New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | June 4, 2020

Frances Payne Bouknight Tyler

Tyler, Frances cropped

Frances Payne Bouknight Tyler, 85, died Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, in Henrico, Virginia.

She was born on Mar. 11, 1933 and is the daughter of William Miller and Frances Turner Bouknight. Frances was reared in Edgefield County, South Carolina at her family’s inherited plantation, Mulberry Hill. She was the wife of Harrison Ruffin Tyler, grandson of the tenth United States President, John Tyler.

Mrs. Tyler attended Converse College, transferring after two years to the University of South Caroline where she graduated with a degree in Fine Arts. She then studied in New York and subsequently received another degree from the New York School of Interior Design. She also attended classes at the Art Student’s League.

She married Harrison Tyler in July 1957 at the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour. Their winters were spent in Richmond, Virginia, and their summers at Lion’s Den, a segment of Mr. Tyler’s ancestral property on the James River in Charles City, Virginia, a hunting lodge that was named for his antecedent Lord Lion Gardiner of Gardiner’s Island, New York.

In 1975, Mrs. Tyler bought Sherwood Forest with surrounding acres of gardens and grounds and begin the four-year restoration of the National Historic Landmark, the longest frame house in America. Her upbringing at Mulberry Hill, her experience with the decorative arts and her education in fine art and design uniquely suited her to the task. She undertook an enormous project of historic importance and after its complete, the family resided there.

Mrs. Tyler was an avid horsewoman. Being instrumental in the move of Princess Anne Hunt Club, she brought foxhunting to Charles City and in addition, played a great deal of polo on the West Coast. She was the author of a memoir, “A Time of High Cotton.” She also is the author of several books concerning American Presidents and numerous cookbooks.

Her members include the Colonial Dames, Woman’s Club, Garden Club of Virginia, United States Polo Association, various foxhunting clubs and organizations concerning the James River.

Mrs. Tyler is survived by her husband, Harrison Ruffin Tyler; their children, Julia Gardiner Tyler Samaniego, Harrison Ruffin Tyler Jr. (Catherine McLean Smith), and William Bouknight Tyler (Kay Montgomery); eight grandchildren, David Gardiner Tyler Samaniego, Harrison Tyler Samaniego, Harrison Ruffin Tyler III, Rice Hooe Tyler, Christopher Taliaferro Tyler, Frances Payne Tyler, Lyon Gardiner Tyler, and Emily Quinn Tyler; and constant companion, Mademoiselle Francoise Huet Poodle Tyler.

The family will receive friends on Friday, Feb. 15, 5-7 p.m. at Bliley’s-Central, 3801 Augusta Avenue. A Celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2 p.m. at Sherwood Forest Plantation, 14501 John Tyler Memorial Highway, Charles City, VA, with a reception following.

In lieu of flowers, please make memorial contributions to the Heritage Library, Charles City Branch, “In Memory of Paynie Tyler”, 10780 Courthouse Road, Charles City, VA 23030.