William Josiah Tilson

William Josiah Tilson
Chief Judge of the United States Customs Court
In office
Judge of the United States Customs Court
In office
February 28, 1928 – May 26, 1949
Appointed by Calvin Coolidge
Preceded by William Barberie Howell
Succeeded by Morgan Ford
Personal details
Born (1871-08-13)August 13, 1871
Clear Branch, Tennessee
Died May 26, 1949(1949-05-26) (aged 77)
Sunapee, New Hampshire
Alma mater Yale University A.B.
Yale Law School LL.B.
Yale Law School LL.M.
Profession Judge

William Josiah Tilson (August 13, 1871 – May 26, 1949) was a Judge for the United States Customs Court.


Tilson was born on August 13, 1871, in Clear Branch, Tennessee. He received an Artium Baccalaureus from Yale University in 1894, a Bachelor of Laws degree from Yale Law School in 1896, and a Master of Laws degree from Yale Law School in 1897. He was in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia from 1898 to 1926.[1]

Federal Judicial Service

On June 6, 1926, Tilson received a recess appointment from President Calvin Coolidge to a new seat on the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, created by 44 Stat. 670. Formally nominated on June 9, 1926, Tilson's service was terminated on March 4, 1927 after the nomination was not confirmed by the Senate. Coolidge immediately gave Tilson another recess appointment to the same seat, but Tilson resigned on March 19, 1928, before the Senate could act on the nomination. On February 6, 1928, President Coolidge nominated Tilson to serve as a Judge for the United States Customs Court, to the vacated by Judge William Barberie Howell. He was confirmed by the Senate on February 27, 1928 and received his commission the following day. He served as Chief Judge of the court from 1932 to 1934. He remained on the court until his death and was succeeded by Judge Morgan Ford.[2]


On May 26, 1949, Tilson died in Sunapee, New Hampshire.[3]


  • Federal Judicial Center.
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