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 Frank Ernest Billock

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Frank Ernest Billock

  • Birth 16 Aug 1881 Findlay, Hancock County, Ohio, USA
  • Death 18 Mar 1941 Bovey, Itasca County, Minnesota, USA
  • Burial Grand Rapids, Itasca County, Minnesota, USA
  • Plot CD2110
  • Memorial ID 29813980

Son of Ernest Billock and Mary Shuler.

Frank Billock, 59 years of age, a resident of Itasca Co. for about 30 years, dropped dead of a heart attack early yesterday morning. Frank who operated a taxi service here for several years was called to Bovey. Getting out of his car to open the door for his passengers, he suddenly fell over and was dead when picked up. Born in Cleveland, Ohio Frank lived there and afterwards in Wisconsin. He came to Itasca Co. as a farmer, later being employed by contractors, and in bussiness for himself. He was a member of the Grand Rapids police force for a number of years. Survivors include his widow, and eight children. They are: wife: Auguste, Clarence, Mrs. Cecilia Robison, Louis, Francis, Mrs. Elizabeth Pinette, Mrs. Catherine Richardson, Marguerite and Winifred. All live in and near Grand Rapids except Francis, who is located in LaCrosse WI.

Nearly seven years ago the Herald Review told a tale of the strongest man living in Itasca County. That man Frank Billock, died yesterday morning.
At the request of his sons, this article, which appeared in the UP In This Neck of The Woods column, is reprinted. Many people have been led to believe that the strong men of Itasca county lived in the past. The older days are said to be the days of strong men, strong eaters and great lifters. That is probably true on the whole. But if you would wish to see a man whose feats of strength rival anything in the history of Itasca county just take a walk out on the street any day. You will see Frank Billock, now on the village police force. That is the man we shall tell you about..Frank Billock has been up in this neck of the woods for a good many years. For a number of years he worked with H. C. Lawrence former resident of the community and was engaged in drainage, ditching and contracting work. Since most of this work was carried out in swamps, away from roads and civilization, there was need of strenth. It was in the middle of the winter about 15 years ago that Frank Billock started to walk from Middle River, in Marshall county to Baudette. That was 70 miles. On the way he was to stop and get some blue prints from John Benton, now working for the engineers. He did not find John Benton in so he set out to over take him. Billock was away behind Benton, who was a good walker and and he trailed him through the swamps for about 50 miles, finally arriving at the place where he was first supposed to meet Benton about an hour before John had returned. He then proceeded to Baudette. In two of the days Frank Billock walked over 50 miles each day through a ten-inch snow, without snowshoes and with a temperature which was at times as low as 45 degrees below zero. A. C. Bruhn was the Engineer on a large ditching project at Floodwood. He was considered the best walker in the territoy. He was slim and strong. One day Bruhn was a few steps ahead. Mr. Lawrence told Bruhn to wait until he got up against the big fellow. That was all right with the Engineer. In fact he worked to make a special occasion for it.

The big day came. On that day stakes for culverts on about 50 miles of ditches were to be set. Bruhn and Billock left Floodwood about three in the morning. They were to meet at a camp about 14 miles away but as the Engineer had some things to do he went to the camp one way, Billock the other. Both ways were about the same distance. They then started out on the ditch bank, picking up bundles of sticks, pacing off the distance. They did the job and walked back to camp where they had supper. Then Frank Billock proposed that they walk back to Floodwood. Bruhn said that he had had enough. As a matter of fact, Frank Billock said that he had walked enough for one day. He was glad when the Engineer did not wish to walk into town because he was not sure that he could make it himself. He had walked over 60 miles that day. .
It was not only as a walker that Frank Billock became known. He soon had a reputation for strength in all ways. He could lift. In the days of his ditch work he would never put a jack under a Ford car. That was a waste of time..

One day the crew was transporting gasoline to the dredges. One of the barrels of gasoline slipped and fell upon a workman. Two other men tried to lift it off from the victim but could not do it. Frank Billock came along. He lifted the barrel off from the man and then lifted it up into the wagon. There is close to 500 pounds in a barrel of gasoline. We asked Mr. Billock if he could handle a barrel of pork. That is a good lift but easy to handle compared to gasoline which not only weighs more but the weight shifts, making it just about the meanest thing to handle that there is. We shall now tell you of a feat of strength which we believe to be unrivelled in the history of this section. If you know of anything better, bring it in..
A block and U bolt on a dredge had broken. Another was ordered and it came by express arriving at Floodwood on the midnight train. Frank Billock went to the depot. He loaded the part on the rig which took it out eight miles. Frank Billock then put this steel casting on his back. It weighed 280 pounds. He carried it to the dredge nine miles away.
The entire distance was through the swamp. The surface of the earth was frozen but on nearly every second or third step a foot would nearly break through. The entire trip was made in the dark. A river was crossed and as the ice was still thin the casting was pushed ahead on the ice. When Frank Billock reached his destination he went to bed and slept for 24 hours straight..
Frank Billock is still strong. He has just as good as he ever was for a short time. But he does not have the endurance of his prime, though he doubtless has enough endurance to take care of himself in any emergency which arrives on the Grand Rapids police force. Many people in Grand Rapids are familar with the names of the strong men of the earlier generation. There was Al Hason, Bob McCabe, Varnum Blood and many others. Frank Billock says there are some good strong men.



  • Maintained by: Paul Demarais
  • Originally Created by: Member #46989892
  • Added: 15 Sep 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 29813980
  • Paul Demarais
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Frank Ernest Billock (16 Aug 1881–18 Mar 1941), Find A Grave Memorial no. 29813980, citing Itasca Calvary Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Itasca County, Minnesota, USA ; Maintained by Paul Demarais (contributor 46919660) .