b. Ca. 1827 - d.June 1879
Submitted By: Wayne Billings
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
It is believed Barbara's Father was Jasper Billings because the age of the family members in
Jasper Billings household in the 1830 & 1840 census of the Spartanburg dist. of Spartanburg Co.,
S.C. closely match those of in the home of Rebecca Billings in the the 1850 census of Cherokee
County NC. There are other factors indicating Jasper Billings is the Father of this family: 1.The
TN death certificate of Barbara's brother, John Billings, lists Jasper Billings as his Father.2.
Barbara had a brother named Jasper and it was common practice at that time to name sons after
Fathers. 3. Barbara's sister, Telitha, named her first born son Jasper.
Family lore maintains Barbara's Father, Jasper Billings, was killed in the civil war although
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. census no longer list the Jasper Billings family and this
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
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.The panther soon 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
(Union) Barbara left few records of her existence.
Barbara is known to have had three children bearing the Billings name in her household in
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
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
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 Deverevux.
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 Billings, her maiden
name. Rebecca almost killed Mr. Howell in forcing a separation. Howell is said to have been an
alcoholic who abused his wife.
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
Nelson Howell in SC. Barbara and Mr. Howell separated and Barbara went to live with her
In 1986, four years after this writer's first visit with Ruth Blassengame, she related the
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
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
The 1850 census of Cherokee county, NC, Murphy area, shows Barbara living with her
Rebecca in the same area of a Colonel Nelson G. Howell 50, dwelling # 1001 and William M.
Howell 23, dwelling # 1002. Barbara and Rebecca were in # 1005.
If William M. Howell is the son of Nelson G. Howell and it is quite likely he is, because is
elder Howell in the area and 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 was married at the time. 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
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 Monroe County in the area
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 eighth district of Roan Co. TN. , post office -
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 Valley ?) 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 eighth Th district of
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
Our last account of Barbara Billings is found in the Tennessee mortality schedule of 1850,
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
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 her son,Bayless, was later buried
Barbara's mother, Rebecca, is last found during the 1880 Monroe Co. Tennessee census in
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.
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