Thursday, July 01, 2010

Henry A Willis From Maine To Kansas.

A few months ago Jack Willis got in touch with me he had trace his Great-Great-Grandfather Henry A. Willis, to Topeka Kansas, and was hoping I could help find something about him. At first I wasn’t getting any where, then I call the Topeka Library and talked to a nice volunteer in the Topeka Room by the name of ( Jeanne Mithen ), and with her had work she was able to provide some interesting information. All the while I myself was getting interested in Henry A. Willis. After giving the my information to Jack I told him I was interested on doing a page on Henry, and asked if it would be alright with him. He was glad it give his ok, and provided me with added information. I believe his ancestors who are looking into his life will find this information interesting and helpful in their research.

Note. All photos cane be enlarged by pushing on them.

Henry A. Willis, was born Jan. 16, 1844 in Thomaston, Knox, Me. He was married to Helen E. Thompson on Nov. 23, 1870, of this union three children were born, Charles, Teresa who died at 30 days and Helen. The 1880 census shows Henry as the postmaster of Thomaston. It is not known when they left Thomaston Me. In later years Henry’s wife be came sick and returned to Thomaston Me., it is believed to be with her family, she would pass away on January 17, 1879.

Henry came to Topeka around 1885, he had his daughter Helen, with him, it is not known if his wife Helen was with them. No record could be found on what he did for a living the first two years he was in Topeka. Then in 1887, it is believed he began working for a drug store called ( Payne C. F. Co. ), which was located at 304 E. 4th., street. Then in 1890, the store changed it’s name to ( Willis & Payne Drug ), and the store had moved next door to 302 E. 4th., Street. The store would change it’s name again in 1897, to just Willis Drug, he would run the store for 22, years then in 1909, he left the business for unknown reasons.

During the Civil war Henry would enlist on October 31, 1861, from Thomaston as a private in the 1st Maine Cavalry, company I., he was 18 or 19, at the time of his enlistment. He was taken prisoner at Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia on May 11, 1864, but escaped and rejoined the company. He was promoted to corporal July 12, 62. Was a Orderly for Colonels Allen, Douty, and Smith, he reenlisted December 31, '63, then was promoted to sergeant may 1st, '64. He was commissioned 1st Lt April 14th, 1865, and was AAQM for Captain Hall's battalion Chesterfield Court House, June and July '65. He served until being discharged for disability in April of 1865. At the time of his enlistment it was noted that he was 19, and a farmer.

After 1909, there is no information, then on January 9, 1910, in the State Journal paper there was a announcement on his death. His obituary read.

State Journal January 9, 1910, p.5.

Death of Mr. Willis.

Had Been a Resident of Topeka for 25, Years.

Henry A. Willis died at his home, 409 Monroe street, Monday ( Jan. 7, ), evening at 7:15 o’clock at the age of 66 years. Mr. Willis has been a resident of Topeka for 25 years. For 22 years he has owned and operated a drug store at 302 East Fourth street. Mr. Willis was an active man in business circles, always ready and willing to assist in anything that would help Topeka. He was a veteran of the civil war, having enlisted from the state of Maine. He was a member of Gage Post, Grand Army of the Republic in Topeka. He was a charter member of Irwin Lodge, No. 260, A. O. U. W., and took a great interest in the order and was it’s treasurer for 15 years. His funeral will be held Thursday afternoon at 2:30, o’clock from the First Baptist church, Ninth and Jackson streets. Rev. Thomas Young will conduct the religious service. Gage post, G. A. R., and Irwin lodge, No. 260, A. O. U. W., will take part.

Mr. Willis leaves one daughter Miss Helen Willis of Topeka; one son, Charles H. Willis and a brother Albert Willis of Rockland Maine, and one sister Mrs. Maria Demith of Quincy Massachusetts. Mr. Willis had many friends and will be greatly missed in business circles.

It should be noted that the A. O. U. W., stands for, Ancient Order of United Workman. The lodge met every Thursday evening at Security Hall, at 701, Kansas Ave., Topeka.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have a copy of a book that was owned by a Henry A. Willis. I and a sometimes antiques dealer who sells on Ebay. I always research items that cross my path and look sort of rare... I have had this book for several years... I forget where it came from....Thrilling Stories of the Great Rebellion is the name of the book. I am listing it now on ebay. I have no idea if this is the same Willis, your post popped up in my search, so I had to check it out. search ebay i sell as dance_the_light.