Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Oswald Tilghman (1841-1932)
MSA SC 3520-12815


Born March 7, 1841 at Plinhimmon, near Oxford, Talbot County.  Son of General Tench Tilghman and Henrietta Maria (Kerr) Tilghman.  Attended Maryland Military Academy at Oxford; after the Civil War studied law under Senator Charles H. Gibson.  Admitted to the bar, 1875.  Married Belle Harrison in 1884; one daughter, Mary Foxley Frazer; one son, Samuel Harrison Tilghman; Resided at Foxley Hall, Easton.  Died at his home on June 17, 1932.

Oswald Tilghman was a descendant of Tench Tilghman, a lieutenant colonel in the Revolutionary War and aide-de-camp to General George Washington.  Tench Tilghman, who before the war had fought indians in New York, had become captain of a company of Pennsylvania infantry before joining Washington's staff.  When British General Charles Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown in 1781, Washington chose Tilghman to deliver the announcement of the news to congress.  After the war he settled in Baltimore.  He died in 1786.

Oswald Tilghman volunteered in the Confederate army in 1861 as a private in Company B, Terry's Texas Rangers.  He participated in the battle of Shiloh and in the battles before Richmond.  He was an aid on the staff of his relative General Lloyd Tilghman and commanded the Rock City Artillery of Nashville, Tennessee during the siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana.  On the capitulation of Port Hudson he became a prisoner of war on Johnson's Island, Lake Erie, Ohio, where he was held until the end of the Civil War.  After the war he practiced law and the real estate business in Easton, Maryland.  He represented the state of Maryland as a colonel at the Yorktown Centennial in October 1881, wearing Colonel Tench Tilghman's sword.  He enjoyed collecting relics from the Revolutionary War.  He represented Talbot County in the Maryland Senate, 1894-96, and was chairman, Committee on Public Buildings in Annapolis; member, Committee on Judicial Proceedings; Committee on Pensions; Committee on Chesapeake Bay and Tributaries; Amendments to the Constitution.  He helped establish the State Bureau of Immigration in 1896.  He later became president of the Board of Development of the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  He was an auditor of the Circuit Court of Talbot County, 1886-1906.  He commanded the Charles S. Winder Camp, United Confederate Veterans, and was brigadier general, First Brigade, Second Maryland Division of the United Confederate Veterans.  He was commissioner to represent the state of Maryland at the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo, NY in 1901 and at the exposition at Charleston, SC in 1902.  From 1904 to 1908 he was Maryland's secretary of state under Governor Edwin Warfield.  He authored three works:  History of Annapolis; History of Talbot County, Maryland; and Memoir of Lieut.-Col. Tench Tilghman.  He was a member and vice president of the Ancient and Honorable Society of the Cincinnati of Maryland; he was also a member of the Maryland State Society in the General Society of the Cincinnati.  He was a member of the Maryland Historical Society as well as the Odd Fellows and Masons.  He died on June 17, 1932 at the age of 91.

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