James A. Willis
James A. WILLIS - 1856 was the approximate date of the arrival
in Moore's Prairie Twp., of James A. WILLIS (1809-1859), his
wife Nancy White HUDSON (1809-1877), and their several children.
The WILLISES were both born in NC and married there on 01 Dec 1825.
They moved first to TN in their early years and then on to IL.
Nine children of this family are recorded as living to adulthood,
with given names of William Henry, Andrew Jackson, John James,
Hugh Lawson White, Martha Jane, Benjamin Franklin, Charlotte,
Nancy and Albert Kirkendall Whitfield.
The 4th son, Hugh Lawson White WILLIS (1835-1903), nick-named
"Dick", was married in 1855 to Sarah R. Jane GOSSETT (1839-1882)
of TN, prior to moving to Jefferson County, IL., the following
year. The trip was made by wagon with their first born child.
The crossing of the Ohio River in southeastern IL was made in
weather so cold that the river was frozen solid, allowing the
wagon and livestock to cross on the ice. This union produced
17 children, only nine of whom lived to adulthood. The WILLIS
family owned a small farm and created their livelihood primarily
in crops, timber and livestock.
Among the children of Hugh and Sarah WILLIS who married and
are known to have descendants living in Jefferson County the date
of this writing are: Sarah A. Jane WILLIS, who became the wife of
Zachariah SPURLOCK in 1875; Mary Elizabeth (Polly) WILLIS, married
to John S. WILLIFORD in 1878; John Whitfield WILLIS, married
to Ella PICKETT in 1891; George WILLIS, married to Nancy BOOK
in 1893; and the 4th surviving son, Hugh Lawson White WILLIS, Jr.
Hugh Lawson White WILLIS, Jr. (1872-1960) spent most of his
life in Northern Twp., Franklin County, earning his living
from agriculture, lumber and livestock. In 1906 he married
Minnie McKee LAYMAN (1871-1961). One of their sons,
Lloyd M. WILLIS, married Mary Helen WILLIAMS of Ewing in 1930.
They are the parents of Alan D. WILLIS, Mt. Vernon orthodontist.
Alan D. and his wife, the former Sandra (Sondra) Sue SMITH
of Benton, live at 22 Webster Hills, Mt. Vernon, with their
daughter Jane Elizabeth, born 1969. Following schooling
from 1957-1966 at SIU, SLU Dental School and Baylor University,
Alan D. began practice here in 1968, and is the first full-time
practitioner of orthodontics in Jefferson County.
(Note - Lloyd Willis also has sons Marvin and Bruce.
Alan is now retired and lives in Florida.)
"Facts and Folks" Page 348
(with picture of Hugh and Sarah Willis)
Submitted by Mary Zinzilieta