About Franklin S. Billings, Governor
Franklin Swift Billings (May 11, 1862 – January 16, 1935) was an American politician from Woodstock, Vermont, and he served as the 52nd Lieutenant Governor of Vermont from 1923 to 1925 and as the 60th Governor of Vermont from 1925 to 1927.
Billings was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and his parents were Franklin Noble Billings and Nancy Swift Billings. He was educated at Adams Academy in Quincy, and graduated from Milton Academy, Milton, and Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts in the class of 1885. On July 12, 1892 he married Bessie Hewitt Vail of New York and they had three children, Elizabeth Swift Billings, Franklin Nobel Billings, and Nancy Billings. Bessie died in 1917 and Billings then married Gertrude Freeman Curtis and they had one son, Franklin S. Billings, Jr., who is a retired U.S. Federal Judge.
Billings worked on a Kansas sheep ranch and then engaged in the import-export business in New York City. In 1903 he moved to Vermont and was a director of the Woodstock: Railway Company, Hotel Company, Aqueduct Company, and Electric Company. Billings was also President of the Woodstock Ice Supply Company, and Treasurer of the Empire Building Company and the Vermont Investment Company. From 1904 to 1906 he served as Chief of Staff, under Vermont Governor Charles Bell, of the Vermont National Guard with rank of Colonel. He was the longtime Chairman of the Woodstock Village Meeting and an active Republican. He was also Commissioner of Conservation of Resources and a member of the State Board of Education.
After serving in the Vermont House from 1910 to 1913, Billings returned to the Vermont House from 1921 to 1923 and served as Speaker.
From 1923 to 1925 Billings was Lieutenant Governor. In 1926 he won election as Governor and served from 1925 to 1927. The federal government established national forests in Vermont during his gubernatorial administration. Also, the Motor Vehicle Department was created, and provision was made for the registration of motor vehicles.
After leaving the governorship he served on the state Liquor Control Board, and was a member of the Harvard University Board of Overseers.
Death and legacy
Billings died at his home in Woodstock. He is interred at Riverside Cemetery, Woodstock, Windsor County, Vermont. Two Billings family legacies in Woodstock, the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park and the Billings Farm and Museum were created to focus on conservation, rural life and agricultural history.