William Tyler Page is one of those American patriots you’ve likely never heard of, but you should know about.
A native of Frederick, Maryland, and a descendant of President John Tyler, Page caught the patriotic bug early as a congressional page during his teenage years.
His inspiration continued into middle age. He was so moved by American heroism that, upon our entry into World War I in 1917, he entered an essay contest to publish the words and sentiments buzzing in his head.
Page wanted to create a succinct, 100-word statement expressing principles of “American faith,” fashioned after the Apostles’ Creed he recited in church. He took his prize from the contest — a handsome $1,000 in 1918 dollars — and gave it, fittingly, back to his house of worship.
After the war, Page was elected clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. He was regarded as an exponent of the concept of the good American citizen. His last appearance was speaking before the Daughters of the American Revolution the night before his death in 1942.
Today, his legacy lives on in the American’s Creed, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. It is still read by new citizens at their naturalization ceremonies.
The William Tyler Page Elementary School is right next door in Silver Spring, Maryland.
We Georgetowners are a part of the Tyler Page story, as he and his family were laid to rest in Oak Hill Cemetery. In 1955, the DAR placed a marker by his grave with the words of the American’s Creed, but in recent years the marker and the tombstones fell into disrepair. The marker was so dirty, the creed could no longer be read.
The Richard Arnold Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution sponsored the cemetery for an NSDAR special grant to clean the markers and revitalize the family-plot tombstones.
On Nov. 4, Chapter Regent Ann Schaeffer led a dedication ceremony at the family plot, where a new marker was unveiled in front of the freshly gleaming stones. She was joined by District of Columbia DAR State Regent Marcia Guzauskas and George Hill, president of the Oak Hill Cemetery Preservation Foundation.