Deadly Love Boat Bell of President and First Lady Tyler
Princeton, New Jersey
On February 28, 1844, while a demonstration cruise was underway aboard the U.S.S. Princeton, one of its big guns (named the "Peacemaker") exploded. Several VIPs were killed, including former Senator David Gardiner. His daughter, Julia, who had been standing nearby, was carried to safety by U.S. President John Tyler.
Four months later they were secretly married. Julia, dubbed "Lady Presidentress," was 30 years younger than her husband. She was the first First Lady to be photographed, the first to have her own press agent, the first to dance in public at The White House. Wherever she went she was accompanied by 12 "maids of honor," six on each side, all dressed alike.
The bell from the Princeton is its only surviving memento, other than the eternal love of John and Julia Tyler.