Born in Eschwege, Germany near Kassel on October 2, 1835, Friedrich Wilhelm Billing followed his father's wishes and pursued a career in business. Around 1856, however, Friedrich decided to depart for America and he settled in Brooklyn. He married Wilhelmina Sickert and had two daughters, Bertha and Minnie. Now calling himself Frederick, the future painter and his brother Gustav both served in the Union Army during the Civil War and were honorably discharged. Frederick opened a brokerage firm called Hagen and Billing on Wall Street, following the war. Around that time, he was encouraged to paint landscapes by the German-American Hudson River School painter Johann Hermann Carmiencke (1810-1867) who was previo
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