Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Rinaldo Loveland Tilton (1839-1917)

Portrait from the Ottumwa Tri-Weekly Courier, April 28, 1910.

    A distinguished fraternal leader and Republican Party figure in Wapello County, Iowa, Rinaldo Loveland Tilton was born in the town of Deerfield, New Hampshire on September 17, 1839, a  son of  Jacob and Betsey Locke Tilton. Little could be found on his early life and education in the state of his birth, and in 1869 he removed from New Hampshire to Iowa, where he would reside for the remainder of his life. 
   In the years following his resettlement Tilton became active in Republican party circles in Wapello County, and in 1876 was selected as an Iowa delegate to the Republican National Convention being held in Cincinnati that nominated Rutherford Hayes for the Presidency. Tilton is listed amongst that year's delegates as "R.L. Tilden" in the 1876 Republican Convention Proceedingsand in 1880 served as a Republican Presidential Elector for Iowa, casting his ballot for his party's standard-bearer, James Garfield. 
   Following his service as a presidential elector, Tilton was appointed by then-President Benjamin Harrison to be the new postmaster at Ottumwa, Iowa and entered upon his duties in December 1889. He served in this capacity until December of 1893, when his commission expired and was succeeded in office in February 1894 by J.R. Burgess. In addition to his service as postmaster Tilton was active in a number of fraternal groups, being a member of the Ottumwa Temperance Reform Club, a past Grand Master Workman of the Ancient Order of United Workman, and was a member of the Ottumwa Lodge No, 16 of Free and Accepted Masons.
  While active in the aforementioned fraternal organizations, Rinaldo L. Tilton also served as Grand Secretary of Iowa's Grand Lodge of the International Order of Odd Fellows, serving this organization until his death in November 1917. On November 5, 1900, Tilton married in Ottumwa to Florence Bayliss (1875-1950), with whom he would have three children: Rinaldo Jr. (born 1901), Florence (born 1903) and Ruth (born 1909).  
  Aside from the preceding information, little else could be found on Rinaldo Loveland Tilton, excepting a death notice for him, that records his death in Des Moines, Iowa on November 2, 1917 at age 78. His wife Florence survived him by over three decades, dying in 1950, and was interred alongside him at the Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines. Curiously, a Find-A-Grave listing records a second burial location for Tilton at the Oralabor Cemetery.

From the Ottumwa Semi-Weekly Courier, November 6, 1917.

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