Mrs.  Elizabeth  G.  Billman

          The name of  Gordon  will always be pleasantly remembered in Shelby county owing to the public-spirited and progressive character of those who have borne it.  This is especially true of  Leonidas Gordon, who developed fine estates, accumulated large property interests and became a factor of importance in the development of the county.  Of like quality and near neighbors were the  Billmans, and it was quite in accord with the fitness of things that such families and estates should be united by marriage.  The Indiana branch of the Gordon family was founded at Metamora, a small place on the canal near Laurel in the county of Franklin.  From there Leonidas Gordon came to Shelby county, before the Civil war, and after running a mill at Marion with success, afterwards became a prosperous farmer on a valuable estate near Shelbyville.  He married  Julia Ann Pond, also of Metamora, and by her had six children, of whom four are living.  Among the latter is  Elizabeth G., who was born in Marion township, Shelby county, Indiana, March 20, 1852.  She was reared and educated in her native locality and on February 8, 1870, was married to  Charles Billman, son of an old pioneer family, who became prosperous after coming to this section.  His father, Michael Billman, was a native of Alsace, Germany, but came to America in 1829, when a young man, and here met  Magdalena Eckert, also of German birth. to whom he was subsequently married.  Of the nine children of this union only three are now living, to-wit:  Lee,  Lizzie  and  Mrs. Maria Wells, of Chicago.  Charles Billman after farming for many years bought the Shelby Mills, but died two years after taking possession.  He was the father of six children, of whom five are still living:  Otto, the eldest, married  Emma Yarling, and has one daughter;  Anna, the eldest daughter, married  J. O. Yarling, has three children and resides on a farm two miles east of the city;  Edward  is a commission merchant in Cincinnati;  Emma, the second daughter, who remains at home with her mother, is a student of art in water colors and displays an unusual degree of talent.  Elmer, the youngest child. is a partner with his brother Otto in the mill.  This property, which is very valuable, has in its time made fortunes for several men.  Established in the early forties by the  Elliott  family, it has ever since been one of the institutions of Shelbyville and Shelby county.  The power, originally water, has long since given away to machinery run by electric dynamos.  The engine is of one hundred and forty horse power, and the capacity of the mill is two hundred and fifty barrels a day.  The corn crib holds twenty thousand bushels in ears, the wheat elevator nearly thirty thousand bushels, and the mill proper three thousand bushels.  Fully one hundred and fifty thousand bushels of wheat and three hundred thousand bushels of corn are consumed each year.  A large exchange business of flour for wheat is done with farmers, and great quantities of corn and bran and shorts are disposed of for feed.  The brands of flour handled are the "Favorite,'' the "Crescent'' and the "Silver Spray,'' all very popular and widely known and in constant demand.
            Mrs. Billman, who takes a mother's natural pride in her children, has good reason to be proud of them as worthy descendants of noble sires.  She had them all carefully educated in the common and high schools of Shelbyville, and all of her sons are well equipped for the responsible duties thrown upon them in the management of valuable properties.  Elmer, who is unmarried, makes his home with his mother, and devotes his working hours to the mill with a view of thoroughly mastering this important business in all its details.
Chadwick's History of Shelby County, Indiana, by Edward H. Chadwick, B.A., assisted by well known local talent, B.F. Bowen & Co, Publishers: Indianapolis, IN, 1909, pages 403-404.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming  for Christal Callahan Culp

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