David Gardiner (politician)

David Gardiner (May 29, 1784 – February 28, 1844) was an American lawyer and politician who served as a member of New York State Senate from 1824 to 1828. He was the father of Julia Gardiner Tyler, second wife of U.S. President John Tyler. He died in an explosion aboard the USS Princeton.

David Gardiner
Member of the New York State Senate
for Suffolk County
In office
January 1, 1824 – December 31, 1828
Preceded byJohn Alsop King
Succeeded byJohn I. Schenck
Personal details
Born(1784-05-29)May 29, 1784
East Hampton, New York, U.S.
DiedFebruary 28, 1844(1844-02-28) (aged 59)
Fort Washington, Maryland, U.S.
Political partyPeople's Party
Juliana McLachlan
(m. 1815; his death 1844)
Children4, including Julia Gardiner
Alma materYale University (1804)

Early lifeEdit

Gardiner was born on May 29, 1784, the son of Abraham Gardiner (1763–1796) and Phebe Dayton (1757–1810). He was a descendant of Lion Gardiner (1599–1663) who was an early English settler and soldier that founded the first English settlement in what became the state of New York on Long Island, including Gardiners Island.[1] He graduated from Yale University in 1804 along with future U.S. Senator from South Carolina, John Calhoun.[2]


He practiced law for several years, but beginning in 1815 when he married Juliana McLachlan, one of the wealthiest women in New York, he managed her extensive real estate holdings in Manhattan.[2] He was elected to one four-year term as a member of the New York State Senate representing the 1st District of Suffolk County from 1824 to 1828.[3] Gardiner was a supporter of John Quincy Adams, member of the People's Party, which was opposed to the emerging Democratic Party, led by Andrew Jackson.[2]

He later lived at 430 Lafayette Street in Manhanttan, "when that sections was one of the social centres of the city".[4]

In the 1840s, he took his family to Washington, D.C., for several months of the year, in part to find an appropriate husband for his daughter Julia. His family became part of the social circle of President John Tyler and his family.

Death aboard the PrincetonEdit

Contemporary Currier & Ives lithograph depicting the explosion

Gardiner died in an explosion aboard the USS Princeton on February 28, 1844. President Tyler had proposed to his daughter Julia in February 1843. She had refused him at first but sometime in 1843 they agreed to marry at some future time out of respect for the fact that the President had only been a widow since September 1842. David Gardiner and his daughters Julia and Margaret were aboard a pleasure cruise on the Potomac River.[5] As the USS Princeton neared Mount Vernon, the world's biggest naval gun, The Peacemaker that was being demonstrated exploded, killing Gardiner and six others. Funeral services for the five white victims were held in the East Room of the White House.[6] Gardiner was interred in the Public Vault at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C. His remains were later moved to the Gardiner family plot at the South End Cemetery in East Hampton, New York.

President Tyler proposed marriage several more times before being accepted. He and Julia Gardiner wed on June 26, 1844. They named their first child David Gardiner Tyler in honor of his maternal grandfather.[5]

Personal lifeEdit

Portrait of Gardiner's daughter, Julia, September 1844

In 1815, he married Juliana McLachlan (1799–1864), the daughter of Michael McLachlan, who was born and raised in Jamaica, West Indies.[7] His father had been a Scottish warrior in the Battle of Culloden in 1746, between the Jacobites and the military forces in the service of King of England, who was beheaded.[8] They family moved from Jamaica to New York and established a successful brewery in lower Manhattan that led to their purchase of some thirteen pieces of commercial and residential Manhattan real estate, which Juliana inherited, making her one of the wealthiest women in New York.[2][8] They lived for several years on Gardiners Island in East Hampton, New York, though he did not belong to the branch of the Gardiner family that owned that eponymous island. Together, they were the parents of:[2]

  • David Lion Gardiner (1816–1892), Princeton College graduate and lawyer and Gold Rush investor who owned Sagtikos Manor,[9][10] and who married a distant cousin, Sarah Gardiner Thompson.[11]
  • Alexander Gardiner (1818–1851),[2] who was the Clerk of the U.S. Circuit Court and an unofficial aid to President Tyler.[8]
  • Julia Gardiner (1820–1889), who married the 10th U.S. President John Tyler (1790–1862), shortly after Gardiner's death aboard the USS Princeton[12]
  • Margaret Gardiner (1822–1857), who married John H. Beeckman (d. 1850)[13][14] on January 8, 1848.[7] He was a New York merchant and the cousin of Henry Beeckman Livingston who both set up a mercantile operating during the Gold Rush.[8]


His grandchildren include: David Gardiner Tyler (1846–1927), a lawyer and public official,[15] John Alexander Tyler (1848–1883), an engineer who was appointed U.S. surveyor of the Interior Department in 1879,[16] and Dr. Lyon Gardiner Tyler (1853–1935), an author and legislator.[17][18][19]


  1. ^ Gardiner, 84
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Julia Tyler Biography". www.firstladies.org. National First Ladies' Library. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  3. ^ Lawrence Kestenbaum. "First Lady Biography: Julia Tyler". National First Ladies' Library and Historic Site. Retrieved March 22, 2017.
  4. ^ "The Old Colonnade of Lafayette Place". Annual Report of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society. Assembly of the State of New York. 51: 141. May 3, 1917. Retrieved March 22, 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Julia Tyler". whitehousehistory.org. White House Historical Association. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  6. ^ Stevens, John Austin (January 1885). "The Manor of Gardiners Island". Magazine of American History. 13: 28. Retrieved March 22, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Thompson, Benjamin Franklin (1918). History of Long Island: From Its Discovery and Settlement to the Present Time. New York: Robert H. Dodd. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d McClain, Molly. "David Lion Gardiner: A Yankee in Gold Rush California, 1849-1851" (PDF). sandiegohistory.org. The Journal of San Diego History. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  9. ^ "OBITUARY | DAVID L. GARDINER". The New York Times. 10 May 1892. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  10. ^ "DIED | GARDINER". The New York Times. 10 May 1892. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  11. ^ Greene, Richard Henry; Stiles, Henry Reed; Dwight, Melatiah Everett; Morrison, George Austin; Mott, Hopper Striker; Totten, John Reynolds; Pitman, Harold Minot; Forest, Louis Effingham De; Ditmas, Charles Andrew; Mann, Conklin; Maynard, Arthur S. (1896). The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  12. ^ "MRS. JULIA GARDINER TYLER". The New York Times. 11 July 1889. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  13. ^ Henry B. Livingston to Gilbert L. Beeckman, Fremont, April 27, 1850, Beeckman MSS Sacramento. Gardiner helped Beeckman’s cousin Henry B. Livingston solve issues surrounding the estate
  14. ^ Tyler, John (June 15, 1850). "Letter, 1850 June 15, John Tyler, Sherwood Forest, Virginia to Alexander Gardiner, New York, N.Y." digitalarchive.wm.edu. William & Mary Digital Archive. Retrieved 2 May 2017. News about the early death of John Beeckman and business matters regardin Pain's invention; remarks about the proceedings in Massachusetts; also about his lecture on history of Virginia to students.
  15. ^ Times, Special To The New York (6 September 1927). "JUDGE TYLER, 81, SON OF EX-PRESIDENT, DEAD; Former Congressman Dies in Late Father's Home, Sherwood Forest -- Fought With Confederates". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  16. ^ Todd, Charles Burr (1907). Stiles, Henry Reed (ed.). In olde New York; sketches of old times and places in both the state and the city. The Grafton historical series. New York, NY: The Grafton press. pp. 174–175. OCLC 3985699. Retrieved February 25, 2012.
  17. ^ "DR. LYON G. TYLER MARRIES.; Son of Tenth President of United States Weds Miss Ruff in". The New York Times. 14 September 1923. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  18. ^ "JOHN TYLER'S SON". The New York Times. 18 February 1932. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  19. ^ "DR. LYON TYLER, 82, DEAD IN RICHMOND Former Head of William and Mary College Was Son of Nation's 10th President | WELL KNOWN AS AUTHOR | Wrote Many Volumes on History of Virginia - Was Elected to State Legislature in 1887". The New York Times. 13 February 1935. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
Other sources
  • Gardiner, Curtiss C. Lion Gardiner, and his descendants with Illustrations 1599-1890. St. Louis, Missouri : A.Whipple, Publisher

New York State Senate
Preceded by
John Alsop King
New York State Senate
First district (Class 1)

Succeeded by
John I. Schenck