The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

Page 79

back

next

table of contents

 
This change was made on the suggestion of Hon. D.B. Kuney who entered his protest against being a follower of so wooly a representative.

Billings arrived home in due time with a new gun that he was seen leaving Topeka with, a new suit of clothes and provision enough to last for a year.  All of which he was accused of receiving as boodle in the senatorial election.  The only bill that he succeeded in getting through the Legislature was one conferring the right of majority on Miss Nana Jones, his wife's sister.  Why he had that done can not be explained on any other theory than to legalize the vote on the school bonds voted three months before.  It being the vote that gave the bonds one majority, she being at the time under age.  This was wise statesmanship but not good law, for it did not legalize her previous vote.  The people had by this time lost confidence in Billings.  He opened an office and began the practice of law which was principally before the U.S Land office.  The first legal proceedings started was an injunction against Briggs to keep him from moving the old store building to Reedtown, from what court the restraining order was issued is not known; but the probability is it was forged by Billings.  Constable Tom Brown served the papers but Reed and Briggs afterward boasted that they bought Billings, and the case was withdrawn.

The first jury trial in this county was in Justice Oliver's court between Morris Atkinson and Lemuel Ford, on November 26, 1873.  The following jury was empaneled: B. F, Williams, John M. Cooper, C. D. Bieber, Sam Newell, John P. Dopps and R. B. Curry.  They failed to agree.  On December 16 the case was again tried by the following jury: Mott Wood, Lige Collins, Isaiah Williams, Sol Marsh and John Williams.  This case became celebrated for the reason that the jury gave a judgment against Atkinson for more than he had claimed against Ford.  Billings was Atkinson's attorney and was openly accused by his client of selling him out.  C. C. Vance appeared for Ford.  It was during Billings' address to this jury that he said "Gentlemen of the jury: The eyes of all Europe are upon you," an exordium that has done service to this day.

In the spring of 1874 a Swede by the name of Johnson came in and took a claim north of town.  He was usually known as the wheelbarrow Swede for the reason that he had come into the country on foot bringing his effects on a wheel barrow.  Billings had done his legal business before the land office.  The Swede discovered that Billings had put his papers on the wrong land; this so enraged the settlers that they got together on the night of June 12, at Case & Williams' store, and decided to make Billings return the Swede his money.  Billings lived at that time in the old log house where W. B Rogers kept hotel for several years afterward.  They surrounded the house but Billings got away; some of them saw him going toward the Prairie Dog in his nighties.  He never came to Norton to live after that.  He came to Leota and opened a law office in 1878, but only stayed there a short time.  He lived in Ness county for a time.  While there he and his wife separated, she afterward got a divorce.  Some years after she was again married and now lives at McCook Nebraska.  Billings is now a wanderer and an outcast; he drifts from place to place and is without home or occupation.  In answer to a request for his photograph his brother-in-law, Charles Willard of Concordia, sent us the following letter: "I have no portrit (sic), photo or profile, of the Hon. N. H. Billings so famous in the history of Norton county, and state of
Kansas.  The last known of the Colonel he was seen west of Concordia in June

Page 79

back

next

table of contents

 


US GenWeb Home Page


KS GenWeb Home Page



Home Page for Kansas



Search  KS GenWeb Project

KSGenWeb logo were designed and are copyrighted by Tom & Carolyn Ward for the limited use of the KSGenWeb Project.  Permission is granted for use only on an official KSGenWeb page. 

web design 2003 by Ardie Grimes,
Norton County, Kansas GenWeb coordinator
Text and photos from this 1894 book are within the public domain