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Josiah P Tillson


Posted By: County Coordinator
Date: 3/10/2009 at 12:29:08

Josiah P Tillson, was born on a farm in Otsego county, New York, April 17, 1839, son of Asa and Camilla (Pierce) Tillson. He grew to manhood on the home place, receiving his education in very good rural schools of the Empire state and at the Gilbertville Academy. At the age of twenty-five years he emigrated to Wisconsin in 1864, but the climate did not agree with him, and two years afterward, in 1866, he came to Iowa, locating in Boone county. His first occupation was conducting a brick yard, a prime necessity in the neighborhood of a rapidly growing town, the works being in the vicinity of what has since come to be known as the historical “Kate Shelly Bridge.” this he managed for a year of more and then removed to the town of Montana, as the present city of Boone was then called. He immediately found occupation, in 1867, in the freight depot of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway Company, which he served for the greater portion of his lifetime. As an occasional variation of this work, he took employment in grocery stores, the woolen mill, and at the date of his final illness was employed as a carpenter by the railway company.
Josiah P Tillson was the fourth child and oldest son of his parents, the brothers and sisters being: Mrs Louisa Fessenden, of Clyde, Kansas, Mrs Ruth Eaton, of Maple Grove, New York, Mrs Marcella Baker, of Binghamton, New York, Albert, of Maple Grove, New York, Mrs Rosaline Hunt, Mrs Marcia Holliday, Warren, Hiram and Sidney all deceased.
On February 4, 1868, Josiah P Tillson was united in marriage to Miss Olive Lucas, at Belvidere, Illinois, she being the fifth child of Horace and Elizabeth (Hinkson) Lucas, and was born February 26, 1847, near Flora, Boone county, Illinois. She was one of seven brothers and sisters, namely: Walter, Oscar F and Moses, of Belvidere, Illinois, Catherine, deceased wife of Hawley Main, Boone, Iowa, Horace, deceased, and Mrs Mila Ann Gibbs, deceased.
The children born to Josiah P Tillson and wife were as follows: Ida May, deceased, Clarence D., head clerk of Fraternal Choppers of America, Boone, Iowa, Edward E, machinist, Chicago & Northwestern Railway Company, at Boone, Lloyd A, plumber, of Boone, Harry L, student in the Iowa State College, Ames, Iowa.
In all that makes for good American citizenship Josiah P Tillson was well equipped. He was industrious, companionable, and thrifty. He took interest in public affairs, was active in the incorporation of the new city of Boone, and one of its early councilmen, serving as such in the years 1838 and 1871. He was later foreman of the fire company, and always alert tot eh necessity of securing good and capable men in public office. Upon the organization of the Universalist Church Society of Boone he was one of its charter members, connecting himself with the church, May 9, 1870, and always taking an active part of its work. For many years he was one of its trustees and at the time of his decease was the superintendent of its Sabbath school.
Mr Tillson always showed a preference for fraternal societies and was a member of the Legion of Honor in which he carried insurance, as he also id in several other organizations, a precaution which was highly commendable. Perhaps his nature derived the greater enjoyment from his association with the Masonic bodies. He was a member of Mount Olive Lodge, No 79, F & A M, of Tuscan Chapter, No 31, R A M, and the Excalibur Commandry, No 13, K T. He took an active part in all Masonic work, and was the Tyler for each of these bodies for many years. The members of the fraternity who survive him want to recall his many pleasantries during their “hours of refreshment.”
He died March 8, 1886, within a few weeks of his forty-seventh birthday, and was buried in full Masonic honors. He had been ill but three weeks, his malady being a malignant from of typhoid fever. From a notice published shortly after in one of the local papers, the manner of the man is characteristically delineated:
“In disposition the deceased was one of the most equable of men, with a cheerful temperament, hopeful, sturdy, independent, conceding to all men similar independence of action and the same purity of motive which actuated himself. He made few enemies and was respected by all. He was a thoroughly reliable man, one of the conservatives of society, neither too fast nor too slow, making few mistakes and generally attaining his ends without undue display of the means. A community of such persons would have little use for statutes. He will be sadly missed in the church, the home, the lodge and in society.

1902 Boone County History Book


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