BILLMEYER, Henry

Male 1842 - 1935  (92 years)


Personal Information    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name BILLMEYER, Henry 
    Born 17 Oct 1842  Montour, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Biography
    • HENRY BILLMEYER, lumberman and farmer, of Milton, Northumberland county, has carried on operations in both lines on an extensive scale, and is one of the best known men of his section. He is a large land owner, and still oversees his agricultural work and does custom mill work, but does not undertake as large contracts as he handled in his younger years, though he has not by any means relinquished business activity. Mr. Billmeyer was born Oct. 17, 1842, on the old family homestead in Montour county, Pa. The family is of German origin, and his first ancestors in this country settled at Lewisburg, Union Co., Pa., where they were among the pioneers. Three brothers, Martin, George, and Andrew Billmeyer, moved thence to what is now Liberty township, Montour county, where they took up land which is still owned by their posterity. Of these, Andrew was the great-grandfather of Henry Billmeyer.

      He received his education in the pay schools conducted in the neighborhood of his home during his early life, and at a tender age commenced to assist his father on the farm, learning the practical lessons of life with far more thoroughness than was considered necessary for literary training. When he was about twelve years old he often drove an old yoke of oxen (belonging to his father) for his father and grandfather, who lumbered at the old water sawmill. He was young, but did what his grandfather told I him to do. When a large cow which they owned had twin calves, it was decided to raise them for an ox team. They were black, with white faces. The grandfather told Henry he would give him ten dollars to break them and the boy took the offer. When the grandfather took sick and made his will, he willed the twin oxen to Henry. This proved to be the main team used to get the logs into the mill, and also did most all the plowing work. His sisters, who also drove them, made muslin fly nets for them.

      Henry and his brother Alex lumbered with them until Henry was almost twenty-one years old, at which time he was drafted for the Union service for three years, or during the war. At that time the oxen were about twelve - years old. To help raise money for a substitute - he had to hire a man not subject to draft or go himself - he sold them to his uncles in Juniata county, Jacob and George Hower, taking them over the mountain through Northumberland to Selinsgrove, and got seventy-five dollars, which was all the money he had. He rode them like horses. He had to report at Bloom to be examined, and was found fit for service. He and his brother AIexander then pledged two colts and a buggy which they had for two hundred dollars - and all the money they had was two hundred and seventy-five dollars. Meantime he had reached his majority. His brother advised him not to go into the army at once, so he hired a substitute, a man named George Smith, from Canada, for $625. He promised to come back if he lived, but that was the last Mr. Billmeyer ever saw of him.

      Mr. Billmeyer has always felt that this team of twin oxen, which helped him in his early lumbering and farming operations, and then sold for enough to partly defray the expense of hiring a substitute for army service, contributed much to the beginning of his success. When he and his brother Alexander were young men they left the cornfield one day in 1863 to buy timber. Their capital was five dollars in gold, and they gave three dollars to Andrew Robinson for a fine dog they wanted, paying the other two down on some timber.

      Such was the humble start from which these, two well known business men, built up their prosperous mill and lumber operations. Mr. Billmeyer would cut the timber and haul it to the mill in the daytime, and he and his brother would saw the logs with an up and down saw run by water power, doing this work at night by the light of pine knots. In time they leased a sawmill from Judge Moore and Mr. Snyder, of Danville, and located it on the Simington farm, in Montour county, and as they prospered they were able to buy it, paying $3,000 for it. It was a thirty-horse power plant, and they turned out a large amount of work with it. After buying it they moved it to John Watson's farm, near Washingtonville, Montour county, and the brothers divided the work, Henry Billmeyer attending to all the teaming and cutting of the timber and Alexander Billmeyer looking after the sawmill. They moved it still later to George Smith's farm, Mr. Smith being an uncle of Mrs. Henry Billmeyer, and here the accommodations were at first so inadequate that they had to sleep in the sheds and stables until they could build suitable quarters. For about two years before dissolving partnership the brothers were located on a large tract which they had bought from James Lowery. When they divided their interests, Henry Billmeyer took the old homestead of 111 acres in Liberty township, his brother continuing the mill alone, still selling to the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company, which took their mill output.

      After the old homestead came into his possession, Henry Billmeyer improved it greatly, putting up an entire set of new buildings and he also continued milling, buying a plant and doing sawing for his brother. His mill was stationed first at Mooresburg, in Montour county, whence be shipped his product to Wooden & Jackson, of Berwick, Pa. Later it was on the Frederick farm in Chillisquaque township, Northumberland county, whence he moved it to his lower farm in Montour county, its present Iocation. There he still continues to do custom work, and he looks carefully after his agricultural operations, which are extensive. His lower farm was an old McMahan farm, and when he first bought it contained 220 acres, to which he has since added; it has fine buildings. The soil is excellent, and the place is valuable in every way.

      Mr. and Mrs. Billmeyer spend their summers there, making their home in Milton the rest of the year. He is one of the most progressive citizens of his section, and his undertakings have not only proved profitable to him but also a benefit to every locality in which he has had interests.

      On Jan. 17, 1869, Mr. Billmeyer married Hannah Flora, who was bom Dec. 30, 1851, daughter of James and Sarah A. (Smith) Flora, and they have had three children: Sarah A., wife of H. B. Montgomery, of Milton; Carrie Ellen, wife of John D. Swanger, of Milton; and James H., born Sept. 1, 1872, who is unmarried and assists his father in business.
    Census (desc) 1900  Liberty Township, Montour, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    working as a farmer 
    Census (desc) 1910  Milton, Northumberland, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    living at 143 S Front St with his daughter Sarah and son-in-law Bryson Montgomery and working as a farmer 
    Census (desc) 1920  Milton, Northumberland, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    living at 143 S Front St with his daughter Sarah and son-in-law Bryson Montgomery and working as a farmer 
    Census (desc) 1930  Milton, Northumberland, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    living at 143 S Front St with his son-in-law Bryson Montgomery 
    _UID 0AFA1CA8B2BCFC42AA914F85F2A80CC9F247 
    Died 1935 
    Person ID I887  Milton Families
    Last Modified 15 Sep 2019 

    Father BILLMEYER, Jacob,   b. 13 Nov 1808, Montour, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 May 1881, Montour, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 72 years) 
    Mother HOWER, Elizabeth,   b. 16 Aug 1814,   d. 5 Feb 1873, Montour, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 58 years) 
    Family ID F282  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family FLORA, Hannah,   b. 30 Dec 1851,   d. 1931  (Age 79 years) 
    Married 17 Jan 1869 
    Children 
     1. BILLMEYER, Sarah Ann,   b. 12 Oct 1869, Liberty Township, Montour, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 15 May 1956, Union, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 86 years)
     2. BILLMEYER, Carrie Ellen,   b. 16 Apr 1883, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 May 1975, Tampa, Hillsborough, Florida, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 92 years)
    +3. BILLMEYER, James Henry,   b. 1 Sep 1872, Montour, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Feb 1932, Montour, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 59 years)
    Last Modified 26 Nov 2019 
    Family ID F283  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 17 Oct 1842 - Montour, Pennsylvania, United States Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus (desc) - working as a farmer - 1900 - Liberty Township, Montour, Pennsylvania, United States Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus (desc) - living at 143 S Front St with his daughter Sarah and son-in-law Bryson Montgomery and working as a farmer - 1910 - Milton, Northumberland, Pennsylvania, United States Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus (desc) - living at 143 S Front St with his daughter Sarah and son-in-law Bryson Montgomery and working as a farmer - 1920 - Milton, Northumberland, Pennsylvania, United States Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus (desc) - living at 143 S Front St with his son-in-law Bryson Montgomery - 1930 - Milton, Northumberland, Pennsylvania, United States Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Sources 
    1. [S14] Floyd's History of Northumberland County, PA 1911, Page 482.