An Enquiry Into The
History and Connections
Of the Family Of

The descendants of John Pilon of Canterbury (1714-1783)


E. Ronald Pillow

The Origin of the Family

The starting-point of our enquiry into this family, with its uncommon surname, is a letter written from Canterbury on March 18th, 1836 by Edward Pillow to his son Thomas. The letter reads:

Dear Thomas,

Agreeable to your request I will endeavour to give you some information concerning our family.

It appears that our ancestors were among those who emigrated from the Continent on account of the Persecution of the Duke of Alva in 1567. Our family name was spelt Pilon, and I have been informed there are many and opulent families of that name in France at this time. My father was the first that altered the spelling of our name, thinking as he said to spell it so as that it might be pronounced as it is in French, but then the accent must be given to the last syllable and then it is not so near the mark as it would have been if he had written Pelo, that in English is like Pilon in French.

But to proceed, my Father, John Pillow, was born in the year 1714 in Canterbury, where was brought up to the trade of silk-weaver, which business at that time was very flourishing here. He however had a great desire to see something of the world, and resolved to go to sea; after having served ten years on board of a man of war he returned to his native place and set up as a schoolmaster, married to Elizabeth Lansell, by whom he had eight children as follows:

John (1750-1836)
James (1752-1825), m. __ Hartup
Jane (1756-1802), m. __ Moss
Henry (1757-8-1762)
Edward (1759-1837), m. Marcia Cooper
Sarah (1761-?), m. __ Dane
Elizabeth (1762-1826), m. J. Taylor

My father died in June 1783, my mother died December 1775, my brother John is still living at Tovil near Maidstone, brother James died in June 1825, Jane that was Mrs. Moss died September 1802, Henry died in 1762, Edward at present in the land of the living, Sarah who is Mrs. Dane is also, Elizabeth who was Mrs. Taylor died the beginning of October 1826.

Your dear Mother was born October 9, 1762. We were married Feby. 19, 1784 and had issue as follows:

Edward (1784-1816), m. Mary Ann Pillow
George (1785-1850), m. B. Crockford
Charles (1786-1817), m. Mary Ann Watson
Maria (1790-1814)
Frances (1793-97)
A son un-named (ca. 1794)
Thomas (1796-1879), m. Hopestill Harland
Frances (1798-1854), m. Henry Pilcher
William Henry (1800-?), m.(1) Mary Ann Collard, m.(2) Ann Parbon
John (1803-65), m.(1) Ann Harrison, m.(2) Sophia Harrison
Eliza (1806-49), m.(1) Henry Clackett, m.(2) John Ashdown

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