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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Grant County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Asa A. Billingslea, recognized as one of Grant County’s successful citizens, was born in Shelby County, Ala., October 17, 1844, being the son of Asa A. and Margaret H. (Crowson) Billingslea, natives of Alabama. The parents died in Arkansas, Grant County, he in 1849, when in his thirty-ninth year, and his wife in 1883, in her sixty-fourth year. They were married in Alabama, and came to Arkansas in 1845, settling at Camden, and remaining there three years, when they removed to the locality in which they now live. After her husband’s death, Mrs. Billingslea married James Bratton. Upon separating and being divorced from her second husband, she was married to Hiram Rodgers. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Her first husband was a Royal Arch Mason, which order conducted his funeral ceremony. He was a Democrat politically, and served his township in Alabama as justice of the peace. He followed blacksmithing and well-boring as a business in the State of his nativity, but after coming to Arkansas, turned his attention to farming and mercantile pursuits, being very successful in all his occupations. He and his wife became the parents of four children, the principal in this sketch the only one surviving. Asa received his education in this neighborhood, and in the fall of 1861, enlisted in the Eleventh Arkansas Infantry, Company F. At Port Hudson, La., he was captured, together with his regiment; shortly after, however, he was paroled, and joined Poles’ battalion, west of the Mississippi River. He was again taken captive in Saline County and conveyed to Little Rock, where he subscribed to the oath of fealty to the Government, only a short time before the close of the war, and served the Federals as head-sawyer in a mill at Little Rock. In the Confederate army he took part in many battles, notably: New Madrid, Port Hudson and Island No. 10. At the latter place he and seventeen men escaped. He was never wounded, but served with much credit throughout the war. When the clouds of the conflict had rolled away, Mr. Billingslea returned to Grant County and began working at his trade, blacksmithing and wagon making, continuing in the same occupation ever since. The people realizing his superior ability, have given him the best custom in Grant County. His prosperity in life he attributes to his professional knowledge and industry. He was married to Miss Emily Hamilton, daughter of William Hamilton, on July 9, 1865. She was born in Tennessee, on October 4, 1847. By this union he has become the father of seven children; two children, Emily A. and Cynthia K. (both at home). The parents are both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the father is a believer in the principles of the Democratic party.

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This family biography is one of 68 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Grant County, Arkansas published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Grant County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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