FALLS COUNTY COURTHOUSE, MARLIN, TEXAS
JAMES AND VIRGINIA BILLINGSLEY (AVATARS)
BILLINGSLEY, VIRGINIA CATHERINE SHAW (ca. 1843–ca. 1920). Virginia Billingsley, plantation businesswoman, was born about 1843, the daughter of D. C. and Amaryllis Shaw of Wayne County, Mississippi. She married James Bolivar Billingsley of Hinds County, Mississippi, on November 28, 1850, and moved with him in 1865 to settle on land that Billingsley had inherited from Willis Lang, near Marlin in Falls County, Texas. The couple had six children.
JAMES BOLIVAR BILLINGSLEY SERVICE RECORD
Virginia Billingsley apparently took an active role in running the family estate after her husband's death in 1882. In 1889 she leased forty-eight acres of her land
DOROTHY LANG (AVATAR)
to former slave Dolly Lang in exchange for three bales of cotton yearly.
She also was routinely involved in buying and selling working animals for the estate and was successful enough in her plantation management to be approached for loans on farm property. In 1903 she filed a lawsuit over damage done to her crops by neighboring stock. In all of her business dealings she was known as V. C. Billingsley. In addition to her plantation, she maintained a home in Waco
between 1894 and 1901. She was an avid writer of personal essays and used them to express her strong religious beliefs. She also supported prohibition. She died around 1920.
James Bolivar and Virginia Catherine Billingsley Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. A Memorial and Biographical History of McLennan, Falls, Bell, and Coryell Counties (Chicago: Lewis, 1893; rpt., St. Louis: Ingmire, 1984). Ruthe Winegarten, Texas Women (Austin: Eakin Press, 1985).
LANG, WILLIS L. (1830–1862). Willis L. Lang, planter, Texas Ranger, and Confederate Army officer, the youngest of five children of William A. and Temperance (Thurman) Lang, was born on November 29, 1830, in Wayne County, Mississippi. He and his brother William W. Lang were educated in their family's plantation school and subsequently attended Oakland College in Claiborne County. The two brothers divided the honor of graduating first in their class of 1848. Willis read law in the office of his brother-in-law, Thomas P. Faulkner, in Alabama, but upon the death of his father in 1849 he returned to Mississippi to administer the plantation. Two years of failed crops, however, induced him to move to Texas. With seventy-five slaves and his agricultural implements, Lang settled twelve miles from the Falls County community of Marlin by February 20, 1856. In April 1860 he enlisted as what he called a "high private" in Capt. J. M. Smith's company of "Waco Rangers"; he served until the following September on a campaign against marauding Kickapoos and Comanches. As Lang had expected, the company did not get into an Indian fight but enjoyed "a grand buffalo hunt." Lawrence Sullivan Ross became the company's captain in an election held on May 20, and Lang was elected lieutenant.
At the time of secession from the Union Lang raised a company of lancers for Confederate service. CAPTAIN GREEN
This unit was mustered into the army at Camp Sibley near San Antonio on September 2, 1861, as Company B of Gen. Thomas Green's Fifth Texas Mounted Volunteers. At the battle of Valverde on February 21, 1862, Lang suffered a severe wound and was left behind at the Socorro Hospital, 1862. A typescript of his diary is located in the Barker Texas History Center, at the University of Texas at Austin.
Thomas W. Cutrer, ed., "`My Wild Hunt After Indians': The Journal of Willis L. Lang, 23 April-7 September 1860," Military History of the Southwest 21 0(Spring 1991). Martin Hardwick Hall, The Confederate Army of New 0Mexico (Austin: Presidial Press, 1978). A Memorial and Biographical History of McLennan, Falls, Bell, and Coryell Counties (Chicago: Lewis, 1893; rpt., St. Louis: Ingmire, 1984).