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John Robards WILLIS
Sarah Elizabeth TRIMBLE
Husband:  John Robards WILLIS
Birth:  18 Aug 1824, Sullivan Co., IN
Death:  aft. Sep 1885
Father:  Levi WILLIS
Mother:  Martha "Patsy" ROBARDS
Marriage:  ca. 1843
Wife:  Sarah Elizabeth TRIMBLE
Birth:  23 Nov 1824, Haddon Twp., Sullivan Co., IN
Death:  19 Feb 1879, Livingston Co., MO
Disposition:  buried Edgewood Cemetery, Chillicothe, Livingston Co., MO
Father:  Joseph TRIMBLE
Mother:  Catherine CARRICO
Children born in Haddon Twp., Sullivan Co., IN:
Note that our subjects have followed the tradition of naming their children after their parents.  The first son and daughter are named for the wife's parents; the second son and daughter are named for the husband's parents.  At least one other, related Sullivan County family followed the same tradition:  James Jefferson & Elizabeth (BOATMAN) PIRTLE.

  1.  Joseph WILLIS, b. 1844; living in Fallon, NV, in 1912
  2.  Levi "Lee" WILLIS, b. May 1846
  3.  Catharine "Kate" WILLIS, b. Apr 1848
  4.  Charles B. WILLIS, b. 23 Nov 1849 
  5.  William Murphy "Will" WILLIS, b. 6 May 1853
  6.  Martha Jane "Mattie" WILLIS, b. Jan 1854
  7.  Permelia/Margaret "Maggie" WILLIS, b. 1856-59
  8.  Homer WILLIS, b. 12 May 1859; d. 19 Aug 1863; bur. Trimble Cemetery 
  9.  Sarah Carrico "Carrie" WILLIS, b. May 1862; unmarried as of 1900
10.  John Homer WILLIS, b. 27 Jan 1864
11.  Eliza WILLIS
12.  James WILLIS
13.  Josiah WILLIS

The birthdates of Eliza, James, and Josiah are unknown; they did not show up in the censuses, so must have died young.

Keywords for search engines:  genealogy; USA, US, United States, Indiana, Nevada

Year Location Event
1824 IN birth of John Robards WILLIS
1824 IN birth of Sarah Elizabeth TRIMBLE
    marriage of John WILLIS & Sarah TRIMBLE
1844 IN birth of son, Joseph
1845 IN birth of son, Levi
1848 IN birth of daughter, Catherine
1849 IN birth of son, Charles B.
1850 Census IN: Sullivan Co.: Haddon Twp. John WILLIS, head-of-household
1853 IN birth of son, William
1854 IN birth of daughter, Martha
1856/7 IN birth of daughter, Permelia/Margaret
1859 IN birth of son, Homer
1860 Census IN: Sullivan Co.: Haddon Twp. John R. WILLIS, head-of-household
1862 IN birth of daughter, Sarah
1863 IN death of son, Homer
1864 IN birth of son, John Homer
1870 Census IN: Sullivan Co.: Haddon Twp. John R. WILLIS, head-of-household 
Jul 1871 IL: Crawford Co. marriage of son, Charles, to Frances DAVIDSON
Oct 1871 IN: Sullivan Co. marriage of daughter, Martha, to Andrew CLEVELAND
1871-76 Indiana to Missouri family moves
1876 MO: Grundy Co. marriage of daughter, Catherine, to John VERBRYCK
1877 MO: Livingston Co. marriage of son, William, to Ida BROWN
1880 Census MO: Livingston Co.: Chillicothe Twp. John R. WILLIS, head-of-household
1881-2 NE: Harlan Co.: Alma John known to be in residence
1884 KS: Phillips Co. marriage of son, John Homer, to Cynthia WAGGENER 


1.  Jordan R. Dodd, ed.  1993.  Indiana Marriages:  Early to 1850.  Liahona Research, Orem, UT (Broderbund CD-228):  not found.  The Sullivan Co., IN, Courthouse burned in 1853, destroying the prior marriage records.

2.  Census Microfilm Records: Indiana, 1850 (Broderbund CD-302, Disk 4 the CD has John Willis indexed as "John Miller"!):  Carlisle P.O., District No. 105 [Haddon Twp.], Sullivan Co., IN, p. 214, 216/218, enumerated 16 Aug 1850, official enumeration date 1 Jun 1850 (extracted by Diana Gale Matthiesen):
John Willis 25 M Farmer 200 Ind'a
Sarah Willis 25 F     Ind'a
Joseph  5 M     Ind'a
Levi  4 M     Ind'a
Catherine  2 F     Ind'a
Note that "Carlisle P.O." doesn't mean they lived in the town of Carlisle.  It means that Carlisle is where they went to pick up their mail.  These were farmers where there was no rural mail delivery.  Getting your mail meant riding/driving into town.  They lived on a farm in Haddon Twp., not in the town of Carlisle.

3.  Census Records:  Indiana, 1860 (Broderbund CD-304):  Carlisle P.O., Haddon Twp., Sullivan Co., IN, pp. 739-740, 232/232, official enumeration date 1 Jun 1860:
John R. Willis 36 M W Farmer 800 650 IN
Sarah Willis 36 F W       IN
Joseph Willis 16 M W       IN
Levi Willis 14 M W       IN
Catherine Willis 12 F W       IN
Charles B Willis  9 M W       IN
William Willis  7 M W       IN
Martha Willis  5 F W       IN
Permelia Willis  3 F W       IN
Homer Willis  2 M W       IN

4.  1870 Census Images (online at Ancestry.com; Image #46 of 57):  Merom P.O., Hadden Twp., Sullivan Co., IN, p. 115B, PN 46, enumerated 23 Jul 1870, official enumeration date 1 Jun 1870 (extracted by Diana Gale Matthiesen):
1870:  for an explanation of the column headings, please see
What the Numbers in the Federal Census Mean (missing columns contained no data).
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 15 16 17 19
340 320 Willis John R 45 M W Farmer 1200 700 Indiana   / / /
    ______ Sarah 45 F W Keeping house     "        
    ______ Levi 24 M W Farm hand     "       /
    ______ Catharine 22 F W At home     "        
    ______ Charles B 19 M W Farm hand     " /      
    ______ William 17 M W Farm hand     " /      
    ______ Martha 15 F W At home     " /      
    ______ Permelia 13 F W At home     " /      
    ______ Sarah C  8 F W       " /      
    ______ John H  6 M W       " /      
Listed next to Theopholis BOOKER, who is listed next to George BOOKER, who is listed next to Sarah's parents, Joseph & Catharine (CARRICO) TRIMBLE, who are listed next to Sarah's brother, William Murphy TRIMBLE

5.  1880 Census Images (online at Genealogy.com, Image #60 of 88; online at Ancestry.com, Image #10 of 18):  Chillicothe Twp., Livingston Co., MO, Roll 700 (Book 2), p. 103B, PN 10, SD 7, ED 166, enumerated 5/7 Jun 1880, official enumeration date 1 Jun 1880 (extracted by Diana Gale Matthiesen):
1880:  for an explanation of the column headings, please see
What the Numbers in the Federal Census Mean (missing columns contained no data).
1 2 3 4 5 6 8 9 11 13 14 21 24 25 26
94 92 Willis John R W M 5? Husband   / Farmer 12   Ind Ohio Ohio
    ______ Maggie W F 22 Daughter /   At home     Ind Ind Ind
    ______ Ca???i W F 18 Daughter /   At home   / Ind Ind Ind
    ______ John W M 16 Son /   Farming  6 / Ind Ind Ind
    Loe? W H W M 28 Servant /   Farm hand 12   Mo ? ?
John's age looks like, 59, but could be 54 (should be 55).  John's parents were born in Kentucky.  How can a farmer be unemployed for 12 months?  If you own a farm, you never have a day off!  This enumerator had "12" in Column 14 for all the farmers, so the enumerator must have had it backwards how the column was to be used.  Listed five households from son, Levi WILLIS, who is two households from son, William Murphy WILLIS

6.  1890 Census:  the 1890 Population Schedules were destroyed.

7.  1900

8.  1910

9.  1920

10.  1930

11.  Edgewood Cemetery [Chillicothe, Livingston Co., MO] Index (online at the Livingston County MOGenWeb site; contributed by Robert Phillips):
Last Name First Name Birth Date Death Date Vet
WILLIS SARAH E. 11/23/1824 02/19/1879  

12.  There is extant a collection of letters written between the parents and sister of William Murphy WILLIS's wife, Ida (BROWN) WILLIS, that is, between Ira and Martha (HOPKINS) BROWN (in Chillicothe, MO) and their daughter and son-in-law, Cyrus Wells and Nellie (BROWN) KIRK (in Colorado Springs, CO).  I have transcriptions of these letters courtesy of Rhenda (Greene) Cedars and Donna Greene (who have the original letters in their possession).  Among the letters is brief mention of Ida, Will, and Will's parents, which gives us a clue as to where John and Sarah went from Indiana as well as proving that John lived at least as late as 1882.
In a letter dated 17 Nov 1881, Martha (HOPKINS) BROWN writes:
Ida and Will come in town yesterday.  Got thear Pictures.  Left these to send to you.  They talk some of going to Neb in the spring.  The old man and John and the girls is there now.  Lee Willis has bought the Aspen post office and moved...
In a letter dated 5 Feb 1882, Ira BROWN mentions in passing that:
Will is visiting his father in Alma, NE...
In a letter dated 29 Jun 1882, Ira BROWN mentions in passing that:
Will is going to Alma Nebraska where his father is to go into some kind of trading.  Feed and Flour and sich...
The statement that John and the girls are in Nebraska "now" suggests they hadn't been there long and, indeed, we do not find John WILLIS in the 1880 census of Nebraska, though his daughter, Catherine (WILLIS) VERBRYCK is there.  It appears that Sarah may be deceased because Martha didn't say Will went to see his "parents," just that he went to see his "father."

13.  Documents from the Harlan County, Nebraska, Court House (extracted by Kerry (Willis) Penn thank you, Kerry!):
Index to Deeds - John R. Willis was listed 5 times that we found, either as Grantor or Grantee.  Two of these deeds were about the same piece of property.  This property was a homestead which was improved and "commuted".  The initial filing was in 1882.  The second entry in the index showed an "Instrument" date of November 10, 1882, and a "Filing" date of September 11, 1885.  So, I'm assuming from that that John R. Willis was alive at that time.  Another Deed where he sold property to Samuel L. Roberts dated in September 1883 states that John R. Willis is a widow.  And, in July 1884, John R. Willis bought property from John A. Verbryck and Catharine Verbryck.
Catharine (WILLIS) VERBRYCK is our subject's daughter.

14.  Archives of the TRIMBLE-L mailing list (online at RootsWeb.com).

15.  Emails from Rhenda (Greene) Cedars, Donna Greene, Kerry (Willis) Penn, Bob Wilson.

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