Biography - The Willard Family

WILLARD FAMILY, Anna. The Willards are one of the oldest, as well as one of the most numerous families in America, being scattered over many of the older States of the Union. The family is believed to be of French origin, although from a published work entitled "Willard Memoir," which we have perused, we find the family traced back to the reign of Edward III, of England, at which time they were found quite numerous in the British Dominion. An extended sketch of this old family is given in the historical part of this volume, and without following it from the time of Edward ILL, a brief space will be devoted to members of the family who are known to many of our readers.
Charles M. Willard, a banker in the city of Anna, was born in Sherbrook, Canada, April 17, 1815, and is a son of William R. and Eleanor (Mann) Willard. He was born in Sterling, Mass., July 23, 1785, and was raised on a farm. When about eighteen years of age, he went to Chester, Vt., where he learned the trade of tanner with a man named Alfred Onion, who afterward changed his name to Deming. He followed the business of tanner until within twenty years of his death, and accumulated a moderate fortune. He removed to Canada about 1809-10, where he remained until his death, September, 1864. He married Miss Eleanor Mann, of Chester, Vt., who was born April 17, 1787, and died July 24, 1832. Nine children were the fruit of this marriage, of whom Charles M. (our subject), Walter H., and Caroline, widow of William C. Kimball, of Elgin, Ill., are living. Our subject was educated at the American College at Peacham, Vt., and the French schools at La Bais, Nicholet and Sherbrook, Canada. At the age of twenty-one years, he left his home and came to the United States, and to Illinois, locating in Jonesboro, where, during the first summer, he engaged in teaching. In 1837, he commenced merchandising with E. A. Willard, Sr., and afterward with Elijah, Sr., Willis and William, under the firm name of Willard & Co. William died in 1843, and Elijah in 1848, when Walter was admitted, the firm still remaining Willard & Co. In the spring of 1849, Mr. Willard went to California, remaining some twenty-two months, mining and merchandising. Upon his return home, he again went into the goods business with Willis and Walter Willard, a business he continued more or less, with several firm changes, until 1873, when he added banking. April 22, 1879, he was burned out, and then discontinued mercantile business, and has since been engaged in banking business. In November, 1853, he was married to Ellen D. Tuthill, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1830. Politically, Mr. Willard is a Democrat.
Walter H. Willard, a merchant of Anna, Ill., was born in Sherbrook, Canada, December 23, 182(3, and is a brother of Charles M. Willard, of the preceding sketch. He was the youngest of nine children, and was educated in the common schools, and in Nicholet College, where he took a French course. At the age of twenty years, he left his home and came to Jonesboro, Ill., where he commenced his business career as a clerk in the store of Willard & Co., remaining with them for sixteen or seventeen years, and after the first three years taking an interest in the business. In 1851, he came to this city, where he continued the mercantile business with his brother, Charles M. Willard, and in 1865 he and Mr. Wilcox became partners, which continued five years. He then bought out his partner and has since then conducted the business alone. He was married in 1863 to Miss Lucy Loomis, a native of Sherbrook, Canada, and a daughter of Francis and Mary Loomis, she a native of Vermont, and he of Connecticut. They have five children — two boys and three girls, viz.: Francis W., Walter L., Mary L., Lucy E. and Maud E. He is an active member of the Masonic fraternity.

Extracted 02 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1883 History of Alexander, Union, and Pulaski Counties, Illinois, Part V, pages 90-91.

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