Union of the Tucker and Billings Lines

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Silvanus Billings & Keturah Fosgate § Jedediah Tucker & Lucy Mixer § Caleb Tucker & Catherine Billings

Silvanus Billings & Keturah Fosgate

Parents of Catherine Billings Tucker.

Silvanus Billings (1745-1810), Bonnie Jackson’s 4th great-grandfather, married Keturah Fosgate (1748-1790) in Northborough in 1767. Silvanus and Keturah are unusual names but frequent among the Puritans. Keturah refers to the second wife of Abraham in the book of Genesis. Sylvanus references a companion of Saint Paul in the New Testament (also called Silas).

Keturah was born on August 19, 1748, in Bolton, Massachusetts, about ten miles north of Northborough. The couple had two daughters, both born in Northborough. Keturah’s place and date of death are uncertain. She may have died in Massachusetts in 1790 or in 1810 in Weathersfield, Vermont, where her husband passed away. Silvanus lived to age 65, passing away in 1810.

In 1777, Silvanus was suspected of being a Loyalist, not supportive of the Revolution, and confined to his farm.[1] But he was eventually “restored into the good graces of the town” in May of 1781.

There is no clear explanation for Silvanus’s move from Westborough, Massachusetts some 140 miles north west to Weathersfield, Vermont sometime between 1800 and 1810. Keturah may have passed away and his three children were adults, married and living with their respective families. This may have left Silvanus a lonesome widower in Northborough which leads to some reasonable conjecture as to why he moved to Vermont this late in life (he would have been 60-ish years old). Daughter Sarah (1771-1830) had wed Adam Pond (1769-1845) in 1788 and moved to Weathersfield, VT. And in-laws of Silvanus’ other daughter, “Catherine” (see just below), lived in nearby Halifax County.[2] The 1810 U.S. Census offers some interesting fact-lets. Silvanus is listed as head of the household with three other family members: one female between 26 and 44 years of age and one male and one female child under 10 years old. Who exactly these people are remains unknown.

The Billings surname has a long history in Vermont beginning with John Billings (1752-1832).[3] There has been significant genealogical research suggesting no connection between the Connecticut-Vermont Billings and the Massachusetts Billings. That said, the common surname and its frequency in Vermont during the period are interesting in light of Silvanus’ late-in-life relocation.

Silvanus’s and Keturah’s younger daughter, Catherine “Caty” Billings (1776-1852), married Caleb Tucker in Oxford, Massachusetts, in May of 1797, thus dissolving the Billings name into the Tucker family that had such a significant role in the Billick-Jackson lineage.

Jedediah Tucker, Jr. & Lucy Mixer

Parents of Caleb Tucker and Bonnie Jackson’s 4th great-grandfather.

Jedediah Tucker (1744-1827) was born September 26, 1744, in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. He married Lucy Mixer (1739-1824) on September 16, 1763 in Shrewsbury. He enlisted in the Massachusetts militia and served from 1777 until 1780. They had nine children.  Jedediah is another Old Testament name, used to refer to King Solomon (in 2 Samuel 12:25). He died in Shrewsbury on December 3, 1827, at the age of 83.

Lucy died on March 9, 1824, in Shrewsbury, at the age of 84 years.

Caleb Tucker & Catherine Billings

Parents of Thomas Tucker, Bonita Jackson’s 3rd great-grandfather.

Caleb Tucker (1774-1853) was born Oct. 15, 1774, in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, the sixth of Jedediah’s and Lucy’s children. He married Catherine “Caty” Billings (1776-1852), of Northborough, on May 3, 1796. He farmed there (and owned two slaves). At some point he bought a farm near Johnstown, New York, a community that had just been incorporated as a village in 1803. The reason for the move some 200 miles west is not known.

There is another geographic anomaly in Caleb’s family history. Records show he and Catherine were married in Oxford, Massachusetts on May 27, 1797. Yet some genealogists put the birth of their first son, Nathaniel Tucker (1797-1883), in October of 1797 in Sandusky County, Ohio. This is an error. In all federal Census tracts, Nathaniel is reported as born in New York. Still, the same Census records show Nathaniel was indeed residing in the Sandusky area by 1850; and he died and was buried in the Fremont, Ohio area. A transcription of Nathaniel’s obituary (from the Fremont Weekly Journal, 20-July-1883) is included here.

The rest of their eleven children seem to have been born and grew to adulthood in New York, save for son, Thomas, who appears to be the first Tucker to establish a permanent home in Ohio. Did Caleb make some early trip 500 miles west to the Sandusky area with his pregnant wife in tow? If so, why?

Caleb’s wife, Catherine Billings, was born in Northborough, Massachusetts in March of 1776. The couple had eleven children in nineteen years, the last, son Ezekiel, was born when Catherine was 40 years old. Their offspring included two sets of fraternal twins: Caleb and Catherine, born February 8, 1802; and Henry and Harriet, born July 3, 1804. By the time their daughter, Jane, was born in 1808, the Tucker home had ten youngsters between the ages of newborn and 11. Caleb himself had eight brothers and sisters so even a reunion of just Caleb’s kids and their aunts and uncles would have been quite a houseful.

Catherine passed away in November of 1852, at age 76. Caleb Tucker died on October 16, 1853. Both Caleb and Catherine are buried in the Saint Lawrence Union Cemetery in Cape Vincent, New York, on the shores of Lake Ontario. This resting place presents still one final conundrum. Why was Caleb laid to rest nearly 200 miles from the town where he reportedly spent the majority of his adult years? This is where his son, Thomas, was living and perhaps mom and dad Tucker decided to pass some of their final years near their grandchildren.


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[1] Kent, 1921, p. 81.
[2] That in-law was sister-in-law Elizabeth Fessenden Tucker (1763-1803) who died just few weeks after giving birth to twins, both of whom perished two weeks after birth.
[3] John is the grandfather of Frederick Billings (1823-1890), founder of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Billings, Montana bears his name as does the University of Vermont Billings Library (now the Billings Student Center).
{last update: 14-Feb-2020}