The highlight of our recent visit to Virginia was a tour of John Tyler’s home. We were fortunate to get a personal tour that took about three hours and we got to see and learn about John Tyler in detail. His home is located on Sherwood Forest Plantation on the James River. The place got it’s name from Henry Clay who said when John Tyler left the presidency, “he is a Robin Hood who can go back to his Sherwood Forest.” Tyler liked the name and it stuck. The descendants have occupied the house since Tyler acquired it in 1844. Tyler was married twice and had fifteen children. Amazingly, his grandson, Harrison now lives in the house.
John Tyler was the 10 president of the US and was the first to obtain office through succession. He was the Vice-President for William Henry Harrison. Harrison was born only a few miles down the road from Tyler’s home. Harrison gave a long-winded inaugural address for over 100 minutes in the blistering cold weather without a coat or hat. He developed pneumonia and died one month later. Tyler became president and really had only one great accomplishment during his one term in office and that was to get Texas annexed. That was a very controversial action because Texas was a slave state.
When the Civil War occurred Tyler was elected as a representative to The House of Representatives of the Confederate Congress. Before he could serve he suffered a fatal stroke. His wife Julia had a dream about his death, which was true in almost exact detail. Because of Tyler’s position with the Confederate Congress he was considered a traitor for many years.
The exciting thing about the Tyler home is that it contains a ghost know as the Gray Lady. It is felt to be the ghost of a governess who lived there in the 18th Century. She was in charge of a baby who died under her care. She cared for the baby by taking it up a hidden staircase to an upstairs room and rocking the child. It is said that you can still hear her rocking the baby. An image of the ghost is portrayed on the wall of the staircase and is still readily visible. The image refuses to disappear even though the wall has had several coats of paint and has been replastered. I took a picture of the wall in the staircase and sure enough, the picture of the lady is there, as shown above.
I have always believed in ghost and this picture and story helped confirm my belief. I have had a couple of ghostly encounters in the past, but the one at the Tyler house was fun and I learned a lot of history. I am waiting for a ghost to visit me on the porch and maybe I can persuade it to help scare the deer away.