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

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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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The benefits of fiber optic internet technology

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Fiber optic internet is becoming increasingly available for homeowners. If you want to learn more, here’s a brief overview of everything you should know.

What are fiber optics?
Optical fiber is a thin, flexible plastic or glass cable that allows light to be transmitted over very long distances without losing any speed. The cable is wrapped in a protective sheath that captures light and sends data to a specific destination.

How does it work?
Optical fiber uses the principle of light refraction. The protective sheath around the cable has a highly reflective interior, which causes light to ricochet in all directions. This allows data to travel from a transmitting element to a receiving end extremely quickly. Fiber optic cables can be installed directly to and from your home or connected to a copper network.

Reasons to opt for fiber optics
Fiber optic internet is the future of broadband. The cables use light signals to send data to and from your computer up to 1,000 times faster than copper alone. This allows you to instantly download large files, seamlessly play online games, participate in online forums and enjoy high-quality graphics.


To find out if you can take advantage of these benefits in your home, contact the internet providers in your area.

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What you should know about working for a co-op

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There are 29,000 co-operatives operating in every sector of the American economy, providing infrastructure, goods, and services to millions. If you’re looking for work, a position with a co-operative could be a good fit.

These types of organizations help communities meet common economic, social, and cultural needs. In addition, their members typically place people over profits and believe in being honest, open, and socially responsible.

Sectors
Whatever your interests or passions, there’s probably a co-operative in your area that’s dedicated to the issues you identify with. In fact, co-operatives can be found in several economic sectors, including:

• Agri-food
• Energy
• Culture
• Forestry
• Retail
• Housing
• Insurance
• Human services
• Financial services
• Telecommunications


Co-operative businesses tend to be community-focused and committed to sustainability. Consequently, they play an important economic role in generating jobs and growth in communities across the country. If you enjoy helping others, you may want to develop your skills and put them to good use within a co-operative.

Did you know?
Co-operatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. As such, all co-operative members have equal voting rights.

 

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150 years after the great fires: Everyone is responsible for fire safety

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One day in October of 1871, flames consumed millions of acres of city and country as fires swept through Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Today, 150 years later, the deadly, but coincidental events of the first week of October 1871 are remembered during Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 3-9, 2021.

The tragic history of the fires reminds us that everyone must take responsibility for fire prevention.

The most famous of these fires is the Great Chicago Fire — not the deadliest or the most extensive of the fires that week, but notorious after it left 100,000 homeless, 300 dead, and leveled the near north side. The fire started Oct. 8 and raged two more days, fueled by the wooden structures and roads and intensified by the dry conditions after a long summer drought.


The fire was widely believed to have started in a barn belonging to Catherine O’Leary when, as the lyrics of a famous ditty say, her cow kicked over a lantern. She was exonerated by an investigation in 1997 but the popular belief in her guilt ruined her life.

Less well-known was the Peshtigo, Wis. fire that started the same day and burned more than a million acres, including 12 towns. Still the deadliest wildfire in history, the Peshtigo fire is estimated to have killed from 1,500 to 2,500 people.

Small fires for land clearing in the area were common, but on the day of the Peshtigo fire, a cold front moved in from the west and produced strong winds that fanned the small fires and created a firestorm.

Meanwhile, in Holland, Manistee, and Port Huron, Mich., about 200 fires raged, consuming vast swaths of dry forest and reducing towns to ash. At least part of the cause was the severe drought that plagued the Midwest that summer.

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The impact of inflation

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Suppose it is 1950. You have $5 in your pocket and you have to buy groceries. You’ve got plenty:

Gallon of milk: 83 cents
Dozen eggs: 60 cents
Loaf of bread: 30 cents
Chopped beef: 53 cents
Frozen green beans: 24 cents
Apples: 39 cents
Peanut butter: 29 cents
5lbs potatoes: 26 cents
3 lbs. hamburger: 89 cents
2 lbs. cabbage: 12 cents
1 lb. bacon: 35 cents
Total: $4.80

If you lived in any of 10 states, there wasn’t a sales tax, so you could pocket that 20 cents.

Today, you aren’t going to make much of a dinner with your $5. You can buy bread for $2 and eggs for $1.54. Five pounds of potatoes cost about $3.



Of course, today you should have more than $5 in your pocket because wages eventually rise with inflation.

The exception: Anyone who lives on fixed savings. For them, inflation can lower their standard of living. That’s why when you retire, your savings and investments have to keep up with inflation.

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4 benefits of working for a small business

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When compared to working for a large company, small businesses offer several advantages. Here are four of them.

1. You’ll be close with your team. Typically, everyone in a small company knows each other by name and job title. Plus, it tends to be easy for small teams to form strong bonds, creating a solid, supportive and engaging work environment.

2. You’ll have a variety of tasks. Working for a small business often means that you’re expected to wear many hats. This allows you to quickly develop your skills and gain experience in several areas.

3. You’ll be valued for your work. If you finish a large project or receive positive feedback from a client, your efforts won’t go unnoticed by a small team. In fact, your colleagues will likely be happy to acknowledge and celebrate your wins with you.


4. You’ll be involved in decisions. In a small business, all employees tend to be encouraged to get involved. You’ll have the opportunity to express your opinions to maximize efficiency, solve problems and improve the products and services offered.

If you’re a strong team player who thrives in a rapidly changing environment, consider working for a small business in your area.

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October Celebrity Birthdays!

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Elisabeth Shue at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival 2

Elisabeth Shue, 58, actress (Adventures in Babysitting), Wilmington, DE,1963.

Do you share a birthday with a celebrity?

1 – Sarah Drew, 41, (Grey’s Anatomy), Charlottesville, VA, 1980.

2 – Lorraine Bracco, 66, actress (“The Sopranos,” ), Brooklyn, NY, 1955.

3 – Alicia Vikander, 33, actress (Oscar for The Danish Girl), Gothenburg, Sweden, 1988.


4 – Susan Sarandon, 75, actress (Oscar for Dead Man Walking), born Susan Tomalin, New York, NY, 1946.

5 – Jesse Eisenberg, 38, actor (Batman v Superman), New York, NY, 1983.

6 – Elisabeth Shue, 58, actress (Adventures in Babysitting), Wilmington, DE,1963.

7 – Lewis Capaldi, 25, singer, songwriter, Glasgow, Scotland, 1996.

8 – Chevy Chase, 78, comedian, actor (Caddyshack), Cornelius Crane at New York, NY, 1943.

9 – Brandon Routh, 42, actor (Superman Returns), Des Moines, IA, 1979.

10 – Ben Vereen, 75, actor, singer, dancer, Miami, FL, 1946.

11 – Cardi B, 29, rapper, television personality, born Belcalis Almanzar, The Bronx, NY, 1992.

12 – Carlos Bernard, 59, actor (“24”), Evanston, IL, 1962.

13 – Ashanti, 41, singer, actress, born Ashanti Sequoiah Douglas, Long Island, NY, 1980.

14 – John Dean, 83, lawyer (White House counsel during Watergate), Akron, OH, 1938.

15 – Tito Jackson, 68, singer, musician (Jackson 5), born Toriano Adaryll Jackson, Gary, IN, 1953.

16 – John Mayer, 44, singer, Bridgeport, CT, 1977.

17 – Norm Macdonald, 58, comedian, actor (Saturday Night Live), Quebec City, QC, Canada,1963.

18 – Freida Pinto, 37, actress (Slumdog Millionaire), Mumbai, India, 1984.

19 – Peter Max, 84, artist, designer, Berlin, Germany, 1937.

20 – John Krasinski, 42, actor, director (A Quiet Place), Boston, MA, 1979.

21 – Edward Charles “Whitey” Ford, 93, Hall of Fame baseball player, New York, NY, 1928.

22 – Jesse Tyler Ferguson, 46, actor, Missoula, MT, 1975.

23 – Emilia Clarke, 35, actress (Game of Thrones), London, England, 1986.

24 – Monica, 41, singer, born Monica Arnold in Atlanta, GA, 1980.

25 – Katy Perry, 37, singer, born Santa Barbara, CA, 1984.

26 – Cary Elwes, 59, actor (Princess Bride), London, England,1962.

27 – Roberto Benigni, 69, actor, director, Arezzo, Italy, 1952.

28 – Matt Smith, 39, actor, Northampton, England, 1982.

29 – Gabrielle Union, 49, actress (Honeymooners), Omaha, NE, Oct 29, 1972.

30 – Kennedy McMann, 25, actress (Nancy Drew), Holland, MI, 1996.

31 – Letitia Wright, 28, actress (Black Panther), Georgetown, Guyana, 1993.

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Senior Painting Class with Dottie at Strokes of Creativity. Tickets: CLICK HERE Cost: $80 for 6 weeks Dates: Thursdays – Oct 21, Oct 28, Nov 4, Nov 11, Nov 18, Dec 4 Time: 10 am[...]
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Art Class for 4th & 5th @ Strokes of Creativity
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Fall Farm Days: History of Sky M... @ Sky Meadows State Park
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Fall Farm Days: History of Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area.  During Fall Farm Days History Weekend, step back in time and see history come to life. Stroll through the Historic Area buildings, interact with our living historians and discover our links to historic[...]
1:00 pm Paint Class for Kids Ages 8 and up @ Strokes of Creativity
Paint Class for Kids Ages 8 and up @ Strokes of Creativity
Oct 23 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Paint Class for Kids Ages 8 and up @ Strokes of Creativity
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11:00 am Fall Farm Days: History of Sky M... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Fall Farm Days: History of Sky M... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 24 @ 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Fall Farm Days: History of Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area.  During Fall Farm Days History Weekend, step back in time and see history come to life. Stroll through the Historic Area buildings, interact with our living historians and discover our links to historic[...]
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11:00 am Art Class for K-1st @ Strokes of Creativity
Art Class for K-1st @ Strokes of Creativity
Oct 25 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Art Class for K-1st @ Strokes of Creativity
This class is for Kindergarten and First Grade. Perfect for home schoolers. Recommended ages: Ages 5 and 6 Tickets: CLICK HERE Tickets are available through Square Up, or can be paid in person at Strokes[...]
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Art Class for 2nd & 3rd @ Strokes of Creativity
Oct 25 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Art Class for 2nd & 3rd @ Strokes of Creativity
This class is for Grades 2nd and 3rd. Perfect for home schoolers. Recommended ages: 7 and 8 years old Tickets: CLICK HERE Tickets are available through Square Up, or can be paid in person at[...]
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10:00 am Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Oct 28 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Senior Painting Class with Dottie at Strokes of Creativity. Tickets: CLICK HERE Cost: $80 for 6 weeks Dates: Thursdays – Oct 21, Oct 28, Nov 4, Nov 11, Nov 18, Dec 4 Time: 10 am[...]