- Tilghman was born on July 3, 1713, in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland.
- His father was Colonel Richard Tilghman II and his mother was Anna MariaLloyd.
- Tilghman married Elizabeth Chew. After she died, Tilghman married Julianna Carroll.
- His son with Elizabeth, Edward Jr., was a private in the Philadelphia Associators during the American Revolutionary War and saw action at the Battle of Long Island.
- From 1739 to 1742, he was the High Sheriff of Queen Anne’s County.
- From 1743 to 1749, he was a Justice of Queen Anne’s County.
- From 1746 to 1750, he represented Queen Anne’s County in the Maryland Assembly.
- In 1765, he represented Maryland at the Stamp Act Congress.
- Tilghman was a Colonel in the Maryland Militia.
Delegate to the Stamp Act Congress
On March 22, 1765, Parliament passed the Stamp Act, which required a stamp to be placed on all legal documents and many printed materials in the colonies.
In May, news of the new law reached the colonies. There was immediate opposition, including riots in Boston, Massachusetts, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Savannah, Georgia.
On June 8, 1765, the Massachusetts Assembly sent a circular letter to the legislatures of the other colonies, inviting them to send delegates to a congress in New York to discuss a unified response to the Stamp Act. The precedent for such a meeting had been set by the Albany Congress in 1754.
Nine of the 13 colonies, including Maryland, chose to send delegates to the meeting, which was held in New York City. Tilghman was elected as a delegate from Maryland, along with William Murdock and Thomas Ringgold.
The Stamp Act Congress convened on October 7, 1765. On October 19, the Stamp Act Congress issued a Declaration of Rights and Grievances. Congress sent petitions to the King and both houses of Parliament and asked for the Stamp Act to be repealed.
Tilghman was a member of the committee that wrote the petition to the House of Lords. The other members of the committee were John Rutledge and Philip Livingston.
Tilghman signed his name to the petitions that were sent to the King and Parliament.
On November 1, 1765, the Stamp Act took effect, but there were no stamp masters available to distribute the stamps. They had resigned or refused to perform their job due to violence and intimidation against them.
On March 18, 1766, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act, primarily due to protest from British merchants who believed it would damage their prospects of doing business in the colonies. However, on that same day, Parliament passed the Declaratory Act, which declared its ability to levy taxes on the colonies.
Tilghman owned Whitehall Plantation and owned slaves. In 1772, he passed the estate down to his son, Edward Tilghman, Jr.
- Tilghman died on October 9, 1786, at Wye Landing, Maryland.
- He was buried in Centreville, Maryland in the Hermitage Tilghman Family Burial Grounds.
Tilghman is important because he was a delegate from Maryland to the Stamp Act Congress in 1765.