The Genealogy Center >> Our Military Heritage >> Civil War >> Willis, William

Willis, William, 84th Illinois Infantry and 7th Illinois Cavalry

William Willis was the 5th son of George and Sarah Willis,1 according to the 1860 US census of McDonough Co. Illinois. He was born in Harrison Co., Ohio in about 1846.2 William Willis was 16 when his brother, Abel Willis, joined the 84th Illinois infantry in 1862. By the time he turned 18 the Civil War was still raging and the Northern army needed more men so he also joined. William had a dark complexion, dark hair with blue eyes and was 5 ft 9 1/4 inches tall when he signed up on 11 April 1864 receiving a bounty of $25. He arrived at Camp Butler in Springfield, Illinois to be mustered into the 7th Illinois Cavalry Co. L on 21 May 1864.3

After the war's end he was mustered out and discharged on 4 November 1865 in Nashville, Tennessee.4 He returned to Illinois and married Charlotte Landis in Adair, McDonough Co., Illinois 12 January 1868.5 In the 1870 US Census of Farmer's Township, Fulton Co., Illinois, he worked in Table Grove as a butcher.6 They had two children; Emer was born 6 February, 1869 while his namesake, William H Willis, was born on 11 September, 1871 after the death of his father.

William Senior had died 22 May 1871 in Table Grove, Fulton Co., Illinois attended by Dr. Bacon. Charlotte Willis remarried 19 October 1873 and became wife of Henry L. Coulter, living in Vermont, Fulton Co., Illinois.7

Charlotte Willis applied for a widow's pension in November, 1871 and called upon those who knew and has served with her husband for affidavits. Lewis Pickel knew William both in the war and in Illinois. In the widow's pension application, Lewis stated that William was healthy when he entered the Army but after the fall and early winter of 1864 and 1865. He developed a hacking cough, bronchitis and lung disease having enduring the harsh conditions of military service in northern Alabama and Tennessee, living in the rain and cold without shelter. Many soldiers developed terrible colds and hard croup as did William from which he never recovered according to the affidavit of Dr. Bacon.8

1. Ancestry.com Year: 1860; Census Place: New Salem, McDonough, Illinois; Roll: M653_201; Page: 404; Image: 44; Family History Library Film: 803201, house #299 and family #301. September 2014

2. National Archives, Record Group 94 (Office of the Adjutant General), compiled military service record; Company Muster Roll; William H Willis, Corporal, Company L, 7th Illinois Cavalry, Record group 15 Department of Veterans Affairs), Record group 15 Department of Veterans Affairs), Repository; National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.

3. National Archives, Record Group 94 (Office of the Adjutant General), compiled military service record; Company Muster Roll; William H Willis, Corporal, Company L, 7th Illinois Cavalry, Record group 15 Department of Veterans Affairs), Record group 15 Department of Veterans Affairs), Repository; National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.

4. Ibid.

5. National Archives, Record Group 94 (Office of the Adjutant General), compiled military service record; William H Willis, Corporal, Company L, 7th Illinois Cavalry, Record group 15 Department of Veterans Affairs), widow's pension, app #200,484, cert #160,613 minor's pension, app # 213,380, cert # 165,504 Repository; National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.

This material generously provided by Jeannette Maxey.


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