BILYEU, EDWARD. - The farmer of today occupies a high position in his community, for upon him and his industry depend the prosperity of the nation. The time has gone by when only incompetent men went into farming, when everything else had failed, or kept at it because they did not know how to do anything else. The farmer of today has to know his business thoroughly; he must understand the cultivation of the soil, be a good judge of cattle and be able to buy and sell intelligently. Such a man succeeds and becomes rich from the products of the soil. One of the best examples of the farmer of 1910 in Sangamon County, is Edward Bilyeu, who was a candidate for Sheriff on the Democratic ticket, a man of wide interests and rich holdings. He was born in Prairieton Township, Christian County, Ill., and is essentially an Illinois man. His birth occurred December 29, 1859, he being a son of Peter and Elizabeth P. (Workman) Bilyeu, the former born in Sangamon County, near Loami, and the latter on Overton County, Tenn. She died February 8, 1909. The family lived on a farm in Christian County, where the children were reared to manhood and womanhood. Edward Bilyeu is the second in order of birth of the fourteen children born to his parents, five of whom survive, three sons and two daughters.
Edward Bilyeu attended the country schools of Christian County which were held in log houses. He sat on log benches, and whenever there were any floors they were made of puncheons. However, these children learned fast and thoroughly, and retained the knowledge imparted in those primitive schools. Mr. Bilyeu was brought up to hard work. Before he hurried off to school he fed the cattle, and on his return the same chores awaited him. However, he learned farm work, and continued with his parents until November 10, 1881, when he engaged with Calvin Cloyd near Curran. It did not take him long to accumulate some property, to which he has added from time to time until he now owns 600 acres of the richest kind of farming land in Curran Township. This land has been devoted to general farming and stock raising and he is recognized as one of the best judges of stock in Sangamon County. All of his operations have turned out well and he is one of the wealthy farmers of this part of the State. Having always been strong in the ranks of the Democratic party, he was the logical candidate for Sheriff and his personal following was so large that there was every prospect of his election. For fifteen years he has been a consistent member of the Christian Church. Fraternally he belongs to the Odd Fellows, Modern Woodmen and Red Men. Ever since joining the Modern Woodmen, eighteen years ago, he has been an officer in his lodge and now is serving as secretary.
On April 20, 1884, Mr. Bilyeu was married near Chatham, Ill., to Polly Workman, born March 31, 1870, daughter of John and Caroline Workman. Their children are as follows: Alfred Ross, Richard, Joseph, Jay, Leah, Benjamin, Willie and Rosa. The last named was accidentally shot when eight years old. Mr. Bilyeu is a whole souled, generous man whose liberality to those less fortunate than himself has won him many warm supporters.