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J. T. Tilford


Posted By: Fran Hunt, Volunteer
Date: 10/6/2001 at 13:38:17

From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties 1890
J.T. Tilford, who resides on Section 25, Round Prairie Township, is one of the honored pioneers of Van Buren County. It was on the 16th of May 1836, when his family consisting of his parents, James and Polly Workman Tilford and six children reached Southeastern Iowa and located in this community. Almost this entire portion of the State was then in its primitive condition, few settlements had been made, and scarcely another one of the pioneers of that year are left to tell the story of frontier life in Van Buren County.
Mr. Tilford was born in Adair County Kentucky, in 1826, and was the third in order of birth in his family. He was therefore a lad of ten summers at the time of their westward emigration. The journey was made with teams of oxen from Morgan County, and on reaching their destination they settled upon what is now the farm of our subject. For supplies and flour they had to go to Morgan County Illinois, a distance of about one hundred and forty miles, which trips were made with ox teams and often required from seven to ten days. Indians were far more numerous than the white settlers, and months often passed without their seeing a white woman except the members of their family. Such were the surroundings of Joseph Tilford in the days of his boyhood and youth. His parents resided upon the old homestead until called from this life. The mother died in 1856, and the father in 1858. Their children were Sarah, wife of Thomas Lambirth; Robert, a farmer of Mahaska County, Iowa; Joseph; Harriet, wife of Bruce Frame, of Round Prairie Township, Van Buren County; Mary, now Mrs. Humphrey, of Round Prairie Township, and Elizabeth, now Mrs. Grady, of Macon County Missouri, who are twins.
J.T. Tilford bore his share in the hardships and trials of pioneer life and aided in the arduous task of developing a farm. In the autumn of 1848 he left home and was united in marriage with Matilda A. Andrews, daughter of William and Elizabeth Tott Andrews, and a native of Illinois. The following spring they removed to Marion County where he entered two hundred acres of Government land, to which he has since added an eighty-acre tract. That farm he partially improved and made his home for fourteen years, whe4n he returned to his old homestead on account of the death of his parents. He is now the owner of eighty acres of well-improved land, constituting the oldest farm in the county. No one is better informed on pioneer life in Southeastern Iowa that Mr. Tilford. He was a scholar in the first school taught in the county, which met in a rude log building, the dimensions of which were 16 x 18 feet. A large fireplace occupied one entire end, the floor was of puncheons and the seats were made of slabs of basswood. One log having been removed the aperture was covered with greased paper and served to light the entire building. Mr. Tilford is a member of the Old Settlers Society of Henry County, and in politics he is a Democrat. His children, two in number, are John, who married Miss Eleanor Smith, and is engaged in farming in Henry County and William who resides at home.
I am not related, and am only copying this for the information of those who might find this person in their family.


Van Buren Biographies maintained by Rich Lowe.
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