Franklin S. Billings

Franklin Swift Billings (May 11, 1862 – January 16, 1935)[1] was an American businessman and politician from Woodstock, Vermont. He served as the 53rd Lieutenant Governor of Vermont from 1923 to 1925 and as the 60th Governor of Vermont from 1925 to 1927.[2]

Franklin S. Billings
Franklin S. Billings.jpg
60th Governor of Vermont
In office
January 8, 1925 – January 6, 1927
LieutenantWalter K. Farnsworth
Preceded byRedfield Proctor, Jr.
Succeeded byJohn E. Weeks
53rd Lieutenant Governor of Vermont
In office
January 4, 1923 – January 8, 1925
GovernorRedfield Proctor, Jr.
Preceded byAbram W. Foote
Succeeded byWalter K. Farnsworth
Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives
In office
Preceded byCharles S. Dana
Succeeded byOrlando L. Martin
Member of the Vermont House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Franklin Swift Billings

(1862-05-11)May 11, 1862
New Bedford, Massachusetts
DiedJanuary 16, 1935(1935-01-16) (aged 72)
Woodstock, Vermont
Political partyRepublican
Bessie Hewitt Vail
(m. 1892; her death 1917)

Gertrude Freeman Curtis
(his death 1935)
Children4, including Franklin S. Billings, Jr.
RelativesFrederick H. Billings (uncle)
Mary Billings French (cousin)

Early lifeEdit

Billings was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and his parents were Franklin Noble Billings and Nancy Swift Billings.[3]

He was educated at Adams Academy in Quincy, and graduated from Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts. Billings attended Harvard University and graduated in 1885.[3]


Billings worked on a Kansas sheep ranch and then engaged in the import-export business in New York City. In 1903 he moved to Vermont and was a director of the Woodstock Railway Company, Hotel Company, Aqueduct Company, and Electric Company. Billings was also President of the Woodstock Ice Supply Company, and Treasurer of the Empire Building Company and the Vermont Investment Company. From 1904 to 1906 he served on the staff of Governor Charles J. Bell as chief of staff of the Vermont National Guard with rank of colonel. He was the longtime chairman of the Woodstock Village Meeting and an active Republican. He was also member of the state Commissione for the Conservation of Natural Resources and the State Board of Education.

After serving in the Vermont House of Representatives from 1910 to 1913, Billings returned to the Vermont House from 1921 to 1923 and served as Speaker.[4]

From 1923 to 1925, Billings was lieutenant governor. In 1924, he won election as governor and served from 1925 to 1927. The federal government established national forests in Vermont during his gubernatorial administration. Also, the Motor Vehicle Department was created, and provision was made for the registration of motor vehicles.[5]

After leaving the governorship he served on the state Liquor Control Board, and was a member of the Harvard University Board of Overseers.

Personal lifeEdit

On July 12, 1892, he married Elizabeth "Bessie" Hewitt Vail (1869–1917) of New York and they had three children: Elizabeth Swift Billings, Franklin Nobel Billings, and Nancy Billings.[6]

After his first wife's death in 1917 and Billings then married Gertrude Freeman Curtis (1881–1964) in 1919.[7] They had one son:

Billings "dropped dead of a heart attack in the repair shop of Joseph Carbino" in Woodstock, Vermont on January 16, 1935. He is interred at Riverside Cemetery, Woodstock.[1]


Two Billings family legacies in Woodstock, the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park and the Billings Farm and Museum were created to focus on conservation, rural life and agricultural history.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "EX-GOV. F. S. BILLINGS DROPS DEAD AT 73; Former Chief Magistrate of Vermont Has Heart Attack-Importer Here 17 Years" (PDF). The New York Times. 17 January 1935. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  2. ^ "Franklin S. Billings". National Governors Association. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  3. ^ a b Franklin S. Billings. Encyclopedia, Vermont Biography. 1912. p. 120. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  4. ^ "Franklin S. Billings". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  5. ^ "Franklin S. Billings". National Governors Association. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  6. ^ Franklin S. Billings. Encyclopedia, Vermont Biography. 1912. p. 120. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  7. ^ "Mrs. Franklin Billings" (PDF). The New York Times. 30 January 1964. Retrieved 22 November 2019.

External linksEdit

Party political offices
Preceded by
Redfield Proctor Jr.
Republican nominee for Governor of Vermont
Succeeded by
John E. Weeks
Political offices
Preceded by
Abram W. Foote
Lieutenant Governor of Vermont
Succeeded by
Walter K. Farnsworth
Preceded by
Redfield Proctor, Jr.
Governor of Vermont
Succeeded by
John E. Weeks