Died, a few days since, at Backway, near Cambridge, Philip Billes, Esq: possessed of a considerable fortune, which he had left to two gentlemen, no relations, on condition of seeing him buried under Liberty Tree at Boston, in New England.The most recent dateline for London news in that paper was 1 June, probably the date of its British newspaper that printers Edes and Gill copied this item from. I’ve also seen a mention in the Craftsman or Say’s Weekly Journal for 4 June of the death of “Philip Billes, Esq; a gentleman possessed of a considerable fortune, which he has left to two gentlemen.”
I believe “Backway” was a variant spelling of Barkway, a village and parish in northeast Hertfordshire fifteen miles from Cambridge. Billes might be the person baptized in November 1700 in Dorset, from a genteel family whose last name also appears as Biles and Byles.
But I haven’t been able to find anything more about Billes or his body. When he died, the Boston Port Bill had come into effect, complicating any effort to ship a casket into Boston. War broke out the following spring, and by September Liberty Tree was as dead as Mr. Billes. So he probably never got his wish. Presumably his two friends still enjoyed his fortune.