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Samuel Billingsley raised a family of 17 children

The joy of large families

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Posted: Saturday, August 18, 2012 9:00 am

Large families were common in the old days. Samuel Billingsley raised a family of 17 children, having 10 with his first wife, Ruth, and seven with his second wife, Elizabeth. You see Ruth and Elizabeth were good friends, so before Ruth died, she asked her husband to marry Elizabeth and ...Well, read on.

The Grant County Historical Society has compiled several volumes of Grant County history. The books are available for purchase at the Historical Society Museum gift shop in Ephrata.

I bought the series in 2009 and secured permission to relay some of the history through this column.

Memories of Grant County, compiled from taped interviews by the Grant County Historical Society.

Today we backtrack a bit and then continue the story of Ephrata by Thelma Billingsley Nicks:

The first members of the family to come to the New World were three brothers; John, James and Francis. They arrived prior to 1649 and were joined a few years later by their brothers Thomas and William. Although five brothers came to America, Francis is the only one who left male issue to the third generation and is therefore, the founder of the family of 1649 in Maryland and Virginia. Francis was born in County Salop, England in 1620. Records show he was a member of the Lower House in Calvert Co. Va. Also being appointed as a Commissioner in Calvert Co., in 1683. After his death the record shows the family living in Kentucky, Tennessee and finally Arkansas.

My great grandfather Samuel Billingsley reared a large family in West Tennessee. His first wife was Ruth Hale (it is said she was a sister of Nathan Hale, the famous Revolutionary war patriot). Kirby Billingsley of Wenatchee is a descendent of that family. His second wife who had been a dear friend of Ruth's was Elizabeth Lewis.

Ruth, before she died, had asked her husband to marry Elizabeth. He had a family of 17 children. Ruth had 10 and Elizabeth had 7. My family are descendants of Elizabeth.

They gave him title of Judge Samuel for there were so many Billingsleys named Sam. He belonged to the Masonic Lodge of Franklin, Ark. Was elected and served one term in the Arkansas Legislature in little Rock; he was a county Probate Judge in Fulton Co. Ark.

E-mail from Cheryl

Facts from the past gleaned from the Moses Lake Herald, Columbia Basin Herald and The Neppel Record by Cheryl (Driggs) Elkins. From the Herald on Friday, Feb. 3, 1950:

Three directors named for fair

O.D. McCoy of Wilson Creek and Russell Smith and Bud Saunders of Moses Lake were elected directors of the Grant County Fair and Livestock Association at an annual business meeting Monday night in the Eagles Hall.

An advisory board was set up composed of the outgoing directors, county extension office personnel, Future Farmers of America leaders and Grant County Commissioners.

Association President Marshall Burress outlined construction plans for this year, which include building permanent rest rooms at the fairgrounds, putting a roof on the swine and sheep shed and landscaping.

Suggestions were made for superintendents of the various divisions of fair activities with selections to be announced Feb. 27 at the next regular meeting of directors and the advisory committee.

Wilson Creek area history

The Rev. David H. Crawford compiled and published a history of families in and surrounding Wilson Creek titled, "Family Memories of Wilson Creek Area." The book was printed in 1978, which was the 75th anniversary of the town. David's son, John Crawford, has given permission for those memories to be a part of this column.

Today we begin the story of the Kreiters by Bill and Emma Kreiter

In the fall of 1942 Bill, Donna and I came from Parma, Idaho to visit my sister and family at Ritzville. Harvest was just beginning, so we stayed and Bill helped harvest. Later my sister and her family brought us over to Wilson Creek to visit the Fred Kappel family.

As we were driving through town not one car was on the Street and I said, "I wouldn't want to be dead in this town, let alone live here."

To my surprise Bill got a job working for Fred Arlt, so in March 1943 we moved to Wilson Creek. We lived 10 miles out in the country on the old Webley place.

Never had I lived so far out and away from everyone. It seemed like I was at the end of the world. To top it all off there was no electricity. So we had to buy a wash board, flat irons, kerosene lamps and a battery radio. We kept these modern appliances to remind us of the good old days.

In 1944 our daughter, Marilyn, was born at Odessa. I raised a nice big garden and irrigated my garden by pumping water by hand.

A few years later Fred Arlt built us a new home across the highway from his place.

Coming home from town one day I was following a car, when the driver suddenly slammed on his brakes, not having brakes on our car I ran into him.

I got out of my car and seeing my fender smashed, I lost no time in setting him straight about his driving. He apologetically offered to have the fender repaired in town.

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