Past & Present


   Mr. Ballenger has been married twice. He first wedded Miss Deborah Dow, a daughter of William and Sallie Dow, and unto them were born two children, a son and a daughter, William and Sallie Ballenger. The latter is the wife of Reuben O'Donnell, and they reside in Shelbina, Missouri. William Ballenger married Florence Judd, and they make their home in Staunton, Illinois. The wife and mother died in Wilson county, Kansas, in 1871. He afterward married again, his second union being with Virginia Chappell, who was born May 11, 1853, and is a daughter of Hiram and Polly Chappell. Of this union there were born the following children: Annie, born September 8, 1874; Laura, September 28, 1876; Hiram E., December 18, 1879; James C., January 28, 1881; Charles F., who was born November 21, 1883, and died when a year old; Nellie, born November 22, 1885; Alva, February 5, 1889; Virgil C., October 31, 1898; and Walter F., January 26, 1894.

   In his political views Mr. Ballenger is a democrat, and has always affiliated with that party. He has not time nor inclination for office, however, but devotes his entire attention to his farming interests, which are capably conducted. He is operating one of the best farms in Spring Creek township, and his labors are bringing him a good financial return.


   Charles Billings is a representative of commercial interests at Rockport, where he is engaged in the drug business. He also has the rural mail route of Rockport, and is a well known citizen of this part of the county. His birth occurred on the 11th of March 1868, in Atlas township, his parents being Richard and Mahala J. (Payne) Billings. The father is a native of Hamilton county, Illinois, and for more than forty years has been living in Atlas and Derry townships, Pike county, his time and attention being given to farming. He now makes his home in Rockport; and there, on the 7th of September, 1905, he was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who was laid to rest in Taylor cemetery.

   Upon his father's farm Charles Billings was reared; and his education was acquired in the country schools of the Taylor district and at Rockport. Between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one years he worked at farm labor, being in the employ of one man for three years. After he had attained his majority, wishing that his work might more directly benefit himself, he rented a farm in Derry township, where he carried on general agricultural pursuits for five years and later he followed the same calling in Atlas township. In 1902, however, he disposed of his agricultural interests in Pike county and removed to Pueblo, Colorado, where he was employed in a steel works for a short time, and in a lumberyard for two and a half months. On the expiration of that period he returned to Atlas township, where he resumed farming; but after a brief period he gave up farm life altogether and engaged in buying and shipping wheat for the firm of Haines, Rupert & Company, which he represented until the fall of 1902. He then accepted a position as clerk in the large general store owned by that firm, and so continued until May, 1903. On the 22d of the same month he purchased the stock of drugs, stationery, paints, oils and tobacco from the firm of Miller & Garner, and together with his sister, Miss Susie M. Billings, has since conducted the business, his sister becoming a partner in September, 1904. They carry a large and well selected line of goods and are now enjoying a large and growing trade. Mr. Billings is also a stockholder in the Rockport Percheron Horse Company, and is agent for the American Insurance Company of Newark, New Jersey. He has filled a number of public offices, acting as clerk in the postoffice in connection with the management of his mercantile interests for a year and a half. He then took a civil service examination for rural mail-carrier at Pittsfield, passing at a grade of eighty- nine and five-eights per cent in all the questions asked. He received the appointment and entered upon the discharge of his duties October 1, 1904.

   On the 5th of October, 1905, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Billings and Miss Georgiana Pryor, a daughter of George and Fanny Pryor, of Rockport, Illinois. Her parents are both deceased. Politically Mr. Billings is a republican, and has always taken an active interest in the

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