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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Part 3: Willis Family Migrates to East Texas (Abt. 1909), 14th Child is Born (1910) and Lucy Willis’ Husband, John Pinckney Willis, dies (1911)

John Pinckney Willis
(1866-1911)
Sometime between January 29, 1908 and May 7, 1910 the Willis family and other families migrated to Houston County, Texas from Calhoun County, Florida. The covered wagon train digital photograph that I received in a collection of Willis photographs and shown in Part 1 was not identified with a caption. Perhaps there is writing on the back or some indication that this is an authentic photograph of the migration of the Willis Family and other families who moved together to Texas.



The newspaper article did not have the connected newspaper heading at the top of the page that the article came from, although the January, 1909 date for this article in the Grapeland, Texas newspaper is a true one, passed to me through the wonderful transmission of Picasa and the Internet. 


Lucy Jane Lamb Willis
(1868-1945)
In earlier days of family history special newspaper clippings were saved by family members not knowing the importance of connecting an original printed date to the event. I surmise that the families had to move after winter when temperatures became better in the spring and before the high temperatures of the summer, or after summer’s heat and before winter came after the fall of the year. 



John Joseph Willis
(1888-1927)

I do not know how long this kind of migration was. It probably lasted several months. Surely the families stopped in the states in between to visit relatives or friends. Migration routes had been pioneered by others, and were well traveled by families that wanted to move for many reasons, including the lure of better farm land that had not been “used up”.Moving across the southern states from east to west hopefully included more temperate weather. However, the families still had to deal with adverse weather conditions, water and food supplies, crossing rivers, transportation breakage and maintenance, and disease.


The fact that the Willis family was able to make the journey from one end to the other without any family deaths seems miraculous.


George Washington Willis Burial 
Place in Chipola, Calhoun, Florida
(1890-1893)

The May 7, 1910 U.S. Census lists the John P. and Lucy J.L. Willis as living in District 0074, Justice Precinct 5 (part of) All west of IGNBB and north of Grapeland and Daly Road to Daly, north of Daly and Lynwood Road to Trinity River, by way of Justice Precinct 5, Houston County, Texas. The family all had the Willis surname and were listed with the following ages: John P. 43, Lucy J. 41, John J. 21, Mary A. 18, William J. 17, Alice L. 16, Jesse L. 15, Ola J.13, C. Dewey 11, Ludie V. 9, Marvin R. 7, Purley G. 6, Guy C. 4, and Alton J. 2.

Mary Almira Willis
(1891-1970)

In The Official Railway Guide: North American freight service edition by American Association of Passenger Traffic Officers, National Railway Publication Company, Philidelphia , page lxviii states that the International and Great Northern R.R. has 1,001 miles of track.

August 16, 1910, the last and fourteenth child of Lucy, age 41, and John Willis, a daughter, Lois Inez Willis, was born in Houston County, Texas, the only child to be born in Texas.

William Willie Jefferson Willis
(1892-1970)

On June 19, 1911, Lucy Jane Lamb Willis’s husband, John Pinckney Willis passed away in Houston County, Texas. Lucy was age 42. He was buried at Antrim Cemetery, NW of Grapeland where other family ancestors are buried. At that time, Lucy possibly had 3 children at home age 18 or older and 10 children at home under the age of 18, six boys and four girls.

Alice Lucinda Willis
(1893-1980)



Be sure to look for Part 4 in the Newer Blog Post and Parts 1 and 2 in Older Blog Posts.

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