Monday, July 11, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Rev. Ingram E. Bill, Jr. of Oberlin, Ohio

In 2005 my father's cousin sent me this four page brochure about Rev. Ingram E. Bill, Jr's Lectures.  He found it whilst cleaning out another cousin's house, and he didn't know who this Rev. Bill was, but since our common great great grandfather was Reverend Ingraham Ebenezer Bill (1805 - 1891) of Billtown, Nova Scotia he thought it would be of interest to me.  I knew right away who this lecturer was since I had worked on the Bill family tree.  There were five men named Ingraham/Ingram Ebenezer Bill in this family!

The first Rev. Ingraham Ebenezer Bill, born 19 Feb 1805 in Billtown, Nova Scotia, died 4 August 1891 in St. Martin's, New Brunswick, was a Baptist minister.  He married Isabella Lyons in 1826 and had five children, including the second Ingraham Ebenezer Bill, Jr. born 8 April 1836 in Billtown, and died after 1887.   He was a missionary in New Zealand and pastor of the First Yarmouth Baptist church in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.  He married Eleanor Pike in England in 1869.  He also served as a Baptist pastor in Caribou, Maine and in Ohio and New Brunswick. 

This second Rev. I. E. Bill had a son Reverend Ingram Ebenezer Bill (our third character!), born 23 November 1871 in Hampton, New Brunswick.  He died sometime after 1930, where I lose track of him after the 1930 census.  He married a woman named Blanch and had a daughter named Sarah about 1903.  This is our lecturer from the brochure.  He must have been a wonderful speaker because he began to give sermons at an early age.  I found this in the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, from the "Saint John Globe" newspaper dated July 24, 1886:  "Probably the youngest preacher in the world is I.E. BILL, only 12 years of age, who preached a sermon on Sunday 27th ult. at St. Martins (St. John) He is the son of Rev. I.E. BILL who is the son of Rev. I.E. BILL, D.D."  He graduated Acadia College in Nova Scotia and from Oberlin in Ohio.  I found him listed in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota census records as a minister, but also listed as a speaker and lecturer on several vaudeville brochures in Chicago!

A fourth I. E. Bill was my great grandmother's brother, born on 14 April 1859 in Saint John, New Brunswick and died young on 9 October 1876 in Beverly, Massachusetts.  He was the son of Caleb Rand Bill and Ann Margaret Bollman, grandson of the first Ingraham Ebenezer Bill.   The fifth male descendant named Ingraham Ebenezer Bill was born in 1858 in Billtown, Nova Scotia.  This last I. E. Bill was nephew to my 2x great grandfather Caleb Rand Bill, son of his brother William Cogswell Bill and Ethelinda Dodge.


A transcription of the brochure:

Ingram E. Bill, Jr.
of Oberlin, Ohio
Illustrated and Popular Lectures--
"The empire of the Great Lakes,"
"The Land of Evangeline,"
"The Wtich City, or the Heart of Old New England,"
The Book of the Twentieth Century,"
"The Elements of a Christian Nation."


Rev. I. E. Bill, of Oberlin, is a speaker of unusual attractiveness
and brillancy.  He knows how to make his thoughts very interesting, and
I take great pleasure in giving this word of warm appreciation.
President of Oberlin College
President Chicago World's Parliament of Religions

"MR. BILL has a pleasing and unique way of putting things.
The clear cut analysis of his thoughts, a fund of illustration, and
with all a strain of humor which is continually rising to the sur-
face, combine to make him a popular speaker."
THE TRIBUNE, Oberlin, November 1900

"The Empire of the Great Lakes"
The industrial and social development of the Great Lake Region of
North America.
"The Witch City, or the Heart of Old New England"
Quaint, gray, historic Salem, the birthplace of "The Scarlet Letter"
"The Land of Evangeline"
This is the forest primeval.  The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garment green, indistinct in the twilight
Stand like Druids of old, with voices sad and prophetic.

These lectures are illustrated by original steroptican views,
which are thrown upon a fifteen foot screen.  The views are
made entirely from photographs taken by the lecturer himself and
have been prepared expressly for Mr. Bill by the Edmonson Co.,
Cleveland, who are artists in their line.
"The lecture by Rev. Ingram Bil, Jr., Wednesday evening
was a great treat; brillian, scholarly, witty and full of good things."
OBERLIN, O., April 22, 1901.....

For more information on the Bill family please see my previous blog posts:

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. So interesting! Oberlin is not far from where I live, and it has always been known for being progressive...Oberlin College allowed African American and female students earlier than most other colleges in the 1800's.

  2. My gg grandmother went to the college from 1850-1852. Just thought I'd throw that info. in.