George Washington's Birthday


Installation of

Tench Tilghman's Swords

Tench Tilghman (1744-1786)

Tench Tilghman, one of Maryland's great patriots, was born on December 25, 1744 in Talbot County on his father's plantation. He was educated privately until the age of 14, when he went to Philadelphia to live with his grandfather, Tench Francis. In 1761, he graduated from the College and Academy of Philadelphia, which later became the University of Pennsylvania, and then went into business with his uncle Tench Francis, Jr. until just before the Revolutionary War.

Tench Tilghman's public service began with his appointment by Congress to a commission established to form treaties with the Six Nations of Indian tribes. In 1776, Tilghman was commissioned captain in the Pennsylvania Battalion of the Flying Camp. In August 1776, he joined George Washington's staff as aide-de-camp and secretary. He served without pay until May 1781, when Washington, calling him a "zealous servant and slave to the public, and faithful assistant to me for nearly five years," procured for him a regular commission in the Continental Army. Following the victory at Yorktown, Washington rewarded him with the honor of carrying the Articles of Capitulation to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.

After the War, Tilghman returned to Maryland where he resumed his career in business in Baltimore and married his cousin, Anna Marie Tilghman. They had two daughters, Anna Margaretta and Elizabeth Tench. Tilghman died on April 18, 1786 at the age of 41. George Washington said of his long-time assistant: "None could have felt his death with more regret than I did, because no one entertained a higher opinion of his worth or had imbibed sentiments of greater friendship for him than I had done…"

Tench Tilghman's Swords

The two swords belonging to Tench Tilghman were left to the state by Mrs. Judith Goldsborough Oates who died on December 26, 1997. Mrs. Oates was a direct descendent of Tench Tilghman. The larger sword is made of silver with gold inlay and is the one worn by Col. Tilghman in the portrait of Washington, Lafayette & Tilghman at Yorktown which hangs in the Old Senate Chamber. According to family tradition, the other sword was passed down to Tench Tilghman from his great-great-grandfather, Michael Turbutt.



Front: Washington, Lafayette & Tilghman at Yorktown by Charles Willson Peale
Maryland Commission on Artistic Property
MSA SC 1545-1120
Prepared by the Maryland State Archives


February 16, 1998
8:00 p.m.
Old Senate Chamber
The Maryland State House


Session Convenes

The Honorable Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., Presiding

Recess to the Old Senate Chamber


Bishop Joseph N. Brown

Greater Bible Way Church

Prince Frederick, Maryland

Choral Selections

My Country 'Tis of Thee

The Navy Hymn

Washington's Birthday Remarks

The Honorable Louis L. Goldstein

Comptroller of Maryland

Installation of Tench Tilghman's Swords

Edward C. Papenfuse, Ph.D.

Maryland State Archivist

The National Anthem


The Choral Selections this evening courtesy of

The United States Naval Academy Gospel Choir

Mrs. Joyce Garrett, Directress


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