Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Summer Home of Samuel E. Tillman, 81 Halsey Neck Lane


I have always admired this house, sandwiched between Claverack and Westover at the top of Halsey Neck Lane. Driving by dozens if not hundreds of times, I have found it to be such a stately home with a grand but not fussy presence. The owners over the years have seemed determined to keep up with its endless maintenance requirements, but they must have given up, or other circumstances arose, because this estate was sold for a pretty penny last April.

Built circa 1900 for Brigadier General Samuel Escue Tillman, the house is in the Dutch Colonial Revival Style with cross gambrel roof and dormers. It has nine-over-one double hung windows with louvered shutters (many of which seem mysteriously upside down), a three-bay wide front porch with paired Doric columns topped with a beautiful balustrade decorated with turned urns over each post. The wide entry door has sidelights with beautiful leaded glass divisions and is accentuated by the wide dormer above it on the second story with Chippendale inspired swan-neck pediment open at the top.

Samuel Escue Tillman (October 3, 1847–June 24, 1942) was an astronomer, engineer, military educator, and career officer in the United States Army who spent 30 years teaching at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. In addition to writing for periodicals on a wide range of subjects and authoring several influential textbooks on chemistry and geology, in 1917 Tillman was recalled from previous mandatory retirement to serve as superintendent of the United States Military Academy for the duration of ……World War I.” (Wikipedia)

Samuel was born in Tennessee and raised with at least five siblings on a plantation during the Civil War. In 1887 he married his wife Clara and in 1889 they had daughter Clara Katherine Delaplaine Tillman. In 1919 she married John F. Martin Jr. who was the Second Secretary to the American Embassy in London at the time. Both marriages were officiated by the same Reverend.
Samuel retired in 1911 settling in Princeton, New Jersey but continued to write. After being reinstated from retirement in 1917, he died nearly 30 years later at this lovely home on Halsey Neck Lane which was then owned by his daughter.

One of his brothers, A. H. Tillman, was the United States District attorney for awhile.
Hopefully the new owners are interested in preserving and sensitively improving the property, without removing a significant chunk of its soul as others have done in the recent past.


1 comment:

  1. What a classic beauty. Lets hope the new owners appreciate the house's history and looks as much as those who view it from the street...

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