Born: 1798-XX-XX Halifax, Massachusetts
Died: 1853 Peoria, Illinois
Alternate name: Tilson
Originating in Halifax and later Kingston, Tillson moved to Illinois in 1819 and settled in Hillsboro. In 1836, he funded and built the Quincy House hotel. In 1843, he moved to Quincy, following his business interests. Tillson was one of the wealthiest early settlers of the state and funded the construction of Hillsboro Academy, as well as being a founder of Illinois College and Shurtleff College. In 1850, he was working as a land agent with his wife Christina and four children and owned $1,000 in real estate. Tillson died of a heart attack in 1853, while visiting Peoria. His son, John Tillson, Jr., became a brevet brigadier general in the Civil War.
U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Quincy, Adams County, IL, 240; The History of Adams County Illinois (Chicago: Murray, Williamson & Phelps, 1879), 702-3.