Tag Archives: Virginia

John Tyler 3.29.13 Thought of the Day

“Popularity, I have always thought, may aptly be compared to a coquette – the more you woo her, the more apt is she to elude your embrace.”–John Tyler

 

English: A portrait of John Tyler located insi...

English: A portrait of John Tyler located inside the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

John Tyler was born on this day near Charles City County, Virginia, USA in 1790. Today is the 223rd anniversary of his birth.

 

Born to a wealthy family on his father’s Greenway plantation. His family had been members of Virginia’s elite since the 17th century. His father, John Tyler, Sr. was a judge who was friends with Thomas Jefferson, served in the Virginia House of Delegates, was Speaker for that House, and was the 15th Governor of Virginia (when John junior was 18.) His mother Mary Armistead Tyler died when he was 7.  The younger John Tyler was the sixth of eight children.

 

Tyler attended William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia. He

 

studied law under private tutors. He began his political career in 1811, when he was elected to the Virginia legislature at age 21. [History.com]

 

He served in the legislature until 1816 when he was elected to the US House of Representatives. He was a strict Constitutionalist and a strong proponent of States Rights. He voted against “nationalist legislation and opposed the Missouri compromise” [WhiteHouse.gov] He didn’t run again in 1820, returning to his private law practice instead.  But by 1823 he was back in the Virginia House of Delegates.

 

 

 

English: An engraving (c. 1826, authorship unk...

 

 

 

In 1825 he was appointed as Governor of Virginia (as Governor he gave the eulogy at Thomas Jefferson’s funeral.) He served as Governor for two terms.

He won a slim majority to US Senate in 1827 as a Democrat, but  his support for President Andrew Jackson was rocky at best. By 1835 he was aligned with Henry Clay’s Whig Party.

 

The Whigs nominated Tyler for Vice President in 1840, hoping for support from southern states’-righters who could not stomach Jacksonian Democracy. The slogan “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” implied flagwaving nationalism plus a dash of southern sectionalism. [WhiteHouse.gov]

 

The “Tippecanoe”  in the campaign slogan was William Henry Harrison who fought in the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. The Harrison/Tyler ticket won the election with 53% of popular vote and an electoral vote of 234-60. The Whigs also won control of both the House and Senate. Tyler took the oath of the Vice Presidency, presided over the confirmations of Harrison’s cabinet appointments (as President of the Senate) and after a few days went home to Williamsburg. But then Harrison caught pneumonia and died (the first sitting president to do so) and “Tyler Too” became, suddenly, the 10th President of the United States.

 

The U.S. Constitution was unclear on the matter of presidential succession; however, Tyler moved into the White House and was sworn into office on April 6. At 51 years old, the man dubbed “His Accidency,” was younger than any previous president. (The ambiguity surrounding the order of succession issue was officially clarified with the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified in 1967 and states that if the president dies or resigns, the vice president becomes president.) [History.com]

 

John Tyler, tenth President of the United States

John Tyler, tenth President of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

“His four year term was a shambles…” [Findagrave.com] Unable to follow both his conscience and the Whig’s political agenda he was kicked out of the part. All but one member of his (well, Harrison’s) cabinet resigned. And members of the House tried to have him impeached for misuse of veto power.

 

His Presidency however produced some historic events: The annexation of Texas, a reorganized Navy, The ending of the Seminole war and the signing of a treaty with China. [Findagrave.com]

 

He did not make a bid for a second term in the White House.

He retired to his plantation, Sherwood Forest near Richmond. When the Civil War broke out “Tyler led a compromise movement; failing, he worked to create the Southern Confederacy.” [WhiteHouse.gov] He  was elected to the House of Representatives of the Confederate Congress in 1862.  “With the war raging, he was giving a speech in front of the Exchange Hotel when he suffered a stroke and was taken to a room where he died at the age of 71.” [Findagrave.com]

 

Picture of President John Tyler's grave in the...

Picture of President John Tyler’s grave in the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 


Thomas Nelson, Jr. 12,26.12 Thought of the Day

An engraving of Thomas Nelson, Jr., a signer o...

Thomas Nelson, Jr was born on this day in Yorktown, Virginia in 1738. Today is the 274th anniversary of his birth.

Nelson was a planter, statesman, and soldier. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and he was Virginia’s fourth Governor (he followed Thomas Jefferson in the post.)

English: Portrait of Governor Thomas Nelson at...

English: Portrait of Governor Thomas Nelson at age 15. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His grandfather and namesake, Thomas “Scotch Tom” Nelson  was one of the first men to settle in the Yorktown area. And the family was prominent in local and regional politics. Young Thomas traveled to England for his formal education. He went to Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge.  In 1760 he graduated and returned to the family home.

Capitol Building from the North side. [ritaLOVEStoWRITE]

Capitol Building from the North side. [ritaLOVEStoWRITE]

One year later, 1761 he was elected to the House of Burgesses, Colonial Virginia’s legislative house in Williamsburg, Virginia. His time in the Capital wasn’t all business, in 1762 he met and married Lucy Grymes, niece of one of the richest and most powerful men in the Colony, Peyton Randolph. He and Lucy had 11 children in their 27 year marriage. (One son, Hugh Nelson, served in the US Congress.)

In 1774, after hearing about the Boston Tea Party, he [Thomas] performed an act against the British Tea Tax by boarding a merchant ship, Virginia, which was anchored near his home, and dumped several chests of tea into the York River. [Geni.com]

He was a member of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1775 to 1777. A supporter of the independence cause, he was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

English: This is a high-resolution image of th...

English: This is a high-resolution image of the United States Declaration of Independence (article (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In May of 1777 he suffered the first of a series of strokes and returned to Yorktown. He also suffered “periodic bouts of asthma”[Geni.com] but remained active in politics.

He also became a General in the Virginia Militia. He and his 3,000 Militiamen were part of George Washington’s Army during the siege of Yorktown. Cornwallis, the British commander had taken Nelson’s home for one of his head quarters. The

American artillerymen refused to fire on the house, in respect to General Nelson. Nelson then aimed … a cannon at his own home, and ordered the men to fire at his house…. [Ibid]

He offered a bounty of five guineas to the first American gunner to hit the house. The house, now a part of the Colonial National Historical Park system, still shows “evidence of damage from cannon fire.” [National Park Service]

Nelson House, York County, Virginia. [Image courtesy: National Park Service]

Nelson House, York County, Virginia. [Image courtesy: National Park Service]

In 1781 he succeeded Thomas Jefferson as Governor Virginia. He retired to his “son’s estate, ‘Mont Air,’ Hanover County, Va., and died there on January 4, 1789” [Congress.gov Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress] He was buried in Yorktown, in Grace Churchyard.

 

 


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