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Biography of William Billings

WM. BILLINGS. – The name Billings at once suggests the picturesque hills and valleys of Vermont; and we find that the subject of this sketch is indeed a Green Mountain boy, having been born in Ripton in 1827. He lived upon his father’s place until 1846, and in that year went down to New Bedford and shipped before the mast. This step brought him to Washington Territory; for, in 1849, he was left at Honolulu, from whence, in the bark Mary, he came to California, the gold of the Yuba mines detaining him but a few months. Indeed, the best place to obtain California gold was not always in California. He came to Portland in the autumn, and found employment in hewing timber for the first steam sawmill in that embryo city. Remaining here until 1852, he joined a company of seventy gold hunters who bought the brig Eagle for the purpose of going to Queen Charlotte’s Island prospecting. The expedition proved a failure; and the company returned to the mainland, disbanding and selling their vessel at Olympia. Being thus landed in his future home, Mr. Billings located a claim three miles from town and followed lumbering three years. But the war of 1855 called him from this peaceful and remunerative occupation, making a soldier of him for a year. He served in the Yakima country, and after his discharge in 1856 busied himself a number of years at Olympia in whatever enterprise or business came to hand. In 1860 he entered the field of politics, being the nominee of the Republican party for sheriff of Thurston county. In...

Biography of Rev. Cushing Eels, D. D.

REV. CUSHING EELS, D.D. – Dr. Eells was born at Blandford, Massachusetts, February 16, 1810, and was the son of Joseph and Elizabeth (Warner) Eells. He was descended from Samuel Eells, who was a major in Cromwell’s army, and who came to America in 1661. Cushing Eells was brought up at Blandford, became a Christian when fifteen years old, prepared for college at Monson Academy, Massachusetts, entered Williams College in 1830, and graduated four years later. The distance from his home to college was forty-five miles. Twice he rode the entire distance, – when he entered and after he graduated, – twice from one-half to two-thirds of the way; and the rest of the trips he walked too poor to pay his way. Three years later he graduated from East Windsor Theological Seminary, of Connecticut (now at Hartford), and was ordained at Blandford, Massachusetts, October 25, 1837, as a Congregational minister. While teaching school at Holden, Massachusetts, he became acquainted with Miss Myra Fairbank, to whom he was afterwards married. She was the daughter of Dea. Joshua, and Mrs. Sally Fairbank, and was born at Holden, Massachusetts, May 26, 1805. It is said that both on her father’s and mother’s sides she was pure Yankee. She made a profession of religion when thirteen years old, and at the celebration of her seventieth birthday said that she had never been sorry that she had begun to serve the Savior when so young. When Doctor Eels first offered himself as a missionary to the American board of commissioners for foreign missions, he was appointed to the Zulu mission of Africa. Afterwards,...

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