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More About Sherwood Forest and John Tyler

John Tyler's 1841-1845 presidential term was the pinnacle of an active political and legal career. He was twice Governor of Virginia, a U.S. Senator, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, a Virginia state senator and member of the Virginia House of Delegates. A graduate of The College of William and Mary, he later became Chancellor of that institution. As a supporter of state's rights, he re-entered public service in 1861 as an elected member of the Confederate Congress of the Confederate States of America.

Sherwood Forest survived the Civil War in 1864 when Union soldiers damaged the house, as testified by marks on woodwork and doors. Also unique to the house is the legend of a ghost, known as the Gray Lady, who has been heard rocking in the Gray Room for more than 200 years.

Greek Revival features, added by the President and his young bride, Julia Gardiner, are evidenced by lattice, columns, and pilasters on the porches while cornices, mantles and carved medallions.

The grounds comprise twenty-five acres of terraced gardens, serene woodlands, and lawn by the designs of mid-19th century New York landscape architect Andrew Jackson Downing. The formal garden was used as an area for Civil War troops and still contains the bird bath placed in the garden by Julia Gardiner Tyler. There are over eighty varieties of centuries old trees, 29 of which are not indigenous to the United States, and includes a gingko tree given to Tyler by Captain Matthew Perry when he returned from the Orient in the 1850s and re-introduced gingko trees to America.


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