15. Martha Billingslea

Martha Billingslea Headstone

Headstone of Martha Billingslea

BILLINGSLEA, MARTHA (1840-1919): Martha Billingslea was born Martha Bunkley in Alabama in 1840 to Abraham and Caroline Bunkley. In 1863, her first son, Henry, was born in Chambers County, Alabama. On December 28, 1865, Martha Bunkley married George Billingslea in Chambers County. They had five other children: Jesse (b. 1865), an unknown daughter listed as “N” (b. 1869), Ella (b. 1871), Mary Ann (b. 1872), and Georgia Ann (b. 1874) before moving to Gainesville, Texas, prior to their son George’s birth in 1887. While in Gainesville, they lived at 701 Truelove Street in a house they owned. George worked as a day laborer and Martha worked as a laundress until at least 1910 before moving to Pilot Point. Martha died of cardiac asthma on July 12, 1919, and was buried in St. John’s Cemetery. Her headstone, which reads “Star of Gainesville Chamber 707” was provided by the Mosaic Templars of America, an organization that offered illness, death, and burial insurance to former slaves that could not obtain them through traditional insurance companies. Although her reason for moving to Pilot Point is not known, she did have deep ties to the community as several of her children and her sister lived there for varying amounts of time.  It is believed that Martha died while visiting one of her several children residing in Pilot Point, and that Martha's children chose to bury her near them and where they would be ultimately be interred; St. John's Cemetery. 


1900 Census

1900 Census showing Martha and George Billingslea in Gainsville, Texas

Mary Ann Billingslea Photograph

Photograph of Martha's daughter, Mary Ann Billingslea









Ann Allen | Isaac Allen | Matilda Allen | Thomas Allen | Martha Billingslea | John Burton | Louisa Burton | Dora Davis | Wash Davis | Charles Ellis | Mrs. Charles Ellis | Gus Finch | Josaphine Finch | Mary Turner Fourteen | Eliza Jane White Green | Hezekiah Griffin | Lindsay Haflin | Melvinie Hays | Charity Shears Holloway Helm | Henry Holloway | Georgia Ann Holstein | Abraham Lyles | Mary Varner Lyles | Marvin Newsom | Charles Oliver | Peggy Oliver | Mary B. Finch Peace | James Robinson | Harriet Davis Shears | Henry Shears | Lucy Shears | Risom Shears | Henry Smith | Lissie Smith | Little Smith | Agle Lee Truitt | George Truitt | Lou Smith Truitt | Ceborn Vaughner | Lewis Vaughner | L.D. "Lover" Vaughner | Jennie Lyles Walker | Infant Ware | Infant Ware II | Mattie Finch Washington | John D. White | Washington Whitlow | Amanda "Mandy" Truitt Williams | Angeline Williamson

The People of St. John's - St. John's Cemetery - Gone to Texas

Citations: 1880 Census of the United States, Lee County, Alabama, Page 70, Ancestry, Accessed April 08, 2018, Alabama County Marriage Records 1805-1967, Accessed April 08, 2018; 1880 Census of the United States, Lee County, Alabama, Page 70, Ancestry, Accessed April 08, 2018; Texas Death Certificates 1903-1982, Accessed April 08, 2018; 1910 Census of the United States, Cooke County, Texas, Precinct 1, Page 6, Accessed April 08, 2018; Wintory, Blake. "Mosaic Templars of America." Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Accessed April 08, 2018.