Josiah Tilden was born in Connecticut and later married Susannah Clark. He enlisted in the Continental Army in 1777, fought at the Battle of Bennington with his father, and continued in the military service until 1781. He retired as a captain with a pension. In Hartford, he was a successful farmer and member of a prominent family that served in the state legislature.
The attribution to William Jennys (working c.1790-1805) is based upon stylistic similarities between these portraits and ones signed by him. Nearly all of his waist-length portraits are painted in an oval spandrel.