AKA Letitia Christian
Birthplace: Cedar Grove, VA
Location of death: Washington, DC
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Cedar Grove Cemetery, Roxbury, VA
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: First Lady
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: First wife of US President John Tyler
Letitia Christian was raised on a Virginia plantation, where her main duty was supervising the slaves. She had no formal education, and was by most accounts devoutly religious. She was engaged to John Tyler, the son of Virginia's Governor, for five years, and he once told his friends he had first kissed her -- on the hand -- a few weeks before they were married.
After giving birth to eight children over the following decades, she suffered a stroke at the age of 49, which left her unable to walk. When her husband became Vice President in 1841, their intent was to continue living in Virginia, with him occasionally commuting to Washington DC, but when President William Henry Harrison died a month later, he became President, and she became First Lady. She took a second-floor room in the White House, and came downstairs only once, for her daughter Elizabeth's White House wedding in 1842. Later that year she became the first First Lady to die while her husband was President, reportedly passing away with a rose clutched in her hand.
While she lived in the White House, the ceremonial duties of a First Lady were performed by her daughter-in-law, Priscilla Cooper Tyler, with the guidance of former First Lady Dolley Madison. Priscilla's father, Thomas Apthorpe Cooper, was a famous pre-Broadway stage actor, and a friend and student of philosopher William Godwin. In 1844, Priscilla Tyer moved with her husband to Philadelphia, and the unofficial White House hosting duties were performed by Letitia Tyler's daughter Letitia Tyler Semple, until President Tyler remarried, and Julia Gardiner Tyler became First Lady.
Father: Robert Christian (member of Virginia House of Delegates, b. 5-May-1760, d. 1814)
Mother: Mary Eaton Browne Christian (b. 1764, m. 2-Mar-1784, d. 1815)
Brother: William Christian (d.)
Sister: Elizabeth Christian Douglas (d.)
Brother: John Beverly Christian (d.)
Sister: Alice Christian (d.)
Brother: Oliver Christian (physician, d.)
Sister: Anna Christian Savage ("Jeanette", d.)
Husband: John Tyler IV (US President, b. 1790, dated 1808-13, m. 29-Mar-1813, d. 1862)
Daughter: Mary Tyler Jones (b. 15-Apr-1815, d. 17-Jun-1847)
Son: Robert Tyler (Confederate Treasury official, b. 9-Sep-1816, d. 3-Dec-1877)
Son: John Tyler V (b. 17-Apr-1819, d. 26-Jan-1896)
Daughter: Letitia Christian Tyler Semple (b. 11-May-1821, d. 28-Dec-1907)
Daughter: Elizabeth Tyler Waller (b. 11-Jul-1823, d. 1-Jun-1850 childbirth)
Daughter: Anne Contesse Tyler (b. 5-Apr-1825, d. Jul-1825)
Daughter: Alice Tyler Denison (b. 23-Mar-1827, d. 8-Jun-1854 colic)
Son: Tazewell Tyler (physician, b. 6-Dec-1830, d. 8-Jan-1874 alcoholism)
Do you know something we don't?
Submit a correction or make a comment about this profile
Copyright ©2013 Soylent Communications