Samuel Tilden

From Stephentown Genealogy: Roots & More

Written by Tina Ordone

Though this site is centered on Stephentown, I wanted to include some interesting things from the town that I actually grew up in, New Lebanon, Columbia County, NY. It is "next door" to Stephentown and has a very interesting history of it's own.

It's major claim to fame is that of being the birthplace of Samuel J. Tilden, who was governor of New York and one time Democratic presidential candidate, running against Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876. He lost that election by one electoral vote.

As a young girl, I was in the Girl Scouts, and on Memorial Day, we marched in the town parade, always ending up at the Cemetery of the Evergreens. It is there that Samuel Jones Tilden is buried, in the cemetery's most elaborate gravesite. Nearby are the Tilden family graves, including his brother Moses Y. Tilden, who died in 1876. I have visited that cemetery many times over the years, paying my respects to some family members and some friends, but I never leave without stopping at the gravesite of Samuel J. Tilden. You can't miss it, as it sits in the middle of the cemetery, but more than that, it is important to remember that, from this small town in upstate New York, came a man who participated in the government of not only his beloved New York, but that of the country. His family ran the country's first pharmacutical company, which employed many people over its many years of existance. They are all gone now, but the legacy will live on, hopefully unforgotten, for years to come.

Tilden is one of those names taken "from the face of nature," as the derivation books say, and originally signified a tiller of the soil. There are several forms of the name of, Tilden, Tildan, Tilding, Tildren, Tilden and Tillidon; Telton is also found once in awhile.

The English family from which the American family branched spelled the name Tylden. It is of great antiquity and has been noble for generations. Away back in the times of Henry II, the first king of the Plantagenet line, who came to the throne of England in 1154, there are records of a Sir Richard Tylden. Henry's son, Richard Coeur de Lion, with Philip II, of France, led the third crusade to the holy land in 1190, and one of his companions was either Sir Richard Tylden himself or Sir Richard's son.

The first Tilden in this country came to Plymouth by the America in 1623. He had a wife and children with him. But four years later, when a division of cattle was made and all the colonists were mentioned in a list, his name is lacking. As no death had occurred in the meantime, it is supposed that he and his family returned to England.

Nathaniel Tilden, Sir Richard's descendant, was in New England before 1628. The family from which he came had lived for several centuries in Tenterden, County Kent; about the time he came it separated into three distinct branches. One branch went to Sussex, one settled at Ifield, and one came to America. It is not known just when Nathaniel came over. But he is mentioned as a property holder at Scituate, Mass., in the first official records of the place, dated 1628; the record is a sale by Henry Merritt to Nathaniel Tilden "of all that land which I have of Goodman Byrd lying within the fence at the north end of the third cliffe, unto the land of Nathaniel Tilden." He was among the earliest settlers there, called the "men of Kent," because of their birthplace; some of the others were Thomas Bird, Edward Foster, Henry Rowler, Anthony Annable and William Gillson.

Nathaniel's youngest son, Stephen, married in 1662, Hannah, granddaughter of Richard Little, who had come to American in the Mayflower. They had 12 children.

Throughout its history, the Tilden family has married into other historic families. The late William Smith Tilden, member of the Massachusetts legislature in 1879, married Olive, a descendant of Robert Babcock, one of the first settlers of Dorchester, Mass. His father and grandfather had married, respectively, Catherine Smith and Hannah Perry, both descended from men of importance in ante-revolutionary days. The late Samuel J. Elam was a son of John, who came from Lebanon, Conn., to New Lebanon. Tilden, governor of New York 1875-6, and unsuccessful candidate for the presidency in 1876, was the son of Elam Tilden and Polly Y. Jones. His father was Isaac, son of Stephen and Hannah, whose grandfather, as mentioned above, came over in the Mayflower.

The arms illustrated, which are the only arms borne by the Tildens of this family, are blazoned: Azure, a salture, ermine, between four pheons, or. Crest: A battle-axe, erect, entwined with a snake: all proper Motto: Truth and Liberty

The above article was written in the Sheboygan Daily Press on December 5, 1910, by Eleanor Lexington.

There is a brief genealogy of Samuel J. Tilden:

Nathaniel Tilden m. Lydia Huckstep about 1606. Their children were:

1. Thomas 2. Joseph 3. Stephen b. October 11, 1629 Tenderden, Kent, England; d. August 22, 1711 Scituate, Massachusetts at 81 years old.

Stephen Tilden married. Hannah Little on January 15, 1661 in Scituate. She was born about 1635 in Mass. and d. May 13, 1710 in Scituate at 74 years old.

They had:

Isaac b. August 28, 1678; d; April 15, 1771 in Hebron, CT at 92 years old. He married Rebecca Mann who was b. in 1686 in Scituate; d. November 17, 1761 in Hebron, CT at 75 years old.

They had:

John, b. January 28, 1729, Lebanon, CT; d. November 9, 1812 at New Lebanon, Columbia County, NY at 83 years old. He served with Conneticut troops in the French War.(Ancient Ancestry Columbia County, NY). He married Bathsheba Janes on February 8, 1802 in Coventry, Tolland, CT. She was b. February 14, 1743 d. August 26, 1806 at 63 years of age. She was the daughter of Elisha Janes and Mary Terrell Dimock. When Elisha died, his family stayed in Canaan, Col. Cty, NY.

John and Bathsheba had:

1. Lois 2. Lucina 3. Ann 4. John 5. Oliver 6. Cynthia 7. Elmer (Elam) b. December 31, 1781 in Lebanon, New London, CT; d. April 10, 1842 in New Lebanon, NY. He married Polly Younglove Jones, who was b. March 20, 1782 in New Lebanon; d. December 11, 1860 in New Lebanon.

They had:

1. John 2. Mary 3. Elizabeth 4. Moses Y. b. 1810 in New Lebanon; d. September 9, 1876 at Lebanon Springs, NY; m. Lucy Campbell; buried in Tilden Circle, Cemetery of the Evergreens, New Lebanon, NY

5. Samuel Jones b. February, 1814 in New Lebanon d. August 4, 1886 at his country home, Greystone, Westchester County, NY, and is buried in the Cemetery of the Evergreens, New Lebanon, NY. He never married.

6. Henry b. 1821; d. 1884 New Lebanon; m. Susan Gould of Rochester, NY

7. Henrietta - Henry's twin.

Youth of Samuel J. Tilden

From a farmer's boy, Samuel Tilden rose to be the most famous lawyer of his day. He was born at New Lebanon, NY February, 1814, and was the fifth of eight children of Elam and Polly Tilden. The boy's father, although a farmer, was an intimate friend of Martin Van Buren (from Kinderhook, NY), President of the United States from 1837 to 1841, and the Tilden household was much given to discussing political questions relating to him. The elder Mr. Tilden being a great upholder of the politics of his friend. His son Samuel, who early showed himself possessed of a keen, quick mind and clever conversational gifts, also took great interest in public questions. When he was only 18 years old, a manifesto prepared by him was considered worthy of adoption by the state Democratic party. The same year, the young man entered Yale college, but his studies, interrupted by ill health, were finished at the University of New York. He was admitted to the bar in 1841 and at once took an active part in public affairs. Tilden was elected to the New York assembly in 1845 and held numerous other state offices. He was prominent in the contest which finally retired the dishonest Tweed ring in New York City, and in 1874 was elected governor of New York State. In 1876 he was a candidate for the presidency, but Rutherford B. Hayes was declared to be entitled to the presidency by the electoral commission. Although urged to again permit the use of his name as a presidential candidate he declined. His death occurred August 4, 1886, at his county home, Greystone, Westchester County, NY. His fortune of $5,000,000 was left to found a system of free public libraries in New York City. - Fort Wayne Sentinel August 17, 1901

The following article appeared in the Independent Democrat on July 20, 1876:

SAMUEL J. TILDEN The Antecedents and Career of the Democratic Nominee for the Presidency

"The Democratic nominee for President of the United States is Samuel J. Tilden, of New York. Mr. Tilden was born in Columbia County, New York in 1814 and is in the 63rd year of his age. His family is from England and one of his ancestors was Mayor of Tenterden, Kent, in 1623. In 1634, one of the members emigrated to Massachusetts, and another one of the Tildens aided and assisted in fitting out the Mayflower. Governor Tilden's grandfather, John Tilden, settled in Columbia County at an early day, and the family has resided there up to the present day. His mother came from the family of William Jones, Lieutenant Governor of the Colony of New Haven, a man of character, standing and note. The father of Governor Tilden was a farmer and merchant of New Lebanon, of fine intelligence, good judgment and of great popularity in his section of the State. After being carefully educated under the supervision of his father, young Tilden entered college at eighteen years of age, but was obliged to leave in a short time, owing to his health giving way. After a period of rest he resumed his studies and in 1834 entered the University of New York, and finished his academic education and training. At the close of this course, he began the study of law in the office of John W. Edmunds in the city of New York, and soon displayed all those studious and sterling traits of character for which he has since become so celebrated."

SAMUEL J. TILDEN DEAD He dies at Greystone after 24 hours Serious Illness - Sketch of His Life August 4, 1886

Samuel J. Tilden died at 8:50 o'clock Wednesday morning, at his country residence, Greystone, Yonkers. His serious illness was brief and his death entirely unexpected. On Tuesday, he was able to be up and about the house, although suffering from a sharp turn of his old complaint, indigestion, and he had come safely through other attacks which had seemed to be much nore severe so that no alarm was felt in his household.

He looked more of an invalid than he was because he suffered from paralysis agitans, or trembling palsy which is an entirely different disease from paralysis. This caused the shaking motion of his left hand and a weakness of the lower jaw. It had no effect on his health. His arm was crippled by rheumatism, which had stiffened at the wrist joint.

Since his retirement to Greystone, Mr. Tilden has been very methodical in his daily liife. He rose at 6 o'clock, looked over the morning newspapers, breakfasted at 8 o'clock, listened to reading, talked or dictated to his ainanuensls (NOTE: print on newspaper is not clear, but this is what it looks like), John Cahill, until lunch time at 1 o'clock. In the afternoon he went out for a drive or a sail in his steam yacht, Viking, returning to dine at 6:30. Sometimes he walked around his magnificent place to look at his stock or at improvements which were being made. He could never bear to be idle, and if the weather was bad, he found something to busy himself with in the house. He was very fond of being read to by his companion, Miss Anna bould, a middle-aged lady who is a sister of the wife of Mr. Tilden's deceased brother Henry. She has kept a list of the books she read to Mr. Tilden in the past five years. They number 800, not including magazines and other periodicals.

He rarely put his hand to paper and the last time he did so was on Monday of last week, to write a telegram of condolence to the father of Hubert O. Thompson. The last letter which he signed was written to Secretary Daniel Manning. Mr. Manning was the last guest whom he had entertained at his house. Mr. Manning was there for a week, and left about eleven days ago. For some months past Mr. Tilden had busied himself at odd times with the composition of a family record of the Tilden family. He traced the line back to John Telden, who lived in the Dale of Telden, county of Kent, England, in 1463. some of the family still reside there. Mr. Tilden completed this work last week; and on Monday of this week he dictated the preface - his last dictation. In it says the record was compiled from information picked up here and there, jotted down and tossed into a drawer.

It will thus be seen that Mr. Tilden's mental vigor was unimpaired by his long illness. His appetite was good, and he ate a much as most men. He dined regularly with the family, and only differed from them in that he ate at more frequent intervals. He was perfectly able to masticate his food. He rarely ate vegetables, but was fond of fruit. His household consisted, besides himself, of Mr. Andrew H. Green, his life-long friend and chief confidant; George W. Smith, his private secretary and general manager; Miss Anna Gould, and his nieces, Miss Susan and Miss Ruby Tilden, daughters of Henry Tilden. Besides these there were his antanueusis, his valet, Louis Johnannsen; a night nurse, Wiliam Davis and ten servants.

Dr. Charles E. Simmons, the Commissioner of Charities and Corrections, also had a room in the house, which he occupied occasionally when Mr. Tilden seemed to be at all ill. He lives next door to Greystone, and has attended Mr. Tilden for ten years. Last week Mr. Green and the Misses Tilden went away for a summer outing.

Mr. Tilden was fond of sitting out of doors on pleasant evenings. Sometimes he would go to his seat under his favorite oak tree on the lawn, and at other times he would sit on the back veranda, which overlooked the Hudson River. While sitting there last Saturday evening he caught a slight cold. It made him hoarse, but he thought little of it, and when Dr. called on him on Sunday afternoon, as he was in the habit of doing, Mr. Tilden said nothing of feeling unwell.

At 3:30 o'clock, Wednesday, he was seized with nausea and vomiting, and Dr. Simmons was sent for hurriedly. He found Mr. Tilden also suffering from diarrhea. The usual external and internal remedies were applied and the patient grew better, but in the evening , he suffered from severe colicky pains.

In a little while he became easier and under the application of warm poultices the colic left him and he slept for an hour and a half. After that his sleep was more broken and the rapid breathing continued. He asked now and then for water, or to be lifted up. At four o'clock he grew very restless and uneasy, and asked to be helped out of bed.

There was no further change until 6 o'clock. He then began to fail very rapidly. His face became ghastly pale. The pulse ran up to 180 beats, and the rapid breathing continued.

At 7 o'clock he asked for water, and these were his last words.

At 8:50 he raised his head, opened his eyes, looked towards the light which streamed in through the cracks of the shutters, seemed to recognize those about him, and gave a long sigh, laid his head back on the pillow, and he was dead. As news of Tilden's death spread, tributes were made on his behalf. Among the were:

Washington August 5 - Mr. Morrison of Illinois, offered and the House unanamously adopted the following resolution:

That the House of Representatives of the United States has heard with profound sorrow of the death of that eminent and distinguished citizen, Samuel J. Tilden.

The President has sent the following telegram to Colonel Samuel J. Tilden, Jr., (nephew) Greystone, Yonkers, N.Y.:

I have this moment learned of the sudden death of your illustrious relative, Samuel J. Tilden, and hasten to express my individual sorrow in an event by which the State of New York has lost her most distinguished son and the nation one of its wisest and most patriotic counsellors. - Grover Cleveland

Albany, NY August 5 - Upon receipt of the news of Mr. Tilden's death, Governor Hill immeditely sent the following dispatch:

State of New York Executive Chamber Albany, August 4, 1886

Colonel Samuel J. Tilden, "Greystone" Yonkers, N.Y.

I learn with deep regret of the death of your uncle, Samuel J. Tilden. I tender to you and other relatives my sincere sympathy in your great bereavement. In his death the country has lost one of her most eminent statesman and our own State one of its most illustrious sons. Please inform me at your earliest convenience of the date which may be fixed for the funeral, as I shall endeavor to attend. - David R. Hill THE TILDEN FUNERAL Impressive Ceremonies at the Greystone Mansion The President and Cabinet Members Present The Remains Taken to Lebanon For Burial August 7, 1886

Yonkers, NY - The sorrow that has shrouded this city for three days reached its climax today. The grief was great and marked on every house. The public buildings were closed and badges of mourning were displayed on the house fronts. The early trains poured hundreds of notable citizens into the town, and all bent their steps in one direction to pay a last tribute of honor to one who had been high among them. The residents joined in the pilgrimage, and hosts of mourners that found its way to Greystone and filled to overflowing the ample mansion of the late statesman long before the funeral service began. The casket that was to contain Mr. Tilden's body reached the house this morning. It is made in two parts: the interior is of copper, with a glass door of its entire length. The interior is decorated with white tufted satin, and the other part is of red spanish cedar and is plainly ornamented with oxydized silver ornaments. The silver plate is also of that material, on which there is simply the name, "Samuel J. Tilden" engraved. At 8:30 the public were first admitted to the mansion. The remains were placed on a catafalque situated in the center of the blue room. The drapery of the catafalque was black crepe and cashmere. Meantime, the friends of the family began to arrive. The first train from New York to bring any members of the family was the 7:15 p.m. From that time the people came by the score.


Among the first to arrive at the house were General Alexandria Hamilton, Charles A. Dana, William H. Barnum, Samuel J. Randall, Teasurer Jordan, and Ex-collector Murphy. Andrew H. Green received them all and ushered them into the parlor, where the people generally were admitted to view the remains. They entered the east door, passed through the first parlor on the right to the blue room and thence through the hall to the western rear entrance. A bouquet of calla lilies and white roses lay near the head of the casket and at the foot was placed a wreath palm, under smilax and victoria regina. All the flowers came from Mr. Tilden's hot houses. The last named was from a plant of which there are but three in America. By nine o'clock serveral hundred persons had viewed the remains.


The pall bearers are to be Samuel J. Randall, John Bigelow, Daniel Manning, Smith M. Weed, Charles A. Dana, Dr. George L. Miller, William Allen Butler, Daniel Magone, J.B. Trenor, Dr. Charles E. Simmons, and Aaron J. Vanderpoele. The first formal delegation to arrive was from the Jeffersonian club, of Newark, NJ. soon after them Mayor Bell, of Yonkers, and the Yonkers aldermen passed through, and then the servants of Mr. Tilden's house, five men and five women, paid their last tributes. The men, without exception, shed tears as they gazed the the last time upon their lost master.

At 9:40, President Cleveland entered the mansion, accompanied by Secretary of War Endicott and Private Secretary Lamont. George W. Smith, Mr. Tilden's private secretary, took the President's arm and found a place in the line of citizens. Secretary Endicott followed with Mr. Lamont. On reaching the head of the bier, the President stopped a moment or two, took an earnest look at the face of the dead and passed on to the hall and was escorted among the family up stairs, as were also Secretary Endicott and Mr. Lamont. Ten minutes later the pall bearers descented the broad stair- case in the center of the house that leads directly into the room where the remains were. Secretary Manning leaning upon the arm of John Bigelow lead the bearers. Manning seemed rather feeble, his steps being by no means sure as he came down down the stairs. The delegation from the various bodies followed the pall bearers and took seats i the blue room and adjoining parlors, the bar association headed by Hon. William M. Evarts, the New York board of aldermen, Tammany Hall, Irving Hall, the county democracy and others.


President Cleveland entered the room with secretary Endicott, secretary Whitney and Mr. Lamont. Next came the members of the family, Tilden's nephews and nieces, Governor Hill arrived just as the ceremonies were beginning. He was seated next to Mayor Grace. Hundreds of people collected in the hall on either side of the black drapery that hang in the front blue room, blocking up the entire passage and extending out on the porches and grounds in front and at the rear of the house. Then Reverend Dr. W.J. Tucker, who had come on from Andover, Massachusetts, to perform the ceremonies, read the funeral prayer of the Presbyterian church. The choir of the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, which had taken up a position at the foot of the main staircase, sang "Abide with Me." Rev. Dr. Tucker next delivered a short address on the personal qualities of the decreased. After this address, Miss Antonia Hense sang very effectively "One Sweetly Solemn Thought," and Dr. Tucker mad another brief speech. The choir sang "Beyond the Smiling and the Weeping, " and the casket was closed. The body was borne to the hearse at 10:50 and carried to the train for New Lebanon. The president, governor, mayor, cabinet officers and delegates followed with the pall bearers in twenty-five carriages. As the casket was borne through the marble floored hall the choir sang "Rock of Ages." Eight of Tilden's employees carried the body, among them were the Captain of the yacht, "Viking," and the gardner, valet and coachman of the dead statesman. The president and his secretary, Gov. Hill, Mayor Grace and delegations followed the carriages but neither boarded the funeral train. ON THE WAY TO THE GRAVE All along the three-mile route to Yonders the sides of the road were alive with people. Just as the cortege started from the house a brisk rain set in but this did not drive the spectators from the paths. many sought shelter under the trees and awnings, some raised umbrellas and some remained uncovered. When the hearse passed between the crowd, hats were raised and other signs of respect were continuously shown. When the depot was reached the members of the family, the Misses Tilden, Miss Gould, Messrs. Tilden and Charles T. MacLean, with their intimate friends, Rev. Dr. Tucker and several of the delegation entered the cars. The train left Yonkers at 11:15 and is due at New Lebanon, where the reamins will be interred in the family lot, at 3:40. The services at the grave are to be of the simplest kind. It is unsettled whether or not the will will be read to-night. It's rumored that it will be read at the old family homestead at New Lebanon. President Cleveland, accompanied by Secretary Manning, Endicott and Whitney and Mr. Lamont left here for New York at 12:15.


As it passed through Albany, groups of people watched the funeral train as it whirled along the route from Yonkers to New Lebanon. Men uncovered their heads as the train passed, and all manifested deep interest in the day's melancholy event. When the funeral train rolled into the little heavily draped station at New Lebanon, at 3:40 p.m., the sward back of the depot was filled with people. Profound silence reigned while the bier was being placed in a plain hearse that was in readiness back of the station. A vehicle was being brought from Pittsfield, Mass., for the occasion. An ample supply of conveyances was in waiting and in a few minutes the cortege moved toward the church which is opposite the homestead. The population of New Lebanon and surrounding towns had seemingly turned out enmasse. Rev. Mr. Burritt, pastor of the Congregational Church, assisted Rev. W.J. Tucker in the services at the church. The remains were permitted to lie in state in church for one hour. The bier was then carried to the house by Tilden's personal attendants and the silent procession moved slowly up through the sombre appearing village, with its shady streets and large elm and willow trees. Beyond the town within a quarter of a mile of the village is the cemetery, which is just across the railroad, on a rise of ground. The procession halted. After a brief ceremony at the grave, the special train left for New York, and thousands who had gathered to pay the last tribute of respect to Samuel J. Tilden, lingered awhile and then departed. BESIDE TILDEN'S GRAVE The Picturesque Burial Plot At New Lebanon, N.Y. August 8, 1886 Mitchell (S.D.) Daily Republian

The great Democrat sleeps amid his ancestors in the country burying ground

At New Lebanon, Columbia County, N.Y., the mortal remains of Samuel Jones Tilden were buried Saturday, August 7. There, in the little country hamlet, his life started, seventy-two years ago. When it had worn out the body and taken its flight to unknown realms, the clay mold it had inhabited was given back to the same kindly earth at New Lebanon.

The portrait in the illustration is from a photograph taken only a few weeks before Mr. Tilden died. For the past then months, he had been gaining in flesh and strength, and there was reason to believe that he had years of life before him yet. There was even talk of nominating him for the presidency in 1888, with or without his consent. Rival candidates will undoubtedly breathe more freely now, old and infirm as the Sage of Greystone was. He was the shrewdest political organizer of his time.

The president attended Mr. Tilden's funeral and stood with bowed head beside the coffin of the great master Democrat. Serveral members of the cabinet also came over from Washington to Greystone to be present.

A striking and pleasing feature of the scene as the body lay in state at Greystone was the absence of heavy black drapery about the revered remains. The catafalque, where the body lay in state in his own room looking out over the Hudson, was covered with snow white hangings. It was beautiful and unique.

Many famous men have "died like a tree at the top first," as Dean Swift said of himself. Mr. Tilden was spared that most sorrowful kind of decay. For some years his body has been practically dead. He was so paralyzed that it is hard to see how he kept in the flesh so long. His vocal chords ceased to act several years ago, and he could only speak in a whisper, so low that the listener had to bend his head close to Mr. Tilden's lips to hear. His left hand was useless; his right hand shook so that if he wished to extend it in greeting to a friend, it had to be shot forward with a sudden impulse to make it move at all.

When he walked it was with a slow, shuffling step, painful to be seen. His hearing was the only sense that remained to him perfect. Yet his mind was strong, and crystal clear to the last. He was so helpless that for some years, he has had to be fed like a child; yet within a few months he dictated and issued a document so vigorous and statesman-like that it waked up the whole country. The document was his letter to Senator Hawley on our need of coast defences and fortifications. It commended itself to members of both political parties.

The Tilden burial plot is of unique and beautiful design. Probably Mr. Tilden himself planned it, for it was the work of no ordinary mind. The plot is in the village cemetery, and is laid out in circular form. In the center are buried the stateman's father and mother. A tall marble burial urn is placed above them. Then a circular walk runs around their graves. After that comes a circle of four burial plots, then another circular walk, than another round of grave plots. Four walks radiate from the central graves, where the Tilden ancestors repose, out to the circumference of the whole burial plot. Mr. Tilden is buried in the northwest corner grave of the inner circle. How his grave looks you see from the picture.

It is a peaceful country graveyard. The thoughts of the Sage of Greystone turned to that in his old days, rather than to the more pretentious cemeteries nearer New York City. His family were Presbyterians.

The Lebanon Valley Historical Society says that the Tilden tomb was designed by Paris-trained architect Ernest Flagg. It was restored and then re-dedicated on November 4, 1985. The restoration was done by a committee headed by Rev. Ernest D. Smith, author of "Valley Tales." (see the link below for "Hometown Tales.")Despite common belief, Tilden's body does not rest in the coffin shaped ornament seen in the photograph. He is actually buried below the ground, in the Tilden vault.

The picture above was taken by Tina. The grave actually sits by itself, across from the "Tilden Circle", where his parents and brothers are buried. The photo was taken from the road which passes between the two sites.

This is the Tilden Circle. The wooden fence isn't there at present. Samuel Tilden's grave is upper northwest.

If memory serves, Moses Y. Tilden's grave is the grave pictured in the Tilden Circle picture, upper left, second grave to the marble monument.

Printed in the Butte (Montana) Miner, on August 10, 1876:

"Hon. Moses Y. Tilden, brother of the Governor, is dangerously ill at his residence at Hudson, NY. The Governor has been summoned to his bedside."

The following appeared in the Chester (PA) Daily Times on September 11, 1876:

"Moses Y. Tilden, brother of Governor Tilden, of New York, died at Lebanon Springs on Saturday, of heart disease. The deceased was the second of nine children, and was born in New Lebanon in 1811. He received a sound common-school education, and early in life engaged in a manufature of chemicals in his native town. In 1869, he was chosen to the Legislature, and continured a member until his death. Mr. Tilden was engaged in farming and stock-raising. He was married and leaves a widow." Will of Samuel J. Tilden

"New York, August 12, 1886 - The will of the late Samuel J. Tilden has been furnished to the press, though the document will not be formally filed for probate until today. The will begins:

Mindful of the uncertainty of life and being now in the full possession of all of the faculties of mind and memory, I, Samuel J. Tilden, of Greystone, in the City of Yonkers, County of Westchester and State of New York, do hereby make, publish and declare this my last will and testament in the manner and form following:

(The document contains forty-three clauses. The first clause revokes all previous wills made by the testator. Clause 2 names John Bigelow, Andrew H. Green and George W. Smith as execators and trustees under the will. Clauses 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 contain the usual provisions as to compensation of the executors, discharge of just debts, etc.)

Clause 9 gives the testator's sister, Mrs. Mary B. Pelton, during her life, the use of the house, No. 38 West Thirty-eighth Street and the income of $100,000. Upon Mrs. Pelton's death, the use of the house reverts to the testator's grand-niece, Laura A. Pelton, during her life and if Mrs. Pelton shall not have disposed of $50,000 of her inheritance by will, that amount also reverts to Laura A. Pelton. If Laura A. Pelton dies leaving children, the house and the $50,000 goes to her children. If not, she may will the house as she chooses and the $50,000 shall revert to the estate and be managed by the trustees. Upon Mary B. Pelton's death, $50,000 of her inheritance goes to the testator's niece, Carolina L. Whittlesey, with similar provisions for reversion as in the preceding instance.

The income of another sum of $50,000 is also to be paid to Mary B. Pelton during her life.

Clause 10 gives the income of $70,000 to Lucy F. Tilden, widow of the testator's brother, Moses Y. Tilden, with reversion to her adopted daughter, Adelaide E. Buchanan.

Clause 11 gives the income of $50,000 to Susan G. Tilden, widow of the testator's brother, Henry A. Tilden, with reversion to the testator's niece, Henrietta A. Swan.

The 12th and 13th clauses bequeath to his niece, Caroline B. Whitney, the income of 100 shares of Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad Company and the interest of the testator in the Delphic Iron Company. A special trust of $50,000 is also to be invested for her benefit.

The 14th clause gives to his niece, Henrietta A. Swan, the income of 100 shares of Cleveland & Pittsburgh railroad and also provides for a special trust of $50,000 for her.

Clause 15 conveys to Lucy F. Tilden, widow of Moses Y. Tilden, the dwelling house in which the latter formerly resided at New Lebanon. This clause also provides for the conveyance to the executors and trustees of certain lands formerly owned by Tilden's father, Elam Tilden, or subsequently acquired by Moses Y. Tilden, with the object of keeping the landed property together and in the family, the same to be applied in the use of nephews George H. Tilden and Samuel J. Tilden.

This is the Samuel J. Tilden home in New Lebanon. He was named for his uncle. It is said that he built this home for his bride, Augusta Halsey. It is located across the highway from the Congregational Church on Route 22, the same church where the funeral for Samuel J. Tilden, the governor was held in 1886. The Tilden home is presently (2004) Shuji's Japanese Restaurant. The setting isn't quite as beautiful as in the sketch, as where the there is a large driveway which is semi-circular in front of the home. The building is magnificant and very impressive. Clause 16 releases George H. Tilden and Samuel J. Tilden from debts amounting to about $60,000.

Clause 17 not listed.

Clause 18 leaves $75,000 to S.J. Tilden.

Clause 19 leaves $150,000 to niece Ruby S. Tilden.

Clause 20 leaves $150,000 to Susan G. Tilden, niece.

Clause 21 releases the estates of his brother from loans of $300,000.

Clause 22 leaves Anna J. Gould $100,000

Clause 23 leaves Miss M.C. Standler, of New Orleans, $100,000

Clause 24 provides that the husbands of legatees shall have no management of the bequests.

Clause 25 provides for a corporation to be called the Tilden trust and to embrace the residue of the estate.

Clausees 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 and 32 bequeaths small sums.

Clause 33 gives $100,000 for a free library at New Lebanon.

Clause 34 gives $100,000 for a free library at Yonkers.

Clause 35 provides that the Tilden trust may be used for a free reading room and library in New York City or if the trustees decide otherwise in their judgment they may devote the trust to other charitable, educational and scientific purposes instead.

The other clauses are technical down to Clause 41 which authorizes such a monument to Mr. Tilden's memory as the trustees see fit.

Clause 42 authorizes the publication of Mr. Tilden's writings.

Clause 43 provides that any legatee contesting the will forfeits his legacy.

The will is dated April 23, 1884

Printed in the Coshocton, Ohio Semi Weekly August 13, 1886


Persons, here (NY),in a position to know the feelings of the Tilden family, express the belief that there will be an effort to break the will of the late S.J. Tilden, but a special dispatch to the Times from Hudson says it is stated, on good authority, that the will is to be contested by S.J. Tilden, Jr. (a nephew). The ground for the legal proceedings will be that, according to an old law of this State, a man can not bequeath more than half his property to public uses if he has relative.

THE TILDEN TROUBLE Complications Regarding the Old Man's Will

New York September 24, 1886 - Nothing has been done yet toward contesting Samuel J. Tilden's will. It is the understanding that no steps will be taken until the hearing has been had before the surrogate of Westchester County. What is likely to happen is that the persons and corporations, including the banks, holding the obligations of Henry A. and Moses Y. Tilden and which were voluntarily assumed by the nephews, Samuel J. and George A. Tilden, with the understanding that they were to be backed by Governor Tilden, will present them as claims against the Tilden estate. This will save the nephews the trouble and expense of contesting the will and will serve the same object in relieving the nephews of a burden which they feel they should not be compelled to carry.

A gentleman who was intimate with Mr. Tilden in the latter years of his life, and conversant with this phase of his affairs, said yesterday, " I hope there will be no contest of the will. I do not think the nephews wish to contest the will. But they feel that they have been hardly treated if they are to be left to pay these obligations, which they assumed with the understanding that Mr. Tilden would see them through. They feel this all the more keenly because it would only take a moiety (?) of the Governor's vast estate to lift the load from their shoulders. Moreover, they believe that it was Governor Tilden's intention to relieve them of this burden, and that it was only right that he should do so. The banks received from Mr. Tilden, it is asserted, a promise that he would see that the obligations would be cared for. If the boys are called on to carry this load it will be life's labor to pay it, even if they are successful."

This article appeared in the Chester, PA Daily Times on April 2, 1946:

"The will, with its many trusts, led to litigation that became almost as famous as the Tilden-Hayes contest for the presidency. The clause of the will establishing the "Tilden trust" to maintain a free reading room and library in New York was fought by relatives. The Court of Appeals in 1891 declared the clause void because of 'indefinateness and uncertainty,' but in 1893 the Legislature passed the "Tilden Act," which in effect made it impossible to deny bequests to the public on this ground, and the contesting relatives made an agreement with the trustees by which $2,000,000 was allowed for the Tilden Foundation of the New York Public Library." SAMUEL J. TILDEN ESTATE FINALLY DISTRIBUTED

New York, July 14, 1924 - Final distribution of the estate of Samuel J. Tilden, one time Governor of New York and Democratic candidate for President in 1876, was taken today when the accounting of the trustees under the will of Henrietta Tilden Blatchford, a niece, was approved and filed before the New York Surrogate's court. Mrs. Tilden, who died in 1886, left $100,000 in trust for Mrs. Blatchford, with the provision that she might use the incone during her life time and dispose of the principle in her will according to her own desire, Mrs. Blatchford died in 1912 and her will, the trustees accounted today, left $60,000 to each of her grandchildren, Donald M. Swan and Henry Tilden Swan III, both of whom are minors. I found this article while searching and thought that it was interesting, in that, since Mr. Tilden wasn't married, it could be assumed that he didn't want to be married, or that he was married to his career. This article shows that there was another side to Samuel J. Tilden:

Away down near the end of the legacies in Mr. Tilden's will is one of the interest of $100,000 to Miss Celeste Stauffer, of New Orleans. There are a good many society people in New York who know Miss Stauffer, but few know or can understand why Mr. Tilden should remember her in his will. An intimate friend of the Stauffer family, who is now in New York, expresses herself as confident that Mr. Tilden at one time seriously contemplated matrimony, and was a suitor for Miss Stauffer's hand. It was soon after the explosion of the story that the Sage of Greystone was engaged to be married to Miss Nellie Hazeltine, of St. Louis, that he met the charming young lady from New Orleans. Miss Hazeltine was a blonde, with rich red-golden hair. Miss Stauffer is between a brunette and a blonde, of that type styled in New Orlean chatalgue. Miss Hazeltine, who reigned as the belle of St. Louis until she married young Mr. Parramore, is now dead. Miss Stauffer is with her family in Europe.


In 1880 or 1881, Mr. Tilden met Miss Mary Celeste Stauffer and immediately fell in love with her. Mr. Isaac Stauffer, her father, is the senior partner of the firm of Stauffer, Macready & Co., the largest hardware establishment in New Orleans and perhaps in the south. He comes of old Pennsylvania Dutch family, and still owns a farm near York, Pa. Miss Celeste is the youngest of four children, two of whom are sons. Every summer the family leave New Orleans for a trip east or to Europe, and they are usually the first of that begira of southern society which annually seeks comfort and social intercourse away from the baking brick pavements of the Crescent City. For thirty years they visited at Greystone, on Mr. Tilden's invitation. In the summer of 1882, the Stauffers remained at Long Branch for a time, occupying one of the cottages attached to the West End Hotel.


Here Miss Stauffer received twice every week from Mr. Tilden a long letter. Considering that they were not under promise of marriage, this correspondence whatever its theme might have been, was sufficently remarkable without Mr. Tilden's making it almost historical by the eccentricity of its delivery. He would not trust the postal service. Nor would he condescend to hire an ordinary messenger. On the stipulated days a gentleman of social standing such as permitted the confidence of the aged statesman, received from his own hands the missive, with the injunction to surrender it only to the fair consignee personally. At the cottage of the Stauffers this aristocratic Mercury was received with that formality his courtly bearing seemed to demand, and ushered into the reception room. If Miss Stauffer was not at home, he would call again when she was. Not infrequently, on returning to Gramercy Park, or Greystone, he carried to the Democratic sage a mysterious reply to his letter of friendship.


Miss Stauffer's character is that of an ambitious, highly intellectual woman, who saw in the marriage with Mr. Tilden all the possibilities of being the first lady in the land. Her frequent enjoyment at the hospitality of Greystone was not so much a triumph for her alone, as Mr. Tilden loved to have a sombre chateau beautified with the presence of young womanhood. Her manners, conversation and innocent grace and airs, acquired from the native creoles of new Orleans, fascinated the old man. She seemed to be very fond of Mr. Tilden and anticipated his every wish, even in the most trivial attentions at the table, or in the presence of a social gathering. Her glorious physique displayed on horseback was the object of Mr. Tilden's undisguised admiration. She is an intrepid and accomplished equestrienne. Miss Stauffer's greatest art for the enchantment of me, both young and old, lay in her conversational powers. She could talk with wonderful understanding upon any subject, from the smallest of small talk to the most recent theories of philosophy and science.

OTHER LOVERS It is gossip in New Orleans that Miss Stauffer discarded the best match in all the south to hazard a marriage with Mr. Tilden. Young Bruttsoitch, the nephew of Judah P. Benjamin, is today the pride of the Louisiana bar and a bachelor. His devotion to the heiress of Isaac Stauffer's millions was not inspired by mercenary motives, for his wealth, both from inheritance and a lucrative practice, is ample. Miss Stauffer is well received by the best society in New York City and is queen of the southern people who reside here. Her conquest over the heart of Dr. William M. Polk, the well known physician, and the son of the man who is both a general and a bishop, is no secret from the friends of that gentleman, one of whom has betrayed it. She is now about 28 years of age. It is said that the prospective marriage did not take place because Mr. Tilden felt his strength failing and thought she deserved a younger husband whose span of life was not so nearly run. He love her, though, and left a gage d'amour when he died. - August 14, 1886 Williamsport (PA) Daily Gazette & Bulletin

NOTE: December 28, 1894 Freeborn City Standard, Albert Lea, Minn. - Celeste Stauffer, who was engaged to Samuel J. Tilden at his death, was married Wednesday to George S. Eastwick, manager of the sugar trust in New Orleans and a member of the firm Havermeyer & Eastwick. DEATH OF COLONEL PELTON

New York, July 8, 1880 - Colonel William Tilden Pelton, nephew of Samuel J. Tilden, died at the Everett House at 3 a.m. this morning. For two or three years past he has been surrering more or less with disorder of the nervous system. Two weeks ago he bagan to show signs of serious illness, and on Saturday he was feeling badly, but left his bed and dressed to visit his physician. Then he did not think he was in any danger. He grew much worse, and on Monday and from that time he gradually sank. He died of embolism of the heart, which is an obstruction in the veins leading to the heart. Around his death bed were his mother, his only daughter, Henry Tilden (uncle) and a few relations. Two years ago he lost his wife, who is spoken of as an accomplished woman, and he has been in delicate health ever since. His friends say that grief for his wife's death was the cause of his illness. Colonel Pelton was widely known among a circle of business men and prominent politicians. There was a stream of callers, including many prominent men, today at Tilden's house in Grammercy Park, where he had been moved, and numerous telegrams were received. Henry Tilden left town to arange for the interment at New Lebanon, NY, where Colonel Pelton passed his childhood. The funeral services will be held at Tilden's house tomorrow, No. 15 Gramercy Park. The remains will be taken to New Lebanon Saturday morning.

The removal of Colonel Pelton's body to Tilden's house was an entirely natural step, even supposing the two men were no longer on any terms. Mrs. Pelton, who is Pelton's mother and Tilden's sister, is now, as he has been for many years, the head of Tilden's household. Pelton's young daughter, by his first wife, a girl of perhaps 15 years, is the object of one of Tilden's few affections. His attachment to her is so marked that she is regarded by many as likely to inherit his fortune. A strange feature of the relations of Pelton and tilden since the cipher exposure is that the latter has a reality treated his nephew as he might have been expected to do if Pelton had been the only culprit instead of the scapegoat. All Pelton's attempts to get into communication with Tilden are said to have been rejected, and all his efforts to obtain a hold upon him failed. This is not the talk of Pelton's friends or Tilden's but of persons who at the time of making these statements were angry with both, but had previously had intimate knowledge of Pelton's affairs. The explanation is an easy one, of course. Tilden, with his craft, knew that Pelton, would adhere to the story he had already told and that the hope, with which he had told it, of getting a claim upon his uncle, would lead him to presevere. No one of those who take this view believes that for a moment that Pelton was anything more than Tilden's clerk and agent in the matter of the cipher dispatches. There is considerble sympathy expressed here for a man who, with all his faults, was broken down by a weight of odium which did not all belong to him. - 7/10/1880 Oshkosh Daily Northwestern

This pass admitted the bearer to the Gallery of the House of Representatives to watch the vote counting of the contested Presidential election between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel J. Tilden. This pass and several others came from a collection in the estate of Charles Lanman. Mr. Lanman was private secretary to Daniel Webster in 1850 and wrote the Webster biography in 1850.

MOSES Y. TILDEN by Captain Franklin Ellis 1878

"Moses Y. Tilden was born in New Lebanon, NY, November 14, 1811, and died there September 9, 1876. His life was uneventful, save in its relations with his younger brother, Samuel, if had not extraordinary points of contact with the outer world. Yet is was a happily-rounded, worthy life, full of all acts, behavior and 'household charities" that became a good son, affectionate brother, and faithful husband, nor deficient in any service due from the intelligent, public-spirited citizen. He married Lucy F. Campbell when he reached the age of thirty-two and their home, which became the resort of young and old, was brightened in his later years by the presence and love of an adopted daughter. He was senior partner of Tilden & Company, the pharmaceutists. After their properity was assured he laid aside active business, and occupied himself with the less exacting care of stock-raising, for which he had a great fancy, and for which the fertile valleys and hillsides of New Lebanon afford sufficient temptation. Indeed, like Webster in his dying day, when he had cattle brought up the lawn to the porch, so the sight of his own soft-eyed Jerseys was solicited, and was grateful to his failing vision, when the final hour was near." He died in 1876, and is buried in the Cemetery of the Evergreens, New Lebanon, in the Tilden Circle.

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