Ezekiel Billington and the Mayflower
The limited evidence available supports Ezekiel Billington as a descendant from the Mayflower Billingtons. There have been suggestions that Ezekiel's father James emigrated from England before 1742. However, the passenger lists contain no entry for a James Billington (or Bullington, Bellington, etc) for that period. Therefore, there is no evidence that he emigrated into the US from England.
Volume 5 of the Mayflower Families through Five Generations traces the Billingtons. Although there is a note that the name Billington is not rare in England, it was rare in the colonies before 1750. Ezekiel's father James would have been born ca 1720. Before that time there were only two Billingtons on the passenger lists, John and family of the Mayflower and Thomas, who landed in Barbados in the mid to late 1600s, probably as a servant on a plantation in the West Indies.
If James Billington was not an immigrant, then there is a good possibility that he descended from John Billington and family of the Mayflower. The Mayflower Billingtons tended to migrate west toward new lands in Rhode Island and Connecticut. There was an Elisha Billington, who was a servant who died and left probable issue in RI. He is a likely candidate for parent of James, father of Ezekiel. Elisha's known children were born about the same time, and he likely had undocumented children.
Since Elisha left no land, his sons would have had to acquire their own. Hence, James' migration to New Jersey as a headmaster of a school. The New Jersey Archives show several pleas for headmasters in the area. By 1750 there were Billingtons in New York as well, according to the American Genealogical-Biographical Index, Volume 13. Therefore, James appearance in NJ is not that unusual and follows the usual westward path to new land.
In summary, the fact is that there is no James Billington (or Bullington or Bellington) in the passenger lists from England before 1750. If he did descend from the Mayflower Billingtons, only Elisha in RI may have had undocumented children born about that time who coincide with the birth year of James, Ezekiel's father. Ezekiel was probably the son of James, since there were no other Billingtons in NJ at than time. Ezekiel's birth date and location along the Passaic put him in the same locale as James and wife Anna America.
Based on the very limited evidence so far, a plausible link between Ezekiel Billington and the Mayflower is
1. Ezekiel (1759 - 1848)
2. James (c1720 - c1763) and Anna America Garner ( - )
3. Elisha (c1680 - 1741) and Jane ( - )
4. Joseph (1636 - c1692) and Grace __( - )
5. Francis (1606 - 1684) and Christian (Penn) Eaton (c1607 - c1684)
6. John (c1580 - 1630) and Elinor ___ (c1580 - c1643), the pilgrims
I would love to hear from anyone who has further evidence to affirm or deny this link. Thanks.