Abner Willis and Eve Sifers:A family biography



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Person:Abner Willis (1)
Person:Eve Sifers (1)


My father once told me "You don't know what you know, unless you know how you know it." The references included in this presentation are intended to show, "how I know what I know". Much of the information presented was originally compiled by Thurston L. Willis, (son of William Barlow Willis, son of James C. Willis, son of Amos Willis, son of Abner Willis), and Gary M. Mullins (son of Georgia Arlene Sluss, dau. of Minnie Magdalene Willis, dau. of Jerome Willis, son of Meredith Willis, son of Amos Willis, son of Abner Willis.) Both T.L. and Gary spent innumerable hours (in the pre-computer days) in the courthouses of southwestern Virginia, searching out information on the family of Abner and Eve Willis.
All genealogy is a work in progress. I have tried to provide as accurate a summary of the family of Abner and Eve Willis as the information available to me allows. Doubtlessly, some errors of fact or omission, can be found in this work. I would be pleased to receive any comments or corrections to the forgoing account. I am grateful to Michael A. Dye for his critical review of this paper, and for his excellent 'catches'.
This article was initially written for the Russell County Web Page, and is being adapted for use here. Additional information has been developed since this was first written. For example, we now know that Eve's father was John Sifers of Wythe County, and that when Abner met and married Eve they were both living near Saltville Virginia, she probably with her father, and he living independently. We are in the process of adding new information and insights into this Family Biography

Family Biography
W.M. Willis
Last Update: May 2013
Page Link:WeRelate


Abner Willis was born about 1775 and died after 1840 [1] His parents have not been identified, nor has his place of birth or death been established. Family tradition [2]says that he was Irish and "came across the water". There is nothing to confirm this tradition, but it is likely that Abner was of the same Scotch-Irish ancestry common in southwest Virginia at this time [3] Tax records [4]place him in the general area of Saltville prior to his marriage to Eve Sifers in 1803. Pre-1800 records for southwestern Virginia indicate that there were families bearing the surname 'Willis' in the area. Abner may be related to these families but no connection has been established. See:Parents of Abner Willis (1)

Eve Sifers was born about 1780 and died sometime after 1873 [5]. Eve's father has been identified as Person:John Sifers (1) who settled in Wythe County just before the Revolution. The identity of her mother remains unknown. The Sifers family was probably part of the Rev. John Stanger's Mt. Zion Lutheran congregation, as Stanger solemnized Eve's wedding to Abner Willis. Census records and other documents list Eve Willis as both the English 'Eve' and the German 'Eva'. The later usage suggests that her parents were of German descent, consistent with the surname, and with the association with the Lutheran church. While family tradition says that Eve "came across the water", the 1850 Russell County census [6] gives her place of birth as 'Wythe Co.' [7]. While not particularly common, the Sifers surname is found (in many spelling variants: Sieffers Seifers, Scyphers, Cyphers, etc.) in records of southwestern Virginia. [8]

The Couple

Abner and Eve met and were married 17 Mar. 1803 by minister John Stanger near Wytheville, Virginia. Their banns had been previously published 1 Feb. 1803 [9]. Sometime after their marriage the couple settled in Washington Co., Virginia, where Abner is listed in the 1810 census as head-of-household. Eve's brother Andrew is shown as living nearby. Abner and Eve had at least ten children, the majority of whom were probably born in Washington County. Documentation for the place of birth of most of them is lacking. However, the death records for their son John, and their daughter Nancy C., indicate that they were born in Washington Co. [10].

The couple initially lived on Locust Cove Creek east of Saltville. Eve's brother Andrew Sifers lived in the same immediate area. Eve's father is believed to have lived further up the valley, probably in what is now Wythe County. Records for the War of 1812 show an Absolom Willis serving in the 4th Virginia Militia in Norfolk, VA. The 4th Virginia recruited from Southwest Virginia, and it is likely that these records refer to Abner Willis (1). In anycase, Abner obtained a Governors grant for XXX acres of land in 1814, which he apparently used to acquire property within the LIttle Cedar Creek watershed. He later added to this property with a series of purchases from John Bates [11] [12]. The description of the property indicates that much of it was near the head of the watershed, on Moccasin Ridge. It is in this area that Abner and Eve probably established their home and raised their children.

The Children

Abner and Eve raised ten children at their home on Little Cedar Creek. The DOB's for the children vary from source to source. The following dates are primarily based on census record data and are, at best, approximations. The sequence of children is based on a land transaction of 22 April 1856. This transaction occurred after Abner's death, and lists the heirs of Abner Willis, or (in the case of the daughters) their spouses. It is thought that the order in which the children are listed reflects their birth sequence. The order of birth based on the land transaction is not in full agreement with DOB's derived from census record data [13]. Perhaps future research will resolve these discrepancies.

  • Isaac (1804-1888). Isaac was born 1 Aug. 1804, probably in either Wythe or Washington County, Va. He married Elizabeth Gilley (1811 - 1884) about 1826. The couple settled near Big Stone Gap in Lee County (later Wise County). Their original home site is thought to be where the Lonesome Pine Country Club now stands outside of Gate City. Their children were: Absolom (1828-1905), Mary Popp (1830-), Ora (1833-1927), Francis C. (1836-), Nancy (1836-), un-named daughter (died young) (ca. 1837-), John B. (1839-), Alexander (1841-bef. 1869), Isaac Tipton (Tipano?) (1843-), Lavina C. (1845-), Lucinda C. (D. ?) (1848-), and William Taylor (1851-). Isaac died 11 Aug. 1888. Isaac and Elizabeth were probably both buried in the family cemetery "several hundred yards southwest of the Club House" of the Lonesome Pine Country Club [14]
  • John (ca. 1805-1855). John was born between 1804 and 1810, most likely in Washington County, Va. He married Nancy ? (1812- ?) about 1830. The couple first lived in Russell County, but by 1840 were in Scott County. They had at least eight children, only five of whom have been identified: Dickenson (1837-), Mary J. (1839-), Samuel (1843-), Elizabeth (1846-), and Hopkins (1849-). His death was registered [15] by a 'neighbor', who gave the cause of death as 'he was killed'. According to Albert Dickenson (a descendant of Abner and Eve's daughter Martha) "John Willis died fairly young. I think he died from being thrown by a horse, or being kicked by a horse" [16]. John's DOD is given in the Death Register as 20 Dec. 1855, while the settlement of the estate [17] indicates he died 24 Dec. 1855. None of his children have been found in subsequent records. It may be that they moved out of the area after their father's deaths.[18]
  • Alexander (1811-1890). Alexander was born 6 Sep. 1811 [19] probably in Washington County. He married Malinda ? (1810-1887) about 1830. The couple were in Scott County from 1850 onward. They had ten known children [20]: Elizabeth T. (1832-1922), Sarah J. (1834-1921), Olivia Caledonia (1835-), Nancy Catharine (1835-1906), David Mc (1838-1877), Mary Ann D. (1839-1924), Eliza D. (1843-1929), Margaret Ellen (1846-), Juliet J. (Judith?) (1849-) and Alvira C. (1856-?). Alexander (d. 29 May 1890) and Malinda are buried in the Mt. View Cemetery, Scott County.
  • David (c1804-bef. 1884). Census and other records indicate that David was born between 1803 and 1805, with 1804 being the most probable DOB [21]. David lived on Little Cedar Creek [22], dying sometime before 1884. He first married Elizabeth Fogleman (1813-1869). According to Russell Co. Death Records, Elizabeth died in 1869, with the cause of death listed as 'change of life' [23]. A few years later (1880) at age 76 David married Elizabeth King, (age 29, b. 1847) [24]. David had at least four children. Susan (1831- ), David (1840- ), Mary, (1878- ), and Eva, (1880- ). There may have been another daughter, Caroline (1852- ) since she is listed in the 1870 census as 'keeping house' in the David Willis household. Caroline may have been a granddaughter, since a 'Caroline Mitchell' b. 1852 is listed in the David Willis household in the 1860 census.
  • Jane H. (1812-1887). Jane Willis was born 13 Feb. 1812, most likely in Washington Co. She married stone mason Samuel Able Perry (1801-1890) about 1830. The couple lived in Scott County, where they raised 14 children: Margaret Anne (ca. 1831-), Nancy Catharine (1831-1896), Sarah Ellen (1833-1888), Elizabeth Eva (1836-1891), Mary Jane (1838-1920), William Absolom (1839-1919), Samuel Able (1843-1885), Amos A. (ca. 1844-1862), Lilborn Rogan (ca. 1846-), John C. (ca. 1848-), Marion W. (ca. 1849-), Lenie R. (1854-1854), Helen V. (1855-1858), and James M. (dates unknown). Both Jane and Samuel are buried in the Horton-Broadwater Cemetery, in Scott County.
  • Nancy C. (1809-1887). Nancy was born 31 Jan. 1809 in Washington Co. [23] and married Andrew Williams about 1829 in Scott County. At some point the couple moved back to the Lebanon magisterial district in Russell County, where they are found in the 1870 census. Nancy died of "pneumonia fever" 18 Jan. 1887. There are nine known children of this couple, plus one child whose name has not been determined: Charles J. (1832-), Jonah (1834-), James Lemiel (1836-), Margaret (1840-), Eva Catherine (1842-), George (1846-), Emeline Virginia (1848-), Coralin (1850-), Nancy (1855-), Rebecca (?-?) and one unnamed child (1853-). In addition, three children have been identified which may also be children of this couple: Henry, Eliza, and Robert L.
  • Mary (1818-1887). Mary (Polly) Willis was born about 1818. She married William Dickenson about 1840, but direct proof for this marriage is lacking. Eve Willis age 78, is listed as living the household of William Dickenson and wife Polly in the 1860 census, and this suggests that William Dickenson was her son-in-law. Mary died of typhoid fever 16 Jan. 1887 [23]. The children of William Dickenson and Mary Willis include: Lucy Jane (1841-), Cynthia Ann (1843-), Henry (1845-), Powell (1847-), Nancy Ellen (1851-), Martha Elizabeth (1855-), and Charles (1857-).
  • Richard J. (1820-aft. 1891). Richard (Dick) Willis was a miller in Russell Co. He married Martha J. Williams (ca. 1825-?) about 1845. The couple had eleven children, including: Thomas W. (1845-1932), Sarah E. (1851-), William A. (1852-), Catherine Elizabeth (1854-), Margaret (1856-), David Jessie 1857-), George (1859-), John (1883-), Jonah ? (1866-), Martha (1867-), Mary (1867-).
  • Amos (1818-1882). Amos Willis was born 20 Aug. 1818 on Little Cedar Creek in Russell County. He married Winnie Anderson (1820 - 1909) before 1847. Shortly after the 1850 census he moved to western Russell County, settling on Backbone Ridge in what became successively Buchannan and Dickenson Counties. Amos and Winnie raised seven known children: Andrew (1847-1909), Meredith J. (1848-), Sarah Elizabeth (1851- bef. 1920), James Clyde (1854-1932), Nancy (1856-), Jonathan S. [Syphers?] (1859-1938), and Charles A. (1863-1905). Amos died 12 May 1882.
  • Biddy Ann (1822-1890). Biddy Ann Willis was born 7 Jul. 1822, and married David Munsey (1822- 1901) about 1848. This couple appear to have lived within or near the Little Cedar Creek watershed. David may have been a Confederate soldier. He is shown as 'blind' beginning with the 1870 census. Biddy Ann died "of consumption" 12 Jun. 1890 [23]). Ten known children were born to this couple: Isaac Robert (1849-1924), Martha Jane (1852-), Charles A. (1852-1852), Thomas Alderson (1854-), Mary Ellen (1855-1888), Nancy Emaline (1856-1888), Catharine Elizabeth (1858-), John Harvey (1859-1889), Margaret Ann (1867-1895), and Josephine Frasier (1868-1902).

Child Summary

Isaac1804Washington County1888Lee/WiseElizabeth Billey1826Russell ?Settled near Big Stone Gap in Lee, later Wise County.
Johnc1807Washington1855Nancy c1830RussellInitially lived in Russell, but were in Scott County by 1840.
Alexander1811Washington1890Malindac1830?Couple lived in Scott County
Davidc1804Washingtonbef 1884Russell1) Elizabeth Fogleman
2) Elizabeth King
2) 1880
1) Russell
Remained in Russell County
Jane H.1812Washington1887ScottSamuel Able Perryc1830?Lived in Scott County
Nancy C.1809Washington1887Andrew Williams1829ScottApparently lived initially in Scott County, but at some point returned to Russell County
Maryc1818RussellWilliam Dickenson1840RussellRemained in Russell County
Richard J.1818Russell1882RussellMartha J. Williams1829?Remained in Russell County
Amos1818Russell1882BuchananWInnie Anderson<1847RussellMoved to what is now Buchannan County about 1850
Biddy Ann1822Russell1890RussellDavid Munseyc1848RussellRemained in or near Little Cedar Creek Watershed

Later Life

Abner Willis died sometime after 1840. The last record showing him as alive is the 1840 census. According to grandson James Willis [2] he disappeared one day after an argument with his wife. "Our people never heard from him any more except once when he stopped that day at an Aistrop's. It was believed that he went back to the old country." Albert Dickenson, a descendant of Abner and Eve living in the Little Cedar Creek area, also knew of this story when interviewed in 1969 [16]. "A Willis, I think it was Abner, had a family argument. The family had a large loom for weaving. He got up in the middle of the night, cut the bolt from the loom, and disappeared." James Willis said that he thought that Abner had 'gone back to the old country', but there is nothing to support that. Perhaps the original oral tradition was that he "went back to live with his family". Since James Willis thought Abner was 'Irish' he may have taken this to mean 'he went back to the old country.' Where he actually went is speculative. Based on the place of marriage it is plausible that his family was somewhere in southwest Virginia, perhaps near Wytheville. If so, it may be that he went to live with them. While no further trace of him has been found, by 1856 the family certainly considered him dead. Whether they knew that as a fact, or just had not seen him for a long enough time to consider him dead, is not known. The previously mentioned land transaction identifies his children as 'heirs of Abner Willis'. Further, in 1873, Eve filed a complaint against 'Abner Willis, deceased' in a request for assignment of dower [25]. On 6 Mar. 1873

On a motion of Eva Willis it is ordered that Abram Buckles, Robert Johnson, and T.J. Hawkins do lay off and assign her dower in the land of her late husband Abner Willis, deceased., and make due return there of to the court[26].

A few months later (4 Jun. 1873)

On a motion of William Dickenson, and Isaac Willis, two of the heirs of Abner Willis deceased, by their attorney, and it appearing to the court that Eva Willis the widow of the said Abner Willis deceased, is entitled to dower in the real estate of her said husband died, seized and possessed, and the said heirs desiring that her douer should be assigned her...the court appointed Jack Carter, Thomas J. Hawkins, and Robert Johnson commissioners to assign to the said Eva Willis her dower in the lands of her late husband Abner Willis deceased...[27].

While the outcome of this case is clear and straight forward, there may have been a family disagreement over this. In the same entry as above

David Munsey by his attorney appeared in court and objected, and asked that the said motion be continued until next term, where upon the court refused to continue the matter, and at the insistence of the said Wm. Dickenson, and Isaac Willis, the heirs foresaid, the court appointed ...

David Munsey and William Dickenson had married daughters of Abner and Eve, while Isaac Willis was their son. We can not tell from this what the issue was, but it appears that the children were not in agreement over how Abner's property should be disposed.

After Abner's disappearance Eve lived first with her son Amos and his family, appearing in the 1850 census in his household. Amos moved to Buchannan County during the mid 1850's. In the 1860 census Eve is found in the household of William Dickenson. The last records for her are those dealing with her request for dower in 1873. It is likely that she is buried in the Dickenson family cemetery on Little Cedar Creek, since she had been living with the William Dickenson family. It is possible that this was the original Willis home place, being occupied after Abner's disappearance by Amos Willis and his family, and later by William Dickenson and his family. Possession of the home site may have been the subject of dispute with David Munsey.

Abner's Name

James Willis' interview in 1929 is a valuable source of information on the family of Abner Willis and Eve Sifers. There are several points in this interview that have led to some confusion in understanding of the family history. In particular, James gave his grandmother's name as 'Eve Jeems', and his grandfather's name as 'Absolom Willis'. With regard to his grandmother's maiden name, no 'Jeems' family has been identified in the records of southwestern Virginia. It is thought that 'Jeems' (as recorded in the interview), was a transliteration of the mountain pronunciation of 'James'. James Willis' father, Amos (1818-1882) married Winnie Anderson, the daughter of Andrew Anderson (1790-1876) and Nancy James (ca. 1800-1867). Thus, James Willis' maternal grandmother was Nancy James. It is thought that during the interview the name of James Willis' maternal grandmother was confused with that of his paternal grandmother----hence 'Eve Jeems' was given as his grandmother.

Concerning his grandfathers given name, there is very little question that the formal name of James' paternal grandfather was 'Abner', rather than Absolom Willis. The evidence for this is quite solid, but there are several pieces of information that indicate that he was also known as 'Absolom', at least within the family. Since the James Willis interview has been widely distributed, many have understandably accepted 'Absolom' as the father of Amos Willis. The following supplies the evidence that supports 'Abner' as Amos' father.

  • 1. According to James Willis "Amos was my father and was the youngest of the family. He married in Russell County, then moved to the ridge near the mouth of Pound River [now in Buchannan County]. He had two children then, Andy and Meredith" [2]. The adult history of Amos Willis can be traced beginning with the 1850 Russell County census which shows him as head of household ( b.1822), with wife Winnie (b. 1823), and sons Andy (b. 1846) and Meredith (b. 1849). Ages of all individuals in this Amos Willis family, agree within a few years of the DOB's given in subsequent records for Amos and Winnie Willis in Buchannan County. This shows that the Amos Willis family in Buchannan County is the same as the Amos Willis family in Russell County.
  • 2. The 1850 census of Russell County shows Eve Willis, (b. 1780) living with Amos Willis and wife Winnie. This connects Eve Willis, wife of Abner, with the Amos Willis who latter moved to Buchannan County.
  • 3. Both James Willis (of Dickenson/Buchannan County) and Albert Dickenson (of Russell County) tell essentially the same story about the disappearance of Abner/Absolom Willis. The stories are so similar that they undoubtedly deal with the same event. Thus, even if they knew the persons by different first names, its clear that they were talking about the same individual.
  • 4. Census records for Russell County show an Abner Willis in 1820, 1830, and 1840. They do not show an Absolom Willis during this time period.
  • 5. Court records dealing with Eve Willis' request for dower identify her husband as 'Abner Willis, deceased'.
  • 6. The land transaction in 1856 identifies the heirs of Abner Willis, including Amos Willis.
  • 7. Russell County Death Records for several of the children of this couple identify their parents as 'Abner and Eve Willis'. None identify their father as 'Absolom Willis. (NB: The Dickenson County Death Record for Amos Willis differs in this regard. See Below).

Thus there is substantial data consistent with the conclusion that the father of Amos Willis, and grandfather of James C. Willis, was usually known as Abner Willis. Nonetheless, there is reason to believe that Abner was also known as 'Absolom'.

  • 1. The James Willis interview identifies his grandfather as 'Absolom Willis'.
  • 2. While none of the known grandchildren of Abner Willis were named 'Abner', at least two were named 'Absolom'. (Isaac, eldest son of Abner named his eldest child 'Absolom'; Jane H. Willis, who married Samuel Able Perry, named one of their middle sons 'William Absolom'.) The names 'Abner' and 'Absolom' occur infrequently in southwestern Virginia. To have 'Absolom' appear twice amongst the grandchildren of Abner and Eve Willis, implies a family connection.
  • 3. Between 1816 and 1822 John Bates sold three pieces of property on Little Cedar Creek to individuals with the surname of Willis. Two of these were to Absolom Willis, and one was to Abner Willis. This may indicate two separate individuals, but the pieces of property seem to be adjacent to each other, and it is thought that the same individual was involved in all three purchases.
  • 4. The Dickenson County Death Register entry for Amos Willis indicates that he was born in Russell Co., and that his parents were 'Absalom (sic) and Eva Willis.'

Thus, there is some reason to believe that the husband of Eve Willis was known as both 'Abner' and 'Absolom'. T.L. Willis (grandson of James C. Willis) speculated that he may have been known informally as 'Abs' and that this may have been occasionally interpreted as 'Absolom'. That might explain the land transaction under the name 'Absolom', as well as the Dickenson County Death Register entry, but would not explain why two of the grandchildren were named Absolom. It is possible that his full name was 'Abner Absolom', though that would not follow the typical of naming practices in the area. (The use of middle names was uncommon at the time of Abner/Absolom's birth ca. 1775.)

Overall, it would seem that Abner's formal name was 'Abner', but that he was probably known commonly as 'Absolom', especially in the Amos Willis line. There is at least one other instance of a 'hidden' name occurring in the family. Meredith Willis, son of Amos Willis and Winnie Anderson, is almost always referred to in the records as 'Meredith J. Willis'. The 1870 census record, however, lists him as 'Amos, Jr.'. It is unlikely that his full name was 'Amos Meredith J. Willis', though four part names do occasionally appear in the records of southwest Virginia. Thus 'Amos Jr.', seems to be a name used within the family, perhaps in the same way as 'Absolom' is thought to have been used to refer to Abner Willis.


  1. Abner's DOB is based on census records which suggest that he was born between 1775 and 1780. he last appears in the 1840 census of Russell County. Eve is referred to as a widow in court records in the 1850's.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Willis, James C. 17 Oct. 1929. Interview with E.J. Sutherland, published in "The Dickensonian", 12 Sept. 1952, Clintwood Virginia.
  3. In 1800 the immigrant waves of Irish had not yet begun, and the Irish (as opposed to Scotch Irish) were not common in the southern highlands. It is worth noting that one of Abner and Eve's grandchildren (David son of Alexander) used the prefix 'Mc' before his surname. One of David Mc Willis' daughters, Dora, also used 'Mc' before her surname, though none of David's other children are known to have followed this pattern. This might be taken as suggesting that at least some members of family thought of themselves as of Scotch ancestry. While the 'Mc' prefix was also used by the Irish it does not seem common among Irish immigrants to America.. While it is possible that Abner "came across the water" it seems just as likely that he was born in Washington County Virginia.
  4. Transcript:Tax records for for the surname Willis c1782-c1840
  5. Eve's DOB is inferred from census records. These records are most consistent with a DOB of 1780, though the 1860 record indicates a DOB of 1782. Eve appears in court records as late as 1873, at which time she would have been 93.
  6. Russell Co. 1850 Census, Amos Willis Head of Household, Eve Willis age 70.
  7. At the time of her birth the Wythe County area would have been within the borders of Montgomery County.
  8. See Parents of Eve Sifers, c1780-1873
  9. Wythe Co., VA Marriages 1790-1850, Book 1, p. 101, fide Sharon _____ (Findme123@aol.com) 98.07.30 WMW. I've no reason to doubt this, but I've not seen the actual source this is taken from. There's a need to check Wythe County Marriages, for the exact details it provides.
  10. Death Records for Russell and Washington counties. Washington Co. Death records fide T.L. Willis research notes. Those for Russell County, fide Michael A. Dye 98.10.24 WMW.
  11. Transcript:Land Records for Abner Willis 1800-c1840
  12. The land records designate the property as on Little Cedar Creek. The Little Cedar Creek watershed lies immediately west of Lebanon Virginia. It is a tributary of Big Cedar Creek, which flows northward to discharge into the Clinch River. Modern maps show this area as "Willis Branch", which is a tributary to Little Cedar Creek
  13. Heirs named are: Isaac Willis, John Willis, Alexander Willis, David Willis, Andrew Williams and Nancy his wife, Samuel Perry and Jane his wife, Richard Willis, Amos Willis and David Munsey and Biddy Ann his wife. A tenth child of Abner and Eve Willis, Mary (Polly) Willis wife of William Dickenson, is not named, presumably because the transaction involved a sale of land to her husband. In effect, William Dickenson was buying out the other relatives in this particular piece of property (73 acres).
  14. Kay Filyaw 96.07.10 WMW. Kay is a descendant of Isaac and Elizabeth Gilley.
  15. Washington Co. Va. Deaths---1853-1897. Reel #30 Richmond State Library, fide Mullins 85.10.02 to TL Willis.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Dickenson, Albert, August 1969. Interview with T.L. Willis and W.M. Willis, at his home on Little Cedar Creek, in Russell Co. Va.
  17. Will Book 14 Washington Co. p. 90.
  18. This should be re-examined. The foregoing was written in 1998, and has not been revisited since then. Traceing his descendants may be easier today than it was in 1998.
  19. Gravestone inscription, Mt. View School House Cemetery, Scott Co. Va.
  20. There is considerable uncertainty in the record for the children of this couple. This is due in part to inconsistency in DOB's in various records, and in part to differences in given names in various records. Note in particular, 'Elizabeth T', and 'Eliza D.'. Despite differences in names and dates of birth and death, these may be the same individual. It is also possible that 'Alvira C.' is the same as 'Olivia Caledonia'.
  21. This would seem to conflict with the information from James C. Willis interview in 1929 that Isaac was the eldest. In addition, David was listed fourth in order in the 1856 land transfer.
  22. James C. Willis, 1929, op. cit. indicates that David lived "five miles this side [west] of Gate City in Scott County. This is probably a confusion with the home site of Isaac Willis. David Willis appears as Head of Household in the 1830 through 1880 census of Russell Co.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 Russell County Death Records, fide Michael A. Dye 98.10.24 WMW. According to Gilbert Kiser (personal communication to WMWWillis, April 2013) Elizbeth Foglemans gravesite is on his farm in Russell Co Va. According to GIlbert, her gravestone reads that "she died due to the changes of life", which may be an indication that the gravestone is a Cenotaph. Gilbert adds that "shes buried there with several other Foglemans. David A. Fogleman was my great grandfather. Ora Fogleman my grandmother. The tombstone is barley readible but I got enough info from it to look her up. It reads "Elizbeth Fogleman Willis".
  24. Russell County marriage records, 2-46-70, 11 Sept. 1876. This record clearly identifies his parents as Abner and Eve Willis, so it does not seem likely that this record is for a different 'David Willis'.
  25. Russell Co. Va. Law Order Book 17:270, 305, 317, 385, 251, fide Gary Mullins 85.02.10 to TL Willis. When a couple married it was customary for the wife to receive as 'dower' a share in the property owned by the husband. Eve was not mentioned in the 1856 transaction in which Abner's heirs transferred much of his property to soninlaw William Dickenson. That indicates that the property in question probably was the property on Little Cedar Creek which Abner obtained via a grant for his service in the War of 1812. It is possible that the request for dower involves the land on Locust Cove Creek in what is now Smyth County, where the couple lived from about 1803 to 1814. Abner is continuously listed as paying land tax on that land through at least 1833 when the area became part of Smyth County. Abner may not have actually owned that land on Locust Cove Creek, as responsibility for land taxes rested with the person occupying the land. Even though he payed the land taxes on the property trhough at least 1833, actually ownership may have rested with others. What he was using the land for is a matter of interest, as he clearly wasn't living there by 1820.Further exploration of ownership and disposal these property is needed.
  26. Russell Co. Va. Law Order Book 17:270. fide Gary Mullins 85.02.10 TL Willis
  27. Russell Co. Va. Law Order Book 17:305. fide Gary Mullins 85.02.10 to TL Willis