Saturday, June 19, 2010

Surname Saturday-Van Billiard

The Van Billiard Family has a long and interesting history in Lehigh/Northampton counties in Pennsylvania. According to the book"Lower Saucon Township: Images of America, the patriarch of the family, Henry Van Billiard/Verbilger, "reportedly one of the first settlers on Lehigh Mountain." I am writing today about George Charles McClellen Van Billiard. Henry was his 2nd Great Grandfather and George was my Great Grandfather.

George was born 16 July 1865 in Freemansburg, Pennsylvania. He was the 4th of seven children born to Jerome and Ellen(Shick) Van Billiard.

The 1870 Census has 5 year old George and his family still living in Freemansburg, but they will move before the 1880 census because George's Father, Jerome, died on 7 April 1877. This was one day before Jerome's 40th birthday. So the family moved to South Bethlehem, PA. And the 1880 Census has 15 year old George working in the Iron Mill along with his older brothers Albert, 22 and William, 17.

George married Susan Haas in September of 1885. According to announcement in Bethlehem Daily paper, "George Van Billiard of South Bethlehem MARRIED Miss. Susan Haas of Bethlehem, September 19, 1885 in Bethlehem by Reverend Isaac K. Loos.

Next we see the family in the 1900 Census, George is 34 years old and they are living in Easton, PA. they have been married 14 years with 7 Children. The children were Robert, Matilda, William, Mabel, Luther, Raymond and Irwin. November 1st of that year Elizabeth was born. She was my Grandmother. In 1902 Irwin died but Margaret, their last child, was born 14 June. In 1900 George was working as a Telephone Inspector. The 1910 Census has the family back in South Bethlehem and 44 year old George working as an electrican for Electric Light Co.

The 1920 Census was done just days before Susan died on 10 Jan so she was still listed and George was working as a laborer in Bethlehem. In November George,a German Lutheran, would sign for 20 year old Elizabeth to marry Irish Catholic, David William O'Donnell.

I had a death date of 5 Nov 1929 for George, but that went out the window when I found a letter that he wrote to my 7 year old father, also George. The letter was dated Feb 17-30 from New Hope, PA. I found him in the 1930 Census living as a lodger in New Hope working as a Foreman for the Telegraph Line.

So the end of the story is that there is not end because I have not been able to close the books on George Charles McClellan Van Billiard! So the research goes on!