John W. Billups


On November 22, 1895, John W. Billups filed on his present homestead and at once went to work. He possessed a four horse team and wagon, this being the sum of his earthly wealth. The second year he marketed nine hundred bushels of wheat as seed for his neighbors. The next year he marketed two thousand bushels of wheat and five hundred of flax at Spalding. He now has his homestead supplied with a beautiful residence, large and handsome barn, plenty of out buildings, a good holding of stock and handles two or three headers and steam thresher, besides having another quarter of land adjoining. In addition to this, Mr. Billups has rented Indian land and this year, he marketed twelve thousand bushels of flax. Such a record reads like a dream, it is so wonderfully successful, but when we see the man that has executed it, the keen and penetrating wisdom, the executive force, the tireless energy, it is all explained. Mr. Billups stands at the head in farming on the reservation and doubtless there is not another record to match this one in the county.

John W. Billups was born in Cabell county, West Virginia, on May 20, 1859, being the son of Richard A. and Hulda (Moore) Billups, natives of Virginia. The family was one of the earliest pioneers of Virginia and are an honorable and strong family. The grandfather of our subject was a soldier in the Revolution. The father of John W. is a minister in the Missionary Baptist church and is still preaching in Virginia, aged seventy-six.

On March 24, 1881, Mr. Billups married Miss Rhoda C., daughter of Alanson and Charlotte (Graham) Farmer, natives of Virginia. Mr. Billups' grandfather Graham fought in the war of 1812. In March, 1882, Mr. Billups went to Hancock county, Indiana, then to Hamilton county and in 1886 they went to Sumner county, Kansas, and there railroaded until 1889. Then he came to Moscow and later purchased a small farm there but in the panic he lost everything. When he heard of the reservation being opened, he came and selected his claim and the result is in evidence.

Mr. Billups is a member of the M. W. A. and the Yeomen, both at Nezperce. He and his wife are devout members of the Methodist church and are hearty supporters of the faith. Eight children have been born to this worthy couple, Mamie, wife of C. C. Mizer near Nezperce; Minnie D., born in Hamilton county, Indiana; Lulu E. born in Sumner county, Kansas; Hulda, Clea C., Letha Murle, all born in Latah county; James O. and Jesse Carl, born at the home place. Mr. Billups has always striven for substantial improvements, and is a warm supporter of progress and especially first class educational facilities.

On March 2, 1903, Mr. Billups sold at auction sale, implements and stock amounting to seven thousand dollars, rented his farm and is now enjoying the pleasures of a retired life.

John W. Billups died 4 July 1931, and his wife, Rhoda C. Farmer Billups died 16 Jun 1950. They are buried in the Chico Cemetery in Chico, Butte Co., CA.

From An Illustrated History Of North Idaho Embracing Nez Perces, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, State of Idaho, 1903

Contributed by Natalie Huntley

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