JOHN WILLARD was born December 1, 1839, St. Clair (Co?), Mo. (unsure whether this is the town in Franklin Co. in eastern
Missouri or the county of St. Clair in western Mo. next to Henry Co. where
his parents were living in 1850 -- there actually was no St. Clair County
until 1841, before that time that area was called Rives County).
His son's Joseph's obituary starts, "Rev. Joseph Martin Willard, son of John
'Elbert' Willard, Sr. & Sarah Jane Colyott...."
John was living in Oregon Co., Mo. by 1860, where he was listed in the census as living with the "John Moor" family instead of with his parents, Martin & Polly Willard.
He joined the Confederate Army in August, 1861,
the only one of his family to fight for the South. Although most of
the inhabitants of Oregon Co, Missouri supported the South, 2 of his cousins,
Bill & James Willard, who were raised in Illnois, held to their childhood
loyalties, walked back to Illinois and joined the Union Army. And John's brother,
Squire, who lived near Springfield, Mo. joined the Union Army.
John's military records describe him as 5'8", grey eyes, light hair, fair complexion. He was a private in Co. B, 8th Missouri Infantry. He was on a list of Confederate soldiers taken prisoner and paroled by Lt. Col. Stuart, 10th Ill. Cavalry at Van Buren, Ark. (near Ft. Smith). His son, Joe related that John was in a P.O.W. camp at Fort Smith, Ark. He said they were released on Thanksgiving Day, 1864--a cold day with frost on the ground--and since John was barefoot, he had to wrap sacks around his feet. He walked over 200 miles back to Couch, Oregon Co., Mo. His capture and release must have happened in 1862 instead of 1864 because:
- His military record of this release was dated January 25, 1863 with a note on it "list not dated".
- He is on a list of Confederate veterans buried in Oregon County, Missouri.
- The fall 1862 offensive by the Union army into NW Ark. gave them control of the whole area so that there was not another major battle in NW Ark.
- On Dec 7,1862 the Union victory at the Battle of Prairie Grove, Ark gave them control of NW Ark and involved the capture of Van Buren, Ark., Dec. 28, 1862, taking over 100 Confederate prisoners. (Blunt & Herron, Union generals)
- Another Civil War list shows "Putt, John, Co. I - Taken prisoners and paroled by Lt-Colonel Stuart, 10th Illinois Cavalry, at Van Buren, Ark. January 25, 1863."
- Also: "Deprest, J.M. -F- Private - AWOL since December 12, 1862. Deserted near Van Buren."
- Also: :"York, Felix - CoA, Ark 2nd - Captured and paroled by Lt.Col. Stuart, 10th Illinois Cavalry at Van Buren, Ark January 25, 1863. Listed as AWOL."
John evidently stayed at home for a short time (maybe
for quite a bit of 1863), got married, and then rejoined his (or another)
company. He was reported left sick at the Pine Bluff hospital, July
17, 1863. February, 1864 is the last month he was reported on the army
He married sometime between January and June of 1863 to Sarah Jane Colyott. She was born in 1848 in Mo., probably in Madison Co., the daughter of Joseph Colyott and Mary "Polly" Brewer (both also born in Mo.). Sarah's mother's sister, Eliza (Brewer) Huddleston lived in Oregon Co. and since Sarah and her sister Louisa both married men from Oregon Co., they probably met them on visits to their aunt Eliza's.
Sarah and John Willard had 11 children and lived the rest of their lives in Oregon Co., Mo. where John owned a nursery. He grafted apple trees, budded peach and plum trees, etc. and sold them for as low as 4-6 cents each. He developed the McGraw peach, a blue peach that ripens in October.
His grandson, Arthur Willard had this to say: “Grandpa’s old home place [SE of Rover, Oregon Co.] was west of the Bales place where Dad and Mother (Joe & Rhoda) lived, [later] the Israel Huddleston place, 80 acres of it on the north side of the road. Uncle Fred said that was where they were raised. Then 40 acres was bought later on the south side and 40 acres on the west end on the north and added to it before I bought it after Israel died. Then I sold it to Bill Childres and he built a new house on the south side.”
John and Sarah lived in Brandsville (just across the county line in Howell Co.) their last days together. Sarah died there in 1909, at the age of 60 (her tombstone incorrectly reads 1832-1908). John lived with their son Joe, near Rover, and died in their home March 2, 1912 (of pneumonia, age 72). They were both buried in the Jolliff Cemetery near Rover in Oregon Co., MO.
Newspaper article, 1910, probably in the Alton, Mo newspaper: The South
Missourian. "A Birthday Anniversary Celebrated
- Friends, neighbors and relatives assisted John Willard in celebrating his
71st birthday anniversary on Thursday, Dec. 1, 1910. He was born in St. Clair,
Mo., was married in the year 1865 to Sarah Colleott (sic), to which union
12 children were born, 10 of whom are still living. Sarah Willard, his wife,
died in the year 1909. The celebration above mentioned took place at the home
of Mr. Willard's oldest son, Rev. Joseph Willard, three miles southeast of
Rover. Those who planned it, to the number of 30 persons, began to arrive
about 11 o'clock with well-filled baskets and boxes of provisions. The old
gentleman was somewhat surprised, and indeed well pleased. It was a very
pleasant occasion, and one long to be remembered by all who participated in
it. John Willard is the son of Martin Willard and has one brother and one
sister living - Squire Willard of Brisco, Tenn (sic), and Mrs. Polly A. Lowe,
of Ozark County. He is an old citizen of Highland township, Oregon county,
and is well and favorably known to a large circle of friends. His grandchildren
can be numbered by the score. Formerly engaged in farming he has of late been
living a retired life, making his home with his children."
His son Joseph said that along with their children, John and Sarah also raised his brother, Nathan’s sons. However, no children have been found for Nathan, who probably died as a young man. Joe also said that his father raised Martin & Milam, who were sons of William Henry, who died when his children were young. So, perhaps John kept these two nephews for a while.
John and Sarah had 12 children (10 were still living in 1910):
Pictured: Rhoda & Joe
(See Joe's family on separate page)
Joe (named for his grandfathers, Joseph Colyott & Martin Willard) was born July 14, 1865, Oregon Co, Mo. He married Susan Rhoda Spurlock (daughter of David & Mary Spurlock of Sharp Co, Ark). Joe was a Methodist circuit-riding preacher. Children
1) Belva Ann Willard, 1890-1897
2) Gertrude Naoma Willard, 1891-1936; m Silvester Spann; ch: S.E., Joe Lewis
3) Albert Alexander Willard, 1894-1975; m Maymie Joyce Lindesmith & Mrs. Myrtle Green; ch: Joseph Ira, Mary Frances, Lyndal Duane, Dallas Albert
4) Arthur John David Willard, b 1896; m Bessie Cunningham; d 1989; ch: Wilma Lozene, Elsie Cleora, Glenn Eugene
5) Walter Andrew Willard, 1901-1965; m Jessie Cunningham; no children
6) Luna Drucilla Willard, 1903-1905
7) Wayne Warren Willard, b 1908; m Elfie Dills, div; ch: Rosalie Susan, Glenda Lou, Nina Fay
8) Cecil Benjamin Willard; b 1910; m Ruth Unruh; ch: Letetia Ann
Pictured: Squire, Dovie & Joe
Squire was born 1867, named for his father’s brother; married 1898 to Emily Matilda Roundtree (daug of John); married 2nd Rosa Williams (a blind woman; no children). He was a Hardshell Baptist minister; died in 1958; he & Emma buried Oak Lawn Cemetery, West Plains, Mo. Children:
Pictured at right: Evan & family
Pictured at left: Stonewall, Evan, Squire & Joe
Evan was born 1869; married May 31, 1894, Oregon Co., Mo. to Nancy Matilda Baty (daughter of Samuel G. Baty & Brittina Judd. He was a Freewill Baptist preacher, and lived in Peace Valley. Matilda was buried in Jolliff Cemetery near Rover in 1927. Evan was buried in Oak Lawn Cemetery in West Plains in 1951. Children:
4. POLLY ANN WILLARD
"Sissie" was born 1871, named for both her grandmothers: Polly Willard and Polly Colyott (this was a nickname for both grandmothers, their real names were Mary; Sissie’s real name may have been Mary too). She married Wyley House (b 1865). Children:
Lilly was born April 1874, named for her mother; married May 19, 1894, Oregon Co., Mo. to William Riley Baty. She died Oct. 1935; buried Jolliff Cemetery. Children:
1) John Marion Baty, b 1897; m Lucy Viola Baley; (m 2nd Bell House,
separated, no children.)
2) William Eddie Baty, b 1899; m Lucy Marion Whitted
3) Elva J. Baty, b Jan 1912; m ? Sherrill; d June 1936, buried Jolliff Cem.
6. TELITHA WILLARD
"Lithie" was born 1878 (the only namesake that seems plausible for her is her uncle Squire's wife, Talitha). Lithie married Nov 14, 1892, Oregon Co., Mo. to Jim Stevens. She died as a young mother. Children:
1) James Riley Stephens; was raised by his uncles, Joe & Fred
- Pictured at right: Stonewall &
Stonewall was born 1879; married July 25, 1902, Rhoda Francis. Both were buried at Francis Cemetery in Howell County, MO.
"Dovie" was born June 9, 1881, named for her mother; married Joseph Howard Quay, Aug 9, 1897 (marriage record says Jan. 2, 1897); moved to Sand Springs, Ok; he died June 1, 1924; she died July 5, 1981, Ok; both buried Springfield, Mo. Children:
9. LINNIE N. WILLARD, born 1884; married John Parsons. He died and
she m 2nd Will Quay. Children:
1) Edna Parsons, m ? Summers; raised by her Uncle Joe Willard
2) Earl Quay
11. JOHN WILLARD "Johnny Smoker", b 1890, named for his father; m Elsie
Wall, had one child; m 2nd ? Palmer, had several girls. Lived in Rockford,
Ill. and Hardy, Ark. Children:
1) Pearl Willard (Elsie’s daug.; partly raised by her Uncle Joe Willard)