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Stephens City’s most distinguished citizen lived a life worthy of all imitation



It is my humble opinion that too little attention has been given by local historians to the distinguished career of Dr. John Bell Tilden. Tilden spent the last 45 years of his life as a resident of Frederick County, leaving a lasting impression on the local church and civil government professions.

Dr. John Bell Tilden, son of Captain Richard and Anna (Meyer) Tilden, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, December 9, 1761 (gravestone reads 1762) and baptized in the Episcopal Church. He died July 31, 1838, in Stephensburg, now Stephen City, Virginia. He was a student at Princeton College studying medicine at the time of the Revolutionary war. He left college to join the Continental army, receiving a commission as ensign, May 28, 1779, in the Second Regiment Pennsylvania line, commanded by Colonel Walter Stewart. He was subsequently promoted to second lieutenant, his commission to date from July 25, 1780. His regiment left York, Pennsylvania, for the southern campaign in the spring of 1781 and he was present at the siege of Yorktown and surrender of General Cornwallis (was an officer appointed to receive the surrendered arms). At the close of the war he was honorably discharged and became a member of the Pennsylvania Society of the Cincinnati. During his entire service he kept a diary, which is now in the possession of the Pennsylvania Historical Society, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Dr. John Bell Tilden by Frederick Kemmelmeyer, painted in Winchester in 1814. (Eleanor G. Shutter Collection, Stewart Bell Jr Archives, Handley Regional Library, Winchester VA)

Dr. John Bell Tilden married Jane Chambers on August 9, 1784. Jane was daughter of Joseph and Martha Chambers of York, Pennsylvania. Sometime after leaving the army in 1783, Tilden settled in Martinsburg, Berkeley County, Virginia (now West Virginia). During that time, Tilden was converted to Christ in 1787 and united with the Methodist Episcopal Church there and soon became a layman and an active worker in evangelistic efforts.

He later relocated to Stephensburg, Frederick County about 1793, where he apparently studied medicine and secured a large and lucrative practice until the close of his life. Being a man of culture and extensive influence, Tilden was ordained to the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church on January 31, 1803 with George Reed and James Chipley as Bondsmen. Tilden was elected a Justice of the Peace and also High Sheriff of Frederick County (1795-1813). He occupied prominent positions in the state as well as the church; and by the exercise of justice and integrity in the discharge of his important duties, reflected credit and honor, both upon his ministerial and magisterial professions. Tilden bought a large two story log home in Stephens City sometime between 1801 and 1815. The house which Tilden named Bell Air, was built by the Lewis Stephens family in 1788 and still stands today.

John Bell Tilden purchased this large two story log home in Stephens City, (built in 1788) and named it Bell Air. Photos courtesy of Mark Gunderman

During the agitation of the question of lay representation, Tilden advocated the equal rights of the laity with the clergy in the legislative department of the church. For exercising these Scriptural and American rights, he and other prominent brethren were expelled from the M. E. Church in Stephensburg, in 1828.  At his trial he was refused the privilege of reading his defense, so he informed the large assembly, that he would read it from the door steps after leaving the church. Nearly the entire congregation went with him leaving only his accusers behind. Tilden united with his expelled brethren and in the next year, 1829, assisted in organizing the Virginia Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church. In 1872 the M. E. church admitted its error by adopting lay representation into its polity.

The most complete account of Rev. John Tilden’s preaching ability was published in 1880. That year Sketches of the Founders of the Methodist Protestant Church, and its Bibliography by Thomas H. Colhouer, included this description regarding Tilden:

“As a reformer, Tilden was like Paul and Luther, bold, earnest, and outspoken, laboring with both tongue and pen to defend and advance the cause of the New Testament equality in the ministry. He promoted the indisputable rights of the laity to representation in the free Gospel Church of Christ. Tilden was a contributor and industrious circulator of the Mutual Rights Magazine, the organ of the Reform party in the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Rev John B. Tilden was a fine preacher of noble and dignified bearing, chaste in style, pure in diction, graceful in manner, and a profound and earnest profounder of the Word of God. In his holy life, fervent zeal and spotless character, he set an example that was worthy of all imitation.”

Early Days and Methodism in Stephens City, Virginia, by Inez Virginia Steele, first published in 1906 includes an account of a Methodist Dinner Party. The dinner party was held in Rev. Elisha Phelps house in August 1802 at Stephensburg. There Rev. James Quinn described John Tilden as, “an interesting figure, somewhat robust but not corpulent, a fine, manly face, and smiling countenance.”

As a committed early Methodist he acknowledged the equity of all people before God. These democratic views of social order extended across the racial divide. Long before the abolitionist movement was an organized effort to end the practice of slavery in the United States, Dr. Tilden freed his slaves Lucy and her small child James in April 1806 and sent them to Liberia with one year’s provision.

Dr. Tilden will always be remembered as a veteran of the Revolutionary war, doctor and Methodist Minister. His spouse, Jane Chambers was born in York County, Pennsylvania, December 18, 1766 and died May 26 1827. In 1802, at the age of 35, Jane was described as an interesting lady with white hair as pure wool and eyes beaming with intelligence. They had ten children. Dr. Tilden and Jane are buried in the Tilden family plot at Stephens City UMC Cemetery.

Dr. John Bell Tilden gravestone at Stephens City United Methodist Church cemetery.

Buried in the Tilden family plot are:

  • Anna Belle Tilden: Died 1819
  • Jane Tilden: Died 1827
  • Dr. John B. Tilden: Died 1838
  • Lorenzo R. McLeod: Died Unknown
  • Lorenzo T. McLeod: Died 1888
  • Anna Bell Tilden McLeod: Died 1890


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3 good reasons to try before you buy: new and used summer vehicles



It’s easy to fall in love with a beautiful ATV, powerful dirt bike, or shiny speed boat. However, before you sign on the dotted line, it’s a good idea to keep a cool head and take the vehicle for a test drive. Here are three reasons why.

1. Reality may not meet your expectations
No two vehicles are the same. For instance, some have overly sensitive steering, while others have weak acceleration or a noisy engine. Therefore, make sure you try driving the vehicle to ensure it meets your expectations.

2. The vehicle may be uncomfortable to drive
Some vehicles look great but are uncomfortable to drive. For example, taking the vehicle for a test run will allow you to determine if there are any undesirable features, such as overly firm seats or insufficient legroom.

3. You can gauge functionality and other details
It’s important to take the vehicle for a test drive to reveal shortcomings that may only become apparent during use, such as poorly positioned gauges and hard-to-reach controls or accessories.

Finally, take your time to make the most of your test drive. After all, you’re about to spend a lot of money and want to be fully satisfied with your purchase.

If you’re unsure if an RV, ATV, or boat is right for you, try renting. This way, you can confirm your interest before you start shopping.

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5 ecological construction materials



Are you planning on renovating your home or building a new abode? If so, have you considered the environmental impact of the construction materials? Here are five building materials you may want to consider to reduce your ecological footprint.

1. Wood is ideal for home construction because it’s weather-resistant, recyclable, renewable, and an excellent insulator. In addition, it’s readily available and easy to maintain.

2. Straw is an inexpensive insulator. In fact, it can stay in peak condition for several hundred years if kept dry. However, you must include fire protection as part of the installation.

3. Cork is a lightweight, water-repellent, and rot-proof material that’s great for insulating and soundproofing your home. It’s also resistant to insects and fungi. The only disadvantage is that it tends to be pricey.

4. Bamboo is a fast-growing grass that reaches maturity in four years. It’s a versatile material that’s suitable for flooring, furniture, insulation, and soundproofing.

5. Steel is a great building material. You don’t need to use very much to reach the same structural stability as wood. It’s even more environmentally friendly when composed of recycled resources.

You can use many other materials to renovate your home while respecting the environment. Ask an expert in your area to show you available ecological solutions.

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When to buy an ATV



Summer is just around the corner. Consequently, many people are thinking about purchasing an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) for working outdoors or exploring nearby trails. Here’s a look at the best time of year to buy a quad from your local dealership.

First come, first served
Dealerships typically receive shipments of brand-new four-wheelers in the fall. Therefore, if you want to browse new and old models alike, autumn is the best time of year to go shopping. Moreover, since public demand decreases at this time, dealers are particularly inclined to offer discounts to stimulate sales and make room for new arrivals.

If you’ve missed this window, you may still be able to find a model that works for you. However, don’t delay. Demand increases as the summer season approach. Additionally, since the pandemic has disrupted supply chains, the model you researched online may no longer be available at your local dealership.

If you don’t find an ATV that catches your eye, consider waiting until the fall. Although you won’t enjoy quadding right away, you’ll be rewarded for your patience with a wide selection of off-road vehicles at low prices.

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What police officers want you to know about policing



How much do you know about policing? Unfortunately, what many people believe about this line of work comes from television. For National Police Week, which takes place this year from May 15 to 21, here are some facts about this profession to keep in mind.

Becoming a police officer is difficult
Earning a police badge is challenging. Only one out of every 100 applications is accepted for training. Many cadets won’t graduate from the academy, and more will quit during field training. The ones who make it are dedicated, intelligent individuals committed to keeping their communities safe.

Policing is inaccurately portrayed on TV
Shows like CSI provide a glamorized view of police work. In real life, officers involved in shootings don’t go back to work right away, and murder cases aren’t solved in a few days. Investigations are painstakingly slow. Don’t assume that because you watch Criminal Minds, you’re aware of what happens on the job.

PTSD is a real problem
More than shootings can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in police officers. Horrible car crashes, violent altercations, and failed rescue attempts can all take a toll on an officer’s mental health.

Most cops never shoot anyone
Watching the news may give you the impression police officers are always shooting at suspects. However, the exact opposite is true. Most officers go through their entire career without firing their weapon outside of a training range.

During National Police Week, consider the good work officers do to keep our communities safe.

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4 common types of EMS calls



National EMS Week, which takes place this year from May 15 to 21, is a time for all Americans to learn more about the lifesaving work emergency medical service (EMS) providers deliver every day. These front-line healthcare workers are trained to arrive at the scene of an emergency and deliver medical aid. Here are some of the most common types of EMS calls they face.

1. Trauma
Traumatic injuries happen quickly and require immediate medical attention. They can be wounds sustained in car crashes, drownings, shootings, and falls. About 100,000 Americans die from traumatic injuries every year, and it’s the leading cause of death in the country for people under 45. However, thanks to the medical training EMS workers have, many lives are saved.

2. Abdominal pain
Pain in the abdomen can be a symptom of gas, indigestion, or a pulled muscle. However, it can also be symptomatic of pancreatitis, intestinal obstruction, or appendicitis. EMS workers have the training to assess and diagnose abdominal pains on the scene.

3. Respiratory distress
Determining why a patient can’t breathe properly is complicated and requires extensive medical knowledge. Respiratory distress can be caused by an allergic reaction, asthma, pneumonia, a stroke, or a drug overdose. Each scenario requires a different treatment before the patient can be safely transported to the hospital.

4. Chest pain
Chest pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, including anxiety, acid reflux, pneumonia, and a heart attack. An EMS worker’s first job on a call pertaining to chest pain is to rule out the most life-threatening condition, which is cardiac arrest, then move on to other possible causes.

EMS workers face many challenges during an average shift, but their training and dedication help save lives. This year in May, be sure to show your appreciation for these medical professionals during EMS Week.

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Olivia and Liam top baby names for 2021



Olivia and Liam are America’s most popular baby names in 2021. Liam has been the top choice for new parents for five years in a row, and Olivia has topped the list for three years. Once again, during this unprecedented time, parents chose to stick with familiar names. Out of both Top 10 lists combined, only one name changed, with Theodore replacing Alexander in popularity. The name Theodore joins the Top 10 list for the first time–welcome to the club “Teddy!”

Here are the top 10 boys and girls names for 2021:

Rank Male name Female name
1 Liam Olivia
2 Noah Emma
3 Oliver Charlotte
4 Elijah Amelia
5 James Ava
6 William Sophia
7 Benjamin Isabella
8 Lucas Mia
9 Henry Evelyn
10 Theodore Harper

Acting Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi encourages everyone to enjoy the baby names list and, while online, create a my Social Security account at

my Social Security, born ten years ago this month, is a personalized online account people can use beginning in their working years and continuing while receiving Social Security benefits.

Over the decade, more than 69 million people have signed up and benefited from the many secure and convenient self-service options. People who set up their my Social Security account have access to additional personalized services. They can request a replacement Social Security card online if they meet certain requirements. If they already receive Social Security benefits, they can start or change direct deposit online, request a replacement SSA-1099, and if they need proof of their benefits, they can print or download a current Benefit Verification Letter from their account.

People not yet receiving benefits can use their online account to get a personalized Social Security Statement, which provides their earnings information as well as estimates of their future benefits. The portal also includes a retirement estimator and links to information about other online services, such as applications for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits.

Additional Baby Names Information:

Social Security began compiling the baby name list in 1997, with names dating back to 1880. At the time of a child’s birth, parents supply the name to the agency when applying for a child’s Social Security card, thus making Social Security America’s source for the most popular baby names.

Each year, the list reveals the effect of pop culture on naming trends. Here are the top five fastest-rising boys and girls names in 2021:

Rank Male name Female name
1 Amiri Raya
2 Eliam Wrenley
3 Colter Angelique
4 Ozzy Vida
5 Loyal Emberlynn

Please visit to view the entire list.

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