The son of a farmer, John Quillin Tilson was born in Clearbranch, Tennessee, on April 5, 1866. He attended public school and graduated with a B.A. from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee. He then came to Yale University, where he received a B.A. in 1891, an LL.B. in 1893, and an M.L. in 1894. In 1897, he was admitted to the bar in Connecticut. After leaving New Haven to fight in the Spanish-American War, Tilson returned to find himself a partner in the firm of White, Daggert & Tilson. In 1904, he was elected to serve in the Connecticut House of Representatives and in his second term, served as Speaker of the House. Between 1909 and 1912, he served Connecticut as a congressman-at-large. He was re-elected in 1914 and served until 1932. Between 1925 and 1930, he was the Republican majority leader of the House of Representatives. He was considered an expert on ordnance and a strong advocate of military preparedness. He was sent to Europe twice, once by Warren G. Harding in 1923, and again by Calvin Coolidge in 1925. After retiring from Congress, Tilson returned to law, first in Washington, D.C., and then in New Haven. In 1941, he became national treasurer of the Save the Children Federation. He was awarded numerous medals and was a member of many clubs and societies. On November 10, 1910, in New Haven, he was married to Marguerite, with whom he had three children: John Quillin, Margaret Field, and Katharine Sams. He died in New London, New Hampshire, on August 14, 1958.
From the guide to the John Quillin Tilson papers, 1888-1956, (Manuscripts and Archives)
John Quillen Tilson was a lawyer, army officer, and U.S. Representative (1909-1913 and 1915-1932). Born in Tennessee in 1866, he graduated from Yale College in 1891 and Yale Law School in 1893.
From the description of John Q. Tilson papers, 1917-1947. (New Haven Colony Historical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 773697543