Person:Henry Willis (29)

Henry Willis
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  1. Henry Willis
Facts and Events
Name Henry Willis
Gender Male


Willis Tapestry
YDNA. Willis

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



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Records for Henry Willis in Southwest Virginia
Transcript:David Willis in Kegley, 1982
Transcript:Willis entries in Kegley, 1980
Wiltshire Willis Group


Several distinct, separate, lines bearing the Willis surname were present in Southwest Virginia prior to 1800. In many cases these have intermingled geographically. This has lead to considerable confusion and uncertainty, as different researchers attempt to identify their own root lineages. YDNA testing has been very instrumental in associating various individuals with their correct lineage. Not all Willis in SW VA are associated with a known YDNA group. A mapping of YDNA groups is shown adjacent. The blue "buttons" mark the location of Henry Willis of Montgomery County, and his kinsmen, in Southwest Virginia at different times. Henry and his brother John initially settled in Franklin County in 1779 and 1777 respectively. Henry and other kinsmen obtained land in Montgomery County somewhat to the Northwest of Franklin, shortly there after. Eventually Henry would move on to Monroe County, in what is now West Virginia Image:Distribution of YDNA Willis Groups in Virginia.jpg


Henry and his kinsmen initially came to Franklin County from Old Chester in Pennsylvania. Researchers in these lines have traced them through the records of the Quaker Meeting Houst in Newberry in modern Lancaster County, tying them to a Henry Willis=Mary Pease who settled on Long Island, New York by 1674. Their lineage is described as follows

Henry the Patriarch was born 1628 in Warminster, St. Denys, Wiltshire, England, d 1714 in Westbury, Long Island, New York. Married MARY PEASE 1654 in Warminster, St. Denys, Wiltshire, England. She was born 06/12/1632 in Warminster, St. Denys, Wiltshire, England, and died 04/23/1714 in Westbury, Long Island, New York. Long Island, NY. Henry Willis of Long Island, New York was born in 1628 in Warminster, Wiltshire, England. After being persecuted because of his Quaker religion, he immigrated to Long Island in 1674. His elder son William remained in Long Island. His younger son John settled in Pennsylvania. John founded branches of Willis-surname descendants in Pennsylvania (York County), Virginia (Franklin County), Kentucky (Mercer County), Ohio, Missouri (Monroe County), and elsewhere.

Recordds of the Newberry MH are said to establish John as leaving the Quakers in 1764. His location between 1774 and 1777, when he shows up in Franklin County records, is unknown. Some seem to place the line in Gloucester, Virginia, but the basis for this is unknown. However, Gloucester Virginia is the center of immiration for the Gloucester County Willis, who also used the Henry given name. It seems likely that the identification of Henry of Montgomery County as coming from Gloucester is based on a confusion.


YDNA data is not currently (February 2013) available for descendants of Henry Willis. There are, however, clear data for Henry's brothers, John and Isaiah. Court records link Henry of Montgomery County to both John and Isaiah, and therefore we can assume that his descendants would closelu match the YDNA signatures for both John and Isaiah, placing him in the WIltshire YDNA Group. The following discussion (from an Ancestry Family Tree supports this conclusion.

On June 25, 1764, Henry Jr. purchased his three brothers' shares of the 100 acre tract owned by his deceased father, and on October 4 he purchased his four sisters' shares. He paid his three brothers 15 pounds (total) for their 4/9 share (Joseph the oldest son having 2/9 share vs. 1/9 for the two other brothers) and paid his sisters 15 pounds (total) for their 4/9 share. Witnesses for the sale to the brothers were Robert Hamersley and William Way. Witnesses for the sale to the sisters were James Driver, Joseph Bennett, James Welch, and James Welch Jr. Joseph Bennett was the father of Phebe, who was the wife of Henry's brother, John Willis. James Welch Jr. may be the uncle or father of the James Welch who married Isaiah's daughter Rhoda Willis in Franklin Co. On October 30, 1765, Henry sold the land to Jacob Hursh of Lancaster Co. Witnesses were Jacob Provant and James Toland.
(Source: Book 2-L of York County Land Records dated March 30, 1796, LDS 22095, copied by a clerk from the original documents.)
The records that document the sale of the brothers' deceased father's land were signed in the following manner:
Joseph signed with a mark.
John signed with a mark.
Henry signed his name.
Isaiah signed his name.
Many of the others (sisters, brothers in law, witnesses) signed also, with signatures or with their marks.