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Christopher Reynolds of Isle of Wight, VA

In Search of Evidence for the Tillman Books
Sybil "Lee" Reynolds Taylor

When Reynolds family historians begin their search very likely the first compilations of Reynolds family information they discover are these two books by Col. Stephen F. Tillman of Chevy Chase MD:


It is almost impossible to write of these families without addressing the Tillman books. We are fortunate to have them. Unfortunately, he provided very little documentation in either book and mistakes have been found by more recent researchers. More unfortunate, all of his research papers have been destroyed. This is especially sad since Tillman spent about 40 years on his quest for Reynolds ancestors.

Surely, he had access to then living people, Bible and other family records that are not extant today. It also must be said that since 1959 source materials have become available that were not available to Tillman.

From his two books, we know little of the man who compiled them over many years. As a tribute to the tremendous efforts of Colonel Tillman, a short biography compiled from his obituaries, books, and contemporaries is presented below.

Stephen Frederick Tillman, 76, of Chevy Chase MD, a veteran of World Wars I and II and a government worker for 16 years, died Saturday, May 21, 1977, at George Washington University Hospital after a long illness. Mr. Tillman was the author of "Man Unafraid," a compilation of columns he wrote for the Army Times newspaper about the men who pioneered the military use of aircraft.

A native of D.C., Mr. Tillman served along the Mexican border in World War I. During World War II he served with the Army Air Corps at Randolph Field, TX; the amphibious command and helped to convert the Women's Air Corps from an auxiliary unit of the Army to a full service branch.

After leaving the Army in 1946 he went to work for the Bureau of Standards, the Railroad Retirement Board and the Veterans Administration, until his retirement in 1960. During his government career Mr. Tillman continued to lobby for equal benefits for reserve and regular military personnel. Mr. Tillman became a colonel in the civil affairs military government reserve of the Army.

Books written by the author were "Tillman Family" (1928); "Writing for Publication" (1934); "Spes Alit Agricolam" (1938); and "Tilghman Family" (1947).

Mr. Tillman is survived by his wife, Florence, of the home in Bethesda [MD]; a son, John Stephen of Fairfax [VA]; two daughters, Susan T. Elliott of Portland Ore., and Nancy Tillman, at the University of Maryland, and sisters, Patricia Johnson (Mrs. U. Alexis) of Washington and Mrs. Ruth T. Marlin, and brother Robert Tillman.

Graveside service Tuesday, May 24, at 2:00 p.m. Interment Arlington National Cemetery.

[The Washington Post, Sunday, May 22, 1977, page B6; The Washington Post, Monday, May 23, 1977; Colonel Robert Jarrell Reynolds. See also various issues of Reynolds Recollections and the RFA Centennial Collection.]

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