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. He was one of the wealthiest early settlers of the state and funded the construction of Hillsboro Academy as well as being a founder of the Illinois and Shurtleff Colleges. In 1850, he was working as a land agent with his wife Christina and four children and owned $1,000 in real estate. He 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), Seventh Ward, Quincy, IL, 240; The History of Adams County Illinois (Chicago: Murray, Williamson & Phelps, 1879), 702-703.