The Descendants of John WILLISTON

Fifth Generation


68. Benjamin Gerard WILLIS (Simeon WILLIS , Seth WILLIS , Thomas Martin , John ) was born JUN 22 1823 in Carteret County, North Carolina. He died JAN 22 1901 in Cleveland, Bradley County, Tennessee and was buried UNKNOWN in Fort Hill Cemetary, Cleveland, Bradley County, Tennessee.

Benjamin was counted in a census 1 1850 in South Carolina, Horey County. He was counted in a census 1870 in Tennessee, Bradley County. He was counted in a census 1880 in Tennessee, Polk County. He was counted in a census 1900 in Tennessee, Polk County. He JAN 1901 Bradley County Citizen. He was employed about 1875 in Operated the Russel House Hotel in Chattanooga, Tenn..

Joined Oddfellows, Jefferson Lodge, Charleston, S.C.1 PROP
2 DATE 5 OCT 1875
2 PLAC Ben & Mary sell land to R.G. Ward
1 PROP
2 DATE 1868
2 PLAC Ben & Mary own a home and lot in Cleveland, Tenn.
1 PROP
2 DATE 5 OCT 1875
2 PLAC Ben buys land from William Henry Willis
1 PROP
2 DATE 14 MAR 1895
2 PLAC William Henry Willis buys land from Ben & Mary


[Brøderbund Family Archive #317, Ed. 1, Census Index: U.S. Selected Counties, 1850, Date of Import: Mar 16, 1998, Internal Ref. #1.317.1.35278.133]

Individual: Willis, B. G.
County/State: Horry Dist., SC
Page #: 042
Year: 1850

Richard W. Nixon, Attorney wrote Benjamin on April 27, 1893 from Jacksonville, NC about the will of his father Simeon.

On January 10, 1894 Dr. William Henry Willis sold land in Onslow County, NC to Benjamin, no deed has been located to this transaction. This transaction was noted in a journal kept by Benjamin. On February 17, 1900 Benjamin wrote a letter to the tax collector of Onslow County to try and find out who was paying the taxes on the land on Bear Creek. It is unknown if a reply to this letter was ever received by Benjamin.

Sally Mayfield Willis wrote to Walter Willis, Benjamin's son, in 1941 from Raleigh, NC about the land on Bear Creek and also had recalled facts about the family there. She was a 1st cousin of Walter Willis. (this letter belongs to Joseph Morton Good III)

It was described by Katharine Willis, Benjamin's granddaughter, that Benjamin was a Captain in the Confederate Army and served under General Lee in the commissary department. Katharine also stated that her grandfather owned a mercantile store in Charleston, S.C. before the civil war which was called Olinger/Willis and Barrett.

While conducting research I found the tax records for property consisting of 480-483 acres of land in Polk County, Tenn. These records span from 1893 to 1900. In 1902 Walter G. Willis is listed for 448 acres, (Benjamin had died in 1901). Walter is also listed in 1897 as the owner of 41 acres and in 1900 for 40 acres.

Benjamin purchased 480 acres along with S.B. Boyd and G.A. Long on July 31, 1871 as registered on August 23, 1871 in Book "L", pages 69, 70 and 71 of the Register's Office of Polk County, Tenn. In the purchase one half of the mineral rights to 53 acres in the northwest corner of the northwest quarter section was "reserved" as stated in the deed of Ansel Rice and registered in Book "F", pages 266 and 267 of the County of Polk. According to Katharine this property had only been deeded 3 times when Benjamin bought it, from the Cherokee Indians to Ansel Rice, from Ansel Rice to Amos Ladd, from Amos Ladd to Willis, Boyd and Long. (please refer to the book written by Joseph Morton Good III, which describes the land transactions based on deeds, notes in journals and other documents).

The mineral rights as stated above and described by Katharine were always to remain with the Cherokee Tribe. It is told a large vein of silver was on the property and the Indians had taken Benjamin, blind folded, to see it. No one after him was ever shown the silver. Joe Good does not have any knowledge of this story and states his grandmother never told him this story. The only mineral on the property to his knowledge, was copper.

Katharine also remembers that her grandfather was one of three brothers. (Census records show, Marsden, Leonidas Ameda (A.C.) and Benjamin along with 2 sisters, Urseline and Mary Eiza.

It is stated in Benjamin's obituary that he served 4 years in the Confederate Army and that three of his children, Rose, Nobel and Jewell were living together on Oak Street in Chattanooga, Tenn. at the time of his death,(1901).

The deed recorded in Trust Book 21, page 484 Polk County recorded the purchase of the remaining land at Willis Springs by Joseph Morton Good II.

Benjamin married Mary Anne STRALEY on 1858 in Unknown. Mary was born APR 18 1836 in Virginia. She died AUG 18 1901 in Cleveland, Bradley County, Tennessee and was buried UNKNOWN in Fort Hill Cemetary, Cleveland, Bradley County, Tennessee.

They had the following children:

  78 M i Walter Gerard WILLIS was born JUL 1860 in Tennessee. He died JAN 10 1946 in Cleveland, Bradley County, Tennessee and was buried UNKNOWN in Fort Hill Cemetary, Cleveland, Bradley County, Tennessee.
+ 79 M ii Albert Cornelius WILLIS was born OCT 3 1861 and died SEP 17 1928.
  80 F iii Rosa May WILLIS was born 1864 in North Carolina. She died 1914 in Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee from Bright's Disease and was buried UNKNOWN in Unknown.

Joseph Morton Good III has a picture of Rose in a Catholic nun's habit. She joined the convent and then left the order when she met Tom Dunk, an English gentleman.
        Rosa married Tom J. DUNK on UNKNOWN in Unknown. Tom was born UNKNOWN in Unknown. He died UNKNOWN in Unknown and was buried UNKNOWN in Unknown.
+ 81 F iv Katherine Lura WILLIS was born 1865 and died 1943.
+ 82 M v William Nobel WILLIS was born SEP 28 1873 and died APR 28 1939.
  83 M vi Jewel French WILLIS was born 1874 in Tennessee. He died DEC 13 1945 in Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee and was buried UNKNOWN in Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee.

69. Armeda Leonidas WILLIS (Simeon WILLIS , Seth WILLIS , Thomas Martin , John ) was born 1 BET. 1824 - 1825 in North Carolina. He died UNKNOWN in Unknown.

Armeda was counted in a census 1850 in North Carolina, Onslow County, Swansboro, Pg. #129. He was counted in a census 1830 in North Carolina, Onslow County, Swansboro, Pg. 219. He was counted in a census 1840 in North Carolina, Onslow County, Swansboro, Page 155. He was counted in a census 1860 in , , , Page 295, Real estate value $100, Personal Property v. He was counted in a census 1870 in North Carolina, Onslow County, Swansboro, Page 44.

1 PROP
2 DATE 15 APR 1875
2 PLAC A.L. sells land to Richard G. Ward on Bear Creek
1 PROP
2 DATE 13 APR 1875
2 PLAC A.L. buys estimated 1,000 acres known as Frenches Mills Tract for $3,000 from W. J. Montford, Book 34, pg. 328
1 PROP
2 DATE 7 FEB 1876
2 PLAC A. L. sells the Frenches Mill Tract to W. J. Montford for $3,000., Book 33, pg. 479
1 PROP
2 DATE 5 FEB 1883
2 PLAC A.L. buys 2 tracts of land at public auction for $95.50


[Brøderbund Family Archive #317, Ed. 1, Census Index: U.S. Selected Counties, 1850, Date of Import: Mar 16, 1998, Internal Ref. #1.317.1.35277.179]

Individual: Willis, Amanda
County/State: Onslow Co., NC
Location: Swansboro
Page #: 129
Year: 1850

Armeda married (1) Sara COSTON on UNKNOWN in North Carolina. Sara was born UNKNOWN in Unknown. She died UNKNOWN in Unknown.

Armeda also married (2) Mary Jane MORSE on UNKNOWN in Unknow. Mary was born 1 BET. 1830 - 1831 in North Carolina. She died UNKNOWN in Unknown.

They had the following children:

  84 F i Francis Zilly WILLIS was born 1850.
  85 F ii Henrietta WILLIS was born 1 1852.
  86 M iii Benjamine WILLIS was born 1 1854.
  87 M iv William WILLIS was born 1 1858.
  88 F v Virginia WILLIS was born 1 1860.

70. Mary Eliza WILLIS (Simeon WILLIS , Seth WILLIS , Thomas Martin , John ) was born 1829 in Carteret County, North Carolina. She died UNKNOWN in Onslow County, North Carolina.

Mary married Nathaniel B. HANCOCK on APR 19 1853 in Onslow County, North Carolina. Nathaniel was born JUL 11 1812 in Unknown. He died MAY 23 1863 in Onslow County, North Carolina.

1 _FA4
2 PLAC County/State: Onslow Co., NC
2 SOUR S1708
3 PAGE Internal Ref. #1.316.1.5035.175
3 DATA
4 TEXT Date of Import: Oct 31, 1998
1 _FA5
2 PLAC Page #: 152
2 SOUR S1708
3 PAGE Internal Ref. #1.316.1.5035.175
3 DATA
4 TEXT Date of Import: Oct 31, 1998
1 _FA6
2 PLAC Year: 1840
2 SOUR S1708
3 PAGE Internal Ref. #1.316.1.5035.175
3 DATA
4 TEXT Date of Import: Oct 31, 1998


[Brøderbund Family Archive #316, Ed. 1, Census Index: U.S. Selected Counties, 1840, Date of Import: Oct 31, 1998, Internal Ref. #1.316.1.5035.175]

Individual: Hancock, Nathaniel B.
County/State: Onslow Co., NC
Page #: 152
Year: 1840

For the first name in this entry, the person who indexed the record was uncertain about the transcription due to difficulties in deciphering the original records.

Nathaniel and Mary had the following children:

+ 89 M i John HANCOCK was born 1855 and died 1932.
  90 M ii Romulus B. HANCOCK was born UNKNOWN in Unk. He died UNKNOWN in Unk.

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