Source: Clarkson W. Weesner, History of Wabash County Indiana (1914), Vol. II, pp. 516-517.
ALVAH S. TILMAN is one of the successful and prominent business men of Wabash, whose achievements have been such as to render him worthy of mention among the citizenship of his community in a historical and biographical work of the nature of this publication. He was born near Mansfield, at Lucas, in Richland county, Ohio, on January 18, 1864. His father, David B. Tilman, was a native of Preble county, Ohio, born there on January 15, 1842, and was reared on a farm in Wabash county, Indiana.
David Tilman was the son of Jacob Tillman, as the name was rendered up to his generation, the latter having moved to Wabash county when his son was a mere infant. David B. Tilman was the youngest of twelve children of his parents. He had only a limited education, such advantages as the pioneer schools of his days offered being all that came his way in early education, and as he grew up he devoted himself to farm life. He sawed a great part of the lumber that went into the construction of the early plank and corduroy roads of those days of primitive road building in Wabash county, and he later operated a flouring mill at North Manchester, and also at Laketon and at Akron, Indiana. He married Susan McFarland on March 9, 1861, and when his eldest son was but a mere infant, he decided to enlist in the army. He accordingly sent his wife and babe home to her parents in Richland county, Ohio, and he enlisted in Company D, Forty-seventh Indiana Volunteer Infantry. He served until peace was restored, and was honorably discharged at the cessation of hostilities. After the war he took up his residence in Wabash county, here continuing a resident until March, 1884, when he moved to Ozark county, Missouri, and there he has ever since resided. He is the only surviving member of his father's family of twelve children. Mr. Tilman has for half a century been actively identified with the work of the Methodist Episcopal church, and of his six sons, two are ordained ministers of that denomination. As a man, Mr. Tilman has lived a clean, upright, moral and religious life, honest in all his relations with his fellow men, with his family and honest with himself. He has all his life been a worthy example of right living to his family and to all who knew him, and is a type of the finest of American citizenship. His wife died in 1905.
Alvah S. Tilman was born while his father was still in the service of the Union army. He was reared, however, in Wabash county, whither the family removed after the return of the father to the pursuits of peace, and this county has always been his home since then. When a boy he worked with his father in the milling business, but in early manhood he began to clerk in a grocery and bakery at North Manchester. After four years of that work he established himself in business, opening the doors of a restaurant to the public in March, 1891, in North Manchester, He continued in this for some years, eventually adding a bakery to the restaurant, and in 1900 he sold out, in December 1901, coming to Wabash, and here embarking in a small way in the bakery and restaurant business. In 1908, he sold the restaurant end of the business, and has since that time devoted himself wholly to the business of building up a first class bakery establishment. In that ambition he has been singularly successful, and his place today is one of the thriving spots in the community.
Mr. Tilman began his business activities with a cash capital of $200. Fortunately, he possessed excellent health, plenty of business courage and ambition, but best of all, he had a wife who was willing to work with him, shoulder to shoulder, and who helped in every way to make whatever has come to them of business prosperity.
A republican in his politics, Mr. Tilman served two terms as councilman at North Manchester and one term in the same office in Wabash. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and of the Knights of Pythias, while both he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church.
On March 7, 1886, Mr. Tilman was married to Miss Cora M. Holderman, and who was born and reared within the corporate limits of North Manchester, a daughter of Henry and Isabelle Holderman. To them were born six children; one of whom died in infancy, Harry Tilman. The others are Marie, Grear, Iva, Della, and Luther.