John Q. Tilson

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John Q. Tilson

John Quillin Tilson (April 5, 1866 – August 14, 1958) was an American politician. A Republican, he represented Connecticut in the United States House of Representatives for almost 22 years and was House Majority leader for 6 years.

Early life[edit]

Tilson was born in Clearbranch, Unicoi County, Tennessee, on April 5, 1866. He attended both public and private schools in nearby Flag Pond and later at Mars Hill, North Carolina. He went to college at Carson-Newman College, in Jefferson City, Tennessee, where he graduated in 1888. Later he enrolled at Yale Law School, where he graduated in 1893. He was admitted to the bar in 1897 and started to practice in New Haven, Connecticut.

In 1898, when the Spanish–American War broke out, he enlisted and served as a second lieutenant in the Sixth Regiment, United States Volunteer Infantry.[1]


In 1904, Tilson was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives, where he served until 1908, the last two years as speaker.[2] He was later elected to United States House of Representatives, serving from 1909 to 1913; he ran unsuccessfully for reelection in 1912.

Tilson ran for election again, and was again reelected to the House of Representatives. He served from March 4, 1915, until his resignation on December 3, 1932. He was the Majority Leader for the 69th Congress, 70th Congress, and the 71st Congress. He became a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1932.

Later life[edit]

After his retirement from public life, Tilson returned to the practice of law in Washington D.C., and then in New Haven, Connecticut. He also served as a special lecturer at Yale University on parliamentary law and procedure and wrote Tilson's Manual.[3]


Tilson died in New London, New Hampshire on August 14, 1958. He is interred at the private burial grounds on the family farm in Clearbranch, Tennessee.


  1. ^ "TILSON, John Quillin, (1866 - 1958)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved September 16, 2012. 
  2. ^ "John Q. Tilson". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved September 16, 2012. 
  3. ^ "TILSON, John Quillin, (1866 - 1958): Guide to Research Collections". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved September 16, 2012. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
George L. Lilley
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's at-large congressional district

March 4, 1909 – March 3, 1913
Succeeded by
None, At-large seat eliminated
Preceded by
Thomas L. Reilly
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 3rd congressional district

March 4, 1915 – December 3, 1932
Succeeded by
Francis T. Maloney
Party political offices
Preceded by
Nicholas Longworth
Majority Leader of the United States House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Henry T. Rainey