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Isaiah and Susannah Boone Willits Page

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Alternate Spellings - See Willits Family Page

Links - Alyea,, Isaac Willits [brother of Isaiah], Orphan Willits [those we cannot place], James Willits, Reuben Willits, Drury, Glancey, Merritt, Mills, Moore, Reynolds, Scott , Kirlin, Lloyd, Bartlett, Rader, Finch, Jenkins, Burns (Misc Families)

Contacts - We have entered most of our own research below. Albert [Jim] Willett has generously sent us his research on the Mercer County Willits families (it includes information from the Bartlett book) - it is a huge package and we have integrated his information into this page. Lisa Peters- Andreas is a descendant of Eli Mills. Paula Nevels is descended from Arelda Jane Willits Lloyd. Kathleen Roberts and Sarah Gehret for the Ira Willits/Cassin family.

There is a small amount of conflicting information that we will attempt to solve when time permits. In the meantime would really like to hear from any descendants that have more information or who can resolve conflicts [email Nadine on the About Us Page].

As mentioned on the Willits Family Page, Isaiah Willits was born 12/19/1732 in Long Island, New York, and married Susannah Boone 10/23/1755 in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Susannah was born 1/17/1738, was the daughter of Samuel Boone and Elizabeth Cassell, and was first cousin of Daniel Boone. Some of Susannah's history is given on the Willits Family page. Again we will give sources of our information so readers can judge the quality. Isaiah Willit's birth date is given in Eshelman Genealogies of Berks County, Pennsylvania. Where we have been able to corroborate Eshelman with Quaker records, we find his information to be quite accurate. He wrote in 1930 and apparently had access to some Quaker records that are not now extant. Bartlett gives his birthdate as December 12, 1733. Susannah's birthdate is given in Quaker Meeting Records and their marriage date is given in Eshelman. Isaiah Willits was disowned on July 29, 1756, for marrying contrary to discipline (outside the Quaker faith), and Susannah was disowned July 28, 1757. Isaiah never rejoined the Quaker faith.

Isaiah purchased land in Berks County, but in 1765 began selling his lands and when the Revolution began, he and brother Isaac Willits moved to the western lands after a brief sojourn in Maryland. Evidently they moved to Kentucky during the Revolution because they did not believe in war. "They were poor, as most people were in those days, but got along without, going from place to place, harassed by Indians, British, Whigs, but were peaceable, good men, and would have died before they would have gone to murdering their fellow man" (Bartlett). Isaiah evidently returned to Pennsylvania as he died there September 13, 1793.

Children of Isaiah and Susannah Boone Willits were Rachel (3/5/1757), Martha (2/5/1759), Jemima (5/10/1761), Hannah (2/5/1764), Deborah (2/24/1766), Samuel (9/16/1768), Thomas (11/15/1770), Isaac (10/20/1772), Elizabeth (12/23/1774), James (4/3/1777), a daughter (6/1779), and Isaiah (7/7/1782). Much of this information is from the IGI Index and the Ancestral File and must accordingly be taken with a grain of salt. Birthplaces of the first five are listed as Berks County, Pennsylvania, Samuel & Thomas as Prince Georges County, Maryland, and the rest in York, Pennsylvania. We will only follow those children that may have had some connection with Mercer County.

More on the Children of Isaiah and Susannah Boone Willits

Rachel Willits Drury

Rachel Willits (3/15/1757) married a William Drury, probably in Berks County, Pennsylvania. We have not been able to connect him to the Mercer County Drury family, but it may be a clue as to where to look for Drury ancestors. William Drury was born July 24, 1750 and died December 25, 1823 in Wayne County, Indiana, so he may well have been connected to the Mercer County Drurys.

Martha Willits Glancey

Martha Willits (2/5/1759) married on May 27, 1794 to Joseph Glancey, Sr., in York County, Pennsylvania, and then resided in New Haven, Hamilton County, Ohio. They had sons John and Joseph Glancey who moved to Wayne County, Indiana in 1820 and then on to Mercer County.

Deborah Willits Mills Moore

Deborah Willits (2/24/1766) lived in York County, Pennsylvania, then Ohio, and in 1812 moved to Indiana. She married (1) Eli Mills, and (2) Robert Moore. Deborah died in Wayne County in 1832 but children of both husbands moved on to Mercer County, Illinois. We will be putting up both a Mills and a Moore page. Also see Glancey page as daughter Susan Moore married cousin John Glancey. Lisa Peters- Andreas is a descendant of Eli Mills.

Samuel and Lydia Mills Willits

Samuel Willits (9/16/1768) married Lydia Mills and in 1826 they too moved to Wayne County, Indiana, from York County, Pennsylvania. In 1830 they are listed in the Washington Township, Wayne County, Indiana census: 1 male 60-70, 1 male 30-40, 1 male 20-30, 1 male 15-20, 1 female 15-20, and 1 female 0-5 (apparently Lydia was deceased). They had at least five known children: Amy Willits (about 1805) married Addison Reynolds (we have other information that says Amy was daughter of James Willits!); Hannah Willits (11/12/1807) married Robert Scott; Edilda Willits (about 1809) married Enoch Hosier; Isaiah Willits (11/2/1812) married Elizabeth Reynolds, daughter of Caleb Reynolds of Ohio, in Mercer County, Illinois; Lydia Ann Willits (about 1815) married John McGrew. We will be putting up a separate page for Isaiah and Elizabeth Reynolds Willits as they had many descendants in Mercer County (we currently have them up on the Orphan Willits page as we have no proof of the relationship to Samuel).

Thomas Willits

Thomas Willits (11/15/1770), born Prince Georges County, Maryland, according to the Ancestral File, died about 1859 in Mercer County, Illinois. At least there is an entry for an estate for a Thomas Willits in the Aledo Record for that date. We have not followed up on this. Possibly there is a will available.

James and Amy Allison Willits

James Willits, (4/3/1777), born in York, Pennsylvania, according to the IGI Index, married Amy Allison in Pickaway County, Ohio. The marriage place and the name of James' wife is given in the History of Mercer County, Illinois, 1882 in the biography of their son Dr. Thomas Willits of New Boston. To reduce confusion we have created a separate page for James & Amy Allison Willits.

Isaac Willits Family [son of Isaiah]

Isaac Willits (10/20/1772) and family, are documented in West Grove Monthly Meeting Records (Quaker) in Wayne County, Indiana. The Ancestral file gives his birthplace as York, Pennsylvania. He married first, his cousin Rachel Willits, daughter of Isaac & Elizabeth Willits according to West Grove (Indiana) Monthly Meeting Records. Isaac Willits himself would have been the source of the West Grove Meeting records, as he and his second wife were charter members when it was set up by Whitewater Monthly Meeting in 1818; therefore we feel there is no doubt his first wife was his cousin Rachel. Isaac & Rachel's marriage date is not given as they were no doubt married in Pennsylvania, and because of the cousin relationship were not allowed a Quaker marriage. Bartlett gives the name as Rachel Brady [was she perhaps a Brady widow?], but no doubt did not see the West Grove Meeting records as he does not have Rachel's death and burial information that is included in the Quaker records (more below). As with so many pioneer families experiencing the harsh life of the frontier it was difficult to keep the faith and many of the children were disowned by the Quakers (see biographies below). Those remaining in the faith joined the Hicksite faction of Quakers in Milford, Indiana, and were disowned by the Orthodox Quakers.

As in most Quaker families there was interest in acquiring land to pass on to sons and daughters so they would remain in the area and remain in the Quaker faith. When Isaac arrived in Wayne County, Indiana, he purchased several parcels of government land. On 10/24/1811 he purchased the NW/4 Section 28 T16N R13E in the Cincinnati District (future Wayne County). On the same day Edward Drury purchased the adjoining quarter section to the south of Isaac; perhaps they came to Wayne County together. On 11/4/1811 Isaac purchased the NE/4 of the same section, adjoining NW/4 Section 29 purchased by Aaron Mannon on 8/15/1814. On 8/16/1814 John Woodward, ancestor of Jill Martin and Nadine Holder, purchased the SE/4 of Section 28, adjacent to Isaac Willits and Edward Drury. John Woodward's daughter, Rachel Woodward Welch would also migrate to Mercer County although much later. Only about two miles away lived Isaac Julian whose daughter would marry a Willits. About the same distance was Greenbury Cornelius married to a Commons daughter. Several of the Commons family would migrate to Mercer County. Isaac Willets bought additional land: NE/4 Section 20 on 4/10/1816; and NW/4 Section 21 on 10/24/1811. At that time, Isaac apparently had intentions of making Wayne County his permanent home. Why did so many Wayne County families move on at an early date to Mercer County, Illinois? See our Part 2 History for some possible answers.

The children of Isaac and Rachel Willits are documented in Quaker records in Indiana and confirmed in Isaac's will in Mercer County as: Brady, Mark, Joshua, Reuben, Newton, Harriett, Belinda, and Maria.

Isaac Willett was received in membership on 11/30/1816 at Whitewater Monthly Meeting (Quaker) in Wayne County, Indiana. Rachel is not mentioned as she was already deceased. Sons of Isaac: Joshua, Reuben & Newton Willetts, were received in membership on 7/26/1817. Daughters of Isaac: Harriett, Belinda, and Maria, were received in membership on 8/30/1817.

On 10/29/1817 "Isaac Willetts, son of Isaiah and Susanna, both deceased, Wayne County, Indiana, married Miriam Nixon at White Water Meeting House." This Willits family was returning to its Quaker roots. When West Grove Monthly Meeting was set off from Whitewater in 1818, the Willits family were charter members and more detail is given on the family there. Isaac is listed as son of Isaiah and Susannah Willits, born 10-20-1772; Rachel is listed as daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth Willits, born 1/9/1777 and died 9/9/1816. She was buried in the Willits Cemetery at West Union, Wayne County, Indiana.

Miriam, second wife of Isaac, is listed as daughter of Joseph and Mary Jones, so she must have been a widow of one Nixon when they married. She was born 8/9/1777. Isaac and Miriam had one son Henry, born 5/12/1823 and died 6/28/1823. Miriam was 45 years old when he was born so it was not unusual that the child didn't survive.

The birth dates of the children of Isaac and Rachel are given in Quaker Records: Brady, 7/3/1794; Harriet, 6/22/1797; Mark, 11/29/1800; Joshua, 4/5/1803; Reuben 5/2/1805; Belinda, 11/16/1807; Maria, born 4/16/1810; and Newton Q{I}, born 8/12/1812.

Isaac and Miriam were reported as joining the Hicksite Quakers on 12/27/1828. They are reported further at Milford Hicksite Meeting in Wayne County. Apparently Miriam died before 1837, as Isaac married (3)Mary Bishop on 6/11/1837 in Wayne County. Isaac was reported as married contrary to discipline on 5/17/1838 and was dismissed 11/15/1838 from Quaker meeting. Mary is the wife mentioned in Isaac's will (bottom of the page).

We are not entirely sure when the Isaac Willits family arrived in Wayne County, Indiana as there is no 1810 census extant for either Ohio or Indiana. Daughter Maria Willits Rumley is given as born Ohio in 1810 in several of her census records. The family is found in Wayne County in 1820: Isaac Willits, 1 male over 45, 1 16-26, 1 10-16, 1 under 10; 2 females over 45, 1 16-18, 1 10-16. At least three of the children were already out of the home. Isaac is still there in 1830: 1 male 50-60, 1 male 15-20; 1 female 70-80, 1 female 50-60. We are not sure of the identity of the older female. Only son Newton was still at home.

Isaac came early to Mercer County, Illinois. According to History of Mercer County, 1882 in the biography of Milton Willits, grandfather Isaac came west in the spring of 1836 and settled in New Boston Township. The date of his first visit to Mercer County is probably correct as son-in-law John Rumley purchased two parcels of land (W/2 SW/4 & SE/4) in Section 8 T13N R4W in Mercer County in February 1836. This was in future Abington Township just southeast of New Boston Township. Often the men of the family came west first, built their cabins, and then went back for their families. This apparently happened as Isaac married in June 1837 in Wayne County, Indiana.

Isaac purchased the W/2SE of Section 23, Township 14N Range 5W on 9/13/1839 (future New Boston Township). This land was still in Willits ownership in the 1875 Plat Map of New Boston Township. At the time of his death in 1844, according to his estate inventory, he also owned the S/2SW of Section 23 for a total of 160 acres. He also owned a house and lot in the town of New Boston being the SW/2 of Lot One in Block 14 (see New Boston survey).

More on the Children of Isaac Willits

Brady Willits Family

Son Brady M. Willetts, born 7/3/1794, son of Isaac and Rachel (deceased), married Susannah Lacey at West Union MH on 4/14/1819. Their son Augustus Willits is recorded as born 4/17/1820 at West Grove.

Brady and Susannah joined the Hicksite Quaker Meeting on 1/24/1829. On 3/18/1829 Brady was appointed overseer of the Milford Hicksite Meeting in Wayne County.

Brady and family came to Mercer County at the same time as his father Isaac and brothers Mark, Joshua, and Newton. On 8/22/1839 Brady purchased the NW/4 of Section 23 in Township 14 North, Range 5 West, and on 9/27/1839 he purchased the W/2NW/4 Section 24 in the same township (future New Boston Township). His land was very near that of his brother Joshua and father Isaac.

In the 1850 census, Brady and Susan Willits are found in New Boston Township: Brady Willits, 58, farmer, born Pennsylvania; Susan, age 51, born North Carolina; Thomas E. Willits, age 25, born Indiana (this is possibly Thomas, son of Reuben Willits as Brady was his guardian and his birth is not recorded for Brady and Susannah at West Grove); Rebecca Willits, age 21, born Indiana; Phoebe Willits, age 14, born Indiana. Next door is son William A. (Augustus) Willits, 31, farmer, born Indiana, with wife Sarah Frick (daughter of Frederick and Nancy Frick), age 27, born Pennsylvania; Edward L., age 5, Mary E., 3, and Clara M., 1, born Illinois.

Brady and Susan also had a daughter Mary Jane, born 8/29/1826 in Wayne County, who married Anderson Kirlin, son of William and Lydia Thompson Kirlin, on 10/3/1846. There is more on this family at the Kirlin link at the top of this page.

In the 1860 census it appears that William and Sarah Frick Willits had at least a temporary separation as William is living with his father and mother in New Boston Township with son Edward, and Sarah Frick Willits is living in Keithsburg with her parents and the two girls, Edith and Clara.

Brady's daughter Rebecca married James Y. Merritt, son of Ephraim Johnson and Margarette Tindall Merritt, on 25 May 1851 in New Boston. Rebecca died 1/18/1853 and is buried in New Boston Cemetery. We suspect her death is associated with childbirth but there is no child buried next to her or mentioned on her tombstone. James Y. Merritt did not remarry until 1856.

We do not find a marriage for Brady's daughter Phebe. She was teaching school as Miss Willits in August 1875. We believe however that she may be the Phoebe Sprous buried next to her parents in New Boston Cemetery. Dates on the tombstone are 1835-1905.

A word of caution on this family: we know from Isaac's estate papers that Brady was the guardian of his brother Reuben's minor children in 1840. We have sorted the children of Reuben and Brady as best we can based on information from descendants but real proof of who is who is lacking. William Augustus is the only one we can say for certain was the son of Brady.

Susan Lacey Willits died 4/2/1864 and is buried in New Boston Cemetery. Brady married Mahala Glancey on 11/1/1866 in Mercer County . We do not find them in the 1870 census but Brady died on 8/21/1873 and is buried in New Boston Cemetery.

Mark Willits Family

(We very much appreciate the assistance of Paula Nevels in solving this family mystery. She is descended from Arelda Jane Willits Lloyd. She located a letter in the Keithsburg Museum in Mercer County that was the key! She also obtained more information on the family from Jim Willett and passed it on to us.)

Son Mark Willits, born 11/29/1800, transferred his membership from West Grove Monthly Meeting to Milford Monthly Meeting in Wayne County on 10/23/1824. He was dismissed at Milford on 11/27/1824 for deviating from plainness of dress and address and for neglecting attendance. We know that Mark Willits became a physician and we thought he attended his father Isaac during his illness in Mercer County in the 1840's, along with his partner Edmond Harrell. The obituary of Mark's cousin Thomas Willits (see James Willits Page), claims that Thomas was the partner of Edmund Harrell.

The History of Mercer County, Illinois, 1882, shows Mark voting in the first election in 1835 in Mercer County. It also states that Mark "settled in New Boston in 1840, the first resident doctor of the place, and he is still living in the town at this date, April, 1882, and has had a wide and extensive practice almost continually during his long sojourn in the county." This bit of information was a big road block for us as Mark Willits did not remain and practice in Mercer County! We are deviating a bit from our practice of not following families outside of Mercer County as we wish to refute this incorrect piece of information once and for all! The obituary of Mark's cousin, Thomas Willits, also claims Thomas as the first doctor in New Boston in 1840 so perhaps that information is also suspect. Later census records do show Mark as a physician.

Mark Willits married Harriotte Fox in Henry County, Indiana, on 11/30/1824. She was a daughter of Martin Fox of Connecticut, and was born about 1807 in New York. Later records give her name as Harriett. We know from the 1835 election voter list that the family came to Mercer County by 1835. Census records for son Amaziah, born 1834, indicate he was born in Illinois. We find Mark and family in the 1840 census records in Mercer County: T14N R4W (Millersburg area), Mark Willits, males, 1 30-40, 2 10-15, 2 5-10, 1 under 5; females 1 30-40, 1 10-15, 1 5-10, 1 under 5.

By 1850 the family had moved to Beloit, Rock County, Wisconsin. They are found there in the census: Mark Willits, 49, physician, born Ohio; Harriett, 43, NY; William H., 24, In; Malissa Bloomfield, 17, In; Amaziah, 15, Il; Reuben M., 10, Il; Electa, 13, Il; Belinda, 8, Il; Sarah Allis, 5, Il. Daughter Electa is also in the Mercer County census in 1850, visiting her sister Arrelda, who married Benijah Lloyd on 12/9/1847 and remained behind in Mercer County. Rock County, Wisconsin is adjoining the Illinois State line at Rock Island County, so the families were not that far apart.

Mark and Harriett Willits had another son, Alonzo H. Willits, born January 20, 1830, at the Town of Middleton, County of Wayne, State of Indiana. He married Imogene Baldwin at Shullsburg, LaFayette County, Wisconsin, January 28, 1855. They had children Clara (d. 10/1/1858); William Henry; Albert; Emma Clara (d. 8/12/1861); Charles Edwin (d. 4/1866). Alonzo is the author of the 1876 letter held by the Keithsburg Museum, wherein he gave family information to his relative Samuel Willits in Mercer County (we believe Samuel to be the son of Jesse & Sarah Van Horn Willits - see Isaac Willits page linked above). In 1860 we find Alonzo in Monroe Village, Green County, Wisconsin:
A. H. Willits, 31, printer, born In; Jane (nickname for Imogene?), 23, Wisc; W. H., 3, Wisc; Albert, 1, Wisc. Also in Monroe Village we find: Mark Willets, 59, physician, Oh; Harriett, 53, NY; Melissa B, 27, seamstress, In; A. J., 25, farmer, Il; Bel E., 18, Il; Sarah E, 15, Il; Wilt Perry, 7, Il. The birthplace of Illinois for Perry may be an error or they may have returned briefly to Illinois.

The letter from Alonzo Willits is written on letterhead: "Office of the O'Brien Pioneer, A. H. Willits & Son, Ed's & Pub's, Primghar, O'Brien County, Iowa, Sept 20, 1876." He lists the children of Mark and Harriet Willits as: William Henry; Charles Martin; Arrelda Jane; Alonzo Harrington; Melissa Bloomfield; Amaziah; Electa Clarissa; Reuben Hiram; Belinda; and Sarah Alice. "Of the above all are now living except the father Mark Willits who died at Monroe, Green Co, Wis, 1863." He does not mention the youngest child Perry, shown in the 1860 census, so perhaps he did not survive, or was a visiting relative? A kind volunteer sent us a little of the history of the newspaper O'Brien Pioneer stating that A. H. Willets was the local editor when the paper started in 1872 in Cherokee, O'Brien County, Iowa. The town of Primghar was started and became the county seat and the paper was moved there. When the railroad came through it went through the town of Sanborn in the north part of the county and everything moved there. In 1882 the name was changed to the Sanborn Pioneer which is still published today.

Son William Henry Willits, born about 1826 married Nancy Hill in Indiana and went west in the California gold rush. This information is from Jim Willett and we have nothing further on this family.

Son Charles Martin Willits, born about 1825(?), married Sarah E. Hill on 5/6/1848 in Rock Island County, Illinois and died 11/5/1913 in Los Angeles, California (perhaps he too went on the gold rush? We have nothing further on this family.

Daughter Arrelda Jane Willits was born 8/4/1828 in Richmond, Indiana. She married Benijah Lloyd, son of Benijah Lloyd and Elizabeth Dunn Lloyd, 12/9/1847 in Mercer County, Illinois. There is a sketch of Benijah Lloyd in the 1882 Mercer County History and we have quite a bit more of the family history on the Lloyd Page. Benijah was elected sheriff of Millersburg township and served 1856-1859. Benijah was a saloonkeeper in the 1860 census but Mercer County did not look kindly on liquor trading so he evidently went back to farming as he is a farmer in the 1870 census.

Benijah and Arrelda Willits Lloyd had children: Arthur Lloyd (b. 1849, d. bef 1860); Omer H. Lloyd (b. abt 1851); Ella Lloyd (b. abt 1852); Nettie Lloyd (b. abt 1855); Charles M. Lloyd (b. abt 1861); Willie Lloyd (born about 1863); George W. Lloyd (b. abt. 1865); Maurice E. Lloyd (b. abt 1867); Ida Lloyd (b. abt 1869); (Thomas Lloyd (d. 9/13/1880). Ella Lloyd married Lee Roy Willits 3/1/1874 and the family is continued on the James Willits page. Nettie Lloyd married Karl A. Range 11/19/1881 in Mercer County. Charles M. Lloyd married Anna Bell Moore 9/14/1892 in Mercer County. Willie Lloyd married Georgie E. Swezy 7/28/1889 in Mercer County. Maurice Lloyd married Nellie A. Miller 12/20/1894 in Mercer County. Arthur Lloyd was killed by falling out of a wagon while the family was traveling near Keithsburg.

Arrelda's cemetery record (8/4/1828-11/14/1905) was the key to placing her as daughter of Mark and Harriett Willits. (Pre-1900 photo of Benijah and Arelda Willits Lloyd courtesy Paula Nevels and Pat Lloyd - standing Maurice (Morris), George, William W., Charles M. and Omar H. Lloyd. Seated are Benijah Jr., Ella I Willits, Nettie Range, Maude Fleming, and Arelda Jane Lloyd.)

Daughter Melissa Bloomfield Willits was born about 1833 in Indiana. She married Dwight C. King 1/21/1852 in Mercer County, Illinois. Dwight King is found in San Francisco County, California in the 1870 census but we have not followed up on this.

Son George Amaziah Willits was born 5/26/1834 in Illinois (indicating the family came to Mercer County before 1835). He married Charlotte M. Jones on 3/5/1859 in Wisconsin. He served in Company C, 3rd Regiment, U. S. Horse Artillery, during the Civil War.

Electa Clarissa Willits, was born 4/20/1836 in Mercer County Illinois. She married Jonathan T. Bartlett 2/14/1854, Rock Island County, Illinois. We are putting up a Bartlett page but it may not include Rock Island County families. Jonathan Bartlett was City Marshall of Marengo, Iowa County, Iowa and a doctor.

Son Reuben Hiram Willits was born about 1840 in Mercer County. He may be the Hiram Willits who married Mary Ann Murphy 3/3/1856 in Mercer County since we cannot otherwise identify Hiram. There is a Reuben Willits in the 1860 census in Charleston Township, Calumet County, Wisconsin, but we have not followed up on this.

Thomas and Harriet Willits Moore; Isaac and Belinda Willits Moore; and John and Maria Willits Rumbly/Rumley Families

Daughter Harriet Willits, born 6/22/1797, married Thomas Moore 3/30/1821 (license date) in Wayne County, Indiana. Daughter Belinda Willits, born 11/16/1807, was reported on 4/22/1826 at Milford Meeting as Belinda Moore (formerly Willits) married contrary to discipline and dismissed, so she married in a civil ceremony. Their license record is found as Isaac Moore and Belinda Willets in Wayne County on 12/13/1825. Thomas and Isaac Moore were sons of Robert and Deborah Willits Moore so they were first cousin marriages (we will be putting up a Moore page).

Daughter Maria Willits, born 4/16/1810, was reported on 8/22/1829 at Milford Monthly Meeting in Wayne County, as Maria Rumbly (formerly Willits) married contrary to discipline and dismissed. The license date of Maria and John Rumley in Wayne County was 7/26/1829.

The History of Mercer County, Illinois, 1882 tells us that a daughter of Reuben Willits came to Mercer County in 1836 with her uncle Thomas Moore, so we know Thomas Moore, and probably Isaac, came to Mercer County that early. In the estate settlement of Isaac Willits in Mercer County we find a sale bill dated 10/11/1845 whereby Isaac Moore purchased the home farm of Isaac Willits for $1900. The last payment was to be made in October of 1846. Isaac Moore also purchased Isaac Willits's carriage and harness for $76.00. Isaac Moore received the shares of both his wife Belinda, and of Harriett Moore in the final settlement of Isaac Willits's estate, so Thomas Moore may have been deceased. We do not find either of these Moore families in Mercer County in 1860, and the name is too common in Mercer County to identify descendants.

John Rumley purchased two parcels of land (W/2 SE& W/2 SW Sec 8) T13N R4W (future Abington Township)in February 1836. Maria Rumley is named in Isaac Willits will (see bottom of page) and Isaac Moore handled her share of Isaac's estate in 1856 as John Rumley was deceased. We recently heard from someone researching John and Maria Rumley for a family member. He kindly furnished us enough clues that we could trace John and Maria further. We do not know how long they remained in Mercer County as there is no further mention of them, but they are found in Vigo County, Riley Township, Indiana in 1850:#101 John Rumley (misspelled as Rumna), 46, farmer, $500, born Ohio; Meriah, 40, born Ohio; Newton, 16, laborer, born In; Josuah, 13, born In; Matilda, 9, born In; Louis, 6, born In. Newton and Joshua were evidently named for Maria's two brothers. Our contact kindly sent us a short biography of son Isaac Newton from Vigo County and a copy of the 1860 census, Vigo County, Riley Twp:#1215 Joshua Rumley, 23, farmer, $2000, born Il; Maria, 50, Ohio; Louis 16, Il. With them is daughter Matilda Hathern, 20, Il; John Hathern, 25, farmer, Oh; Hariett Hathern, 1, In. If the Illinois birthplace is correct for the children, the Rumleys could have remained in Mercer County for some time. We understand that John Rumley died in 1853 in Vigo County, Indiana. According to his biography, son Newton Rumley married Sarah Armstrong, daughter of George Armstrong in Vigo County and they had three children: George B., John A. and Henry W.Rumbley. The name is variously spelled Rumly, Rumley, Rumbly and Rumbley.

Joshua Willits Family

Son Joshua Willits, born 4/5/1803, was condemned at Whitewater Monthly Meeting on 4/19/1823 for his attendance at a place of diversion and for dancing. On 11/22/1826 Joshua was disowned for dancing, for deviation from plainness of dress and address, and for using profane language. On 3/8/1827 in Wayne County he married Eliza Kibby Willits, widow of his cousin Elias Willits (son of Jesse Willits).

Eliza must have been a good influence as Joshua taught school in Mercer County in the winter season of 1834-1835. Joshua died before 1840 in Mercer County as he is named in his father's will as deceased and part of the estate settlement of Isaac Willits included a payment of $1173 on Joshua Willits's mortgage. Joshua had purchased the NE/4 of Section 26, Township 14N Range 5W on 8/22/1839. The purchase price was only $200 so Joshua had accumulated considerable debt against his property. Eliza Willits is found alone in the 1840 census, T14NR5W: Eliza Willits, head of household; 1 female 30-40; 1 female 15-20; 2 females 5-10; 1 male 15-20; 1 male under 5. The younger children would have been Joshua's and the older ones Elias's.

Eliza Kibby Willits married (3) William Shannon in Mercer County on 2/29/1844. From their 1850 census record in Knox County, Illinois we learn that Joshua and Eliza had been living in Iowa and that they had at least three children: Ann, born about 1834; Mary born about 1837; and Jehah, born about 1838 in Iowa. There may have been more. There is more about Eliza Kibby Willits Shannon on the Isaac Willits page under Elias Willits, son of Jesse Willits.

Reuben Willits Family

Son Reuben Willits was born 5/2/1805, in Wayne County, Indiana. Thanks to several descendants we have quite a bit of information on this family and have created a separate page for them (Linked at the top of the page).

Newton Willits Family

Son Newton Willits, born 8/12/1812 in Wayne County, married Mary Rader 7/18/1833 in Wayne County, Indiana. She was daughter of Abraham and Catharine Beam Rader. Newton made his claim against his father's will on 4/22/1845, from Union County, Illinois. Newton and family are found in the Rock Island County, Illinois, census in 1850. Children listed are Ann Marie Willits, born about 1834, George Alvin Willits, born about 1838, Ira W. Willits, born about 1841, Lewis Willits, born about 1847, and Viola Willits, born about 1849, all born Illinois. Polly Rader Willits died 8/8/1854 in Mercer County, Illinois.

In the 1860 census the children are parcelled out to various Rader families. Ira is a laborer in the Pettis Finch family (the second Mrs. Finch was a Rader); Alvin G., and Lewis D. are with the Christian Rader family and Lewis is also censused with the Peachy Rader family. George Alvin Willits married Phoebe A. Finch, daughter of Pettis Finch, 3/7/1861 in Mercer County. In the 1870 New Boston Township census they have a daughter Jennie, age 5, and a daughter Nettie, age 2. They had a daughter Kate born 1861, died 1863, and a son Harry, born 1863 and died 1864, both buried in New Boston Cemetery.

Ira Willits married Elizabeth Cassen[Cassin] daughter of James and Mary Feely Cassin, on 4/11/1861 in Mercer County. We thank Kathleen Roberts for the information on the Cassin family . In the 1870 census Ira and Lizzie are living in Abington with children James, age 6, Frank, age 4, Maggie, age 2, and Martin, age 1. They had another son George born 1862, died 1865, buried in Greenmound Cemetery. Maggie and Martin given in the census died young and are buried in Greenmound. They had a son Edward, born 1872, died 1876 and a daughter Elizabeth, born 1877, died 1878, buried Greenmound. Sarah Gehret, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, is a descendant of this family.

Son Lewis/Louis Willits married Mary Jane Jenkins on 15 March 1883 (the marriage record is as Louis D. Willits.) Lewis was censused both with the Peachy Rader and the Christian Rader family in 1860 and Mary Jane later worked for the Christian Rader family and is with them in 1870 so this is likely how she met Lewis. Lewis and Mary were later divorced but had children Loyd(?), Bessie, and Henry, plus one other per the 1900 census. Lewis was in the poor farm at Clinton County, Iowa in 1900 and likely died and is buried there. The 1910 census tells us Mary was divorced and then in 1920 she styles herself as widow so Lewis probably died between 1910 and 1920. Mary Jenkins Willits owned her own home in Clinton City, Clinton County, Iowa, and in 1920 daughter Bessie is supporting her and brother Henry, working as a saleslady in a candy store.

Isaac Willits' Will

Isaac Willits wrote his will on the 12th of March 1842 in Mercer County:
"I Isaac Willits of the County of Mercer and State of Illinois, do make and publish this my last will and testament, in manner and form following, that is to say:
First, it is my will that my funeral expenses and all my just debts be fully paid.
Second, I give, devise and bequeath to my beloved wife, Mary Willits in lieu of her dower, my family carriage and harness, also 100 dollars in household furnitures to be selected by herself together with eight hundred and fifty dollars, in manner and form following, towit, it is my will, that so soon as my executors can settle my estate and obtain so much money that they pay her four hundred dollars, and the remaining four hundred and fifty dollars will be paid in six anual and equal installments provided however, that at her death the payments cease.
Thirdly, it is farther my will that what ever may remain of my estate, both real and personal, be converted into cash and equaly distributed to my lawful heirs, towit Harriet Moore, Mark Willits, Joshua Willits, dec., Belinda Moore, Reuben Willits dec, Maria Rumley and Newton I. Willits, to them their heirs and assigns forever.
And lastly I hereby appoint and constitute Dr. Thomas Willits [son of James & Amy Allison Willits] and Frederick Frick to be the executors for this my last will and testament revoking and annulling all former wills by me made and ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twelfth day of March One thousand eight hundred and forty two.
/s/ Isaac Willits.
Signed published and declared by the above named Isaac Willits as and for his last will and testament in presence of us, who at his request, have signed as witnesses to the same.
/s/ William Denison, Joseph Glancey

William Denison and Joseph Glancey [a son of Isaac's sister Martha] appeared before the probate judge on November 13, 1844 to start the probate.

The final settlement of the estate was not made until August 4, 1856. While Isaac Willits estate appraised at nearly $5000, his heirs's shares , after his debts were settled, amounted to $67.20 each. Isaac had a large number of debts (not uncommon in that time period when cash was almost nonexistent). The claims against his estate constituted an informal census of the people and occupations in New Boston Township in 1844 and we have used it as such in Part 2 of our History of New Boston and Eliza Townships. Many of the debts document items used by the Willits family. In our page Social Life in the 30's and 40's we have described a little of the life of Isaac and Mary Willits as deduced from the probate records.

3/28/2008 Added more information on Lewis Willits, son of Newton and Polly Rader Willits and his wife Mary Jenkins Willits.