Ca. 1827-June 1879
Barbara Billings, daughter of Rebecca Billings & probably Jasper Billings, was born in the Spartanburg area of Spartanburg Co., S.C. according to Billings family tradition & various census records. It is believed that Barbara's Mother was Rebecca Billings because the first record we find of Barbara is in the 1850 Cherokee Co., N.C. census of the Murphy area which lists Barbara 22 in the household of Rebecca Billings 42 along with Telitha 15, George 13, Jasper 12, Amos 10 and John 9.
It is believed Barbara's Father was Jasper Billings because of the 1830 & 1840 census of the Spartanburg dist. of Spartanburg Co., S.C. because of several factors; 1.The death certificate of Barbara's brother, John Billings, lists Jasper Billings as his Father.2. Barbara had a brother named Jasper & it was common practice at that time to name sons after Fathers.3. Although only the head of household is named in the 1830 and 1840 Spartanburg Co., S.C. census the ages of the family members in the Jasper Billings house hold closely match those in the Rebecca Billings house hold in the 1850 Cherokee Co., N.C. census. 4. Barbara's sister, Telitha, named her first born son Jasper.
Family lore holds that Barbara's Father, Jasper Billings was killed in the civil war although he would have been about 66 yrs. of age. While this is a rather advanced age for Jasper to have seen active service, it is entirely possible he was one of the many civilian casualties of that war. Neither the Union or Confederate service rosters list a Jasper Billings of this age.
The 1850 Spartanburg Co., S.C. censuses no longer list the Jasper Billings family and this fact plus Rebecca appearing in the 1850 Cherokee Co., N.C. census without her husband and the fact that she is listed as widowed in the 1880 Monroe Co., TN. Census plus the age of Rebecca's youngest child, John 9, in the 1850 Cherokee Co., N.C. census would indicate that Jasper Billings either died or deserted his family between 1847 and 1850 during which time Rebecca moved her family to N.C.
Barbara's brother John Billings told his Grand daughter Laura Billings Fox some stories from his boyhood years in Murphy, N.C. John told Laura that panthers, bears, etc. were so numerous around their house that they had to put the cattle up at night to protect them. John had also had clear memories of a panther's screams as it sat on their roof, while safely inside, his mother, Rebecca, operated her spinning wheel and loom. On one occasion the panther grew brave because of a childbirth in progress inside the Billings cabin. The cat was seen starring intently into the house through the cracks between the logs in the wall. The cat departed hastily after someone threw a pot of hot water into its face.
Though information regarding Barbara's brothers abounds in the form of their Civil War records (Union) Barbara left few records of her existence.
Barbara is known to have had three children bearing the Billings name in her household in the 1860 Monroe Co., TN. census. They are: Edney 9, Bayless 9, and Dell 3. Barbara is living in the household of Bettie Billings along with Jasper Billings. Jasper is the correct age to be Barbara's brother Jasper listed in the 1850 NC census. It's possible that the Monroe Co. census taker mistook the pronouncement of Becky as Bettie. Becky might have been the shortened version of her name that Rebecca gave the census taker.
The 1860 Cherokee County, North Carolina Census for Persimmon Creek in the Notta district, dwelling # 394, family #394, lists Barbara's sister Telitha Billings Rodgers, her husband, M. C. Rogers and their son Jasper (N.?) b. 1858 NC. Other children of Telitha's as listed in this census or the 1880 Roane County, Tennessee Census are; Alice b. 1861 NC, Amos b. 1863 NC, Rose b.1870 TN, Arthur b. 1873 Kingston, Roane County, TN, and Arthur b. 1879 TN. Telitha has probably named her first born son after her Father.
The question as to who Barbara's husband was, if in fact she was married, is unresolved at this time. Marriage licenses were not recorded in Spartanburg Co. , SC until 1911. NC Marriage Bonds 1741-1868, have no record of Barbara's marriage to anyone.
Ruby Billings Sartion is the widow of Charlie Billings, who was one of Edney ( Edward D. Billings)Billings' sons. Edney related the following to Ruby: Barbara was married to a Mr. Howell. Barbara's mother, Rebecca Billings who is reputed to have been a very mean woman, went to the Howell home and forced Barbara and her children to return to Rebecca's home to live and to discontinue the use of the Howell name. Barbara was to resume the use of the Billings, her maiden name. Rebecca almost killed Mr. Howell in forcing a separation. Howell is said to have been an alcoholic.
Another story of Barbara's marriage comes from Mrs. Ruth Blassengame,
Edney Billings granddaughter. Ruth's source of information was Edney.
Barbara married the son of a colonel
In 1986, four years after this writer's first visit with Ruth Blassengame,
she related the following story as it had been told to her by her Grandfather,
Edney Billings, who was Barbara Billings' son. "Rebecca Billings
had a neighbor who was bad to drink and while drunk, would beat his wife.
Rebecca apparently lived nearby and could hear the commotion for she vowed
that the next time this occurred she would step in. Since Mr. Howell was
probably an acholic Rebecca didn't have to wait long before she heard Howell
beating his wife. Rebecca made a bee line for the Howell home picking
up a fence rail along the way, which she used to club Mr. Howell into unconsciousness.
Thinking Mr. Howell dead they had begun to make his funeral shroud the
next day when he came to."
If William M. Howell is the son of Nelson G. Howell and it is quite likely he is, because families tended to cluster in one area in those days, and if William is the particular son of Nelson Howell's that Barbara is said to have married then we have one slight hitch. William is married at the time. For the 1850 Cherokee census of the William M. Howell household lists William 23, Sarah M. 22, along with three children whose ages range from 4 to 3/12's. Bayless and Edney were born in March 1851 at which time William M. Howell was probably married to Sarah and probably had children by her. All this assumes William to have been the father of Barbara's children when it could have been another of Nelson Howell's sons. Ten years of research have failed to document Barbara's marriage.
All the foregoing about the Howells, the drunk, Rebecca and Barbara lead one to believe that at one time Barbara Billings and William M. Howell, either had an affair or were married. Billings Family tradition maintains Barbara was married in SC.
Sometime between 1850 and 1860 Barbara moved from NC to the Th district of Monroe County in the area of the town of Sweetwater, TN. In the 1860 TN. Census she is shown living in the home of Bertie Billingsly 50. Barbara's sons Edney and Bayless 9, and daughter Dell 3 are with her and Barbara's brother Jasper are also living with Bettie.
In the 1870 Census of the Th district of Roan Co. TN. , post office - [St(v/u?)(e/c?)t(v/u?)n], we find Barbara 40, head of household, Bayless W.19. Edney D. 19 and Melinda D. ( Dell) is age 13. (this is near Erie, could this be a misspelling of Stockton?) Living with Barbara is John Billings 28, his wife Eliza J. 36, and her children by a former marriage, Levi Fox 15, Mary C. Fox 13, and Nancy A. Fox 11. John Billings is believed to be Barbara's brother.
The Roane Co. , TN tax assessor's office informs this writer that the Th district of 1879 Ro. , Co. included Erie, Blue Springs and Stockton Valley, one source at the tax assessor's office said he thought everything South of the Tennessee River would have been the eighth district in 1879.
Our last account of Barbara Billings is found in the Tennessee mortality schedule of 1850, 1860 and 1880, which states Barbara died in June 1879 of paralysis of the heart. At her death she was single and living as a border with family # 111 of the 1880 census of in the 8th/9th civil district of Roane Co. , TN. This was probably in the proximity of Erie.She is listed as born in SC as were her mother and father. Her attending physician was T. Murry. Her age is listed at 52 at time of death. Barbara had lived in Roan County for 18 years. The Roane County Court Clerk's office has no record of any will Barbara might have filed.
The 1875 tax list duplicate for the eighth district of Roane Co. , TN lists B. W. , Edna and John Billings. The 1878 tax list for the same area lists B.W. and E. D. Billingsly. These people are undoubtedly Barbara's sons Bayless Winslow and Edney Devereux, and their Uncle John Billings. Since Barbara was living with Bayless and Edney in the 1870 TN census, and the fact that she is listed as a border in district eight when she died in 1879, may indicate she was living with one or both of her sons in the Eighth district of Roane Co. , TN at the time of her death.
Barbara may have been buried in an unmarked grave in Blue Springs Cemetery in Roane Co. , TN since that is where Bayless was later buried
Barbara's mother, Rebecca, is last found during the 1880 Monroe
Co. Tennessee census in the home of her son, John Mannon Billings, age
35 . Rebecca, 67, born SC, widowed, Father born in France, Mother
born in Ireland.
Compiled by Barbara Billings' G.G. Grandson, Wayne Paul Billings
Oct. 5, 1997.
MORTALITY SCHEDULE INDEX
1880 ROANE COUNTY, TENNESSEE MORTALITY SCHEDULE
Compiled by Wayne Paul Billings, son of Gus Billings