Theodore Tilton was an American newspaper editor, poet and abolitionist. He was born in New York City to Silas Tilton and Eusebia Tilton. On his twentieth birthday of October 2, 1855, he married Elizabeth Richards, known as "Libby Tilton". Tilton's newspaper work was fully supportive of abolitionism and the Northern cause in the American Civil War.
From 1860 to 1871, he was the assistant of Henry Ward Beecher; however, in 1874, he filed criminal charges against the clergyman for "criminal intimacy" with his wife. During this period, he was the 1869 commencement speaker for the Irving Literary Society.
Following the apparent acquittal of Beecher in the trial, Tilton moved to Paris, where he lived for the rest of his life. In the 1880s, ironically enough, Tilton frequently played chess with fellow American exile Judah Benjamin until the latter died in 1884.
The rock singer Robert Plant has put Tilton's poem "Even This Must Pass Away" to music in a song of the same name, a recording of which is featured on the singer's Band of Joy album.