220px John Tyler by George P A Healy

John Tyler, the 10th President of the United States, may not have been a particularly remembered executive (except perhaps as the trailing end of “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too“), but he, his children, and grandchildren quite nearly cover the span of the American nation. Tyler himself was born in March, 1790, just over a year after the Constitution, having been duly ratified, came into force. He lived until 1862, dying in the greatest test of that nation (and also the war of the greatest American general, although Tyler tried to join up the wrong side).

During that life, he fathered fifteen children, the latest, Pearl Tyler, coming only two years before his death in 1860. Her mother, Tyler’s second wife, Julia, was thirty years John’s junior. The youngest children of that union, Lyon, Robert, and Pearl, lived well into the 20th century, Pearl dying the last of all in 1947.

Two of Lyon Tyler’s son are, as of 2012, still alive, and living in the ancestral mansion “Sherwood Forest,” Lyon Jr., and Harrison. They are the third generation of a family that spans the Republic (and is trending on Twitter), and makes it personal in their memories. I can’t help but imagine that it is that deep sense of America that informs Harrison Tyler’s judgment of Newt Gingrich: he’s a “big jerk.”

It’s positively constitutional, it is.

(Full genealogy here).