Biography - Claud Willis

Claud J. WILLIS, farmer, P. O. White Oak, was born in England April 19, 1842; he obtained the principal part of his education in his native country, under the instruction of his mother and a governess; at the age of thirteen years, he was brought to America by his parents, who settled in Jacksonville, Ill. Charles WILLIS, the father of Claud, was a parliamentary lawyer in England, but his health failed him, and he came to America and traveled for his health; his death occurred in 1856; his wife, Ann C. ROW, who is also a native of England, and is still living, at Jacksonville; she is the mother of two children, viz.: Charles and Claud. The latter, at the age of twenty years, took upon himself the duties of a farm life, and followed that occupation in Scott County a few years, when he gave up his farming interests and engaged for about ten years in the stock trade, with John ALEXANDER and several other men of Morgan County, who are known as large and extensive operators in nearly all markets. In 1878, he came to the place he now resides upon, and again turned his attention to farming; the farm had been rented for several years before Mr. WILLIS took charge of it, and had been very badly cultivated, but, owing to the energy and enterprise of Mr. WILLIS, it will now compare with any of the best-improved farms of the county, and places Mr. WILLIS in the list of practical farmers, and he is also the largest stock-dealer in the township at the present day. He was married in Greene County, December 23, 1881, to Miss Jane E. ELDRED, who was born October 24, 1839, to Elon and Jane (STUART) ELDRED; he was one of the very early settlers of Greene County, and also at an early day one of the first to enter and improve land in Montgomery County, and became very noted as a landholder, having accumulated at different places about three thousand acres of land, all under cultivation, and managed by himself personally; to him is due all the credit of the early improvements made upon gthe place now occupied by the subject of theis sketch, and his death occurred in 1871, while on the way to make a visit to his Montgomery farm, having expressed a wish to see the "White Oak" farm again - the farm so named from a white oak tree, which is located on the corner of the farm, and being at one time the only tree standing for many miles around, and which served as a landmark and guide to travelers in crossing the prairie before settlement; his wife survived him five years; she was the mother of three sons and three daughters, all of whom are living, with one exception, viz., the oldest son, William; they are all residents of Greene County; Lucius, a leading hardware merchant at Carrollton; and Charles, a prominent farmer and stock-dealer; Louisa, wife of L. F. WHEELER, retired merchant, living at Carrollton; and Julia, wife of R. PEARSON, banker at the above place. Mr. WILLIS is identified with the Republican party; religiously, himself and wife are connected with the Presbyterian Church.

Extracted 20 Nov 2016 by Norma Hass from 1882 History of Bond and Montgomery Counties, Illinois, Part 2 Biographical Department, page 277.

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