Page 146

Perdita

Washington, Lafayette & Tilghman uncle Matthew Tilghman of Rich Neck Manor, near the modern-day v illage of Claiborne. Their f irst child, Anna Margaretta, was born in May of the following year, 1784. Tench’s health continued to deteriorate, however, and he passed away in April of 1786 at the age of 41. Everyone, including George Washington, was devastated by his untimely passing. The distraught Anna Maria was pregnant with their second daughter; Elizabeth was born the following October. Fortunately, the widow’s loving

father, Matthew Tilghman, stepped for ward to care for her and his granddaughters. The following year, he presented Anna Maria with a place for them to live, close to friends in Oxford and across the road from Bonfield, the home of their cousins, the Chamberlaines. Tilghman purchased the property from the Coward family and had a fine brick house built there. As you may already have guessed, it was Plimhimmon. Anna Maria Tilghman presided at Plimhimmon for over fifty years. In 1812, when her elder daughter died suddenly at the age of 28, she took in Anna Margaretta’s son. He, too, was named Tench Tilghman, for his mother had married a Tilghman. Mrs. Tilghman made him her heir, and upon her death in 1843, Tench inherited Plimhimmon. Now back to our tale. Sometime in the early 1820s, Mrs. Tilghman and her grandson entertained a visitor, a Mr. Theodore Sedgwick. He was a native of Massachusetts, about 40 years of age and a practicing lawyer in A lbany, New York. His father (also Theodore) was a prominent lawyer and politician who rose to become Speaker of the House of Representatives. Why Theo was on the Eastern Shore is not known, but we know he spent some time at Plimhimmon. There, at the Tilghman dinner table, he heard the story ~ then more than 50 years old ~ of a teenaged English girl who came to Oxford disguised

144

Profile for Tidewater Times

Tidewater Times March 2019  

March 2019 Tidewater Times

Tidewater Times March 2019  

March 2019 Tidewater Times