Biography of Dwight Morris Billings

DWIGHT MORRIS BILLINGS, of Amherst, Massachusetts, treasurer of The Hills Manufacturing Company, producers of hats, was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, February 17, 1866.

(I) His ancestry in America probably goes back to Richard Billings, who received a grant of six acres of land in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1640. In 1659 he signed a contract with Governor Webster and others to remove to and settle at Hadley. The removal was made in 1661, and he lived in that part of the town which became Hatfield. He died March 3, 1679. He married Margery, surname unknown, who died December 5, 1679.

(II) Samuel Billings, son of Richard and Margery Billings, resided in Hatfield, and died there February 1, 1678. He married, in 1661, Sarah Fellows, daughter of Richard and Ursula Fellows. She married (second), October 9, 1678, Samuel Belden, Jr., and died February 5, 1713. Children: Samuel, of further mention; Ebenezer, born October 29, 1669; Sarah, died July s5, 1674; Richard, born April 7, 1672; John, born October 11, 1674, killed by Indians July 15 1698; Sarah, born October 18, 1676.

(III) Samuel Billings, son of Samuel and Sarah (Fellows) Billings, was born in Hatfield, January 8, 1665. He married (first), November 18, 1686, Hannah Wright, who died November 18, 1687; (second), Rebecca] Miller, widow, born March 26, 1661, daughter of John and Sarah (Heald) Miller. Children: Samuel, Sarah, born March 15 1697; Joseph, of further mention; Zechariah, born November 29, 1702; Benjamin, born January 18, 1705.

(IV) Joseph Billings, son of Samuel and Rebecca (Miller) Billings,. was born in Hatfield, November 15, 1700, died there about 1783. He was one of a company organized to fight the Indians. He married, January 7, 1726, Elizabeth (Colton) Kellogg, born April 5, 1686, daughter of Thomas and Sarah Colton, of Springfield.

(V) Joseph Billings, Jr., son of Joseph and Elizabeth (Colton-Kellogg) Billings, was among the company of about seventy men who, in 1763, petitioned the Governor of New Hampshire for a grant, of land. Others among them were his father, his father’s brothers, Samuel, Zechariah, and his cousin, Benjamin, Jr. A royal charter of George III was issued through Governor Benning Wentworth on August 17, 1763, which gave them 23,040 acres on the borders of Lake Champlain, to be incorporated into the town of Swanton, yielding and paying therefor, for the space of ten years from December 25, 1763, annually, if demanded, the rent of one ear of Indian corn; also one shilling, to be paid annually forever by each proprietor for every hundred acres he owns, settles or possesses. This interesting charter begins: “George the Third-by grace of God, of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, defender of the Faith, etc.,” and ends: “By his Excellency’s Command, B. Wentworth, Province of New Hampshire, August 17, 1763.” The names signed to this charter as grantees include those of the four brothers, Joseph, Benjamin, Zechariah and Samuel Billings; Joseph Billings, Jr.; Benjamin Billings, Jr., also Asa, David, Silas and Samuel Billings. Joseph Billings, Jr., was possibly later of Windsor, Vermont, but no Billings was among the original land owners of Windsor.

(VI) Rufus Billings, son of Joseph Billings, Jr., was a resident of Windsor, Vermont, and had a son, Ethan F., of further mention.

(VII) Ethan F. Billings, son of Rufus Billings, was born in Windsor, Vermont, January 27, 1807, died September 11, 1848. He was a blacksmith by trade. He married Clarissa M. Marsh, daughter of James Marsh, of Rockingham, Vermont. Child: Charles Ethan, of further mention.

(VIII) Charles Ethan Billings, son of Ethan F. and Clarissa M. (Marsh) Billings, was born December 5, 1835, in Windsor, Vermont. His parents moved to Weathersfield, Vermont, when he was young. The removal appears to connect Dwight Morris Billings with these ancestors. His grandfather was born in Weathersfield, and in Weathersfield his parents lived.

(I) Thomas Billings, the grandfather, lived and died in Weathersfield Bow, Vermont He married Amy Maria Haskell, and they were the parents of James Bradshaw, Gilbert, John Haskell, of further mention, and Madaline.

(II) John Haskell Billings, son of Thomas and Amy Maria (Haskell) Billings, was born in Weathersfield Bow, Vermont, July 26, 1818, died in Bridgeport, Connecticut, May 24, 1874. As a boy he went to New York with his uncle, Stephen Haskell. Afterwards he went to St. Louis, Missouri, and was in the banking business with Haskell & Company from 1845 to 1855, when he returned to Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he resided until his death. He was a successful banker and broker. He married Julia Ann Hubbell, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, daughter of Charles Benjamin Hubbell, of that city, December 24, 1844. She died May 2, 1901. Charles Benjamin Hubbell was a prominent citizen of Bridgeport, and at one time mayor of the city. The children of John H. and Julia Ann Billings were: John H., Jr., since dead; Julia Hubbell, married Wilbur Brook Smith, of Bridgeport, Connecticut; and Dwight Morris, of further mention.

(III) Dwight Morris Billings, son of John Haskell and Julia Ann (Hubbell) Billings, was educated in the schools of Bridgeport and Norwalk, Connecticut. When a lad he went to New York in December, 1885, and entered the employ of C. H. Tenney & Company, hat manufacturers. He sold goods for this firm and continued his association with it until 1896, when he came to Amherst, Massachusetts, as treasurer of the Hills Company, hat manufacturers, the office he has held ever since. The Hills Company was established in 1828 by Leonard M. Hills, and was carried on as a partnership until 1877, when it was incorporated by Henry F. Hills. The plant burned down in 1880. It was rebuilt forthwith, and many additions have been made until it is one of the largest and best equipped plants in New England, employing as many as three hundred and fifty persons. The product is sold throughout the United States and Canada, Porto Rico, South America and Mexico. Mr. Billings is a member of Pacific Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, of Amherst. He is a thirty-second degree Mason, having taken the York and Scottish Rite degrees. He is a Past Master of Pacific Lodge, and Past High Priest of the Chapter, Royal Arch Masons. He is a member of Melha Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, of Springfield.

Mr. Billings married, November 25, 1891, Lillie Brinkerhoff, of Jersey City, New Jersey, daughter of William and Melissa (Clark) Brinkerhoff. The ancestor of Mrs. Billings, Joris Brinkerhoff, came to America in 1638 from Holland. Her father, William Brinkerhoff, is a member of the Holland Society of New York and resides in Jersey City, New Jersey. Mrs. Billings was regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and a member of the Colonial Dames. She died October 12, 1915, at Amherst, Massachusetts. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Billings are: 1. Dwight Brinkerhoff, a graduate of Amherst College, class of 1916; volunteered in the World War-first in the American Field Service, in France, then, in February, 1918, entered the Aviation Service of the United States Army and was discharged in May, 1819, as junior grade lieutenant; assistant treasurer of the White Motor Company, of Cleveland, Ohio; he married, June 14, 1924, Constance Williams, of London, Ohio. 2. Elizabeth Brinkerhoff, a graduate of Smith College.



Lockwood, John H. (John Hoyt); Bagg, Ernest Newton; Carson, Walter S. (Walter Scott); Riley, Herbert E. (Herbert Elihu); Boltwood, Edward; Clark, Will L. (Will Leach); Western Massachusetts A History 1636-1925; New York and Chicago: Lewis historical publishing company, inc., 1926

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