The Peter W. BILLINGTON Family of Lansing, NY
Peter W. Billington was born 18 August, 1809 in the Town of Lansing in Cayuga County (now Tompkins County), NY. (We have not as yet been able to determine who Peter's parents were). Peter was a farmer. About 1830 he married Hannah Teeter, daughter of Jacob P. Teeter and Lydia. She was born 28 May, 1811, also in the Town of Lansing. Hannah was a descendant of Coonrod Teeter who was among the earliest settlers of the Lansing area, and about whom much has been written. It is thought, but not proven , that Peter and Hannah lived on the Teeter farm in Lansing. Peter and Hannah had three children, Electa Ann, Maria Jane and William H. Two of these three children were destined to become pioneers in Minnesota. Hannah died 17 August, 1843 in the Town of Lansing at the age of 32. Peter later married another local girl, Nancy Hunt, about 1846. Nancy is thought to be the daughter of Joseph Hunt who was born in Pennsylvania, and Mary (Polly) Head, who was born in New Jersey. Peter and Nancy had two children, Jerome S. and Mary H. Billington.
In April, 1850 Peter bought 100 acres of Military Lot #90, the 600 acre plot of land originally given to Christian Gutrick, and there he lived until his death on 28 February, 1864, at the age of 54. His deed is recorded in the Tompkins County Courthouse in Ithaca, NY. Peter's 100 acres encompassed what is now the corner of Atwater/Asbury Roads, as well as at least three properties adjacent to it. The old farmhouse burned years ago, and the dwellings on this property now were built circa 1950- 55. During the years 1868-69 all five of Peter's children signed quit claim deeds on this property, in favor of Peter's second wife, Nancy, who moved to Steuben County and married a man named Thompson. One of the family mysteries is why, in 1869 Jerome bought back 1/4 acre of this land from his mother, Nancy, and within three months sold it to a Phoebe Phinney, at little or no profit. Peter W. Billington is buried in Asbury Cemetery, next to his first wife, Hannah Teeter.
Electa Ann was born about 1832. About 1854, she married Harrison Williams and they are thought to have remained in the Tompkins County area.
Maria Jane was born 30 December, 1834. She married Charles W. Morgan on January 25, 1854 and they moved to Minnesota, arriving in the Town of Winona, Winona County, in April, 1856. They remained there until the spring of 1858 at which time they moved to the Town of St. Charles, where Charles bought a large farm. They lived there for about 19 years, until the fall of 1877 when they moved to the City of St. Charles and lived there until their deaths. Maria Jane was known as "Jane" to her friends. She and Charles had five children, four girls and a boy, whom they called "C.D." He would later move to Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
The three older girls all married, but the youngest daughter, Mabel did not. Mabel was born 26 September, 1871 and died 30 March, 1893 at the age of 21. She died of "Bright's disease," and is buried in Hillside Cemetery in the City of St. Charles. Jane Billington Morgan died 2 April, 1890 of apoplexy in the City of St. Charles, MN. She is buried there in Hillside Cemetery. An excerpt from her obituary in the Winona Daily Republican," 12 April, 1890, reads:
"The very sudden death of Mrs. C. W. Morgan last week created a profound sensation, not only among her friends and acquaintances but among the general public. She was a woman who accomplished much good in an unobtrusive way; charitable to the needy; helpful to those in need of assistance. Her character may be briefly summed up in the saying: Â‘She was a good woman.'"
William H. Billington was born 30 June, 1840 in the Town of Lansing. As a young man, William also emigrated to Minnesota. Though the exact date is not known, he was there prior to February, 1865. He was a Civil War Veteran. He mustered in as a Private at Rochester, MN on 21 February, 1865 and served in the 3rd Minnesota Battery Volunteers, Light Artillery. He mustered out at Ft. Snelling, MN on 27 February, 1866. At the age of 51, on June 10, 1891, William applied to the government for an invalid pension During his military service, while en route from Rochester MN to Fort Ridgely he came down with "a hard cold which settled in his head, causing deafness of his right ear; and also with rheumatism and resulting disease of heart and nervous prostration," disabilities from which he still suffered. His pension was granted, and he was given $12.00 per month. By the time of his death in 1922 the amount had risen to $50.00 per month.
According to statements in his pension file, William was known as one of the earliest settlers of Faribault County, MN. He and his friend William Laws arrived there in the summer of 1868 and began settling in and establishing their farms. He married Mary Elizabeth Gillson on 22 February, 1870. He and Mary Elizabeth had six children: Harry Berton, Katie Mae, Charles Seward, Julia Delilla, Jerome Clement ("Clem") and Peter William. After Mary Elizabeth's death on 27 June, 1894, William married Adnie Miller, November 3, 1905. William died in Wells, Faribault County, MN on 24 June, 1922, at the age of 81.
Jerome S. Billington was born 26 December, 1847 in the Town of Lansing. On February 11, 1864, while still a student, he enlisted in Company G, of the 15th Regiment, NY Volunteer Cavalry. His commanding officers were Capt. Willis Boyer and Lt. R. Finch. Slightly less than 5 months later, Jerome was injured while on duty in Virginia. On June 20, 1865, Capt. Willis Boyer gave this sworn statement:
"I the undersigned late Captain of Company G. of the 15th New York Cavalry Volunteers on honor do certify that Jerome S. Billington served as a private in said Company G, and was while in said Company injured in service and in the line of his duty as follows, that is to say: While on a march in retreat from Lynchburg after the repulse of General Hunter, about July 2, 1864 while fording the Kanawha River at Ganerly Bridge his horse took fright and plunged while himself and rider were in the river, that the said horse fell upon Jerome S. Billington, injuring him across the back in the spine. By reason of such injuries, he was unfit for duty. Given at Caroline, NY on this 20 day of June, 1865." In another place in the file it is said that what caused his horse to rear and fall was the sight of another (dead) horse floating in the river.
Numerous doctors stated that due to this injury, he suffered neuritis in his back, which caused intense pain all of his life. He always had the need of pain medication during the day, and sleeping pills at night. When he was mustered out of the service the doctor stated that his injury caused him to be bent forward approximately 45%. He was never again able to stand totally erect or lift anything from a stooped position. As Jerome was a farmer he was unable to perform many of his duties without assistance from family and friends. He was honorably discharged at Elmira, NY on April 4, 1865.
Jerome applied for his invalid pension in the Tompkins County Courthouse on the 11th of April, 1865. His identity was attested to by Andrew Teeter and Milton Bowes. The name of the Tompkins County Clerk who signed his petition was cut off at the bottom of the form. His pension was granted.
About 1866, he married Kate Morey. According to family lore, Kate may have been born in Auburn, NY. They lived in South Lansing. It is certain they were married by 1868, for in that year "Jerome Billington and his wife Kate" sold a piece of property in Lansing which had formerly belonged to his late father, Peter. Kate died of diphtheria in 1872, at about 25 years of age. She is buried in Lake Ridge Cemetery.
Jerome's mother Nancy (now Nancy Thompson) was living in the Town of Caton, NY, a small hamlet in Steuben County, a few miles south of Corning, NY. Jerome would eventually move to Corning himself, but prior to that he worked as a conductor on the railroad and lived for a time in Freeport, Illinois.
In 1874 he married Julia E. Thompson, daughter of Henry Thompson of Caton, in the First Presbyterian Church in Corning, NY. They lived for a time in rental housing in Corning until Jerome bought a farm on the River Road. Though they grew their own produce, this farm was primarily a leaf tobacco farm. Jerome remained involved in one way and another in the tobacco business the rest of his life. While living on the farm they had two children: Henry W., born 4 July, 1876, and Arthur C., born in 1892. Henry married Edna Heath and Arthur married Lula Kellogg; both women were from Corning, NY. Eventually Jerome's health forced him to give up farming and he and Julia moved to Corning. Arthur and Lula stayed on the farm until after Jerome's death in 1926 when Julia sold the farm to a family named Morrison, who turned it into a turkey farm which still exists today. In Corning, Jerome bought a house at 376 E. Second Street. This was a large two story house with a carriage house out behind it. Today the house is still there, but the carriage house was converted to a garage in the early 1940s.
Jerome and Julia became well known in Corning and had many friends and acquaintances. At least two of his friends were men he had known as a child in Lansing, NY who later moved to Corning. He became quite interested in civic affairs, and in 1890 he was appointed as one of three Excise Commissioners for the City of Corning. It had become his habit to "go uptown" daily, whenever he was able, pursuing his interests in tobacco and in politics. On June 11, 1926 he was headed "uptown" as usual when he had a most unusual accident. As he crossed a street to board a streetcar, he was struck by a bicycle as he was about to board. He was 78 at this time, and his vision was so poor that he said afterward he never even saw the bicycle coming. His right hip was fractured, and he sustained severe damage to his kidneys from which he never recovered. Jerome died on the 17th of August, 1926. His physician, Dr. Palmer Heath Tryon gave his cause of death as "shock" from the above named injuries.
Julia lived in the 2nd Street house until her death, the 29th of December, 1943. Their son Henry and his wife Edna had no children. Henry died the 7th of March, 1932. Arthur and Lula had two children: Evelyn, born in 1915, who married Roy Brewster; and Harry, born in 1917, who married Marian Taylor. Some of Harry and Marian's children, and some of their grandchildren, still live in the Corning area.
Mary H. Billington was born in 1851 in Lansing, NY. We don't have much information on Mary except that she married a Prindle, possibly John Prindle, and moved to Illinois.
There were other Billington families who lived in Lansing in the 1800s and we feel they most likely were related to Peter W., but we've so far been unable to establish what their relationship might be. I'm still working on learning who Peter's parents were, what became of Mary H. Billington Prindle, and I also need to research Electa and Harrison Williams. So, this Billington family genealogy is still very much "a work in progress."