About William Tilghman
William Tilghman (August 12, 1756 – April 29, 1827) was an American lawyer, jurist and statesman from Maryland. He served as the Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court from 1805 to 1827.
Born in Talbot County, Maryland, Tilghman was the nephew of Matthew Tilghman and brother of Tench Tilghman. Tilghman received an A.B. from the College of Philadelphia, now the University of Pennsylvania in 1772, and read law to enter the bar in 1783. He was in private practice Talbot County, Maryland from 1783 to 1788. He was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1788 to 1790, attending the Maryland Constitutional Convention in 1788, and serving as a presidential elector for the state in 1789. He was a member of the Maryland State Senate from 1791 to 1793, moving to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1793 and resuming his private practice there from 1794 to 1801.
On February 26, 1801, Tilghman was nominated by President John Adams to a new seat as a federal judge on the United States circuit court for the Third Circuit, created by 2 Stat. 89. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 2, 1801, and received his commission the next day. He served as chief judge of the circuit throughout his tenure, but his service was terminated on March 8, 1802, due to abolition of the court.
Tilghman returned to private practice in Philadelphia from 1802 to 1805, and then became President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia in 1805, and a judge of the Pennsylvania High Court of Errors and Appeals until 1806. He became Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court from 1806 until his death, in 1827, in Philadelphia. In 1811, ran for Governor of Pennsylvania, losing to Simon Snyder. Tilghman was also a member of the American Philosophical Society, serving as its president from 1824 to 1827.