president of the United States from 1841 to 1845. Dr. Tyler was born 63 years after his grandfather died. He was 95 when he died at a hospital in Franklin, Tenn., of complications from Alzheimer’s disease, said his daughter, Susan Selina Tyler.

It is notable that President John Tyler sided with the Confederacy and his home of Virginia during the War Between the States. Dr. Brion McClanahan discusses President Tyler and his place among the many:

President Tyler was a man of great integrity. His grandson reflected on his statement that

Truth should always be uttered, no matter what the consequences. . . . When I am in company with a double-dealing man — one who has one language on his tongue and another in his heart — I am involuntarily made to avoid him as I would a poisonous reptile. Trust such a person with not even the slightest circumstance on earth; for he will deceive you.

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