Meet Our Grand Marshal
Harrison Tyler sharing the story of his fathers during the
2006 Faith and Freedom Tour
If you were standing on the hallowed grounds of the James River for the 1807 Jubilee — the two hundredth birthday celebration of the founding of Jamestown — you might have met revolutionary war hero John Tyler and his seventeen-year-old son, John Jr., who was then a student at the College of William and Mary.
Fifty years later, John was no longer known as Jr., but as the former President of the United States of America. As the keynote speaker for the 250th Jubilee of Jamestown, President John Tyler would remind those in attendance that they must honor their fathers, give thanks to almighty God, and never forget the many kindnesses which He had bestowed upon our land. In fact, for three hours President Tyler would regale those in attendance with stories of providence and perseverance in the Old Dominion.
President John Tyler spoke at the 1857 Jamestown celebration
Lyon Gardiner Tyler was one of the principal historians for the 1907 Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition
Fifty years later, the President’s son Lyon Gardiner Tyler would follow in the footsteps of his father by teaching America about the magnificent legacy of the Jamestown founding. That year was 1907, and the entire nation joined Virginia for the celebration of America’s three hundredth birthday. As president of the College of William and Mary and the most noteworthy historian of the Jamestown Tercentenary, Lyon G. Tyler would edit and release that year the Narratives of Early Virginia: 1606-1625, a follow-up to his prior work, The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River.
But the remarkable multi-generational legacy of the Tyler Family and their contribution to America’s birthday celebrations would not end in 1907, or even in 1957 for the 350th celebration of Jamestown. For America’s four hundredth birthday, Harrison Tyler, the grandson of the tenth President of the United States — and a direct descendant of Pocahontas and John Rolfe — will continue the multi-generational legacy of the Tyler family when he serves as Grand Marshal to the Jamestown Quadricentennial: A Celebration of America’s Providential History.
At seventy-eight years of age, this spritely, athletic heir to one of Virginia’s most noble family names is known to many as a walking repository of Virginia history and trivia. Harrison Tyler daily honors the legacy of his forefathers through his preservation and maintenance of his grandfather’s four thousand acre estate, Sherwood Forest, the home of America’s tenth President.
The entire staff of the Jamestown Quadricentennial: A Celebration of America’s Providential History is deeply indebted to the Tyler family, and we count it a great honor to work with them for such a noteworthy occasion. We recognize that — with their two-hundred year, father-to-son involvement leading the American people in acts of remembrance for our providential beginnings in Jamestown — this family may rightly earn the title: the “Grand Family of America’s Birthday.”
The memory of a glorious ancestry should be kept bright in the recollections of their posterity; and their noble daring in the cause of civilization, and brave resolves in favour of freedom, should be recounted from generation to generation. —President John Tyler, in his keynote address at the 250th Celebration of Jamestown, May 13, 1857