Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from American National Biography. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 15 November 2019

Billingsley, Shermanlocked

(10 March 1900–04 October 1966)
  • James M. Smallwood


Billingsley, Sherman (10 March 1900–04 October 1966), nightclub owner and real estate developer, was born John Sherman Billingsley in Enid, Oklahoma Territory, the son of Robert Billingsley and Emily Collingsworth. Sherman Billingsley’s parents were so poverty stricken that the youngster was forced to quit school after he finished the fourth grade. His first job was collecting discarded whiskey bottles for resale to bootleggers in the new “dry” state of Oklahoma. In 1912 the youth moved to Anadarko, Oklahoma, to join his two older brothers who had developed a chain of cigar shops and drugstores, establishments that also illegally sold whiskey. Later going into business for himself, he owned and managed a confectionery in Houston, Texas, before moving to Charleston, West Virginia, to take over a cigar store. After going into the drug business, he owned drugstores in Seattle and Omaha, successively. While still just a teenager, he moved to Detroit and opened a grocery store; soon, he had three. In 1923, after saving about $5,000 in capital, he moved to the Bronx, New York City, where he opened a drugstore....

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription