Tyler, James Hoge, 1846-1925Alternative names
James Hoge Tyler was Lieutenant Governor (1890-1894) and Governor of Virginia (1898-1902).
From the description of Papers of James Hoge Tyler, 1892-1901 (bulk 1898-1901). (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 122584897
James Hoge Tyler, Virginia governor from 1898 to 1902, was born at the Tyler family farm, "Blenheim," in Caroline County, Virginia on August 11, 1846. He was the son of George Tyler (1817-1889), a representative of Caroline County, and Eliza Hoge (1815-1846), daughter of General James Hoge. His mother having died during his birth, the young James Hoge Tyler was reared by his grandparents, James and Eleanor Howe Hoge at "Hayfield," their Pulaski County home. Tyler was educated in Pulaski County before attending the school of Franklin Minor in Albermarle County.
Tyler left school at the age of 16 to join the Confederate army and served as a private in the Signal Corps throughout the Civil War. (His later rank of "major" was apparently a post-war honorific.) After the war, Tyler returned to Pulaski County, where he had inherited the Hoge farm. He would rename the farm "Belle Hampton" and become a successful farmer, raising Durham cattle and serving as president of the Virginia Stock Farmers' Institute and of the Southwest Virginia Live Stock Association. His other business interests would come to include a store, a gristmill, a sawmill, the Belle Hampton Coal Mining Company (sold in 1902 to a New York company), and the Radford Development Company.
Tyler married Sue Montgomery Hammet (daughter of Edward and Clementina Craig Hammet, who built the first home in what it now Radford, Virginia), a native of Radford, on November 16, 1868. While living at Belle Hampton, the Tylers had eight children: Edward H., James H. Jr., Stockton H., Lucy Belle, Sue H., Henry C. ("Hal"), Eliza ("Lily") and Eleanor Howe, who died in infancy. In 1891, the family moved to "Halwick," their home in Radford.
In 1877, Tyler was elected to the state senate, serving one term and advocating retrenchment and reform. He maintained an active role in civic affairs, serving on the board of visitors and as rector of the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) and on the state debt commission. During the 1880s, he mounted two unsuccessful congressional campaigns. Tyler also launched an unsuccessful bid for governor in 1889 but secured the second place on the Democratic ticket that year and served as lieutenant governor from 1890 to 1894. While serving as lieutenant governor, Tyler again ran for the governorship in 1893, losing to Charles T. O'Ferrall. In 1897, Tyler successfully campaigned for governor and served from 1898 to 1902.
Tyler's gubernatorial administration was marked by a concern with adjustment of Virginia's state debt. He was a strong supporter of bi-metallism, and was a personal friend of William Jennings Bryan. The American Historical Society's History of Virginia (1926) summarized Tyler's governorship thus:
Governor Tyler's administration was marked by the settlement of the long vexed oyster question, for it was largely through his efforts that the LeCato bill was made effective and the oyster beds of the state made to yield an income to the state instead of an annual deficit. As governor he secured the reduction of taxes and the state debt and the increase of the public school fund and the literary fund. Other measures credited to his administration are the establishment of the Farm Bureau, the reorganization of the agricultural department, a conditional pardon system and the settlement of the Virginia-Tennessee boundary question.
While serving as governor, Tyler launched an unsuccessful campaign for the U. S. Senate seat of incumbent Thomas S. Martin. His unsuccessful 1899 campaign would be Tyler's last, though he would continue to be somewhat active in state politics, playing the role of elder statesman and considering various pleas that he again seek office. During World War I, he served as food administrator for Radford and Montgomery County.
A Presbyterian, Tyler served as a ruling elder and moderator of the Synod of Virginia. He founded the Presbyterian church in East Radford, the area's first brick church. Three times he represented his church in the Presbyterian General Assembly. He also served twice as a delegate to the Pan-Presbyterian Council--once in Toronto, Canada and once in Glasgow, Scotland. He also served on the boards of trustees of the church-affiliated Hampden-Sidney College, Union Theological Seminary, and Synodical Orphans Home at Lynchburg.
James Hoge Tyler died on January 3, 1925; Sue Hammet Tyler, born July 16, 1845, died on April 24, 1927.
For additional biographical information on the Tyler family, see the J. Hoge Tyler Family Collection finding aid .
From the guide to the J. Hoge Tyler Diary, 1846-1925, 2009, (Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.)
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