CAPT. ALBERT BILLINGSLEA

Source: Album of Genealogy and Biography, Cook County, Illinois with Portraits 3rd ed. revised and extended (Chicago: Calumet Book & Engraving Co., 1895), pp. 89-91

CAPT. ALBERT BILLINGSLEA, a veteran of the great Civil War, residing at Evanston, was born at Uniontown, Maryland, April 18, 1838.   He is a son of Dr. James L. Billingslea and Susan Haines, both of whom were natives of Uniontown.  The Billingslea family, which is of English origin, had been located in the state of Maryland for a number of generations, and its members are still numerous there.   James Billingslea, grandfather of the Captain, was an extensive planter and slave-holder of Harford County.

Dr. James L. Billingslea, son of the last-mentioned, became one of the most prominent physicians in the state.  Besides holding an enviable position in his profession, he was one of its most influential and prosperous citizens.  In early life he was an old-line Whig, and filled the office of State Senator.   When the notorious Baltimore riot occurred, in the spring of 1861, and it became apparent that the Nation was about to be plunged into civil war, he took a decided stand in support of the Union, declaring to his neighbors that, “without a Government, we have nothing.”  “The Government of the United States is good enough for me, and slavery can go to the dogs.” Although these sentiments were very unpopular in that locality, and their expression amounted to a provocation of personal violence, he consistently and firmly maintained his principles, gathering about him a coterie of loyal and patriotic men, and doing much to prevent the secession of Maryland from the Union.  As an evidence of his sincerity, it is stated that he was one of the first men to invest in United States securities, at a time when the uncertainty of their redemption must have been apparent to the most sanguine and patriotic mind.   He lived to see the justification of his faith, expiring at Westminster, Maryland, October 23, 1881, aged seventy-seven years, lacking one day.

Mrs. Susan Billingslea died in 1858, at the age of forty-four years.  The Haines family was one of the most prominent among the Hicksite Quakers of Maryland.  Dr. and Mrs. Billingslea were the parents of six sons and two daughters.  Following is their record: Elizabeth, Mrs. John L. Reifsmeider, died in Westminster, Carroll County, Maryland.   Uriah became a physician, and died at the age of twenty-five, soon after locating at St. Louis.  Albert is the next in order of birth.  Charles is a practicing dentist at Westminster, Maryland, where James H. is a leading physician.  Ada M. is the wife of Dr. James H. Frasier, of Baltimore; and Louis L. is a prominent attorney of Philadelphia.

Albert Billingslea spent his early boyhood in his native place.  He was educated at Milton Academy, Baltimore County, Maryland, and after graduating, at the age of eighteen years, was engaged in agriculture in that locality.  On the 11th of August, 1862, he enlisted in Company A, of the Sixth Maryland Volunteer Infantry, and received a Lieutenant’s commission.  He was soon after promoted to the rank of Captain, taking command of the company, which he had helped to recruit.  He continued in command until December 23, 1864, when he was honorably discharged, owing to injuries received in the field.  His regiment was first placed under the command of General Milroy, in the Valley of Virginia.  Upon Lee’s invasion of Pennsylvania, it was attached to the Second Brigade, Third Division, Sixth Army Corps.  He participated in the battles of Gettysburg, Mine Run, the Wilderness and Spottsylvania Court House.  At the last-named engagement, which took place in May, 1864, he was seriously wounded and sent home on a furlough.  Having recovered from his injuries, he rejoined the regiment in August of the same year, after which he served under General Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley, and led his company at the battles of Winchester, Fisher’s Hill and Cedar Creek.  At the latter place he was so severely wounded in the hip as to be discharged from further service.

Upon his recovery, he engaged in the manufacture of cigars at Westminster, Maryland.  He acquired an extensive trade, which required the employment of thirty or forty people, and the enterprise was continued until 1890, when he came west, and the following year became a resident of Evanston.  Since that date he has been engaged in the real-estate business, and a large portion of this pleasant suburb has been built up through his activity and enterprise.

On the 2d of January, 1866, he was married to Miss Mollie J., daughter of James Hopkins, of Annapolis, Maryland.  She is a native of that state, born at Greensborough, Caroline County, and is the mother of three sons, all residents of Evanston.  Albert H. is connected with the Pittsburgh Bridge Company.  Edward L. represents the Chicago interests of the firm of Rogers, Brown & Company, dealers in pig iron; and James Claude is connected with the publication of the Farmers’ Voice, being the advertising agent of that journal.

Captain Billingslea was reared in the faith of the Methodist Protestant Church, but since coming West the family has united with the Congregational Church.  He is identified with the Masonic order, and also belongs to Gen. John A. Logan Post, Grand Army of the Republic.  Though never a seeker after public office, he served as a member of the City Council at Westminster.   From boyhood he has been a pronounced Republican, and takes a decided stand on political issues.  During several campaigns he stumped the state of Maryland in the interest of the Republican ticket, and always exerted a marked influence upon the public policy of that commonwealth.  He is a gentleman of pleasing address and patriotic sentiments, and cannot fail to be a valuable acquisition to the community in which he now makes his home.

                                -- Submitted on 11/29/99 by Sherri Hessick ( shessick@flash.net )