[Amherst, Ma. Privately printed, ca. 1873]. iv,130,[2, errata leaf],-138pp. plus four mounted photographic prints. Original maroon cloth, front board gilt, marbled endpapers, all edges marbled. Spine and one-third of front board sunned, moderate insect damage, spine ends and corners frayed. Contemporary 1874 ownership inscription in pencil on front flyleaf. Text a bit toned, but clean, one leaf detached (but present). Very good. Item #WRCAM55579
A rare work recording the story of an early pioneer woman and her family on the Illinois frontier in the 1820s. Christiana Tillson travelled from Boston to Illinois in 1822 to join her new husband John, passing through Wheeling, Zanesville, and Chillicothe, Ohio before eventually trekking down the Ohio River to Shawneetown, Illinois. Mrs. Tillson's narrative, which she recorded for posterity at the very end of her life, contains much local and regional color on Montgomery County in the years immediately following the family's arrival. She intended that her story provide instruction and entertainment for her youngest daughter, who was too young to remember their life on the western frontier of the country. The work is an important source of information about early frontier life in the region. The text is enriched by four original photographs. The frontispiece is a photograph of a drawing of the Tillson family home, presumably in Illinois. The remaining three photographs are carte de visite portraits of Christiana, John, and Charles Tillson, each facing a page of memorial text. Charles Tillson was actually born while the family was out west, in Hillsboro, Illinois in 1823. "One of the rarest and best of the personal narratives of life on the western frontier of the 1820s" - Streeter. "One of the most remarkable and historically valuable of pioneer portrayals of life in the log cabin era of the Early West. The author was the wife of John Tillson of Edwardsville, who, as postmaster and county treasurer began his career in Illinois in 1819. The narrative was privately printed by the surviving children of Mrs. Tillson 'for our family alone, and for those connected with us by the attachments of a half century'" - Littell. Only three copies appear in auction records at all, including the Streeter copy, and none since 1969. OCLC records twenty copies in institutions, though that number might be influenced by digital copies or holdings of the reprint, published as A WOMAN'S STORY OF PIONEER ILLINOIS by the Lakeside Press in 1919. Streeter's copy, with a presentation inscription from Robert H. Tillson, sold in 1967 for $300. This is the first copy ever handled by this firm. A wonderful, privately-printed family memorial documenting a little-known time in frontier Illinois. HOWES T268, "b." GRAFF 4152. STREETER SALE 1516. BUCK 155. LITTELL 1038.