Person:Henry Willis (10)

Henry Willis
b.Est 1740
  • F.  Willis (add)
m. Bef 1740
  1. Henry WillisEst 1740 -
  2. Levina WillisAbt 1746 - Abt 1801
  • HHenry WillisEst 1740 -
  • WMary Cochran1755 - Aft 1819
m. Abt 1773
  1. John Willis
  2. Daniel Willis
  3. George Willis
  4. Nancy Willis - Aft 1840
  5. Elizabeth Willis1780 - 1842
  6. Lewis Willis1782 - Aft 1850
  7. Levina Willis1786 - 1877
  8. Margaret "Peggy" Willis1788 - Aft 1860
  9. Henry Willis1793 - 1873
  10. Mary "Polly" Willis1795 - Aft 1820
  11. Samuel Willis1800 - 1879
  12. Martha "Patsy" Willis1805 - Aft 1820
Facts and Events
Name Henry Willis
Gender Male
Birth[1] Est 1740
Marriage Abt 1773 Washington, Virginia, United Statesto Mary Cochran


Willis Tapestry
YDNA. Willis

……………………..The Tapestry
Families Old Chester OldAugusta Germanna
New River SWVP Cumberland Carolina Cradle
The Smokies Old Kentucky



Willis Family in Southwest Virginia
Records for Henry Willis in Southwest Virginia
Henry Willis of Saltville, an alternative view
The many Henry Willis' of Southwest Virginia
Transcript:Land Records for Henry Willis of Southwest Virginia
Person:Peter Cochran (1)
Transcript:Records for Henry Willis in Greene County, TN


Records of southwest Virginia suggest that there were two "Henry WIllis'" living in the area. The first Henry Willis (10) appears in records for Washington County and its precursors, as early as 1769. This Henry lived near Saltville, and dissappears from area records by 1785. The second Henry Willis appears in Montomery County by 1779. It is possible that the two Henry's are the same person, though the fact that we have records for a Henry WIllis in both areas more or less simultaneously, suggests that they are separate persons.

Henry Willis settled near modern Saltville, Washington County, VA in 1769. He was one of the first settlers to establish a homesite after the area was open for settlement in that year. Some records suggest he settled on his Saltville property even before the area was open for settlement, perhas as early as 1767. See Proclamation Line The location of his home may have been selected because it was near, or perhaps included, portions of the salt lick that would eventually give the town of Saltville its name.


DOB: c1740 Henry was an adult when he settled in Allison Gap in 1769. That suggests a DOB of no later than c1750. A slightly older DOB has been assumed, but may not be correct.
Spouse: Mary Cochran See Records; A presentment was made against Henry in 1773 for cohabiting with Mary Cochran; its presumed that she was the mother of his children.


Henry's parents are currently unknown. He may be the father of Abner Willis (c1775-aft1840), who appears in Washington County tax records beginning in the 1790's, and who settled first in Locust Cove east of Saltville, and later on Little Cedar Creek west of Lebanon.

Family history

We have little information about Henry's immediate family. His wife is identified as "Mary Cochran" in court orders of the period, but the identity of their children (if any) is unknown. After Henry dissappears from local records circa 1785, an Amos Willis and a Abner Willis begin to appear in the local tax records, living in the general vicinity of Saltville. It is plausible that Amos and Abner were brothers, and the sons of Henry Willis,


A entries for a "Henry Willis" are found in the records for Augusta, Botetourt, Fincastle, Washington, and Montgomery Counties VA, and Green and Washington Counties TN. A compendium of such records is provided as at Records for Henry Willis in Southwest Virginia. Some of these records are for the same person living in different locations at different times, and some are for what appears to be different individuals. A "best guess" is provided for the identity of the "Henry Willis" to whom each record probably belongs. Tjods data set is not comprehensive. For examplem, records for Montgomery county have not been systematically examined, and tax and other records for Washington County are not shown here (as yet).

records for "Cochran"

Name Immediate Source Page Location Year day-Month Entry
Margaret Cochran Summers, 1929 538 Botetourt Co, VA 1770 19-Oct Margaret Cochran, widow of Peter Cochran, to James McAfee. 20 pounds. Release of dower in 32 acres of land.
Mary Cochrain Summers, 1929 605 Fincastle Co, VA 1773 5-May Presentment against Henry Willis for cohabiting with Mary Cochran
William Cochran Summers, 1929 612 Fincastle Co, VA 1773 7-May On the motion of James Jarvis, administation is granted him on the estate of William Cochran, Decd., he having entered into bond with Stephen Keewood his security agreeble to Law.
William Cochran Summers, 1929 613 Fincastle Co, VA 1773 7-May George Adams, Jister Cox, and James Anderson being first sworn are appointed to appraise the estate of William Cochran, Decd. And make their return according to law.
William Cochran Summers, 1929 618 Fincastle Co, VA 1773 2-Nov An inventory and appraisement of the estate of William Cochran deceased returned and ordered to be recorded
William Cochran Summers, 1929 623 Fincastle Co, VA 1773 3-May An inventroy appraisement of the estate of William Cochran deceased returned into court and ordered to be recorded
Mary Cochrain Summers, 1929 600 Fincastle Co, VA 1774 3-Mar Mary Cochrain and James Davis Plaintiffs, against Samuel Simpson and William Wilkins, Defendants: Court finds for the Plaintiffs, since the defendents didn't show at the trial. Plaintiffs given a judgement in the amount of one pound ten shillings, plus cost
Samuel Cochran Summers, 1929 1042 Washington Co, Va 1779 17-Aug Samuel Cochran came into court and acknowledged that he hath received 12 pounds of his fathrs estate from James Gervis
Elizabeth Cochran Summers, 1929 1101 Washington Co, Va 1782 21-May Presentment against Elizabeth Cochran for a base born child.
Dennis Cochran Summers, 1929 942 Montgomery Co, VA 1800 17-Nov Dennis Cochran grantor to John Wyat Grantee, for 260 pounds, 500 ac at confluence of Madams C. with New River
  1. Henry was an adult when he settled in Allison Gap in 1769. That suggests a DOB of no later than c1750. A slightly older DOB has been assumed, but may not be correct.
  2.   "Area Reveal Three Families Are Among 'First Permanent Settlers' " By Gordon Aronhime, Bristol Herald Courier, April 13, 1980.

    Gordon Aronhime Card File, Library of Virginia
  3.   Descendants of Henry Willis of Washington Co., VA are closely matched to the family of Daniel Burford born 1764.
    Burford Family Y-DNA Project on Family Tree DNA
    Willis Family Y-DNA Project on Family Tree DNA