biography from Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
ROBERT TILFORD, of Union Township, is very properly classed as a pioneer of this county, having made settlement here in 1845. He is a native of Adair County, Ky., his birth occurring Feb. 3, 1819, and is a son of James and Mary (Workman) Tilford, who were natives of Virginia. In the year 1829 the family removed to Illinois, settled in Morgan County, and purchased 200 acres of land, which he soon converted into a pleasant home, he was energetic in the desire to accumulate property, that his children might be cared for in the future, so in the spring of 1840 he sold his farm for $2,000, removed to Iowa, purchased a section of land in Jefferson County, and there spent the remainder of his life. His death took place Dec. 27, 1860, at the age of sixty-two years. His wife died in May of the same year, at the age of sixty years. There were nine children in the family, and had all attained their majority before the death of their parents. Robert Tilford, the subject of this sketch, was the fourth child, and came with his parents to Iowa. Oct. 23, 1845, he united in marriage with Rebecca E. Andrews. a native of Kentucky, and immediately following his marriage removed to this county, where he had previously taken a claim on section 12 of this township, and there still resides. Mr. and Mrs. Tilford are the parents of five children: William is a farmer in Adair County, this State; Mary is the wife of Jesse S. Enson, and lives in Kansas, near Arkansas City, Cowley County; Elizabeth is the wife of Benjamin Clendenin, of Poweshiek County; Sarah E. is the wife of Stewart Lockard, who resides at New Sharon; John lives at home. While Mr. Tilford dates his permanent residence from 1845, it is a fact that he first came to this county in 1843, taking up his claim while the Indians were yet in possession, and making numerous improvements thereon. He is really and truly among those who were pioneers in the settlement of this county, and endured the hardships and privations of those early days, working for that success that he has since obtained. In his political career Mr. Tilford was raised to believe the teachings of Democracy, and acted with that party until the Greeley campaign of 1872. That year he voted for Peter Cooper, the candidate of the Greenback party, and since that time voted a mixed ticket. In 1860 he was afflicted with failing eyesight, and became nearly blind, in fact, was totally blind for one season, but by good care and proper treatment has since recovered his sight. He was engaged in mixed farming and stock-raising, and is numbered among the well-to-do farmers of the county. While a man of more than average ability, and possessed Of large general knowledge, he is not particularly demonstrative, and prefers the pursuit of farming and its attendant responsibility to the turmoil of politics and its empty honors. Among friends and neighbors, with whom he has so long been associated, he is greatly esteemed and respected.
Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy