Francis Billington


BIRTH:  About 1606, probably in or around Spaulding or Cowbit, co. Lincoln, England, the son of John and Eleanor Billington.
MARRIAGE:  Christian (Penn) Eaton, widow of Francis Eaton, in July 1634 at Plymouth.
CHILDREN: Elizabeth, Joseph, Martha, Mary, Isaac, an unnamed child who died young, Rebecca, Dorcas, and Mercy.
DEATH: 3 December 1684 in Middleboro.


Francis Billington was named as one of the heirs of Francis Longland of Cowbit, co. Lincolnshire, England.  A manorial survey taken in 1650 indicated that Francis Billington was then living in New England and was about 40 years old.  Francis himself gave his age as 68 in a deposition from 1674, making him about fourteen when he came on the Mayflower with his parents John and Eleanor Billington.

Francis was an active, rambunctious youth.  He nearly caused a disaster onboard the Mayflower shortly after arrival in Plymouth Harbor, when he shot off his father's gun inside a cabin, sending sparks towards an open barrel of gunpowder.  After he came ashore, he climbed up a tree and claimed to have spotted a "great sea" in the distance: a small pond that still carries the name "Billington's Sea" even today.

Following his brother's death shortly after 1627, and his father's execution for murder in 1630, he married Christian (Penn) Eaton, the widow and third wife of Mayflower passenger Francis Eaton.  The couple had nine children, raised their family in Plymouth, and moved in their later years to the town of Middleboro, where they both died in 1684.