Kristy Tillman Knuppel, a friend of mine who lives in Towson’s Southland Hills neighborhood, had a great post on Facebook today:
“In honor of International Women’s Day and our great grandmother, Frances Nelson Tillman, suffragette and mom to four energetic Tillman boys (Pa Till was her youngest and most ‘energetic’). The boys can be seen here reading The Woman Citizen magazine. Very grateful to all of the women (and boys) who’ve paved the way for us all today.”
I asked Kristy if she’d tell me a bit more so I could share it here:
Frances Nelson Tillman was my great grandmother, married to Richard Henry Tillman. They had four boys (one of whom was my grandfather, David, who had five boys of his own, all of whom grew up in Towson).
The great grandparents lived in a home called Tillmanor in Riderwood. Frances was a barnstormer as a girl, traveled the country putting on shows. She was an avid writer and we have a treasure of autobiographical sketches she wrote to reread and enjoy.
Frances worked to gain the right to vote for women and in one of her sketches called “A Day of David,” she details what clearly was a very hectic, energetic day (involving my mischievous grandfather, a neighborhood friend, and black shoe polish). One visionary paragraph in particular stands out as she wrote of her messy and exhausting day with her four boys.
“It is at times like this that I indulge in that beautiful vision of a Children’s House where the more fortunate mother of the next generation will be able to deposit her infants for an hour, a morning, or a day with the absolute security both in their well being and their happiness. She will know that Johnny won’t crawl out on the roof, fall off and break his leg, or that Jenny will be safe from matches and a house on fire. She will be assured that they will be learning no harm and are as happy as expert attention and loving care can make them! Oh, it is a vision to conjure by!”
I think this is so neat, and I’m so grateful to Kristy for sharing.