Obituary: "Elwood Bulletin" [Elwood, Gosper Co., NE], 23 Oct 1958:
John O. Tilson
John O. Tilson, 86, died late Monday evening, October 13th at the Holdrege hospital. He had been ill since October 2nd.
Mr. Tilson was born near Abingdon, Illinois, May 25, 1872 and at 17 years of age moved to Nebraska where in 1893 he married Stella Ann Vinzant. They homesteaded in 1894 on the farm north of Elwood where they resided until their deaths. She passed away December 25, 1951.
His parents came to this country from Nasum Skane, Sweden, and settled in Warren Co., Ill.
Long active in rural affairs in and around Elwood, Mr. Tilson was one of the organizers and board member of the Bethel church for many years and in recent years attended the Elwood Christian church.
He was one of the organizers of the Elwood Stock Show where he won top prizes in all classes of live stock both in the county and livestock shows throughout Nebraska. For many years he was in the purebred livestock business and general farming.
Mr. Tilson was a member of the Lone Star school board for 32 years and also organized the first 4-H club in Gosper county.
In recent years he assisted the Nebraska State Historical Society in gathering information of early days in and around Elwood and Nebraska.
He is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Roy Pettijohn of Kearney; three sons, Lloyd, of Wishram, Wash., Oral, of Vallejo, Calif., and Paul of Elwood. A son, Ralph, preceded him in death in 1932. Other survivors include twelve grandchildren, several great grandchildren and a host of relatives and friends.
Funeral services were held at the Christian church Thursday, October 16th at 2:00 p.m. with the Rev. Warren Anderson in charge. A male quartette sang, "Haven of Rest" and "Going Down the Valley," accompanied at the piano by Mrs. Merton Leggott.
Pall bearers were Carl and Keith Willets, Vaugn Leggott, Orin Dreher, Gottlief Knoerzer, and Amos Gydesen.
Oral Tilson and Ronald of Vallejo, Calif., and Mrs. and Mrs Lloyd Tilson of Wishram, Wash., who were unable to attend the service, phoned the family and sent beautiful flowers.
Note: John O. Tilson, sixth and youngest child of Martin Tilson & Christine Olson [aka Mattis Johnsson & Kjersta Olsdotter] was the only natural-born United States citizen [b. Warren Co., IL]. His five older siblings all were born in Näsum Parish, Skåne Län, Sweden.
The John O. Tilson family:
1900 Census, Elwood Precinct, Gosper Co., NE, E.D. #73, Sheet 11A, Dwelling #215, Family #217, enumerated 27 Jun 1900:
Tilson, John O., Head, b. May 1872, 28, m. 7 yrs., b. Illinois, f/b Sweden, m/b Sweden, Farmer, Owns Farm Free
--- Stella A., Wife, b. Sep 1875, 24, mother of 1 child, 1 living, b. Iowa, f/b Missouri, m/b Missouri
--- Ralph E., Son, b. Sep 1895, 4, b. Nebraska, f/b Illinois, m/b Iowa
1910 Census, Bethel Precinct, Gosper Co., NE, E.D. #89, Sheet 14A, Dwelling #226, Family #227, enumerated 6 May 1910:
Tilson, John O, Head, 36, m1 17 yrs, b. Illinois, f/b Swed, m/b Swed, Farmer, General Farm, Owns Farm Free
--- Stella A, Wife, 34, m1 17 yrs, mother of 4 children, 4 living, b. Missouri, f/b Indiana, m/b Indiana
--- Ralph E., Son, 15,b. Nebraska, f/b Illinois, m/b Missouri
--- Lloid O, Son, 10,b. Nebraska, f/b Illinois, m/b Missouri
--- Ethel C., Daughter, 8,b. Nebraska, f/b Illinois, m/b Missouri
--- Oral, A., Son, 7, b. Nebraska, f/b Illinois, m/b Missouri
1920 Census, Bethel Precinct, Gosper Co., NE, E.D. #93, Sheet 4A, Dwelling & Family #7, enumerated 22 Jan 1920:
Tilson, John O, Head, Owns [Free], 47, b. Illinois, f/b Sweden, m/b Sweden, Farmer, Farm
--- Stella A., Wife, 43, b. Iowa, f/b Indiana, m/b Iowa
--- Lloyd O, Son, 19, b. Nebraska, f/b Illinois, m/b Iowa, Farm Laborer, Farm
--- Ethel F, Daughter, 17, b. Nebraska, f/b Illinois, m/b Iowa,
--- Oral A, Son, 16, b. Nebraska, f/b Illinois, m/b Iowa, Farm Laborer, Farm
--- Paul J, Son, 8, Attended School, b. Nebraska, f/b Illinois, m/b Iowa
1930 Census, Bethel, Gosper Co., NE, E.D. #1, Sheet 3B, Dwelling & Family #62, enumerated 19 Apr 1930:
Tilson, John, Head, Rents, 54, Wd [sic], 1st m. @ 21, b. Illinois, f/b Sweden, m/b Sweden, Occupation: None, Not a WWI Vet
--- Paul, Son, 19, b. Nebraska, f/b Illinois, m/b Iowa, Laborer, Farm Labor
1930 Census, Denver Township, Ingleside, Hastings State Hospital, Adams Co., NE, E.D. #7, Sheet 14A, enumerated 19 April 1930:
Tilson, Stella A, Inmate, 53, Married, b. Iowa, f/b Indiana, m/b Indiana