Tilton, William W.----The family of which William H. Tilton, of Rochelle, Ill., is worthy representative, has been identified with the making of American history since long before the Revolutionary War, excelling for the greater part in agriculture, but invading also the fields of merchandising and the professions. The original immigrants were three brothers who came from England and settled in New Hampshire, one of these, Spencer, eventually moving to New Jersey, where was born the great-grandfather of William W. The grandfather was born in Pennsylvania, of which his father was a early settler, and he in turn moved to Ohio, opposite Wheeling, where Elijah Tilton, the father of William W., was born and spent the formative period of his life. The latter became a farmer in Knox County, Ohio, married Eliza Claw, and reared a family of 13 children, of whom William W. was next to the youngest. Of the other children, Deborah, now eighty-seven years old, is the wife of Joseph Frost of Emporia, Kansas; Nathaniel, for a long time a resident of Pine Rock, but who died in Iowa at the age of seventy-six years; Fannie who died past seventy years, the wife of Silas Wells; Philena, widow of W.D. Walls, of Pine Rock; Mary Jane, wife of Mallery Dailey, of Ames, Iowa; Thomas, a farmer in Pine Rock township, who died at the age of seventy years; Elizabeth, widow of Merritt Dailey, of Pine Rock; Louise, widow of Jonathon Stratford, of Rochelle; Lavina, twin sister of Louise, and widow of Edmund Cross, of Pine Rock; Lorena, who died at age sixty-three years, the wife of Wilson Dailey; Martha, wife of Willie Gossard, of Oregon; And James, a resident of Rochelle.
In October 1849 Elijah Tilton brought his family from Knox County, Ohio to Ogle County, settling on land in Pine RockTownship, which he improved from almost the primevel wilderness, and converted into a valuable and productive property. In 1859 he came to Rochelle that his sons might have better educational advantages, but a few years later returned to the farm, a part of which now is owned by his son, William W., and died there about 1874, at the age of seventy-three years. His wife survived him for about a year, attaining the same age as her husband. He was a man of strong character and decided views, and held several minor local offices, elected thereto on the Democratic ticket.
William W. Tilton was educated in the country and town schools, enlisted during the Civil War (1864) and served in the Quartermaster's Department, and one year after returning to his father's farm abandoned that occupation to operate a produce and commission business in Ashton for a year. He then purchased half of the old homestead from his father, to which he added eighty acres in Lafayette Township, belonging to his cousin Elijah Tilton, the latter of whom died in the Army during the Civil War. Subsequently Mr. Tilton bought more land until he owned 208 acres and all of it under a high state of cultivation. He gained an enviable reputation as a painstaking and scientific landsman, was an obliging and considerate neighbor, and held several local offices as a stanch and uncompromising Democrat. Having been appointed Postmaster of Chana by President Cleveland in 1895, he moved to that town, and in the meantime erected in Rochelle a feed and sale stable, which from the expiration of his term as Postmaster, until 1907, he conitinued with gratifying financial and general success. Since then he has continued to occupy his pleasant home in the center of the town, and to take a keen interest in its social and church, but not its business life. He is a member of the Antioch Church of God, in his old neighborhood in Pine Rock Township.
At the age of thirty-one years Mr. Tilton was united in marriage to Alice Canavan, of Mount Vernon, Ohio, who early settled in Pine Rock Township. For two years before her marriage, Mrs. Tilton was a teacher in Ogle County, having graduated from the high school in Mount Vernon. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Tilton: Floyd J.; Mattie E., wife of Clarence Eyster, of Rochelle; and Clarence M.
Floyd J. is a graduate of the high school of Rochelle and Law Department of Northwestern University, in Evanston, Ill. Subsequently Mr. Tilton practiced law at Kewanee, under the firm name Cummins & Tilton, and in November, 1907, opened an office in Rochelle.
Contributed by David Zellers
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