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Towsonite who fought for women’s right to vote remembered today

Great Uncle Jimmy, Great Uncle Lee, Granddad David, Great Grandmom Frances, and Great Uncle Dick Tillman.

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.”

Great Uncle Jimmy, Great Uncle Lee, Granddad David, Great Grandmom Frances, and Great Uncle Dick Tillman.

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. 

-Kris Henry


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3 Comments on "Towsonite who fought for women’s right to vote remembered today"

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Uh… Actually, all women didn’t have the right to vote until 1965.. Black women and men didn’t have the right to vote until 1965… Funny how we always miss that part.

Karl Pfrommer

I often think of gender inequality in the USA and all around the world. For the most part I believe it has been “fortunate women” like Frances who helped to minimize these gender prejudices.

Looking at the bright side, when more women are accepted as equals with men, the more successful our societies become, here and throughout our world.