When William Henry Harrison died in office just a month after his inauguration, John Tyler — dubbed “His Accidency” by his political foes — moved into the White House.
The Virginian was the first vice president to be elevated to the highest office of the land by the death of his predecessor.
At the time he became the 10th president, Tyler was a widower and he married his second wife, Julia, while in office.
Surrounded by Animals
The couple surrounded themselves with animals in the mansion.
In a letter to her sister Margaret, Julia wrote: “The President is in a large armchair near me with his feet raised upon the railing. Once in a while a scream from all hands, dogs and servants causes us to raise our eyes to see a full chase after a poor little hare.”
Here Comes Le Beau
In 1844, Tyler surprised Julia with the gift of an Italian greyhound ordered from the consul of Naples.
After a journey across the Atlantic, the beautiful young racing dog, named Le Beau — French for ‘beautiful one” — spent a few weeks in New York City with Julia’s mother. Julia’s mother sent the spirited Le Beau to her daughter with the following comment: “I think a great deal of him, but I would not take such a pet for a gift.”
Although Julia did comment on the greyhound puppy’s rough treatment of furniture and rugs in the White House and his need for “attention and discipline,” she claimed, “Le Beau is perfectly well and hearty and has the most unfailing attention.”
Did you know other greyhounds lived in the White House?
- Cornwallis, George Washington’s greyhound who may or may not have actually existed
- Grim, Rutherford B. Hayes’ greyhound
- Mountain Boy, Woodrow Wilson’s greyhound