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Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa
Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887

DAVID TILSON, farmer, now living in Vinton, was born in Washington County, Va., Sept. 17, 1819. He is a son of Stephen and Anna (Buchanan) Tilson, natives of Virginia. His father was a farmer by occupation, and when David was quite a small boy moved to Johnson County, Ind., where he died.

David was reared on a farm, remaining at home until twenty-one years of age, when he commenced his life's work. For several years he worked at odd jobs, then rented land, and farmed in Johnson County until 1853. In 1852 he came to Benton County and bought 375 acres of land, part of which lies in Taylor and the remainder in Jackson Township. For this land he paid $2.50 per acre. On the 1st day of September, 1853, he loaded up his goods, and, with his family, started for his new home, and was fifteen days on the road. He put up a small log cabin, without a floor, in which they lived for some years. While the cabin was being erected the family lived in a covered wagon. At this time their nearest neighbor was two miles away, and there were but twelve houses in Vinton. In 1865 he erected a large two-story frame house, hauling all the material from Cedar Rapids. Previous to this time he had built a large barn, 60 x 80 feet, resting upon a foundation requiring 300 perches of stone. He lived on this farm until 1881, when he rented it on shares and moved to Vinton, where he has since resided. In 1886 he again took charge of his farm. At the time of his coming to this county the Indians were still here, and Mrs. Tilson says that she used to hide in the cornfield when she heard them coming.

Mr. Tilson's marriage took place Dec. 4, 1845, Elizabeth, daughter of John and Barbara (Harmon) Glass, becoming his wife. Their children are Clara, born Sept. 3, 1846, married to John Benson, now deceased; William A., born Dec. 1, 1848; Mary J., born Oct. 6, 1850, married to Joseph Pegg; Catherine, born July 30, 1853; Stephen B., born Oct. 6, 1855, married to Ella Scribner; Everett, born Jan. 6, 1858, married to Letta Moore; John A., born Feb. 13, 1860; Charles, April 15, 1862; Annie B., Oct. 9, 1864; Orian, Aug. 18, 1867. Mrs. Tilson has been a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Mr. Tilson has been a citizen of Benton County for about a third of a century, and has witnessed its development from a wild wilderness into one of the wealthiest counties of the State. He has been an honest, enterprising and industrious citizen, and now lives to reap the reward.

Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies"  [database online]  Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 241-242.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on January 28th, 2009.  Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.

Return to: 1887 Biography Index

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