Category Archives: Tillman

Tobias Tillman, Rev War Pensioner Update, Part 2: 12 for ’22

Today, let’s look at the possible origins of Tobias Tillman, Revolutionary War pensioner.

There is a lot of “information” to be found, both in print and online, but there is one huge problem. Not a single source was identified in any resource I checked.

Most assign John Tillman and Eva (Dryden) as Tobias’s parents. However, I can’t find a single document created in their or Tobias’s lifetime that supports this idea.

In order to present my theory in an easy-to-follow format, let’s start at the beginning with Tobias’s purported immigrant ancestor, Gideon Tillman, who settled in Somerset County Maryland in the latter part of the 1600s.

Gideon Tillman was born by 1645, as his cattle marks were recorded in Somerset County, Maryland on 4 June 1666.

There are church records documenting Gideon Tillman who married  Margaret Manax/Maneux, 15 February 1681 in Somerset county, Maryland. [Maryland Marriages, 1634-1777, by Robert Barnes]

Children born to “Gydeon & Margarett Tillman, “ apparently in Manokin, although I can’t find cited church records:

1. Gideon, born 12 October 1682
2. Solomon, born 13 February 1685
3. Eleanor, born 13 February 1688
4. John, born 15 September 1690
5. Moses, born 26 June 1692
6. Elizabeth, born 1 January 1694/1695
7. Aaron, named in father’s 1720 will
8. Joseph, called youngest son in father’s 1720 will

Next, we have another problem. Some claim that he married in the 1670s to an Eleanor (MNU), but there is nothing to support that idea. There is also an extensive list of children attributed to them, again with no sources cited, so I am sticking with the idea that Margaret was Gideon’s first wife and the mother of the children above listed.

His sons Gideon, Solomon, John and Moses are all of an age to be the paternal grandfather of Tobias Tillman.

What became of these four sons? The short answer is “I mostly don’t know.” No marriage records have been found for any of them, nor have I found probates for any of them except John.

The eight children above are all named in their father’s 1720 will. Gideon’s wife was named executrix, but he did not include her given name in the document.

The sons all inherited land and the will stipulated that none of the five boys were to sell or dispose of any land except to each other. The will made no reference to where any of the children lived or if Eleanor and Elizabeth were married. It is assumed that all the children lived locally.

There is one more helpful record in Somerset County. Gideon’s son John Tillman wrote his will there on 26 March 1733; it was proved in court on 16 June 1733. John’s wife Rosanna claimed her one third share and was named as executrix of John’s estate. Children who received bequests were Benjamin, Aaron, John, Moses, Rebecca and Manex.

John was likely the first born son as John Sr. staed in his will “should my brother Gideon lay any claim to the dwelling plan intended by my father for me and mine (before Benjamin and Aaron come of age) then the whole estate to be to use of the executrix to defend same.”

This portion of the will tells us several things. First, his brother Gideon was still alive in 1733. Second, John married right around his 21st birthday (c1711) and, third, his son John was born c1712 and likely turned 21 right about the time his father died.

Could brothers Benjamin, John and Moses have been the men who appear later in Craven and Johnston Counties, North Carolina? Perhaps. . . .

Now, how do we connect Gideon and his sons to Tobias Tillman?

There isn’t one other Tillman found in the records of Orange County, North Carolina from its formation in 1752 until the end of the American Revolution – not on the 1755 or 1779 tax lists, not in marriage records nor land records nor in probate records. Aside from Tobias stating in his pension application that he was born in and volunteered for war service in Orange County, the Tillman surname is not to be found in any other Orange County records.

If Tobias was truly born in Orange County just as it was formed in 1752, then the only explanation that makes any sense is that his father died when he was young, he had no brothers and his mother remarried.

On the other hand, we need to look at the parent counties of Orange County, particularly since Tobias was born in either 1751 or 1752.

Orange County was formed from Bladen, Granville and Johnston Counties and early land grant records indicate the presence of several Tillman males.

Bladen County

Gideon Tillman appears as early as 1766 when he received a land grant. Supposedly, this is Gideon Jr., born in 1682. However, he then would have been 82 years old when the land was granted. This I doubt.

No Tillmans are found on the 1763 tax list of Bladen County.

Granville County

George Tillman received land grants in 1762/63 and William Tillman received grants between 1790-1793.

Johnston County

Johnston County records are more plentiful in terms of Tillman data. It is important to note that Johnston County was formed from Craven County in 1746. In addition, Dobbs County was formed from Johnston County in 1758, but existed only until 1791 when it was renamed Wayne County.

There is a Moses Tillman living in Craven County as early as 1739/40 when he witnessed a land sale from John Gatlin Jr. to Thomas Hustleton. Whether he was Moses Tillman, born 26 June 1682 in Somerset County, Maryland, there is no way to tell because no North Carolina record has been found indicating an age, other than he was at least 21 by 1739 to be able to witness a land sale.

Moses Tillman received grants in both Craven and Johnston Counties, with all the land located on the south side of the Neuse River.

John Tillman also received many land grants in Craven County beginning in 1761 through 1793. [These grants may represent more than one John Tillman.] He is called Esquire in some records.

John Tillman is on the 1779 tax list of Craven County.

Benjamin Tilghman received a land grant in 1766.

No early tax lists for Johnston County survive.

Dobbs County

Moses Tillman appears on the 1769 tax list.

Joseph Tilghman appears on the 1780 tax list.

1790 Census – John Tillman, one M 16+, 2 M under 16, 2 F
1790 Census – Ann Tillman – 2 F
1790 Census – Joseph Tillman, 3 M 16+, 3 M under 16, 3 F
1790 Census – Mary Tillman, 1 M under 16, 4 F

Exactly how are all these Tillmans related? NO records have yet been found in North Carolina that explains any family relationship.

Unsourced Tillman family data online states that Moses Tillman (born 26 June 1692) of Craven and Johnston Counties and Gideon Tillman (born 12 October 1682) of Bladen County were brothers, both children of Gideon Tillman and wife Margaret of Somerset County, Maryland. I’ve already stated my doubts about Gideon in North Carolina being too old to be the Maryland man born in 1682.

The bottom line:

I do believe Tobias is part of the Tillman family that migrated from Somerset County, Maryland to North Carolina by the mid 1700s. Not only is the Tillman name relatively rare, but his known FAN club supports a Maryland connection.

I also believe the fanciful lore about Tobias’s father moving with Tobias’s family from Virginia to Tennessee to Ohio and then dying aged 105 years in Preble County, Ohio is totally untrue. Someone created this story because (1) Tobias’s eldest son was named John (presumably in honor of his father) and (2) John Tillman appears on the 1805 Anderson County, Tennessee tax list with Tobias. However, his son John was a young married man by 1805 and it is much more likely that he is the John Tillman on that tax list.

I’ve also found no evidence that a married couple named John Tillman and Eva Dryden ever existed!

Having said all that, I have found not one shred of evidence as to the names of Tobias Tillman’s parents.



Tobias Tillman, Rev War Pensioner Update, Part 1: 12 for ’22

Tobias Tillman is a Revolutionary War soldier and pensioner who is a 5X great grandfather to my husband.

I’ve written about Tobias in the past, but there is more to share about his life story. for information about Tobias’s family, click on the link above.

Today’s post will examine Tobias’s own life in more details. I was spurred on to this project because, although Tobias lived well into his 90s, I could only place him in once U.S. census.

That seemed odd given his pension statement of having been born in North Carolina, lived in Virginia after the American Revolution until 1806 and then settled in Preble County, Ohio, where he lived out his years.

While Tobias’s statement wasn’t wrong, it was lacking in many details, which have been gleaned from many online resources. It makes me wonder what further information is lurking in county courthouses!

A timeline of Tobias’s life will help fill in some of the details. His wife’s name, said to be Catherine Sharp, has not been proven, but the Sharps were part of Tobias’s FAN club.

1751 or 1752, June – Tobias was born “in the middle of June 1751 or 1752” per his pension application, reportedly in Orange County, North Carolina, which formed in 1752 (month and day not found)

1776 – February 15 – Tobias enlisted in Captain William O’Neal’s Company in Col. Butler’s Regiment of North Carolina militia. He re-enlisted a couple of times and also served as a minuteman. Tobias furnished his own horse and equipment.

1776 – Tobias Tillman married c1776, no record has yet been found in North  Carolina or Virginia

1779 – Tobias Tillman on tax list of Orange County, North Carolina

“After the War,” Tobias said he lived in Virginia until 1806, when he migrated to Preble County, Ohio.

1783 – Tobias Tilman, Botetourt County, Virginia Personal Property Tax List, Captain Looney’s District

1784 – Tobias Tilman, Botetourt County, Virginia Personal Property Tax List, Captain Looney’s District, 1 tithable, 2 horse, 7 cattle

1785 – Henry Sharp (11-1-1) and John sharp (6-1-1) both appear in John Reynolds’ District, which includes several members of the Looney family. Tobias Tillman is not listed.

1795 – November 7 – Montgomery County, Virginia – Tobias Tillman & Catherine his wife sold 75 acres on a branch of Sinking Creek called Bear Camp to George Sharp for £40. On 2 November, Henry Sharp & wife Barbara sold 112 acres on Sinking Creek, a branch of the New River, to George Williams for £150. On 10 August, “Johon” Sharp & Fillis his wife, sold 199 acres, price not stated, on Clover Bottom, a branch of Sinking Creek, which is a branch of New River to George Sharp. This group all lived in the Sinking Creek neighborhood, but relationships are not stated in the deeds.

1799 – November 16 – Daughter Barbara Tillman married in Knox County, Tennessee

1800 – December 22 – Daughter Elizabeth Tillman married in Knox County, Tennessee

1801 – Anderson County, Tennessee formed from Knox & Grainger Counties

1802 – Tobias Tillman taxed for 227 acres, south of Clinch River and 350 acres north of Clinch River, Anderson County, Tennessee

1803 – March Session,  Anderson County, Tennessee Court Minutes – Tobias Tillman bought 197 acres of land

1804 – June Session, Anderson County, Tennessee Court Minutes – Tobias Tillman and Henry Sharp called as jurors

1805 – Tobias Tillman with 3 sons and 7 daughters, plus extended family removed to Harrison Township, Preble, Ohio and settled on Swamp Creek.

It is said the family crossed the river in Cincinnati and traveled north through Franklin, Germantown and along an Indian trail on the east side of Twin Creek and then to Preble County a grueling 600 mile trip.

1806 – March 14
– Tobias Tillman sold 185 acres to Jacob Weaver and another 400 acres to Jacob Weaver. Both deeds witnessed by John Loy and Lewis (Ludwick) Clapp. Anderson County, Tennessee

1811-1826 – Tobias Tillman appears on all extant tax lists, Preble County, Ohio with one exception: 1824 – Tobias Tillman & John Tillman are taxed as non-residents of Preble County, Ohio (Where did they go for one year?)

1816 – Tobias Tillman elected Overseer of the Poor, Preble County, Ohio

1820 – Census of Preble County, Ohio – Tobias Tillman

1823 – March 19 – Tobias Tillman and wife Catherine sell land to son Jacob Tillman, Preble County, Ohio. Tobias signed with X.

1823 – March 19 – 1830 CensusCatherine died in this time period, as she is not at home with Tobias in the household of Jesse Piles in the 1830 census.

1830 – Census of Preble County, Ohio – Tobias Tillman likely was the male 70-79 living with Jesse and Eva Piles (his daughter). Eva is the only child of Tobias’s in Preble County that has a male in his age range in the home.

1833 – March 22 – Tobias Tillman was granted a military pension for his Revolutionary War service, Preble County, Ohio

1840 – Census of Preble County, Ohio – Tobias Tillman likely was the male 80-89 living with his son Henry’s family

1845 – February 6 – Tobias Tillman reportedly died on this date. He does not appear in the 1850 census, Preble County, Ohio

This timeline provides a much more detailed picture of the life of Revolutionary War soldier Tobias Tillman.

Before finishing this update, it is necessary to provide some commentary on the origins of Tobias Tillman. My thoughts and theories will be covered in Part 2, coming up.







Clues to the Parents of Rev. War Pensioner Tobias Tillman


Today’s post on the parents of Revolutionary War pensioner Tobias Tillman of Preble County, Ohio is ALL speculation and clues, NOT proof!

Last week, I posted a lengthy story about the family of Tobias Tillman, a Revolutionary War pensioner who died in Preble County, Ohio about 1845.

However, while I’ve seen lots of websites and (spurious) online family trees with the names of his father and mother, I purposely omitted that information from my earlier FACTUAL post.

Today, it’s all about speculation. The ONLY parental names anyone will find online for Tobias Tillman are John Tillman from Montgomery County, Maryland and Eva Dryden. John Tillman reportedly first appears in Orange County, North Carolina in 1755.

An enquiring mind (mine!) wants to know the sources and proof for the statement that John Tillman and Eva Dryden are his parents.

I’ve already done a lot of digging around, although I will be the first to admit that it doesn’t meet the standard of a reasonably exhaustive search. In my digs here, there and everywhere, I’ve learned quite a bit about the early history of Orange County, North Carolina.

First of all, Tobias Tillman states in his Revolutionary War pension application that he was born in Orange County in the middle of June, in either 1751 or 1752.

Well, there is a problem right off the bat because Orange County was formed in 1752. I’ve looked i a lot of places, but can’t find the month and day in 1752 when it was formally created.

If Tobias Tillman was born in 1751, then it’s not possible that he was born in Orange County and if the county was set off after the middle of June in 1752, then he definitely wasn’t born in Orange County.

That led me on my first map excursion to determine which other county had part of its land set off to form Orange. The answer is THREE counties: Bladen, Granville and Johnston.

Second, one John Tillman supposedly first appears in Orange County on a 1755 tax list. I’ve read the original handwritten list, digitized and online, but it doesn’t show up well when I try to crop it, so here is a transcribed list I found online for the section where the Tillmans would be listed:

There are NO Tillmans to be found on the 1755 tax list. In fact, I also looked at land deeds from the county’s inception into the 1790s and NO Tillmans have been found buying or selling land in Orange County, North Carolina.

Next, I located a digital image of the handwritten 1779 tax list for Orange County, but I’ve again provided a transcribed list, which matches what I found:

We have one, and only one, Tillman on this list and that is Tobias, himself. Given that his war service was in Orange County, I would fully expect to see his name here.

However, there is no John Tillman or any other Tillman, for that matter. Had John died? Did Tobias not have any brothers or was he the only one old enough be taxed? Or did Tobias not have parents or male siblings living in Orange County?

Well, the answer isn’t that simple. There are no records that I’ve found so far that point in any definitive direction towards parents for Tobias.

One step that I haven’t seen mentioned in any of the online material about Tobias Tillman is that a researcher looked at records of Orange’s parent counties – Bladen, Granville and Johnston – to see if John Tilman might have lived in one of those counties before Orange was formed.

The David Rumsey Map Collection contains a 1776 map of North Carolina, which works in this situation. I’ve added green arrows to show the location of Bladen, Granville, Johnston and Orange Counties. I’ve added a red arrow to Craven County, which I will mention soon.

Northern Portion of 1776 North Carolina

The North Carolina State Archives has a number of old documents including land grants digitized and online. I started there and found several Tillmans.

The earliest Tillman mentioned was Moses Tilman, who appeared in Craven County in 1742/1743. By 1748 and 1755, he was in Johnston County. Johnston County was set off from Craven County in 1746.

A John Tilman appears in those land grants in 1761, when he obtained land on the south side of the Trent River in Craven County. This man served in the Revolution. as he was commissioned a major on 22 April 1776. Later, he lived in the part of Craven County that became Jones County, North Carolina. Could this man possibly be a brother of Tobias? Or a cousin?

There is also a William Tilman who has a land grant in 1778/1779 in Granville County.

Moses Tilman/Tillman/Tilghman was from Somerset County, Maryland, the same location where Tobias’s undocumented father was born. Moses’ birth year has been estimated as 1692 with his year of death (unproved by me) being 1790.

If related to Tobias, it is more likely that Moses could be his grandfather, rather than father.

It has been speculated that most of the early Tilmans were somehow related to Gideon Tilghman, who died in Somerset County, Maryland about 1720.

The source of this thought, along with the idea that one John Tilman was the father of Tobias likely began when Stephen Frederick Tillman published The Tillman Family in 1930:

Take a look at the information on pages 3 and 4:

Now for the all important question – What documentation is provided by Mr. Stephen Frederick Tillman? See for yourself:

He refers only to family Bibles, censuses and “documents” in the Library of Congress, in addition to a manuscript written by James D. Tillman Jr. of Meridian, Mississippi.

From my somewhat limited research experience on the Tillman family, I can identify the censuses and likely documents (Re. War pension file) that were used.

Sadly, there is no way to source the tidbit that John was Tobias’s father and probably the son of Gideon Tilghman and grandson of an earlier Gideon Tilghman.

I’m also not sure I believe the lore that John Tillman, aged 100+, was being carted around in the wagon as the family moved from Tennessee to Ohio. It is also concerning that I can’t find records that definitely pertain to this John Tillman in North Carolina.

However, there is no indication that John Tillman ever lived in Orange County, at least not that I’ve found, and I don’t think I believe that Tobias Tillman was actually born in Orange County – North Carolina, yes, but not in Orange County itself.

Have you noticed that I’ve made no mention of Tobias’s reputed mother, Eve/Eva Dryden? That’s because I haven’t found anything about her, other than her name copied and pasted or merged into all those online family trees. No sources at all!

I will continue until I complete what I perceive as a “reasonably exhaustive” search, but at this point, I am not sure proof of Tobias’s parents even exists.

Thus ends the story of Tobias Tillman’s parents, at least for now.