John Tyler’s Pet Cemetery – Charles City


President John Tyler was not a very popular president. In his lifetime, he became the first vice president to take over after the death of his running mate – a move so unpopular that all but one of his cabinet members resigned. He continued to upset his party members and opponents for years, then made the reckless decision to support the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, a decision that led to him being the only president of American history whose death was not observed. by the United States.

Tyler’s final resting place was not to his liking. He never even wanted to be buried in the capital of the Confederacy. For him, his eternal home was to be in his beloved Sherwood plantation forest, on the banks of the James River in eastern Virginia. Tyler lived on the property for much of his adult life and chose a beautiful spot on the property’s lawn that overlooked the house for his burial.

Even though Tyler wouldn’t be buried at his home, future Tylers were, but not humans. Sherwood will remain in the family for generations and is still owned by the Tylers today. A pet cemetery has also been established on the property, making it the only presidential home in America to have an entirely separate area for pets.

The tradition was actually started by Tyler himself. Sometime after leaving office in 1845, his beloved horse, the General, died. Tyler had her buried on the property, along with an epitaph that read,

“Here lie the bones of my old horse, ‘General’, who faithfully served his master for twenty-one years. And never erred. Let his master say the same!

For generations thereafter, dogs and cats were buried alongside the general, many of their tombstones bearing similarly amusing phrases and quotes. Alongside small wooden crosses stand adorable stone statues of felines and canines, a touching keepsake for fuzzy friends that make life all the more worth living.


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