Birther Alert: Was Eisenhower Born in Tyler?
President Barack Obama isn’t the first president to have his birthplace questioned. A lot of people in Tyler, Texas say President Dwight D. Eisenhower, our 34th President, claimed he was born in Tyler for most of his life.
So how did Denison, Texas get to be known as “Eisenhower’s Birthplace”?
Tyler historian Mary Jane McNamara says Tyler has always had a legitimate claim to being Eisenhower’s birthplace. Tyler even had a big sign saying Tyler was where he was born, but it had to be taken down when they were told he was born in Denison.
That argument died down decades ago, but it has never gone away. Many Tylerites have never accepted Denison’s claim as legitimate.
McNamara says records at the Smith County Historical Society show Eisenhower’s parents lived in Tyler in 1890 and 1891, which coincides with his birth date in October of 1890.
Here’s where it gets fuzzy. McNamara says the documents say Eisenhower’s farming parents moved to Denison from Kansas in 1890 because of crop failure. His father got a job with the railroad and moved the family to Tyler, but they didn’t live there very long before they moved back to Kansas.
The question no one can answer definitively is: where were the Eisenhowers living on October 14th of 1890? When their son Dwight David was born?
Throughout his adult life, as a cadet at West Point, as a career army officer and Supreme Allied Commander in WWII, and even in the years leading up to his Presidency, Eisenhower always said “Tyler Texas” was his place of birth.
It didn’t get to be a cosmic question until he ran for President in 1952. It had to be settled, and Denison won out. The small frame house where the Eisenhower family lived in 1890 is a State Historic Site in Denison, on the Texas side of Lake Texoma.