Frederick H. Billings

Sep 27, 1823 - Sep 30, 1890

Frederick H. Billings was an American lawyer, financier, and politician. He is best known for his legal work on land claims during the early years of California's statehood and his presidency of the Northern Pacific Railway from 1879 to 1881.
A native of Royalton, Vermont, Billings graduated from the University of Vermont in 1844, became an attorney, and moved to California during the 1848 California Gold Rush. He took part in the creation of a prominent law firm that handled land title cases, which were an important issue because California had been under the jurisdiction of several governments. He also took part in several business ventures that proved successful, and he was a millionaire by the age of 30. At the start of the American Civil War, Billings worked diligently to keep California from seceding.
After returning to Vermont in the mid 1860s, Billings continued to practice law and take part in business ventures. He served on the boards of directors of several corporations, and was a major investor in the Northern Pacific Railway. Billings received credit for rescuing the NP after the Panic of 1873, and served as its president from 1879 to 1881.
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