John William Tyler
Table Of Contents
Funeral Service Schedule
Abstracts Of Funeral Messages
Some Other Tributes
Decatur Review: Report Of Death
Decatur Review: Subsequent Report Of Death
Decatur Daily News: Report of Funeral
Directions To The Grave Of J.W. Tyler
Photographs Of Tyler Plot
John W. Tyler (1808-1888) was the eldest son of Benjamin Tyler (1782-1870), who was the third son of William Tyler (1747-1843), who was a native of Virginia and one of the first settlers of Fayette County, Kentucky.
The first American ancestor of the Virginia Tylers was Henry Tyler, a reputed native of Shropshire, England. In the third volume of the Virginia Land Register is the record of a patent in Henry Tyler's name, bearing date January 7, 1652, and locating two hundred and fifty-four acres of land in what was known as the Middle Plantation, "due to him by and for transporting to this colony six persons to-wit: the said Henry Tyler himself, and Mary his wife, and Anne Sherman, Thomas Day, David Legurne, and Ja: Musskatina, — forty-six acres remaining due on the last name." The laws of the colony at that time encouraged immigration by allowing to the importer fifty acres for each and every person brought over at his expense. This Henry Tyler lived on the outskirts of what is now the city of Williamsburg, and his residence, though remodeled, retains many quaint and beautiful features of ''ye olden time." His name repeatedly occurs in the records in connection with some of the most respectable names of the colony. His eldest son, Henry, married into the Page family of Virginia and played a useful part in the affairs of the colony. He held many offices of trust and authority in York County, through a long series of years, with credit and character. He died in 1729, leaving three sons: John, Francis, and Henry. This Henry, the third of the name, heired the ancestral homestead, but in 1752 he sold out and removed to Sussex County and there died in 1774. Leaving no surviving issue, he divided his property between his grand-nephew, John Tyler, “attorney at law in Charles City County and his grand-nephew, William Tyler, grandson of Francis Tyler, of Prince William.” This will is recorded in Sussex of Prince William County Court. The young attorney mentioned therein became the father of John Tyler, the tenth President of the United States, and the other legatee appears to have been the William Tyler who located a few years later in Fayette County, Kentucky, and became the grandfather of John W. Tyler, the subject of this sketch. Some genealogists, however, make William Tyler, the grandfather of John W. Tyler, to be the grandson of Charles Tyler (died 1723) of Westmoreland County, Virginia. Note: John Tyler, father of the 10th President of the U. S., and William Tyler, grandfather of John W. Tyler, were bom in the same year, 1747.
William Tyler, the grandfather of John W., was born December 27, 1747; was married to Letty George August 15, 1774; and died March 1, 1843. The exact date of his settlement in Kentucky is not known. Ranck, in his history of Lexington, Ky., says "The summer of 1776 found no white man in all the length and breadth of the present Fayette County." In March, 1779, Col. Robert Patterson was sent from the fort at Harrodsburg and was successful in building a block-house fort on the very site where Lexington now stands. James Masterson, after whom the fort five miles north-west of Lexington was named, was a member of the company commanded by Col. Patterson. William Tylermade his home, with his small family, in Masterson fort for a time after reaching Kentucky. A deed, without date, now in possession of a great-grandson of William Tyler, was placed on record at the July term of the Fayette County Court in 1789. By this deed Richard Masterson and Sarah his wife transferred to William Tyler "one hundred and fifty acres, being a part of the McConnel's settlement." His coming to Kentucky must, therefore, have been some where between 1779 and 1789. It was probably late in 1782.
To William Tyler, and Letty his wife, nine children were born: Charles, May 27, 1775; Sally, September 20, 1777; William, July 24, 1780; Benjamin, October 20, 1782; Ann, August 13, 1785; Susanah, December1, 1789; Jessie, April 1, 1793; Mary, March 19, 1795; and George, April 28, 1797. There is a trustworthy tradition that Benjamin was born in an Indian fort as they were emigrating to Kentucky.
Dr. Richard Spurr in writing of those early times says: "William Tyler was a pious, God-fearing man. He and his wife were members of the Methodist church. A meetinghouse was built near the fort and here they held their membership. When this house was no longer tenantable then stated meetings were held at the house of old Father Tyler, this being a point in the circuit." Ranck, in his history, says: "In 1787 the first Methodist church built in Kentucky (a log one) was erected at Masterson's Station, five miles northwest of Lexington, and in 1790 the first annual conference of the church in Kentucky was held there and had the great and good Bishop Francis Asbury as its presiding officer."
Benjamin Tyler, third son of William, was married to Susanah Shores and to them five children were born: John William, September 27, 1808; Jane, April 6, 1810; Charles, November 17, 1812; Susanah, May 4, 1815; and Benjamin George, November 1, 1821. The daughters married brothers: Jane married Dr. William Warder Higgins, and Susanah married Harvey Higgins, after whom Higginsville. Mo., was named. Jane died March 27, 1846, and Susanah died July 3, 1854. John W. was married first to Elvira Oxley, June 18, 1831, and after her death was married to Sarah Roney, February 28, 1839. Charles was married to Eliza Ellen Neal, August 22, 1839, and died at his home in Bloomfield, Kentucky, October 14, 1887. Benjamin G. was married first to Mrs. Rebecca Smith (nee Cromwell) and after her death to Mrs. Sally Steadman. He died at his home near Lexington, Kentucky, April 1, 1891. Dr. Spurr in writing of Benjamin Tyler, the father of John W., says: ''He was a model of industry and integrity, his word being considered the equal of his bond. He was one of the best citizens of Fayette County. He was never known to take any intoxicating drinks; this was remarkable when we remember that at that time whiskey or brandy was kept in every house and their use was quite common. He was a strictly moral man, never known to use profane language, was a man of peace, —in short, a model irreligious man until late in life (a period at which few persons ever make a change in habits), he became a devout member of the Cane Run Baptist church. He was a man of wonderful amount of common sense. He never ceased during his long life to give his personal attention to his business and at his death he left a large estate." His death occurred May 2, 1870, his wife having died four years prior to that, —May 19, 1866.
John W. Tyler, eldest son of Benjamin Tyler, was born September 27, 1808. The first settlers of Fayette County had made rapid and substantial progress. On the 26th of December, 1781, the trustees of Lexington station had adopted a plan for the town. The first newspaper ever published west of the Alleghany mountains made its appearance in that town August 18,1787. Lexington reached the zenith of her first period of prosperity in 1810. Log cabins were giving place to more commodious and comfortable dwellings. Schools were established in which rudimentary education might be had. The standard was not high. When one had learned to spell, to read, and to write legibly, had studied Pike's arithmetic to fractions and had acquired a smattering of Murray's English grammar he was thought to be fairly and sufficiently educated. Algebra, geography, etc., were not taught and were thought to be useless. This represents about the opportunity John Tyler had to receive an education. Rev. D. P. Henderson, his class-mate in boyhood, says: "We were taught by very exacting teachers, who practically enforced discipline even by the rod under which most of us had often to pass. I have a vivid recollection of John Tyler. He was a quiet, studious, grave, industrious pupil. He made rapid progress in his studies. He was not so fond of youthful sports as many others, consequently his recitations were better, much better, than his classmates. He enjoyed the confidence and love of the pupils." Another who attended school in boyhood with him has left this record: "He was an apt scholar, learned fast, stood about the head of his class, was a favorite with the scholars, engaged in all their games at play-time, was very active, fleet of foot, peaceable, kind to all. Sometimes for six months at a time lie was not in school, and could not have been over fourteen years old when his school days ended and he went to work as a regular hand with his father on the farm. Then it took six days of work to fill up the week. Raising horses was quite a business with John's father, and on Sunday he always had a good horse that he was breaking by riding to church. He took great pleasure in hearing gifted speakers, both in the pulpit and on the stump, and had frequent opportunity of hearing such men as Henry Clay, John J. Crittenden, Tom Corwin, Tom Ewing, Robert Wickliffe and Robert J. Breckenridge. He was always fond of company, would enjoy himself with old people as much as with those of his own age. He never took much interest in his dog or gun, or fishing-rod, but was always in the highest degree interested in either political or religious discussions and would go whenever practicable to hear speakers of note." The boy was father to the man.
The visit of General LaFayette to Lexington made a deep impression upon him. That was in May, 1825, when John was in his seventeenth year. His own uncle Charles had been a soldier in the war of the Revolution and was present. It was probably the grandest gathering ever seen in Lexington. An immense concourse of people from all parts of Kentucky and from several other states, companies of infantry, artillery, and cavalry, revolutionary soldiers, distinguished strangers, members of all professions went out to meet Mm. The announcement that the Marquis and suite were in sight was the signal for round after round of deafening cheers, volleys of musketry and thunders of artillery. All this so thrilled the youthful John with military ambition that for a time his dreams were all of military glory. But he was destined for more peaceful, although not less honorable, pursuits.
The terrible ravages of cholera in 1833 will ever keep that fatal year memorable in the annals of Lexington. It made its appearance the first of June and in less than ten days fifteen hundred persons were prostrated and dying at the rate of fifty a day. An indescribable panic seized the citizens, half of whom fled from the city, and those who remained were almost paralyzed with fear. It was an awful scourge, but not without its beneficial effects.Saddened and chastened, the city turned to religion for consolation, and in 1834 there was a great and wide- spread revival. It was shortly before this that the Cane Run Baptist church had been constituted by persons from the Town-fork, North Elkhorn, Great Crossings, and possibly other Baptist churches in the surrounding neighborhoods. Meetings were held statedly at a stand in the woods or at the home of some of the members. Prayer-meetings were held from house to house on Sunday evenings. These services were all attended with marked regularity by John Tyler. A meetinghouse was built and, upon its completion, the Rev. Jeremiah D. Black held a series of meetings which resulted in a large ingathering into the church. Among the number was John Tyler. That was in the summer of 1834. He began at once to speak in the neighborhood meetings and soon entered upon the work of the ministry, in which he continued for fifty-four years.
June 18, 1831, he was united in marriage to Elvira Oxley, a union broken seven years later by the hand of death. There were born, of this union, two sons and a daughter: Theodore M., Nancy J., and John W., Jr. Theodore died July 14, 1868. On February 28, 1839, he was united in marriage to Sarah Roney, a union which continued through almost fifty years, and there were born, of this union, seven sons and four daughters: Benjamin Bushrod, April 9,1840; Susan Frances, March 15, 1842; James Alexander, September 14, 1843; Barton Stone, August 19, 1845; Charles Willis, November, 1846; Joseph Zachary, October 10, 1848; Henry Clay, August 16, 1850; Mary Edna, August 18, 1852; Elizabeth Ann, October 16, 1854; Charles Henry, August 19, 1856; and Alice Sarah, April 27, 1859. Two died in early childhood: Charles Willis in January, 1851, and Henry Clay, August 19, 1851. James A. died February 26, 1876. Note: The two children who died in childhood and also the first wife, Elvira Oxley Tyler, and the oldest son, Theodore M., were buried in the family burying ground on the farm 5 miles east of Decatur. James A. was buried in the cemetery of Long Creek M. E. church, near the parental home of his wife.
Sarah Roney, the wife of John W. Tyler, was born in Shelby County (now a part of Oldham County), Kentucky, November 16, 1816. She was the fourth daughter of James Roney and his wife Mary Aiken, both natives of Virginia. James Roney was the eldest son of his widowed mother and the care of the family rested upon him. When quite a young man he came to Kentucky, secured land in Shelby County, cleared a small patch of ground, built a cab- in and returning to Virginia brought his mother and family to the new home. He and his brother Joseph became men of position and influence in the new settlement and were prosperous. He was married to Mary Aiken February 19, 1806, and to them were born six sons and eight daughters: John, December 25, 1806; Joseph, March 3, 1808; James, October 30, 1809; Matilda, July 11, 1811; Malinda, January 12, 1813; Maria, December 15, 1814; Sarah, November 16, 1816; Joshua, November 11, 1818; Robert, September 5, 1820; Polly, August 5, 1822; Nancy, June 11, 1824; Louisa, November 6, 1826; Samuel, August 1, 1829; and Emaline, September 3, 1830. These were all born in Kentucky.
The Roney family removed to Shelby County, Illinois, in 1831, but the county was subsequently divided, thus placing their home in Moultrie County. At the time of their leaving Kentucky Sarah was in the fifteenth year of her age. In her childhood she had been lamed and for some time went upon crutches. Of bright mind and happy disposition, her affliction naturally made her the pet of the family. She grew to young womanhood under the conditions and limitations of those primitive times. Her opportunities to attend school were very meager, but her natural thirst for knowledge led her to drink of the fountains that spring by the wayside until she became a woman of information and possessed a wisdom which schools can not confer. Her early religious training was among the Presbyterians. Her religion was not of the demonstrative kind. Her devotions flourished most in the sacred privacy of the closet. She was characterized by an enlightened faith, a rational reverence, strong convictions, genuine benevolence, charitable judgment, uncompromising conscientiousness, and an unswerving devotion to duty in every relation in life. Her love of the beautiful did much to make her own life beautiful from its early dawn to its cloudless close. She was admirably fitted to be the wife of a pioneer and preacher.
Upon his removal from Kentucky, in the fall of 1834, John W. Tyler located for a short time in the northeastern part of Montgomery County, Indiana, and gave himself zealously to the work of the ministry. He soon organized a church in that neighborhood with the very suggestive title, the ''Union Baptist Church of Christ." A letter granted him by that church in August, 1835, certifies to his being “a member and a regularly ordained minister of the gospel with us, in good standing and full fellowship, and since he joined us he has been constant, exercising a gift of exhortation and preaching with entire satisfaction to the church." Leaving Indiana he spent a few months in Morgan County, Illinois, to which a large number of persons from his section of Kentucky had gone a year or two before, prominent among whom was that great revivalist and reformer, Barton W. Stone. The next year finds him in Macon County, where he established a home on the old farm five miles east of Decatur. Here most of the children were born and grew to manhood and womanhood. In 1872 the family moved to the N. Main St. residence in Decatur, and this continued to be his home until his tragic death, June 16, 1888. He was farmer, justice of the peace, school-master, and minister. His ministry was chiefly in the counties of Macon, Moultrie, Shelby, Piatt, Sangamon, and Christian. Most of the Christian churches in these counties were either planted by his personal ministry or watered in their early years by his personal care and instruction. Antioch church, which was organized by him and in which he preached for many years, was located on the edge of his farm, west of the home. With apostolic zeal he labored with his own hands that he might support himself while laying the foundations upon which others were to build, and in his declining days he found his dearest joy in the increasing prosperity of those who continued the work he had so well begun.
On Friday afternoon, June 15, 1888, in the public highway, near the old homestead and in the immediate vicinity of Antioch church, he was fatally hurt by a kick from the horse he was driving. He lingered in unconsciousness until three o'clock next morning and then breathed his last. His faithful and be- loved wife survived him four years, —peacefully closing her earthly career Tuesday morning, July 26, 1892. A few extracts from the local press of the day will best indicate the esteem in which they were held by the community in which they had lived for half a century. In speaking of Father Tyler, the Herald said: ''He was frequently called to serve the people in official positions, and he discharged his duties with a fidelity which won the respect and confidence of all. Few men ever live to so great an age, and of few indeed can it be said that they leave a record so clear and so full of good works. He had unselfishly devoted much of his life to the Christian ministry, oftentimes receiving no remuneration for his work. He was a preacher, but in his own life his faith was manifested in good deeds." The Republican said: "He was one of the best known residents of the county and was greatly admired for his genial disposition and hospitable and sympathetic nature. He loved the truth, he loved his church and his family, and all his long life he has ever been found a true friend and a man of the strictest integrity. The whole community mourns his death." The Bulletin said: "He was a social favorite in his neighborhood, and was often honored with marks of personal confidence by repeated election to local office. He was not a politician, but he was interested in all questions that involved the protection of public morals. The sanctity of the Sabbath and temperance reform were to him matters of political as well as moral faith, and were maintained always, without regard to the effect upon his partisan friends."
The National Missionary Convention of the Disciples of Christ in annual session, Oct., 1888, placed upon record the following brief, but fitting memorial
''John W. Tyler of Decatur, Ill., a man of strong faith, firm in his conviction, yet sweet in spirit. For more than half a century and through almost numberless difficulties, he preached the glorious gospel of Christ, and exhibited before all men the beauty of a blameless life. To the very end he was a growing man— he grew in knowledge, in love, and in peace."
Speaking of Mrs. Tyler, at the time of her death, the Review said: "The death of Mrs. Tyler marks the close of a rarely useful life. Grandly and cheerfully did she perform the work that fell along her pathway. No one was ever known to speak ill of her and no woman had as many friends in the city. The same thoughtful regard for others that has marked her whole life characterized her last days. She was one woman among a thousand." The Bulletin said: ''To know this dear woman was to love and adore one of the purest and sweetest of Christian characters. Her calm quietude mingled ever in social and business relations, her pleasing and gracious nature won every heart, and her loving tenderness in ministering to others lifted them to a higher plane. Such grace is not the product of a day, but is the natural fruition of patient living through the mingled joys and sorrows of life." The Herald-Despatch said: "The life of this truly good woman is like an open page upon which there appears no blot. From the beginning to the end it is a record of Christian virtue and Christian faith which have never wavered during a long and useful life. It was a life that made the world better for having been, and will leave a mark in years to come.”
The mortal remains of these long and honored residents of Macon County rest in the beautiful Greenwood Cemetery adjoining the city of Decatur, and the spot is fitly marked by a solid block of granite with simple epitaph.
—John W. Tyler, (1808-1888) A Memorial Of The One Hundredth Anniversary of His Birth, September 27, 1908. Pages 11-25. This originally was prepared by J. Z. Tyler, for the ''Biographical Record of Macon County, Illinois," 1893
Decatur, Ill., June 19, 1888
The funeral services were held in the Christian church, which was at that time located on the corner of N. Main and North Streets, opposite the Tyler residence.
The following was the order of the exercises:-
Hymn—''How Firm a Foundation." Scripture Lesson—I Cor. 15 :35-38. Read by Rev. W. W. Weedon, Pastor Christian Church, Taylorville.
Prayer—By Rev. George B. Vosburgh, D. D., Pastor First Baptist Church, Decatur.
Hymn—''Asleep in Jesus."
Sermon—By Rev. T. W. Pinkerton, Pastor Christian Church, Decatur. Remarks—By Rev. W. H. Prestly, D. D., Pastor First Presbyterian Church, Decatur. Remarks—By Rev. N. S. Haynes, Pastor Christian Church, Peoria. Closing Prayer—By Rev. A. P. Cobb, Decatur.
Hymn—"Jesus, Lover of My Soul."
—John W. Tyler, (1808-1888) A Memorial Of The One Hundredth Anniversary of His Birth, September 27, 1908. Funeral Services - page 26
Abstract of the sermon preached by T. W. Pinkerton, at the funeral of John W. Tyler, in the Christian church, Decatur, Illinois, June 19, 1888.
Thou shall come lo thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in his season. Job v:26.
I am well aware that in an hour like this there is little that should be said. The soul wants to be left alone with God. There are no words so soothing to the heart in the hours of sorrow as the words of God.
As I contemplate this life that has gone out so suddenly, I know not whether it is better to sorrow or rejoice. If it were not for the manner of its going, we would say rejoice, for an aged pilgrim has completed his journey and has found rest.
The text suggests a beautiful analogy between the growth of the plant and the growth and development of human life and character, first, in the very smallness of the beginning. How little a thing is the seed, and yet it contains the germ of a great tree or a beautiful flower; how small and unpromising is our life in the beginning, and yet it contains a germ that is susceptible of the fullest development.
This is the spring-time of life; there are many adverse influences at work to check the growth; nevertheless we here begin the gathering of that strength which is necessary to the larger unfolding. The seed is subjected to the disadvantages of the early spring, but it, too, gathers force from the earth, air and light for its larger and fuller growth. The foundation is laid in early life for all that is to follow. Then comes the summer, with its storm and toil and burning heat. This is necessary to the maturing of the fruit.
Father Tyler came to Illinois more than half a century ago, when this part of the state was almost a trackless waste, but with a heart manly and honest, he took up life's burdens, and bore them faithfully to the end. His life was full of toil, but with unfaltering steps he kept pace with every advancement. He did more perhaps, than any man now living to establish the cause of Christ in this part of our commonwealth, and this he did at no little cost. Amid the snows of winter and under the burning heat of the summer's sun, he moved steadily forward in the discharge of the sacred trust committed to his hands by the great Head of the church.
After the summer comes the autumn. One of our poets has said ''The saddest of the year," but me thinks to the reflective mind the earth is gorgeous in its funeral drapery. God varies the hues of death as it descends upon hill and vale, rendering the decay of nature scarcely less beautiful than its renovation.
How exquisitely beautiful is the fruit as it hangs in golden clusters ready to be gathered! So it is with old age, the autumn of human life. He who grows old beautifully is an honor to his being. Father Tyler grew old gracefully and tenderly. His gray hairs were a crown of glory. He was indeed a ripened sheaf, ready for the garner of God, and while his sun went down suddenly its setting was without shadows.
The plant has not finished its purpose in the economy of God's law, when ripened, but goes on reproducing itself an hundred fold. So of the life of him whose memory we honor to-day. While his tongue is silent, his lips closed, and his body moulders back again to the dust from whence it came, he will continue to speak through the lives of his children, and those whom he has begotten by the gospel.
There were many things in his life of which I would like to speak, but I only have time to mention those which impressed me most. He was a man of unwavering faith in God. I never knew a man of more intense convictions or unswerving fidelity to the gospel of Christ, and yet with it all he was sweet-spirited, broad and liberal. While he belonged to a generation that has largely ceased to exist, he lived in the present. His life was a beautiful illustration of God's purpose, summer succeeded the spring, and autumn the summer in regular order. He uttered no sigh of regret for the days that were gone, but like the brave and cheerful soul that he was, he adjusted himself to the living present. His work is done, he rests from his labors, and is at peace.
To you who sorrow to-day I can only say, “Cast thy burden on the Lord.” May God fold you to his heart and give to you rest.
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Rev. W. H. Prestly, D. D., Pastor First Presbyterian church, spoke thus:
When I first became acquainted with Bro. Tyler he had passed through the springtime and the summer of his life, and was enjoying its fruitful autumn, that rich and glorious season, when in nature the life-work of the year is completed; when the fruitage becomes ripe and mellow amid the various-tinted foliage; when the sun hastens to his setting, and the days grow shorter, and everything invites to rest and repose. He had reached the allotted span of “three score years and ten,” and the fruitage of his life-work was enriching his mind and his heart. And were I to sum up in a word or two the results of the work of divine grace in his life, as that life impresses me to-day, it would be peace and joy.
In years he was an old man, but his heart was sunny and bright as in the springtime of life. He had reached, "by reason of more strength," the limit laid down by the Psalmist; and yet he was not bowed down by the weight of years, as this burden weighs down so many. There seemed to be no clouds ever and anon rising on the eastern horizon of his life to obscure and darken the sun of that life as it was sinking lower and lower in the west. He was ever to me the happy old Christian; ever saying something bright and cheering; and for some years the mornings have been few in which I have not met him as he was busy about the yard surrounding his home. Too frequently we find old age a period of regret and repining, of murmuring and complaining; but it was not so with him. He had laid up in his heart much of the light and warmth of the summer of his life, and these came out beautifully in the autumn of his days. Just as it always ought to be. Just what the religion of Jesus, the blessed ''Sun of Righteousness," is designed to make life. Not a dark and somber thing, but that which is bright, beautiful and attractive.
''Uncle John," as I learned familiarily to call him, was a broad, liberal-minded Christian. During all the years of our social intercourse, I can recall to-day no remark of his that would lead me to believe that anything of a sectarian spirit predominated in him. And yet none doubted, who knew him, that he had his deep, strong convictions of what was true and right, as we have heard this morning, and he had the courage to maintain them. But he has gone out from us, leaving behind this deeply widowed yet loving heart, and these sad, fatherless children, who can rise up and call him blessed, and the many sorrowing friends who have loved and honored him. But he has left so much that is bright and hopeful, and so much to comfort and sustain these, even while dead saying to them, as memory traverses the fields of the past, *'Be ye followers of me as I was of Christ."
He has been taken from ns very suddenly. And when I heard of his sudden death, a scene came to me again which once I witnessed on the shores of one of our great northern lakes. It was the scene of a glorious sunset, and I was admiring the great waves of light as they came to me pulsating over the vast mirror of waters, when for a second the sun seemed to stand still on the very rim of the horizon, and the next instant it was gone, just suddenly dropped out of sight. So to me went out this ''lower light" of life only to rise more brightly on the horizon of the world beyond.
Let him who crawls, enamored of decay, Cling to his couch and sicken years away, Heave his thick breath, and shake his palsied head— Ours the fresh turf, and not the feverish bed; While, gasp by gasp, he falters forth his soul, Ours with one pang, one bound, escapes control.
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Rev. N. S. Haynes, pastor of the Christian church, Peoria, Ill., was formerly pastor in Decatur. In speaking of Father Tyler, he said:
Into the man whose death we mourn to-day God put a mighty impulse. Born and reared amid the stormy and adverse conditions incident everywhere to the barbarous institution of human slavery, he grew like a cedar on the mountains of Lebanon, comely and symmetrical. More than half a century has elapsed since he came to make his home in Illinois. Our state was new then. The plowshare had not yet pierced the prairie soil and the wild deer fed in every cornfield. Its conditions were all primitive, its opportunities for social progress exceedingly circumscribed.
With the vicissitudes of pioneer life he was familiar. Through all of those far-away hardships, and through all the succeeding years of marvelous development, he grew like an oak in the primeval forests—strong, majestic and well-grounded. Consider the adverse and comparatively circumscribed conditions of his early life, and then the noble character that will be held in tender remembrance for decades to come in this community, and we must say that not more than one man in a million runs so well along time's pathway. To say that he had imperfections is only to say that he was human and not divine.
His convictions were earnest, thorough, radical. In Christian truth and obligations they were to him the voice of God in his soul saying “Thou oughtest.” Yet he accorded to every one the deference and respect that he would himself receive. In this splendid Christian presence I feel that he belonged as much to you as to us — so fraternal was he. He lived abreast of the times — in the last rather than in the first quarter of the nineteenth century.
His heart was full of faith, and hope, and love. A useful and good life is rounded out with four score years, and he comes to his grave as a little child falls to sleep. Blessed be his memory; peace to his sacred dust.
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The Daily Herald, Wednesday, June 20, 1888, contained the following:
The obsequies of Elder John W. Tyler were held yesterday forenoon. Opportunity was given to view the remains from 8 to 9 o'clock and scores of people called at the family residence on North Main street to look for the last time upon the face of the good and kind old man whom all held in such high esteem. The remains rested in a handsomely draped cloth covered casket, which was partially hidden by white roses, lilies and floral emblems. At 10 o'clock the remains were removed to the Christian church, where the funeral service was held. The church was crowded with people. Many were unable to obtain even standing room. The service opened with the singing of the hymn, "How Firm a Foundation," by the Christian church choir. Rev. Vosburgh, of the Baptist church, offered prayer and the choir sang "Jesus Lover of My Soul."
Rev. T. W. Pinkerton chose as his text the familiar passage from Job: "Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age like as a shock of corn cometh in his season."
When Mr. Pinkerton had concluded, remarks were made by Rev. W. H. Prestly, pastor of the Presbyterian church, and by Rev. N. S. Haynes, formerly pastor of the Christian church of Decatur.
The service ended with prayer offered by Elder Weeden, of Taylorville.
The remains were interred in Greenwood cemetery with simple rites. The pall bearers were Judge W. E. Nelson, J. Q. A. Odor, W. L. Hammer, James Dingman, Wm. Berks, W. E. Scruggs, J. R. Gorin and T. A. Pritchett.
Our community has lost a good and useful man, but the good effect of his example will long remain with us. Peace to his ashes, honor to his memory, rest to his soul!
—John W. Tyler, (1808-1888) A Memorial Of The One Hundredth Anniversary of His Birth, September 27, 1908. Abstracts From Funeral Service Lessons - page 27-35
He was a remarkable man, not only, nor chiefly because of his vigorous mind and powerful constitution, but because of his cheerful, sunny disposition and the rare spiritual graces which adorned his life. His was the unconscious cheerfulness of the child, that can no more explain its happiness than the robin can tell why it sings. The conditions of his early life, like those of any pioneer, were hard and forbidding. Yet I question if ever they so appeared to him. Other men might complain because they were not more fortunately situated. He thanked God that he was not worse off.
Back of the last and subtlest analysis there is this unexplored remainder, this radical difference in disposition. In olden times men sought to explain this difference by the favor or disfavor of some god. Our words ''fortune" and ''misfortune" may run back to this ancient idea. The modern mind sees in all this, only the influence of heredity. But since we cannot choose our ancestors, it is more than a figure of speech to say that a certain man was fortunate in being born with this rare and blessed endowment. And this was the good fortune of John W. Tyler.
For nearly sixty years he preached the gospel. In this capacity he served the church in Decatur while it yet met in the primitive log court house. He organized many congregations in Macon, Moultrie, Piatt, Christian, Sangamon and other counties in Central Illinois; baptizing thousands. "In labors more abundant than they all," he never boasted of his achievements nor sought to display his trophies. The two sons he gave to our ministry would of themselves sufficiently repay any man's life of devotion. Yet when asked how he had managed to rear two boys for the ministry his modest reply was : "I cannot tell. You must ask mother. She had more to do with it than I had." All honor to the aged mother now stricken with grief. May the Lord raise up more mothers emulous of such a life-mission!
Father Tyler was a modest man. He did not seek notice. He shunned observation. One may look in vain through our papers during half a century of publication for a single notice from his pen of his meeting and work. A score of incidents might easily be adduced, illustrating his unselfishness.
No one ever forgot him as he appeared in prayer. Brethren in New York City, where he had visited his son, Rev. B. B. Tyler, spoke to me again and again about his prayers. And truly his unction and fervor in prayer reminded me of the phrase of the Apostle James: "The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man.” His life was centered in Christ. He had no plans, no ambition in life, except to serve Christ and humanity. Jealousy and envy never scorched and scarred his soul. He spent his life in serving, not in seeking to be served.
The humblest lad, as I tearfully remember, found a friend in this loving and lovable man. And nothing can more finely illustrate the Christ-like spirit of this saintly man than this reply to a statement of mine in a conversation a few weeks before his death, in fact the last time I saw him on earth. I had said to him: “You were the means of brightening my boyhood days by the kind words you spoke at the time when an orphan boy receives few enough kind words." He looked surprised and said: "I don't remember it!" "Then indeed shall the righteous say: Lord when saw we thee an hungered and fed thee, and thirsty and gave thee drink! And the King shall answer and say unto them: Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
—A. P. Cobb, in Christian Evangelist, July 12, 1888.
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That sweet and saintly man so recently gone from us. Elder John W. Tyler, deserves to be held in grateful and loving remembrance by the whole brotherhood. In giving to it two such noble sons as B. B. and J. Z. Tyler he has laid us all under obligation. But on my own part there are more personal grounds for gratitude and love and tears. Our acquaintanceship began some twenty years ago, and more, while I was in my first pastorate, in the neighborhood where he had preached and had acquired unquestioned supremacy and influence. I remember with what a kindly smile he said to me, ''A young preacher needs backing, sir; he needs backing." And he gave it to me, in public and in private, and made me feel almost equal for anything in the way of honorable achievement. Often since I have enjoyed his hospitality, and that of his worthy wife and helpmeet, in their pleasant home in Decatur, and I can bear testimony that with him, as the autumn of life rounded out, ripening was not drying or decaying, but mellowing and sweetening. — B. J. Kadford, in Christian Standard, July 7, 1888.
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LETTER FROM R. J. SPURR, M. D.,
A BOYHOOD FRIEND
Greendale, Fayette Co., Ky.,
Sept. 20, 1888.
Rev. J. Z. Tyler.
Dear Brother: Yours of the 5th inst. received and I take the first quiet, leisure moment to reply to it. Your inquiries take me back to my boyhood and early manhood.
William Tyler, the grandfather of Rev. John W. Tyler of Decatur, Ill., was an early emigrant from Virginia to Kentucky, and made his home for a time with his small family in Masterson's Station, 5 miles N. W. of Lexington. This was a stockade fort and was situated upon the farm upon which I was born and upon which I reside. Here William Tyler lived until it was considered safe to leave the fort, when he purchased the small farm three fourths of a mile from the fort, where he lived until Ms death in 1843. I knew him intimately, and he has often related many incidents of his early life in Kentucky, one only of which I will relate here. When he bought his land, he at once set to work to build a cabin, into which to move his wife and little children. He selected a spot near a spring and then cut the nearest trees of suitable size for his purpose; when the logs were ready, men from the fort assisted him in raising his house and finishing it for occupancy, every man having his trusty rifle close at hand, to meet any emergency. His cabin was made strong and the floor was made of split logs, hewn on one side, — this was called a puncheon floor.
After moving his family to his cabin the question confronted him as to how to procure bread for his wife and children; he had no cleared land upon which to raise Indian corn, so he rented from Richard Masterson a small field near the fort, at fifteen shillings Virginia money ($2.50) per acre and ground the corn when produced, upon a hand mill of domestic make, using the common limestone of proper size and thickness for the purpose. Meat for the family was procured from the game, which was abundant, in the woods. This gives you some faint idea of the energetic stock from which your father descended. * * * *
Benjamin Tyler, the son of William Tyler and his wife, was born at the home of his father, was reared upon the farm without opportunity, in such pioneer conditions, to attend school; he was married to Susannah Shores, he having previously, by industry and economy, become possessed of ten acres of land, upon which he lived to the time of his death, at which time he owned a large estate. * * * *
One little incident, which he related to the writer, may have had much to do in shaping his character; when nearly grown, he had by industry and saving got together enough money to buy a new saddle. His older brother, Charles, who was inclined to be wild, induced him to go with him to Georgetown one Saturday evening and when they arrived there they hitched their horses on the street; after nightfall Charles got to drinking and also into a fight, which was common in Kentucky at that day. Benjamin became disgusted, went to his horse to start home, found his saddle was gone, had been stolen. From that day he never went into such company, nor was he ever known to take any intoxicating drinks; this was remarkable, when in every house whiskey or brandy was kept and at every house raising, corn husking, or log rolling these were as common as water. * * * * He was always a respecter of religion and frequently attended religious services and was always present on funeral occasions. His conversion is worthy of note. A protracted meeting was being held at Cane Run Baptist church in January, 1858, Rev. James Frost, pastor, the preaching being by Rev. William Pratt, D. D. Many were being added to the church and among those in regular attendance upon the meeting were Benjamin Tyler, and James Gaines, both being over three score and ten years old, and the writer, nearly fifty. A deep revival feeling permeated the entire mass of persons in attendance, but the meeting closed and none of the parties named, although deeply moved, had made a confession of Christ. During the succeeding week James Gaines called upon the writer to know if he would go with him the next Sunday to church and make a profession of faith in Christ; the answer was, ''Yes, gladly; let us go see neighbor Tyler and take him with us, or entreat him to go with us." We found him at home and Brother Gaines with eyes filled with tears and a faltering voice told him of our mission; he at once said, *'I will gladly go with you." Upon the following Sabbath, the 18th of January, 1858, the three, when the doors of the church were opened, presented themselves for membership and were baptized that day by the pastor, into the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Of the three, two have long since gone to their reward. One little incident occurred on that memorable Sabbath day which demonstrated to some extent the integrity of the character of our brother Tyler; when asked by the pastor if he had a love for the brethren, his answer was, ''Yes, but some much better than others." This question was drawn out by the hesitancy of Brother Tyler to lay hold of the promises of Christ —he felt too unworthy to claim the name of Christian. * * * *
John Tyler and the writer had about the same opportunities of receiving a common English education and attended generally the same schools together. The opportunties for farmers' sons to receive education were very limited. * * * *
His opinions upon all subjects were of the most decided character. In politics he was an ardent Whig and a devoted friend of Henry Clay; in religious opinion he was inclined to the Baptists, but was repelled by the old Iron-side doctrine of predestination and election, as taught by that people. On one occasion he was present at an open air meeting in a grove, which I think was in 1828; the Rev. Dr. James Fishback occupied the pulpit and in the course of his sermon he made the declaration that he believed, from the teaching of God's word, that there were infants in Hell not a span long, —putting his hand upon the table before him and measuring a span. This declaration fell very harshly upon my young friend's ears, for he believed that Jesus had paid the debt of original transgression and that infants that had died previous to a knowledge of right and wrong were saved by and through the merits of Jesus Christ, being cleansed from all pollution by the blood shed on the Cross.
It was about this time, or shortly before, that Cane Run church was constituted by persons withdrawing their membership from Town Fork, North Elkhorn, Great Crossings and possibly other Baptist churches, on account of dissatisfaction with the doctrines which were taught in those churches. They had no house in which to worship and they either held their meetings statedly at a stand in the woods, or at the home of some of the members; in addition to this each Sabbath evening they held prayer meetings from house to house. About all of these meetings were attended by John Tyler and the writer in company. During this time a great revival permeated the bounds of this church and a large number, upon a profession of faith in Christ Jesus, were baptized into its fellowship; amongst the number was Elvira Oxley, who subsequently became the first wife of our friend. The preaching was by Kev. Thomas Fisher. The year after the completion of the church building, a meeting was held by Rev. J. D. Black and among the number of converts was John Tyler, who was immersed by Bro. Black and received into the fellowship of Cane Run church.
The writer knew but little of John personally after this time, being absent from the locality until his removal to Illinois, but from information, can state that shortly after his connection with the church he commenced in neighborhood meetings to exhort with zeal those that were present. The writer can state confidently, from a close and intimate association (for we were almost inseparable when from home), that he never knew a more worthy young man raised in the community. He never knew him to use profane language, nor to take a drink of intoxicating liquor, nor to visit houses of gambling. He was the soul of honor, truthful, honest, just, liberal, not given to anger, esteemed by all persons as a citizen following in the footsteps of his father. Is it any wonder, that with such antecedents, God called him to the ministry of his Word, and that He gave multitudes of souls for his hire? Blessed be God that he so honored the most intimate friend of my life and may His richest blessings attend the footsteps of his offspring.
One word for old Uncle Dick, the colored family servant and intimate daily associate of the subject of this paper; a better man never lived in these latter days. No doubt his example and conversation had something to do, under God's blessing, in directing our friend's mind to the Saviour.
Very truly yours,
R. J. Spukr, M. D.
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LETTER FROM REV. D. P. HENDERSON,
A BOYHOOD FRIEND
Canton, Mo., July, 1888.
Elder J. Z. Tyler,
My Dear Brother:
Your letter of June 28 was received. You ask me to ''prepare some recollections of your father and an estimate of his character and work,” adding that “he and you were boys together and he always entertained a fond attachment for you.”
Yes, we ''were boys together" more than seventy years ago, attending the same school, reciting in the same classes, born and reared within a few miles of each other in Fayette County, near Lexington, Kentucky.
Among my schoolmates I have a vivid recollection of your father, his brother Charles and the children of the McDowells, Spurrs, Oxleys, Stouts, Eunnions, Houghtons, Paynes, Piersons, Cromwells, Keisers and others. Dr. Joseph N. McDowell and Dr. Richard Spurr were among our classmates.
Kentucky chivalry in those days was infused into our young minds and our memories taxed to their utmost limit; our lessons had to be carefully studied and prepared and all the tables and rules memorized. For years we were especially drilled in orthography and most of the advanced classes could repeat every word in the spelling book from which we were taught. The pupil that could not spell well was in standing below zero. * * * *
We were for many years intimately acquainted; but our intimacy to some extent ceased when my father selected "Cane Run Seminary" to be my future school. My associations were changed from the old Brick school-house on the Lexington and Georgetown road to my new school on the Henry's Mill road. The old Brick school house where your father and myself spent so many days together still stands, and around it gather many, many pleasant memories.
The foundation of our education was laid there in Dilworth's and Webster's spelling books, which we memorized. The book we read was the Introduction to the English reader. Our grammar was Lindley Murray, in which we were thoroughly instructed by competent teachers. Your father profited by it in after years and, although not a finished classical scholar, he kept pace with the progress of the age.
Our lines diverged somewhat, after parting. Tired of the institution of slavery, earnestly in love with freedom, we pitched our tents westward, he in Macon County, and I in Morgan County, Illinois.
In July, 1832, I united with the Church of Christ in Georgetown, Ky. In October of the same year, in company with eighty-seven brethren and sisters, we organized the Church of Christ in Jacksonville, Illinois, and from that day to this, I have tried to follow in the footsteps of my Master, Jesus the Christ, wearing His name and His only. Fifty-seven years I have preached Christ and Him crucified.
Your father confessed his faith in the Lord Jesus much earlier and united with the Cane Run Baptist church in Kentucky. After careful, prayerful study of the Word of God, he decided to take the Bible and the Bible only as his rule of faith and practice, eschew all human creeds and confessions, and we found ourselves, one in Faith, Hope and Love, striving together for that '^ faith once delivered" to all Christians. How he worked day and night to support his growing family, how he toiled in preaching Christ crucified, the older brethren of central Illinois can testify.
Ten years ago last November I was his guest for some two weeks in Decatur. We lived over the past of our lives, found it exceedingly pleasant in reviewing former times and comparing labors.
Never while I enjoy my memory, will I forget the Christian hospitality of Brother and Sister Tyler and their daughters. We met after an absence of very many years and we parted in Decatur no more to meet in this vale of tears. He sleeps, I trust, sweetly in the bosom of his Lord and awaits our coming. His works follow him and it is a source of pleasure and joy to recount them.
He has left you, dear brother, and your brother B. B., standing on the walls of Zion, laboring for the conversion of sinners and the eternal salvation of Christians; workmen, such as Timothy, to preach the Word, rightly divide it, in season, out of season, to work for Jesus. His firmness, his kindness, his hospitality, his intelligence are better appreciated by his companion and children than could be painted by the liveliest imagination or by the most facile pen. Self-sacrificing, industrious, indefatigable in labor, preaching Jesus and Him crucified, without money or earthly reward, a crown awaits him when the Lord shall sit in judgment.
In conclusion, I must say that Bro. Tyler, among the early advocates of the Restoration of Primitive Christianity stands, and will stand, a brilliant example, for steadfastness, for courage, for personal piety, in defending the truth as it is in Jesus. No trimmer was he, no conservative in Christianity; but open, frank, truthful and honest.
Peace to his memory! Comfort to his widow and children!
Yours in Christ,
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EXTRACT FROM LETTER FROM REV. DAVID GAY
Pastor of Long Creek M. E. Church (1888) regarding the last Sunday service in which John W. Tyler participated.
The day (June 10, 1888) set apart for especial services for the children at Long Creek M. E. church was a delightful one and thorough preparation had been made for the exercises. By 10 a. m. the church was packed; just before commencing the exercises the pastor learned that the Christian church at Antioch had dismissed their services in order to attend the services at Long Creek. He sought Rev. J. W. Tyler, the pastor of Antioch church, and cordially invited him to a seat on the platform, which invitation was as cordially accepted; the seat, however, being behind the speakers. Elder Tyler asked and was given a seat in the aisle in front of the platform where he could better hear and see. He was much interested in the exercises and showed his approval by smiles and words of commendation. Near the close of the exercises the pastor of the church, who was to give a ten minutes address, said there was a white-haired boy in the house, — a very bashful boy, —who was not too bashful, he hoped, to make a little speech, and so he, the pastor, would give up his ten minutes to let the audience hear from the 80-year-old-boy.
In response Elder Tyler came forward and addressed the audience in substance, as follows;
“Dear Christian friends, I suppose I am the white-haired boy, mentioned by your pastor. I take great pleasure in being here and in having the privilege of talking to you a little. I came here not expecting to speak and had but a few moments' notice that I would be called on, and then was not given a topic upon which to talk. But it seems that anyone ought not to be at a loss to speak on this great Sunday school question, it is so varied and far-reaching.
“I have been delighted with these exercises; I am always pleased to meet the children and with them to study God's Word or engage in any kind of religious exercises, and this day's service has been unusually pleasant and profitable to me. I look back to when I was a boy and regretfully remember that no such advantages were mine as belong to you; no such notice was then taken of the children. Such a service as this was never dreamed of, nor the idea of setting apart a day which was to be wholly given up to the children. We had no such instruction as you receive. Wonderful improvements have been made and wonderful advancement and I am thankful to our Heavenly Father that I live in an age where more attention is paid to childhood and it is more and more realized that 'as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined.' I am thankful that moral and educational forces are at work which are lifting up the world and making it better.
''One thing especially gives me pleasure today, and that is, that here we seem to forget all denominational differences and worship as a common family before a common Father, and in this family not the least important are the babes whose voices we have heard this hour. It is a great pleasure to me to be so cordially welcomed here and to realize that we all as brothers and sisters love each other. Once more I wish to express my delight at being in this assembly of children, surrounded with these flowers, listening to the songs of these birds and the more beautiful songs of intelligent beings." Elder Tyler closed with a few telling words in favor of prohibition and in his characteristic manner showed his keen wit in repartee with the pastor of the church.
—John W. Tyler, (1808-1888) A Memorial Of The One Hundredth Anniversary of His Birth, September 27, 1908. Abstracts From Funeral Service Lesson - pages 36-51
Elder John Tyler, of Decatur, was kicked by a horse yesterday afternoon, and received what will no doubt prove to be fatal injuries.
The horse the reverend gentleman has been driving has gone lame, and on Thursday he purchased another animal. His son B.S. Tyler, was with him at the time the purchase was made, and every care possible was exercised that an animal thoroughly gentle, and safe for the old gentleman would be secured. Yesterday he desired to visit his farms east of the city, and the horse was a strange one, his son B.S. accompanied him, not deeming it entirely safe to have him be alone until they knew positively the horse could be trusted. The business at the farmed finished they started home about three o’clock. In coming down a slight hill near the Antioch church, they stopped for a moment to speak to a tenant of Mr. Tyler’s; the buggy ran up against the horse a trifle, and the animal at once began kicking viciously. After the animal ceased for a moment, the elder attempted to get out. Bart, who was driving, having turned the horse’s head to the left that the tenant mentioned could get the animal by the bit, and just then the animal kicked again, striking Mr. Tyler on the left temple fracturing his skull, making a gash about three inches long. He fell back into the buggy into the arms of his son and by this time the horse had kicked himself clear of the buggy. Mr. Tyler was at once taken to his farm and Dr. D.N. Moore summoned from this city. Everything possible was done to rally home and relieve his sufferings, but he did not regain consciousness. It was deemed best to bring him to his home and at midnight he arrived here and was taken at once to his residence at the corner of North and Main Streets, where Drs. D.N. and E.W. Moor assisted by kind friends did all that human power could do to ease the pain and stay the approach of death which seemed very near.
Mr. Tyler is 82 years of age, and has lived in Macon County for 40 years, coming here from Kentucky. He is widely known as one of the earliest ministers of the Christian church in this section of the state. On all sides last evening could be heard only expressions of sincere regret at the lamentable accident which had befallen one so universally respected and beloved.
2 A.M. At 2 o’clock this morning Elder Tyler was alive but still unconscious. The indications then were that he could live but a short time.
Elder Tyler died at 3:15 this morning.
—Decatur Review, June 16, 1888
Death of Elder Tyler.
Just as the REVIEW went to press Saturday morning word came to the office that Rev. John Tyler had breathed his last. The efforts of those kind and anxious watchers who had been with him since the accident sod ministered to him so tenderly being unavailing to stay the hand of death.
John W. Tyler was born September 18 1808, Dear Lexington, Ky., and resided there until after he had grown to man’s estate. When about twenty-one years of age, be was married to Miss Oxley, and to them were born three children, Theordor, J.W., and Nancy, now Mrs. Hausley of Grove City, Christian county; John W. Tyler resides in Decatur and Theodore is dead. In 1829 the Elder and his family removed to Indiana and in a short time removed to Sangamon county, Illinois, leaving there for Macon county in 1835; soon after the removal of the family to Macon county Mrr. Tyler died. The Elder married again in 1839, his second wife, who survives him, being Mrs. Sarah Roney. The children of this union are Rev. B. B. Tyler, of New York City, Mrs. Sue F. Odor, and H. S. Tyler, of Decatur, Rev. J. Z. Tyler of Cincinnati, Mrs. J . A. Merriweather of Decatur, Mrs. S. D. Cook, of Denver, Col. C. H. Tyler, of Chicago, and Mlss Alice Tyler of Decatur. Their third child, James A. Tyler, is dead. He resided on his farm at Antioch where he first settled in Macon county, until 1872 when he came to Dacatur. Soon after he was of age Elder Tyler began his labor as a minister of the gospel, first being a minister for the Baptist Church. In 1836 he withdrew from that denomination and joined the Christian church and since that time has labored faithfully in that cause. He was the second pastor of the Christian denomination for the Decatur church; he also served the Christian church at Maroa, Oreana, and Antioch, the society at the latter place being organized by him in 1859.
His life was a long and busy one and was filled with doing deeds for which men have spoken of him only in praise and for which the Master in whose vineyard he toiled so faithfully for many years will reward him as his faith taught him was the lot of those who did good for the Redeemer’s sake.
—Decatur Review, June 17, 1888
The Funeral of Elder Tyler.
The remains of Elder John Tyler who died Saturday morning, were laid to rest yesterday forenoon in Greenwood Cemetery. From eight until nine o’clock the remains were exposed to view at the family residence on North Main Street. Very many friends availed themselves of the last opportunity to look once more on the face of the venerable elder. The Christian church was filled completely when the services were commenced with a song of the choir composed of the Messrs. Gher, Fred Shellabarger, D.L. Bunn, and J.E. Patterson, and Mrs. Spaulding, Mrs. A.W. Conklin, Mrs. J.E. Patterson and Mrs. Clara Eyman. The sermon was delivered by Rev. T.W. Pinkerton. Pastor of the church and Rev. G.B. Vosburgh, Rev. A.B. Cobb, Rev. W.W. Weedon, of Taylorville, Rev. W.H. Prestley, and Rev. N.S. Haynes, of Peoria, assisted in the exercises. The two last named each making a few remarks concerning the life and estimable character of the deceased. Rev. Pinkerton chose his text from the 28th verse of the 5th chapter of Job. There were very many and handsome floral offerings on the casket. The pall bearers were W.E. Nelson, W.R. Scruggs, J.R. Gorin, T.A. Pritchett, W.L. Hammer, J.Q.A. Odor, W. Dingman and James Berks. With the exception of Mrs. Cook of Denver, all the children of the deceased were present. Mrs. Cook was unable to be present due to sickness in her family.
—Decatur Daily News, June, 1888.
Elder John W. Tyler died in 1888 in his long-time hometown of Decatur, Illinois, and is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery. The entrance to the cemetery is somewhat obscure. When visiting the cemetery in June, 2009, it took about 20 minutes of driving around the cemetery before finding the entrance. So the easiest way to find the big white gates is as follows. From Springfield, Illinois, travel east on I-72. Take Exit 133A. Head straight on the exit. You will be on Hwy. 36. Turn right (south) on S. Main Street (Hwy. 51). Go about seven blocks and turn right on W. Decatur Street. Take the first left on S. Church. After you turn left the road will come into a "T." Go to the left and follow the road around until it runs into the cemtery. As soon as you enter the gates, pull over to the first section on the left. Looking into the middle of the section, you should easily be able to see the Tyler plot.
Tom L. Childers In Front Of The Tyler Plot
John W. Tyler
Preacher Of The Gospel
For 54 Years,
Born in Fayette Co., Ky
Sep. 27, 1808,
Died In Decatur, Ill.
June 16, 1888
John W. Tyler
Born In Shelby Co., Ky
Nov. 16, 1816
Died in Decatur, Ill.
July 26, 1892
Special Thanks to C. Wayne Kilpatrick and Tom L. Childers for assisting in providing photos of the graves you see on this site. In June, 2009 your web editor along with the these fellows took a 3000 mile trip through Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. We located and photographed the graves of seventy-five preachers and church leaders during the week. It was a great week of fellowship, tiring, but most satisfying. Finding the location of the Tyler plot was somewhat difficult on several fronts. Besides be difficult to find the cemetery, we went through on Saturday, and the office was closed. A trip to the library and patiently waiting for the genealogy room to open, we were finally able to get the help we needed. As Greenwood is a rather large cemetery, knowledge of the location, made finding the grave simple as the main monument is large enough that it can be easily seen from the drive.
Much of the information made available on this site comes from several locations. Special information, such as articles from Decatur newpapers, etc., were found on microfilm in the Decatur Public Library and Genealogy Room. The photograph of John W. Tyler, biographical sketch, etc. were made available from a scan of a centinniel booklet honoring his birth, produced in 1908, has been scanned and made available online. The link is:archive.org.