A Tillotson Coat-of-arms

Lorenzo Warner Tillotson and Catherine Jane Burville


Lorenzo Warner Tillotson was a first cousin of my great-great-grandfather Franklin James Tillotson . He was known as "Ren" to his relatives. Lorenzo was the son of Zadock Tillotson and his wife Susan Caroline Rogers. Lorenzo was born in Brunswick, Medina County, Ohio on August 25, 1827. He married Catherine Jane Burville on April 21, 1852. (Catherine's name also appears spelled as Catharine.) Catherine was the daughter of Reuben Burville and Anne Reynolds of New Canaan, New York. Catherine was born March 22, 1829.

Lorenzo and Catherine lived in Hickley, Ohio and Springfield, Dane County, Wisconsin before moving to Crete, Will County, Illinois. Lorenzo was a farmer. He also operated a dray line. When the town of Crete was incorporated in 1880, Lorenzo became its first Police Constable. Lorenzo was a Republican and Methodist. Some sources suggest he was a Seventh Day Adventist, but his wife Catherine's obituary says they were both Episcopalians in their youth and attended the Methodist church in Crete.

Lorenzo and Catherine had three children:

Lorenzo and Catherine celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary in 1902. The Crete paper reported on their anniversary as follows.

Married Fifty Years

Lorenzo W. Tillotson and Catherine J. Burville were married at Brunswick, Medina County, Ohio, April 21, 1852. Last Monday Mr. and Mrs. Tillotson celebrated their golden wedding jubilee in a way they had not anticipated. They had been invited to the home of their son, A. D. Tillotson, to dinner and expected to spend the afternoon there. About three o'clock their daughter, Miss Gertie, summoned them home on some pretext, and on their arrival they found to their complete surprise that the house was in full possession of their neighbors and friends, who proceeded to give them a joyful welcome and shower upon them the heartiest congratulations. It was indeed a joyful surprise to the worthy couple, who were unaware that any movement of the kind on the part of their friends had been thought of. Mr. and Mrs. Tillotson have lived in Crete since 1856, with the exception of four years spent in Wisconsin, and the esteem in which they are held by their many friends here was practically displayed on this occasion. The ladies brought baskets heaped to the covers with choice edibles, and at 5 o'clock the committee of arrangements served a delicious supper, after which many of the guests departed. But others kept coming, the younger folks like George Myrick, Irv Wood, Rob Millar, and so on, deeming that the evening was the time to celebrate. And so it came to pass that the committee was called upon to serve another supper about 10 o'clock, and it was nearly midnight when the last guest bade Mr. and Mrs. Tillotson good night.

Just before the first supper Mr. C. I. Read arose in the midst of the company, and addressing Mr. and Mrs. Tillotson, said:

MR. AND MRS. TILLOTSON --
Your friends and neighbors have assembled here today on one of those rare occasions that occur as we move along on the journey of life. God has bounteously lengthened out your lives until your have been permitted to live together as husband and wife for fifty years, and we come today to congratulate and rejoice with you on this your Golden Wedding day. As compared with the great number who start in married life, the occasions are rare where both are permitted to live for half a century, but you have been permitted to do so. In common with mankind you have have doubtless had your joys and sorrows, and have shared them together. In the outset fifty years looked to you a long way ahead, but now as you look back, the time appears to you exceedingly short, and you have come down to the beginning of a new century, older in years, but still young in spirit. Hoping that you may be permitted to live and enjoy each other's society for many years to come, and on behalf of your many friends and neighbors I extend hearty congratulations, and present you with this slight token of their esteem and friendship. (The speaker handed them an envelope containing $62.50 in gold coin.)

Mr. and Mrs. Tillotson expressed their thanks in few but earnest words, and Mr. Read then read the following letter from a cousin of Mr. Tillotson:

Oberlin, Ohio, April 20, 1902.
To Mr. and Mrs. Lorenzo W. Tillotson, these lines are dedicated: --
Had I the gift of an orator's art, or could I express with pen his eloquence, I would offer my simple congratulatory address to each of you at this celebration of your "Golden Wedding." Fifty years of married life together! And now, surrounded with loving children and grand children, who have risen up and call you blessed, truly you have the assurance that your lives have not been spent in vain. All of these many friends gathered here on this festal day are living witnesses testifying to the esteem and affection which your neighbors and friends hold for you. Your life is an open book to be read by those who are following in your footsteps. What you have attained during these years of trial and hardship is now a rich heritage, which can only be appreciated by those who have passed through similar scenes. The parents who today are struggling with all their might and main to provide the things necessary for those dependent upon them can, by studying from your experience, gain a faint lesson of the sacrifice and endurance which was yours, and by so doing, thus take a new heart and courage for life's battles.

To you us due the honor of having "fought the good fight," and today we speak with bowed reverence and offer our heartfelt appreciation for the influence which you have bestowed upon those with whom you have come in contact and those who were entrusted to your care. And now, as you are permitted to enjoy these blessings, may the remainder of your lives be spent in joy and happiness, and finally be gathered home with all the loved ones gone before.

A. Z. Tillotson

Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Gilson, Mrs. Julia Ferrers and Mrs. Howard Gilson of Blue Island, and Mrs. Daniel Sullivan of Auburn Park, relatives of Mrs. Tillotson, were among the afternoon guests. Those present during the afternoon and evening were:

Messrs. and Mesdames --

Wm. Chaplin, Byron Adams, C. I. Read, Jas. Forbes, L. W. Farnam, Robert Millar, Hiram Gilson, A. Buchanan, M. Quackenbush, M. J. Tillotson, W. C. Trowbridge, A. D. Tillotson, George Myrick, Lorenzo Burville, A. H. Smith, Otto Messler, W. I. Wood,

Mesdames --

Daniel Sullivan, Jane Tillotson, Howard Gilson, Clarinda Myrick, Lydia Cox, Martha Gaines, Thomas Cook, John Riegel, Ann J. Newton, Francis Rice, Julia Ferrers, Maria Seymour,

Misses --

Gertrude Tillotson, Julia Porter, Charlotte Cole, Jessie Richards, Margart Irwin, Hilda Tillotson.

Messrs. David Carleton, Walter Riegel, Masters Stewart Rice and Hiram Tillotson.

Lorenzo W. Tillotson died on May 17, 1905 in Crete where he is buried . Catherine died February 3, 1922 in Crete at the age of 92. She too is buried in Crete. See her obituary.

My thanks to Howard Piepenbrink and Carol Triebold for providing the newspaper excerpts from Crete.


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Last modified by pib on July 6, 2003.