What I Know of Bilyeu History...

The oldest ancestor bearing my surname to which I can trace my lineage is Pierre Billiou. Pierre, the son of Thomas and Aimée Billiou, was born in Lille, France in 1625. In April of 1649, Pierre Billiou married Françoise DuBois in Leyden, Netherlands. Françoise was baptized on June 18, 1622 at the French Church in Mannheim, Baden (Germany). She was the daughter of Chrétien Maxmillan DuBois (1597-1655), a farmer from the village of Wicres. They were all Walloons, that is, from Wallonia, a French-speaking region which is now part of Belgium.

Pierre and Françoise were Huguénots or French Protestants (French Reformed Communion), and along with many other Huguénots, they left France in 1661, when King Louis XIV began persecuting them. On May 9, 1661, the Billiou family set sail for New Netherlands on De St. Jan Baptist, a Dutch ship under the command of Capt. Jan Bergen. At the time, Pierre and Françoise appear to have had five daughters: Marie (11), Martha (9), Françoise (7), Cathérine (6), and Chrétienne. While at sea, Françoise gave birth to their first son, Isaac. Isaac was baptized on August 6, 1661, four days after they landed at New Amsterdam.

Here are some excerpts from Pierre Billiou, the Walloon, Staten Island Pioneer, by Elmer G. VanName, 1958:

``Pierre must have possessed the true spirit of the pioneer. Within 16 days he was ready to face the wilderness, for it is known that until Pierre and 18 associates on 8-22-1661 petitioned the Governor of the Province to grant them land upon which to settle on Staten Island, this beautiful isle was almost bare of inhabitants. A majority of those who joined in the petition turned back, but Billiou pressed on. It was Billiou who succeeding in pacifying the Indians where others had failed, and it was he who, with the assistance of the Governor's surveyor, laid out the first Staten Island town at 'Old Town' near the present South Beach. On 10-2-1661, he and his wife joined the Reformed Protestant Church at New Amsterdam. He was a judicial officer of the first court established 1-28-1664, was a delegate to the General Assembly in Manhattan, 4-10-1664, was appointed a Lieutenant of Militia 5-14-1669, and was on 8-25-1673 elected Schout and Scllepen (sheriff and magistrate) during the Dutch re-occupation.''
Dr. Prall said, "thus we...perceive that Pierre Billiou was trusted by the English when they took possession of New Netherland a few years after the resettlement of Staten Island, that he was spoken of by Governor Lovelace as ‘one of the ancient inhabitants’ and as ‘one that was best acquainted among the Indians. He was trusted by the Dutch during the short time New Netherland was returned to them in 1673. By the inhabitants of Staten Island, he was nominated to the principal offices; and by the commanders in the Council of War, he was confirmed in these responsible positions....He was held in high esteem by the authorities at Fort Willlem Hendrick, who looked to him to inform them of the coming of the Dutch and the English fleets.... Accordingly, his name should be held in reverence by all who have followed him.... "
It is said that the Stillwell-Perine house stands on land covered by a Dutch ground brief made to Pierre Billiou in 1664. In 1685 the land was surveyed to Captain Thomas Stillwell. He also bought land in New Jersey and in or near Flatbush.
The following inscription is on a memorial pillar at the Church of the Huguenots, Huguenot Park, Staten Island, NY:

Sacred to the memory of PIERRE BILLIOU and of FRANCOISE DUBOIS, both of Artois, who were married in the Walloon Church Leyden April 20, 1649, and emigrated to the New Netherlands May 9th, 1661, and of their daughter MARIE BILLIOU, who married at Wiltwyck, June 3, 1670, ARENDT JANSEN PRALL, who died on Staten Island 1725. May they rest in Peace.
Françoise died sometime before January 17, 1695; Pierre on that day signed with Gerretje (Lamberts) Spiegelaers a prenuptial contract indicating their intention to marry. Pierre died January 6, 1707/8 on Staten Island.

The eldest son, Isaac Billiou, married Ida Sueberingh in Bergen, New Jersey, on November 2, 1684. The daughter of Jan Roeloffsen Suerboring and Adriana Polemus, Ida was born in Bergen, New Jersey in 1664. Isaac and Ida had ten children: Jacob, John, Frances, Aryantie, Isaac, Catherine, Peter, Mary, Abraham, and Daniel.

Peter Billiou, the seventh child of Isaac and Ida Billiou, was born on Staten Island in 1700. He married Margrita Bilyeu, who was born in New York around 1704. They had nine children: Peter, Euryda, Abraham, Mareytje, Stintye, John, Aeltje, Johannas, and Hendrick.

John Bilyeu, the sixth child of Peter Billiou, was born in 1743, likely in Somerville, NJ. He married Tryntje Barents (Berents), who was born in Six Mile Run, NJ in about 1743. They had seven children: John, Mariya, Hendrick, Atye, Aalte, Peter, and Isaac.

Isaac Bilyeu, the seventh child of John and Tryntje Bilyeu, was born in "Allegany, Allegany County, VA" in 1780. There is currently no Allegany County, VA, but there is an Allegany Grove in Allegany County, MD, very near the VA border. It seems likely Isaac was born there. He married Mary Ann Workman and died in about 1853. Served in Tennessee Militia in the War of 1812, volunteer company, first regiment. (Battle of Horseshoe Bend 3/27/1814, Battle of New Orleans 1/8/1815)

Jacob, Isaac Bilyeu's son, was born in 1803. He married Catherine Elizabeth Williams

Isaac, Jacob Bilyeu's son, was born in 1824. He married Martha Elizabeth Moore.

George Washington, son of Jacob Bilyeu, was born in March 1849, married Mary Jane Harp, and died in 1930. Mary was born in 1867 (1858 on headstone), the daughter of Martin Marion Harp, Sr., and Sarah Ann Bloodworth of Sebastian County, AR. and died on August 24, 1931, in Missouri. They had at least two children: John M., and Jacob.

Could it be Uncle Ira ("ari") that died June 9, 1933? No, that's too early. Yes, that's Ewing Clifford's uncle. Jacob B., son of George Bilyeu, was born in July 11, 1879. He married Laura Yates (b. 20 Oct 1889), on 28 August, 1911 in Carroll County, Arkansas, who was 23 at the time. They had two daughters: Ada and Gladys. Jake and Laura divorced, and Jake married Laura's younger sister Lydia ("Liddy"), who was born on July 1, 1892. The second marriage was on 11 Feb, 1919, also in Carroll County, Arkansas. One night when Jake was drunk on elderberry wine, he slept with his ex-wife Laura and Ewing Clifford was conceived. Jake died on April 4, 1960.

George, Mary, Jake, and Liddy are all buried at Mccullough Cemetery in Stone County, Missouri. Ewing Clifford Bilyeu, my paternal grandfather, was born in Blue Eye, Missouri on 24 Sept 1924. He moved to Oregon when he was young and married Doris Smart, who is from Washington. They had four children: Roy Glenn, Dale Robert, Ann Louise, and Laura Ninette.

Dale Robert Bilyeu, my father, was born in Cottage Grove, Lane County, Oregon on January 24, 1949. He married Debera Jean Wicks on September 1, 1973. Debera was born on June 16, 1951, also in Cottage Grove, Oregon. Dale and Debera had three children, who are myself, Matthew Robert, and Breanna Mae.

And that's about all I know. Largely due to synthesis of the research of others, I know the names of thirteen generations of Bilyeus. Eventually, I hope to gather stories of more of my Bilyeu forerunners and post them, as well. If you have any corrections or additions, please email me.

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