Tilley Family

Moses R. Tilley came across the Oregon Trail in 1852 with his parents, Abram and Sarah Tilley, who are also buried in this cemetery. In 1853 Abram Tilley settled on Scatter Creek 5 miles west of Tenino near Grand Mound on the stage route between Olympia and Monticello. Here he ran a hotel, known to all travelers going north and south, particularly those farmers on their way to Tumwater where they would have their wheat ground into flour. Tilley Road is named for Abram Tilley.

Moses lived with his parents even after he married Rachel Leonard in 1860. He became the mail carrier between Monticello and Olympia, a job he held for 10 years. Eventually Moses and his family moved to Olympia, where he became involved in a variety of businesses such as a livery stable and grocery store. He also speculated in land and businesses, including businesses in Tumwater. In 1879 he served in the territorial legislature, but the next year he became sick. He journeyed as far as Buffalo, New York to seek a cure with no success. He died in 1881.

According to the Washington Standard his death "cast a shadow of gloom over this and many other communities ... [he] was a pioneer in the broadest acceptation of the term, having contributed with untiring industry to advance the interests of the people at a time when muscle and energy were required to get the ball of progress in motion." His business ventures had allowed him to accumulate enough wealth to accommodate his wife and children more than adequately.

His wife, Rachel, whose grave reads "Mother", followed him in death just 6 years later in 1887. Although left with wealth, she had difficulty managing money. According to her obituary, "Many have been the occasions in which she has aided those in embarrassment and distress and the result has been that a large proportion of the competence left at the death her husband ... has been dispensed by a hand more controlled by the heart than the head, leaving her almost destitute at the time of her death." One of those "embarrassments" was an unsuccessful attempt to defend her brother against a charge of murder.

Moses and Rachel had 4 children, 3 sons and a daughter. 2 of the sons join them in this cemetery: Guy and Miles. The most famous of their children, though, was their daughter, May. May's beauty was legendary. On a trip to New York she won the heart of a wealthy doctor. When he died, he left her a large estate. The combination of beauty and wealth overwhelmed a German count. May became the Countess Stavra and moved to Europe. She died in Paris in 1910.

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