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Willis, William A.


Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 6/13/2021 at 18:27:44

born July 23, 1844, MO

William A. Willis, one of Warren county's honored pioneers, was born in Schuyler county, Missouri, July 23, 1844, a son of William Willis. Our subject was the second born of his parents six children, viz.: James F., Assessor of Morrow county, Oregon, was a soldier in the Tenth Iowa Infantry, Company G; William A., our subject; Elizabeth Jane, wife of Harrison Miller, a farmer of White Breast township, Warren county; Henry H., deceased in Adair county, Missouri, in 1869, was a member of Company G, Eighteenth Iowa Regiment; G. B., of Tracy, Iowa, and La Fayette, deceased in childhood.
William Willis Sr. was born in Todd county, Kentucky in 1815. He was reared and educated in that county and on reaching man's estate married Mary Richison. He came to Warren county, Iowa in 1846, and has ever since been active in its growth and development, having served as the first Town Clerk. While a resident of Davis county, in the days when Chief Keokuk and his noble warriors held sway in that section, Mr. Willis was surprised by a visit from some of the Indians. Chief Keokuk had him called to the door, and fired at him, the bullet going wide of its mark, however, as the chief had been drinking “fire-water. “ With undaunted courage the old white settler took his gun from over the door, and had not the lock refused to work perhaps the noble chief would have met death. Some of the Indians, peaceably inclined, interfered, and good feeling was again restored. Mr. Willis was known as a dead shot to the Indians, as well as to the early settlers, and his markmanship was to be respected. He was ever honored in the community where he lived. In his political affiliations, Mr. Willis was an old time Whig, and was ever active in all work that tended to advancement in the county. He died from the effects of a stroke of paralysis in Lucas county, Iowa, in 1886, and lies at rest in Willis cemetery. His wife, a native of Indiana, and a worshiper in the Baptist church, died in 1852, and was also laid at rest in Willis cemetery. After her death Mr. Willis married Margaret Hoskins, and they had four children: Susan E., wife of David Ferris; Eliza V., wife of John Fight, of Marion county, Iowa; John W., of Lucas county; and Nancy, wife of Edward Hunderdos, of Dallas township, Warren county.
William A. Willis, the subject of this sketch, resided with an uncle for some years, and at the age of sixteen years began the active battle of life. August 3, 1861, he enlisted in Company G, Tenth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and was honorably discharged at Kingston, Georgia, September 28, 1864. In 1889, Mr. Willis purchased his present farm on section 22, near where his honored parents first entered land. He affiliates with the Republican party and is a member of the G. A. R. Post, No. 309, of Lacona. September 8, 1872, our subject was united in marriage with Miss Mary Meyers, a native of Putnam county, Indiana, and a daughter of Joseph and Lucinda (Hodges) Meyers. She was the younger of their two children, and her brother, James H., resides in Marion county, Iowa. Her mother died when she was only five days old, and in 1853 she located with her father in Marion county. Mr. and Mrs. Willis have had six children: Samuel W., James M., deceased at the age of two years; William E., Ada R., and the third and fifth children died in infancy. The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Source: A Memorial and Biographical Record of Iowa, Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago, Illinois, 1896, vol.1, p.492


Warren Biographies maintained by Karen S. Velau.
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