Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


JOSEPH A. M. TILLMAN. During the sixty-four years of his residence in Greene county, Joseph A. M. Tillman, a retired farmer of Clay township, has noted many important changes in this locality in which he is well and favorably known and in which nearly all his life has been spent, and here he has made a success as a general agriculturist because he has been both industrious and a close observer. He is a descendant of a prominent old Southern family, and is a second cousin of Benjamin Tillman, the noted United States senator from South Carolina. Many of the commendable qualities of his ancestors are noticeable in our subject.

Mr. Tillman was born in McNeary county, Tennessee, July 7, 1848. He is a son of Samuel Taylor Tillman and Mary (Perry) Tillman. The father was born in Chatham county, North Carolina, in November, 1800, and the mother was born in the same county, in May, 1810, and there they grew to maturity. The father moved to Tennessee when a young man, locating in Bedford county, where he married and bought a farm, also owned a mill on Duck river. After living in Bedford county for some time he located in McNeary county, and remained there until 1850, when he brought his family to Greene county, Missouri, purchasing a farm a mile east of where his son, our subject, now resides, the place having contained one hundred and forty-six acres. Later the elder Tillman entered forty acres from the government here and had a good farm. He cleared all of his land and kept it in good condition. He was an extensive______ and trader and was a very successful general farmer. He took much interest in public affairs and before leaving Tennessee was justice of the peace for a period of fourteen years and also served in this capacity after coming to Greene county for a period of sixteen years. After buying a place in Greene county he went back to Tennessee where he remained fifteen years before returning to Greene county, Missouri. He died on his farm here in 1864. His wife was reared in North Carolina on a farm and moved with her parents to Tennessee. She was a member of the Christian, church. The father of our subject was twice married, his second wife being a sister of his first wife, and to his first union five children were born, namely: Louisa, Lidia, Calvin, Wesley, Newton, all deceased, the two latter having been killed while soldiers during the Civil war. The mother of these children was Clara Perry. His children by his second wife, Mary Perry, were ten in number and were named as follows: Margaret, Oram, both deceased; Newton was killed while serving in the Civil war; Stanley, Martha W. Caroline and Pearlee, all deceased; Joseph A. M. of this sketch, is the only survivor of the, fourteen children; Lucy, deceased; Samuel, deceased.

The immediate subject of this sketch was two years old when his parents brought him over the rough roads from Tennessee to Missouri. He was reared on the farm and received a common school education in the Schools of Greene county. He remained on the homestead until his father's death, and he then operated the farm for his mother until he was married, on March 22, 1868, to Rebecca J. (Cunningham). He remained on the home farm about seven years, then rented land for five years, which he cultivated, and in March, 1881, bought one hundred acres, later adding twenty acres. He cleared and improved most of his land and built a cozy home on it and here he has since resided and has been successful as a general farmer, although he has been taking life easy for some four years, renting his land and merely overseeing it in a general way.

Mrs. Tillman was born in Obion county, Tennessee, September 12, 1850. She is a daughter of Charles M. and Mary P. (Hubbard) Cunningham. The father was a native of middle Tennessee, where he was reared on a farm and received a common school education, and he became owner of a two hundred acre farm in his native state. He removed to Fulton county, Kentucky, in 1859, where he remained about two years, then went to Carroll county, Arkansas. When the Civil war broke out he came to Missouri and joined the Federal army in 1861, but died of measles soon after his career as a soldier began.

Eleven children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Tillman, namely: John W. lives in Greene county and during the campaign of 1914 was a candidate from two districts for associate judge; Samuel is deceased; Mrs. Mary J. Climer lives at Mentor, this county; Joseph's home is in Springfield; Fred is engaged in the mercantile business at Rogersville; Bertha is deceased; Mrs. Viola Wills lives in Springfield; Mrs. Minnie Hunt was a teacher in the Greene county schools for six years; Mrs. Pearl Chaffin lives in Ozark, Missouri; Mattie is deceased; Ross E. lives in Springfield. The wife of our subject was thirteen years old when she came to Greene county. She received a common school education. She often recalls the trip from Tennessee, which the family made in an ox wagon. She is a member of the Christian church.

Politically, Mr. Tillman is a Democrat and has long been an active worker in the party. He has served as justice of the peace for four terms, also as notary public four terms, discharging his duties in an eminently satisfactory manner. He was appointed by the governor. While incumbent of the first office he married forty-eight couples. Fraternally, he belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He has been a consistent member of the Christian church since he was eighteen years of age. He is one of the leading citizens in Clay township.

[1731-1733]


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