With the exception of the first year of his existence, which was spent in Crawford county, Mo., where he was born February 12, 1851, Jackson A. Bilyeu has been a resident of Oregon throughout his entire life, having crossed the plains in 1852, his parents, George W. and Jane (Reed) Bilyeu, seeking then a new home in the wilderness of the northwest. The father and mother were natives respectively of Tennessee and Missouri, to which latter state the father had removed at an early date, becoming a farmer in Crawford county, where he remained until 1852. With the customary ox-teams the family started across the plains, coming by way of the Platte river, over the old Barlow route, and after a journey of six months and ten days the father brought his wife and children into the wide acres of Oregon. He first located ten miles east of Scio, taking up a donation claim of three hundred and twenty acres along the banks of the Thomas creek, and engaged at once in farming. Some time after he bought three hundred and twenty acres, and in that location he passed the thrity-five most active years of his life. At the close of that period he removed to Jordan valley, and became the owner of a grist mill there, which business he conducted for ten years. In 1890 he once more changed his residence, locating then in Scio, Linn county, where he died February 6, 1898, at the age of eighty-one years. Mrs. Bilyeu, now eighty-two years old, makes her home with a daughter near Halsey.
Of the eight sons and seven daughters born to his parents Jackson A. Bilyeu is the sixth child. He was trained to an industrious life upon the paternal farm, becoming versed in the different lines of agriculture followed by his father, and also receiving a mental training in the common school in the vicinity of his home. In 1875, when he was twenty-four years old, Mr. Bilyeu engaged in farming for himself, soon making a purchase of one hundred and sixty acres of land, located four miles southwest of Scio, upon which he remained until 1879. In the last-named year he came to Scio and entered into the business life of this city, engaging in the livery and hotel business for several years, after which, in 1883, he again became interested in agricultural pursuits, and thereafter for several years, he bought and sold land, his business sagacity enabling him to do this with profit. He first purchased near Scio two hundred and fourteen acres, and after selling it, in 1895 bought a arm of three hundred and fifty acres five miles east of the city. He is now retired from the laborious duties of a farmer, but still finds much to occupy his time and attention, for, being popular with the Democratic party, of which he is an adherent, he is often called upon to serve in some official capacity. He is at present city marshal, for six years, constable several terms, councilman many times, and also acts as school director at the present time. In addition to loaning money he acts as president of the Scio Creamery Company, keeping well in touch with the commercial and industrial life of the city, owning property here to the extent of a brick business block and two residences.
Mr. Bilyeu was married in Linn county, to Arena J. Terry, a native of that county, and the children born to them are six in number, and are as follows: C.C.; Maud, at home; Nellie, the wife of Lee Gunsaul, of Lebanon, Ore.; Pearl, deceased, wife of F.Z. Jones; Eva and Nite, both of whom are at home. Fraternally Mr. Bilyeu affiliates with the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and the Knights of Pythias, and religiously is a member of the Baptist Church.
"Portrait and Biographical Record of the Willamette Valley"