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The lineage of the Tillinghast family in America begins with Pardon Elisha Tillinghast, who left England to settle in Providence, RI prior to 1650. His son Joseph [1677-1763] had a son, Nicholas, in 1726. This Nicholas was the first of three straight generations of the same name, with the latter becoming the first principal of the Bridgewater Normal School in 1840. Another son of Pardon Elisha Tillinghast was Pardon Tillinghast Jr. [1668-1743], who relocated to the East Greenwich, RI area. Many later generations of the Tillinghast family would remain in the East and West Greenwich area, which this collection largely represents. Thomas Tillinghast [1786-1828] relocated from West Greenwich, RI to Sardinia, NY in Erie County in the 1820s. The collection contains correspondence from this branch of the Tillinghast family to relatives back in West Greenwich, RI. Stephen Hopkins Tillinghast [1768-1841] was the son of Stukely Tillinghast, another descendent of Pardon Elisha Tillinghast. From roughly 1814-1820 Stephen was involved with the Rhode Island Manufacturing Company in West Greenwich that specialized in the cotton industry. Stephen’s sons were Samuel, Reuben, Isaac, and Gideon. Samuel Tillinghast [1785-1854] was a long-time Justice of the Peace in both West Greenwich and Foster, RI.

The focus of the collection is on the Tillinghast family out of the East and West Greenwich, RI area. Numerous Last Will and Testament documents are in the collection, as well as correspondence from a part of the family that moved to Sardinia, NY in the 1820s. The collection also contains many court related documents due to a number of Tillinghast family members who worked in the law profession.

The collection is split into four series. Series 1 contains all original Tillinghast family documents acquired by the University in 2015. Series 2 and 3 were acquired by the University in 2016, and contain material from Stephen Tillinghast and his son Samuel Tillinghast. Series 2 also contains material on the Rhode Island Manufacturing Company that was involved in the cotton industry during the early 1820s, which Stephen Tillinghast was involved in. Series 3 focuses on Samuel Tillinghast, mostly documenting his role as Justice of the Peace and his land/property transactions. Series 4 contains genealogical research on the family done by Marcia Wakeling roughly between the years 2005-2010. This research contains documentation of the Tillinghast family in different areas of Rhode Island, as well as the branch of the family that relocated to Taunton, MA in the later portion of the 1700s. This is the family branch of Nicholas Tillinghast [1803-1856], the first principal/president of the Bridgewater Normal School, now known as Bridgewater State University.



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