Person talk:Abner Willis (1)

I would love to see Bill Willis' Abner and Eva Willis Bio that he wrote added. Great reference tool.

I probably should do that. Its been so long since I worked this lineage that I'm not even certain where I put that particular item. In anycase, it probably needs a fair bit of updating. I'm sure that since it was written we've learned at least SOMETHING more about Abner and Eve. I'll look around for it. I thought I'd posted it somewhere on the Russell County web site, couldn't find it a few weeks ago. Hopefully its somewhere on my backup hard-drive. But this is one reason why I do everything on WeRelate---Easier to store and recover things. I'm a terrible book keeper. Q 10:09, 4 April 2011 (EDT)

Found the Bio on Ancestry. It was written in the late nineties. Probably needs some tweaking however it was invaluable for me at the time and was a great reference source. Thank-you for writing it Bill! If it needs to go somewhere else feel free to move it. Teressa Hasty 1-13-13

Abner Willis. 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 typical of southwest Virginia at this time (3). While it is possible that Abner "came across the water" it seems just as likely that he was born in or near Wythe County Virginia where he married Eve Sifert 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.

Eve Sifert. Eve Sifert was born about 1780 and died sometime after 1873 (4). As with Abner, Eve's parents are unknown, though it is quite likely that she was of German descent. Her maiden name, 'Sifert', is thought to be of German origin. Census records and other documents list Eve Willis as both the English 'Eve' and the German 'Eva'. This also suggests that her parents were of German descent.

While family tradition says that Eve "came across the water", the 1850 Russell County census (5) gives her place of birth as 'Wythe Co.' (6). While not particularly common, the Sifert surname is found (in many spelling variants: Sieffers Seifers, Scyphers, Cyphers, etc.) in records of southwestern Virginia. No connection to any Sifert family has been established. A will for George (Jurg) Ludwig Siffert in Rowan County NC (1789) indicates a daughter 'Eva' and it has been suggested that this is the 'Eve' who married Abner Willis (7). This is a very intriguing lead, but beyond the similarity of names there is nothing to indicate a connection. Eve would have been under ten years of age at the time of George Ludwig's death. If this 'Eva Siffert' is the same Eve as married Abner Willis in Wythe Co. it might be that she had moved to Virginia with relatives. This is considered an unlikely connection given the fact that Eve's place of birth is given as Wythe County in the 1850 census.

The Couple. All things considered, it is likely that prior to 1803 the parents of both Abner and Eve were living in what was then Montgomery county. Possibly their parents were neighbors, or perhaps they attended the same church. Whatever the case, 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 (8).

It is not clear where the couple made their first home. Sometime after their marriage they settled in Washington Co., Virginia, where Abner is listed in the 1810 census as head-of-household. 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. (9).

Land records indicate that by 1816 the Abner Willis family had relocated to Little Cedar Creek (10) in Russell County, Virginia. Between 1816 and 1822 Abner purchased 558 acres on Little Cedar Creek from John Bates (11). 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 (12). Perhaps future research will resolve these discrepancies (13).

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.

Alexander (1811-1890). Alexander was born 6 Sep. 1811 (18), 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 (19): 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 (1805?-bef. 1884). Census and other records indicate that David was born between 1803 and 1805, with 1804 being the most probable DOB (20). David lived on Little Cedar Creek (21), 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' (22). A few years later at age 76 David married Elizabeth King, (age 29, b. 1847) (23). 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. (24), 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 (25). 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 is now Buchannan County. 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 (26). 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).

Later Life. Abner Willis died sometime after 1840. The last record showing him as alive is the 1840 census. According to grandson James Willis (27) 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 (28). "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 (29). 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 (30).

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.... (31).

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.

Some Issues. James Willis' interview in 1929 is a valuable source of information on the family of Abner Willis and Eve Sifert. 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" (32). 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 be 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.

Acknowledgment. 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 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'. Finally, I would like to add that I maintain a 'Willis' data base for southwestern Virginia. This database includes information on individuals bearing the Willis surname Willis, and not necessarily descendants of Abner and Eve Willis. I would be pleased to correspond with anyone concerning 'Willis sightings' in southwestern Virginia.


1. Abner's DOB is based on census records which suggest that he was born between 1775 and 1780. Abner last appears in the 1840 census of Russell Co., Va. Eve is referred to as a widow in court records in the 1850's.

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.

4. 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.

5. Russell Co. 1850 Census, Amos Willis Head of Household, Eve Willis age 70.

6. While the census record gives Eve's place of birth as Wythe County, at the time of her birth that area would have been within the borders of Montgomery County.

7. Charles Hancock, August 1998. Personal communication.

8. Wythe Co., VA Marriages 1790-1850, Book 1, p. 101, fide Sharon _____ ( 98.07.30 WMW.

9. 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.

10. 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. On some maps Little Cedar Creek appears as 'Willis Branch', but it does not seem to be known locally by that name.

11. a) 1 Oct. 1816, Absolom Willis from John Bates, 400 acres on Cedar Creek, BK 5-402.

b) 11 Nov. 1818, Absolom Willis from John Bates, 37 acres on Little Cedar Creek, BK 6-13

c) 6 Jul. 1822, Abner Willis from John Bates, 121 acres on Little Cedar Creek, BK 6-558

Note that the first two transactions are by 'Absolom Willis'. No other record of an Absolom Willis has been located in the area. Abner's son Isaac had a son Absolom, but he was not born until much later. It is believed that Abner may have gone by the name 'Abs', and that this might have been treated as a contraction of Absolom. This, is a particularly interesting discrepancy in light of the fact that James C. Willis, son of Amos, son of Abner and Eve, gave his grandfathers name as 'Absolom'. More on this will be said later.

12. 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).

13. Selected references for information on the children are provided. Detailed references are available upon request.

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 TL Willis.

16. 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. Tombstone inscription, Mt. View School House Cemetery, Scott Co. Va.

19. 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'.

20. 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.

21. 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.

22. Russell County Death Records, fide Michael A. Dye 98.10.24 WMW.

23. 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'.

24. Russell County Death Records, fide Michael A. Dye 98.10.24 WMW.

25. Russell County Death Records, fide Michael A. Dye 98.10.24 WMW.

26. Russell County Death Records, fide Michael A. Dye 98.10.24 WMW.

27. Willis, James C. 1929. op. cit.

28. Dickenson, Albert, August 1969. Interview with T.L. Willis and W.M. Willis, at his home on Little Cedar Creek, in Russell Co. Va.

29. Russell Co. Va. Law Order Book 17:270, 305, 317, 385, 251 fide Gary Mullins 85.02.10 TL Willis. The 'dower' was the widows share of the couples common property.

30. Russell Co. Va. Law Order Book 17:270. fide Gary Mullins 85.02.10 TL Willis

31. Russell Co. Va. Law Order Book 17:305. fide Gary Mullins 85.02.10 TL Willis

32. Willis, James C. 1929, op. cit.

Prepared by: William M. Willis,