1793-1866

Titus BillingsThe name Titus Billings is well recognized in Early Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint history. A direct command reads,

Wherefore, let my disciples in Kirtland arrange their temporal concerns, who dwell upon this farm. Let my servant Titus Billings, who has the care thereof, dispose of the land, that he may be prepared in the coming spring to take his journey up unto the land of Zion, with those that dwell upon the face thereof, excepting those whom I shall reserve unto myself, that shall not go until I shall command them. (Doctrine & Covenants, Section 63:38-39. )

Titus Billings, second counselor to Bishop Edward Partridge from 1837 to 1840, was born March 25, 1793, at Greenfield, Franklin County, Massachusetts, the son of Ebeneezer Billings and Esther Joyce. Titus learned the trade of a carpenter. On February 16, 1817 he married Diantha Morley, the sister of Isaac Morley, and later practicing plural marriage, married Mary Ann Tuttle, 20 January 1854 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was the father of nineteen children.

Titus Billings was the second person baptized at Kirtland, Ohio, in November 1830 by missionaries sent to the Lamanites. He was ordained a deacon by October 1831 and on March 10, 1832, was ordained an elder by Thomas B. Marsh. Obeying the above quoted revelation, in the spring of 1832 he left Kirtland and moved to Jackson County, Missouri, where he passed through the terrible persecutions of 1833. He was ordained a high priest and counselor to Bishop Edward Partridge August 1, 1837, under the hands of Edward Partridge and Isaac Morley.

He participated in the Battle of Crooked River in October 1838 and afterwards laid down his arms in Far West after taking an active part in its defense. In company with other brethren, whose lives were sought by the mobbers, he left Far West in the night to escape mob violence. In traveling northward through the wilderness, he was three days without food, but finally reached Quincy, Illinois. Susan Easton Black describes this incidence thus:

For Titus Billings, his escape from mobocracy in Missouri was plagued with starvation and frostbite. “For three days and nights he had only slippery elm bark for food. His feet were frozen so badly the flesh came off in pieces.” (Melvin Billings, comp. Titus Billings Early Mormon Pioneer, n.p.,n.d., in author’s [Susan Easton Black] possession, p 21). Yet, … he praised God for his faith. (“A Legacy of Faith,” a devotional address given by Susan Easton Black at BYU, 22 Nov 1994: http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=7800.)

Subsequently he located at Lima, Adams County, Illinois, and at the time of the “house burnings” in 1845 removed to Nauvoo. While in Nauvoo he received his endowment in the Nauvoo Temple on 13 December 1845 and was sealed to Diantha Morley 30 January 1846. Always willing to serve, he was a member of the Nauvoo Legion while living in Illinois.

In common with the Saints generally he was forced into exile, and after passing through untold sufferings on the journey, he reached Great Salt Lake Valley in 1848, crossing the plains as captain of the first fifty in Heber C. Kimball’s company. In the fall of 1849, together with others, he was called by the presidency of the Church to settle Sanpete Valley; in compliance with which he became one of the first settlers of Manti.

Subsequently he located in Provo, Utah County, where he resided until his death, which occurred at that place February 6, 1866. His burial took place at the Provo City Cemetery, 9 February 1866.

 


 

References:

This biographical sketch adapted from the LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, compiled and edited by Andrew Jenson, Volume 1, page 242.

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, Heber C. Kimball Company (1848)

Grandpa Bill’s General Authority Pages – Biographical sketch

Wikipedia – Biographical sketch

BYU Speeches – Escape from mobocracy in Missouri

LDS Biographical Encyclopedia Vol. 1 page 242

Family Preserves – Short history

United Order – Statement

United States 1850 (April 1851) Census for Manti, Sanpete, Utah