51 years later: Anna Marie Tilghman’s widows pension

Tench Tilghman’s gravestone, courtesy of Wikimedia.

Fifty-one years after Tench Tilghman’s death, his wife (who was a cousin), Anna Marie Tilghman, got a widows pension. Tilghman was, as the Maryland State Archives argues, “one of Maryland’s great patriots” due to his public service as part of a “commission established to form treaties with the Six Nations of Indian tribes,” a captain in “the Pennsylvania Battalion of the Flying Camp.,” and serving as an unpaid aide-de-camp to George Washington from August 1776 to May 1781 when Washington got him “a regular commission in the Continental Army.” His final task was “he honor of carrying the Articles of Capitulation to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.” Other than that, the Maryland State Archives writes that Tench 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. 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.

His gravestone was placed in Talbot County’s Oxford Cemetery long after his death. That’s because he died at St. Paul’s Church in Baltimore, with the remains brought from there to Talbot County in 1971 but the original gravestone, without the plaque, does tell something about him.

The widows pension by Anna Maria  Tilghman tells an interesting story. [1] The first page shows that not only is it a penson for Anna Maria but that Tench also received a land grant, with “B.L.W.T.” noting an “application for a warrant for bounty land” promised to him since he “served to the end of the war”:

The next page notes that Tench died on April 18, 1786 in Talbot County, MD and was a Lieutenant Colonel serving in the army commanded by General George Washington, specifically in the Pennsylvania line, for two years. This is despite the fact he served for longer than two years as noted earlier in this article. For all of this, she would receive almost $4,000.00 a year, a sizable sum at the time when she was filing (May 1843):

The next page doesn’t say much else other than that her claim would be processed in Maryland under the 1836 Pension Act covering veterans of the war with Britain from 1812-1815 and the Revolutionary War

The page following is a personal appeal by her on February 24, 1837 in which she, before the Talbot County Orphans Court  notes that she is the widow of Tench who serves as an Aide to Camp to George Washington and Lt. Colonel in the PA line, serving in total from January 1, 1777 to November 3, 1783. She also notes that she married Tench on June 9, 1783, and that he died on April 18, 1786:

The next page is a judge on the Orphans Court in Talbot County, James Price, certifying her declaration is correct, nothing more, nothing less:

Then on March 11, 1837 a 82-year-old woman named Henrietta Maria Francis appeared before the Talbot County Orphans Court. She said she was “well acquainted with Col Tench Tilghman of Baltimore City,” noting that she first met him in 1780, noting that through the years it was recounts how he was an aide-de-camp of George Washington. She was also, of course, familiar with Anna Maria Tilghman, saying that she was the daughter of one Matthew Tilghman, noting also that they were both married in June 1783. Clearly she was related on a familial level to Tench: her husband, Philip Francis, was Tench’s uncle, whom Tench visited in March 1783 after their marriage.

She adds that Tench died three years after she married Philip Francis, with Anna Maria (called she after this section) having one daughter before Tench’s death, and another after Tench died (she must have been in labor when Tench died), and has since stayed as a widow. Others writing below her attest to the veracity of this statement:

By October 1858 it is asserted that Anna Maria died in 1843, with another Tilghman (M. Tilghman Goldborough) filing a continuing claim as they inherited her estate interestingly:

From there, Elizabeth Goldborough, likely the mother of the above listed M. Tilghman Goldsborough, turns out to be the daughter of Anna Maria and Tench! It is also noted that her sister is named Margaret who died, leaving her the only heir. This document, issued by a Talbot County Justice of the Peace in December 1825, shows that Margaret and Elizabeth were children of Anna Maria and Tench Tilghman without a doubt:

The pension goes on to say that Elizabeth is an heir of Tench Tilghman, and quickly notes Tench’s military service:

The next page makes it clear that all of those previous pages specifically related to a bounty land warrant claim, which is wrapped up within the pages of Tench’s pension papers, making it possible for Tench’s wife Anna Maria to apply for a widows pension in 1837 and Elizabeth to apply for the bounty land warrant in 1825, for her son to come back in the 1850s saying that now want to apply for the pension.  This page makes it clear that Elizabeth’s request was granted in January of 1826:

In May 1929, the War Department tried to sort all of this out. As they summarized, it was clear that Tench served from January 1, 1777 to November 3, 1783 as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Continental Army and an aide-de-camp to General Washington, dying on April 18, 1783. They also summarized how Tench married Anna Maria on June 8, 1783, allowed a pension on February 13, 1837but died on January 18, 1843. They also wrote that they had two children, Elizabeth and Margaret with the former child marrying a man named Goldsborough of Talbot County, Maryland, while the latter had a son named Tench Tilghman, marrying a man whose name is not yet known.

The final page says that a “grandson” named M. Tilghman Goldsborough is referred to in 1858 but no other family data is known.

The next page just notes Anna Maria’s widows pension claim:

In May 1843, a man named Tench Tilghman said that he obtained a pension claim for a Mrs. Anna Maria Tilghman, widow of Tench in 1837, noting that Anna Maria died January 13, 1843 at age 88, if I read that right. He further notes that the youngest daughter of Anna Maria and Tench, Elizabeth (“Mrs. C.T. Goldsborough”), who was noted earlier, is an heir, while he is the son of the the older daughter, Margaret. As such, he asks the pension commissioner to whom the pension now belongs:

Then there is an earlier letter from J.L. Edwards, the pension commissioner in March 1837, saying that the papers in the case of the pension are returned as the evidence is “not being sufficient to establish the claim” because of new regulations on pensions. Perhaps this is what prompted the second Tench’s letter in 1843, for which a response is not known:

A further letter from J.L. Edwards, in March 1837, confirms that Tench did serve from January 1, 1777 to November 3, 1783:

Then there is a letter from a later descendant in 1894 to the pension office about Tench’s pension papers:

After that there is a 1928 letter by another descendant, Grace Cottingham Tilghman Bowen (who married a man named Charles Hay Bowen), leading to the response from the War Department as noted earlier in this post:

Second page of the pension specifically focuses on Tench:

There is much to be learned from this pension. For one, that Tench served as a Lt. Colonel and Aide-De-Camp from 1777 to 1783, and that he married Anna Maria Tilghman, his cousin, in June 1783 when she was 28 years old (born in 1755). Furthermore, it is also clear that he had two children with her, Margaret (older) and Elizabeth (younger), with the latter child born after the “demise of her husband” Tench. From there, Margaret later had a child named Tench Tilghman, meaning that she married a person with the surname of Tilghman, while Elizabeth married a man named C.T. Goldsborough and seemingly had a child named M. Tilghman Goldsborough. It is not known when Margaret or Elizabeth died, but only that Margaret was dead sometime before 1825 (when Elizabeth filed her claim for the bounty land), while Elizabeth lived until at least 1843. Furthermore, it is also noted that Tench lived in Baltimore where he met a woman named Henrietta Maria Francis, who was 25 when she was first “acquainted” with Tench, and she married a man named Philip Francis,the uncle of Tench, whom Tench visited in March 1783 after the marriage of Henrietta and Philip. All of this calls for another post to dig into this more, which will be coming to you from this wonderful blog next week!

Notes

[1] Pension of Tench Tilghman, 1837, B.L.Wt 1158-450, Widow’s Pension Application File, W.9522, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15. Courtesy of
Ancestry.com and Heritage Quest.

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