Letitia Christian

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Letitia Christian Tyler (Christian)

Also Known As: "10th First Lady of the United States of America"
Birthdate: (51)
Birthplace: Cedar Grove Plantation, New Kent County, Virginia, United States
Death: September 10, 1842 (51)
The White House, Washington, District of Columbia, United States (Stroke effects)
Place of Burial: Roxbury, New Kent County, Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Robert Christian, I and Mary Eaton Browne Christian
Wife of John Tyler, 10th President of the United States
Mother of Mary Jones; Robert Tyler; John Tyler; Letitia Christian Semple (Tyler); Elizabeth Tyler Waller and 3 others
Sister of Elizabeth Douglas; Christian A William; John Beverley Christian; Jeannetta Christian; Mary Christian and 4 others

Occupation: Manager of Greenway Estate, Mother of 7 children
Managed by: Chad Bouldin
Last Updated:

About Letitia Christian

Letitia Christian Tyler, born Letitia Christian (November 12, 1790 – September 10, 1842), first wife of John Tyler, was First Lady of the United States from 1841 until her death. Letitia Tyler had been confined to an invalid's chair for two years when her husband unexpectedly became President. Nobody had thought of that possibility when he took his oath of office as Vice President on March 4, 1841; indeed, he had planned to fill his undemanding duties from his home in Williamsburg, Virginia where his wife was most comfortable, her Bible, prayer book, and knitting at her side.


Letitia Christian was born at the Cedar Grove plantation in New Kent County, Virginia. She was the daughter of Colonel Robert Christian, a prosperous planter, and Mary Brown-Christian. Letitia was shy, quiet, pious, and by all accounts, utterly selfless and devoted to her family.

She met John Tyler, then a law student, in 1808. Their five-year courtship was so restrained that not until three weeks before the wedding did Tyler kiss her—and even then it was on the hand. In his only surviving love letter to her, written a few months before their wedding, Tyler promised, "Whether I float or sink in the stream of fortune, you may be assured of this, that I shall never cease to love you."

Letitia and John Tyler married on Tyler's 23rd birthday at Cedar Grove, her family's home. Their 29-year marriage appears to have been a singularly happy one.

Mrs. Tyler avoided the limelight during her husband's political rise, preferring domestic responsibilities to those of a public wife. During his congressional service, she remained in Virginia except for one visit to Washington during the winter of 1828-1829. In 1839, she suffered a paralytic stroke that left her an invalid. As First Lady, she remained in the upstairs living quarters of the White House; she came down just once, to attend the wedding of her daughter (Elizabeth) in January 1842.

Letitia CHRISTIAN was born on 12 Nov 1790 in Cedar Grove, New Kent County, Virginia. She died on 10 Sep 1842 in The White House, Washington, District of Columbia. She was buried in Cedar Grove Plantation, Virginia.

Spouse: John TYLER (10th President of the USA). John TYLER (10th President of the USA) and Letitia CHRISTIAN were married on 29 Mar 1813 in Cedar Grove, New Kent County, Virginia. Children were: Mary TYLER, Robert TYLER, John TYLER, Letitia TYLER, Elizabeth TYLER, Ann Contesse TYLER, Alice TYLER, Tazewell TYLER.



Birth: Nov. 12, 1790 Death: Sep. 10, 1842 Washington District of Columbia District Of Columbia, USA

Presidential First Lady. She was born on the Cedar Grove Plantation, about twenty miles from Richmond, Virginia to a wealthy planter and a politician. Her education consisted of long hours of tutoring in the basics: reading, writing and arithmetic, believing this was all a female needed. After her marriage to the future President John Tyler, the couple using Letitia's money purchased a nearby plantation naming it "Sherwood Forest." Letitia rarely left home and played little role in her husband's career do to the demands of her ever expanding family which untimely numbered eight. Tyler advanced his own career first in Congress then became Governor of Virginia. Suffering from paralysis after a stroke, Letitia was a near-invalid when they moved into the White House. She confined herself to a second story room and took no part in social affairs or any functions as First Lady. She attended her daughters wedding in the White House which marked her only public appearance. In the seventeen month as First Lady, she suffered a second stroke which took her life. After a funeral in the East Room of the White House with services officiated by the rector of St. John's Episcopal Church. her body was sent to Richmond by train and brought back by carriage to Cedar Grove where she was buried a short distance from Sherwood Forest, the plantation where Letitia and John Tyler lived before he became President. It has been carefully preserved and maintained by President Tyler's decedents who still own the property. The mansion is said to be the longest frame house in America and contains many original furnishings, heirlooms, silver and paintings. During the civil war, the plantation was used to house union troops and then turned over to former slaves who looted and vandalized the property. Some marks and damage was allowed to remain and can be seen today. President Tyler quickly found solace from his grief marrying Julia Gardiner a woman thirty years his junior. After leaving the White House they made Sherwood Forest their home. Upon his death, President Tyler was interred in Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery with a grandiose funeral and the erection of an enormous marker. He died a Confederate and at his request his body was wrapped in a Flag of the South. When Julia passed, she was interred beside him. Letitia was forgotten. Her grave still remains today in the brick walled cemetery just a short distance from her old birth house which was Cedar Grove Plantation. (bio by: Donald Greyfield (inactive))

Family links:

 John Tyler (1790 - 1862)*

 Mary Tyler Jones (1815 - 1847)*
 Robert Tyler (1816 - 1877)*
 John Tyler (1819 - 1896)*
 Letitia Tyler Semple (1821 - 1907)*
 Elizabeth Tyler Waller (1823 - 1850)*
 Anna Contesse Tyler (1825 - 1825)*
 Alice Tyler Denison (1828 - 1854)*
 Tazewell Tyler (1830 - 1874)*
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Inscription: All that is Mortal of Leticia Tyler Wife of John Tyler President of the United States lies underneath this marble. She departed this life 10 Sept. 1842 at the President's House in the City of Washington in the 52 year of Her Age. Her life was an illustration of the Christian virtues and her death the death of the righteous.

Burial: Cedar Grove Cemetery Roxbury New Kent County Virginia, USA

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Maintained by: Find A Grave Record added: Jan 18, 2001 Find A Grave Memorial# 19597 http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=19597

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Letitia Christian's Timeline

November 12, 1790
Cedar Grove Plantation, New Kent County, Virginia, United States
April 15, 1815
Age 24
September 9, 1816
Age 25
Charles City, Virginia, United States
April 27, 1819
Age 28
May 11, 1821
Age 30
July 11, 1823
Age 32
Virginia, United States
April 5, 1825
Age 34
March 23, 1827
Age 36
December 6, 1830
Age 40