Tyler, Priscilla Cooper (1816–1889)

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Tyler, Priscilla Cooper (1816–1889)

White House hostess. Born Elizabeth Priscilla Cooper on June 14, 1816, in New York City; died on December 29, 1889; third of nine children of Thomas Abthorpe Cooper (a British tragedian) and Mary (Fairlee) Cooper (a socialite); married Robert Tyler (son of Letitia Tyler and John Tyler), on September 12, 1839; children: Mary Fairlie Tyler (d. 1845); John Tyler (d. 1845); Letitia Christian Tyler (born in the White House); Grace Tyler; Thomas Cooper Tyler (died in infancy); Priscilla Tyler; Elizabeth Tyler; Julia Campbell Tyler; Robert Tyler.

Priscilla Cooper Tyler was born in 1816 in New York City, the third of nine children of British tragedian Thomas Abthorpe Cooper and Mary Fairlee Cooper , a popular socialite. An actress, Priscilla made her debut at age three. She met Robert Tyler, son of Letitia Tyler and future president John Tyler, when Robert was a law student; they married in 1839. The couple had nine children (one daughter Letitia Christian Tyler was born at the White House). Because of the illness and subsequent death of first lady Letitia Tyler, Priscilla filled in at the White House. Quite beautiful, she made a charming and gracious hostess, but was happy to turn her duties over to Julia Gardiner Tyler when her father-in-law remarried in 1844. Priscilla and her husband moved to Montgomery, Alabama, where Robert served as a Confederate treasury official, and later as editor of the Montgomery Mail and Advertiser. Priscilla died, at age 73, in Montgomery.