United States Army Private Tobias “Tobey” Bilyeu was attached to the
Student Army Training Corps at Eureka College and was a ministry student,
which gave him an exception from military service, but to quote his obituary
"…but he disdained the idea of taking advantage of such exemption and
chose rather to go in the service of his country as other men are obliged
to do. He has now paid the supreme sacrifice and no hero in France
ever laid down his life more willingly than he.” Private Bilyeu succumbed
to influenza on October 12, 1918 just six days after he was reported ill.
Because of Private Bilyeu’s forthright determination to serve his country,
the high admiration he received from other students, the utmost
confidence the faculty had in him, noting that he was “One of the finest
men that ever attended Eureka College…”, the founding members of the
New Douglas American Legion chose him as Post 710’s Namesake.
Private Bilyeu is buried at the New Douglas Cemetery under a white
marble military headstone.