Albert & Maymie - wedding (or soon after) photo

Albert & Maymie Willard

Albert lived all his life in Missouri, but he died in a hospital in Kansas. Maymie lived all her life in Missouri, but she was born in Texas and died in a hospital in Kansas.

Albert Alexander Willard was born March 12, 1894 on a farm near Rover in Oregon County, Missouri (on county road 329 between CR 322 and P; house is still there). He was the third child and first son of Rev. Joseph M. Willard and Susan Rhoda Spurlock.  Joe was a circuit-riding Methodist preacher. He had met Rhoda on one of his preaching tours into Arkansas. Pictured at right are Albert’s parents with children: Gertrude, Albert (about 3) and baby Arthur. This picture above must have been late 1897, a few months after their first child, 7-year-old Belva, had died. Baby Arthur had been born in Dec 1896.

Below is a picture of Bales school near his father’s farm where Albert and his siblings attended school. This is probably in 1907. Albert is standing the back (#4), along with his sister Gertrude (#3) and brother Arthur (#2). A younger brother Walter (#1) is sitting in the front.

The picture at left must be in 1910 with Albert’s parents and his grandfather, John Willard (who died in 1912).   Left to right: Walter-9 (1901), John-71 (1839), Arthur-13 (1896), Joe-45 (1865), Gertrude-19 (1890), Rhoda-43 (1867), Wayne-2 (1908), Albert-16 (1894).

Joe’s mother had died in 1908 and his father was probably living with them.

Albert was 10 years old when his grandpa, David Spurlock died in Arkansas (1904). I don’t know the relationship Albert had with his Spurlock relatives, but Rhoda was very close to her family and kept up with them throughout her long life. Albert had 75 first cousins on his mother’s side! (At least 3 had died in infancy, but that still leaves a great number.) They were a hardy family from Kentucky, having moved to the King’s Mill settlement of Sharp County, Ark. in 1846. Rhoda said her father, David, was “so opposed to slavery,” even though they lived in a Confederate state. The Spurlocks were devoted Methodists and very active in the church at Liberty Hill (near Ash Flat, Ark). Once when Albert was older he took his mother on a road trip to Texas to visit some of her Spurlock family who had moved there.

Albert, Maymie & Bessie

Albert was 16 when his grandpa, John Willard, died (1912). His property was located near Albert's parents’ home. John’s wife had died in 1908. Albert had 39 first cousins on his Willard side (at least 9 died in infancy). This means he had about 104 first cousins. Not sure if he managed to know them all. One of his Willard uncles (Johnny) was just 4 years older than him.

Albert’s Great-Aunt Polly (Willard) Lowe (sister of his grandfather, Joseph) and her husband Nate had lived and stayed in the Rover area, so he was close to them. They were charter members of the Shilo Baptist Church in Rover. By 1900 Nate and Polly had bought a farm in the Brushy Creek area of Douglas County and moved there. They had another nephew living with them in 1900: James “Mart” Willard (son of Wm. Henry; another sibling of Joseph Martin and Polly Willard).

At left: Albert, 1918, age 24.

Their farm was next to the J.I. Lindesmith farm. The Willards made many trips to visit in Douglas County and kept a close relationship with the Lowes. Their log cabin had an Ava address in Douglas County, Mo. even though it was 30-35 miles east of Ava. The cabin was located on Hwy. 181 between Richville and the west junction of 181 & 14.

In 1914 Albert (age 18) moved to Douglas County, MO to live with and care for His great-aunt Polly-67 and Nate Lowe-69. Polly and Nate had no children and they made an offer to Albert to give him their land and log cabin if he would take care of them. They signed a contract between them Sept. 1914.

Albert developed typhoid fever while living with the Lowes. Uncle Nate did not want Aunt Polly to scrub the plank floors in the cabin for fear it would rot the wood.  However, some of the neighbor ladies came in and cleaned the place thoroughly.

Albert began attending Bethany Baptist Church (probably Nate and Polly also attended, since they were Baptist and the church was just down the road from their home). Although Albert had been raised in a minister’s home and his mother held Sunday School in her home, Albert never had a personal relationship with Christ. At the age of 21 (1915), he was converted and joined the Bethany Baptist Church.  

Group of friends, 1919. Maymie and Albert looking at each other.

When neighbor, Maymie Lindesmith, became a teenager she had and on and off relationship with Albert. She was dating Bill Bayless for a while, but Albert stole her attentions. Bill was jealous and reported to the draft board that Albert was eligible and not serving. Albert had an exemption because he was the only one caring for an elderly relative. However, he was drafted and decided not to fight the draft.

  Albert’s military group. He is in the front row on the left.

On July 25, 1918 he was inducted into the Army serving as a mechanic. (His son, J.I. also was an army mechanic in WWII.) He first went to Camp Funston, Kansas where he was assigned to the Tenth Division, commanded by Major Gen Leonard Wood. He sailed for France Novemer 2, 1918. Since the Armistice ending World War I was signed November 11, 1918, the fighting was over by the time he got to France. He and Maymie corresponded while he was in France.

Albert sailed home from France February 24, 1919 on the “Honolulu” and landed in the U.S. March 13, 1919.  He was discharged from the army at Camp Grant in Rockford, Illinois, March 31, 1919, and returned to Douglas County to live with and take care of Aunt Polly and Uncle Nate. At right is the ship he sailed on.

Albert loved to sing, and all the Willards were musical. Since the Lowe farm adjoined the Lindesmith farm they could hear Albert singing as he worked on the farm.  Maymie sang alto. Fran was a good piano player. J.I. sang, played trombone in the high school band and violin in the high school orchestra. Duane was a good singer. He studied music in college and was a music leader in churches as a young adult. Dallas was also a good singer.

Albert sang bass in a men’s quartet and they sang in churches in the surrounding counties. J.I. remembers as a child going with his dad to a church in Success, Texas County, Mo. to sing with his quartet.

Maymie was very involved in missions. At one point Bethany Baptist Church decided to stop giving to missions. That was the point where Albert and Maymie found another church.

Albert was a deacon at First Baptist Church, Willow Springs.

Willard Site map: Willard lineJames - Martin - Squire - Wm. HenryJohn - David - Joseph - home


The young family of Joe & Rhoda Willard, with daughter Gertrude, Albert and baby Arthur.

Albert’s grandfather, David Spurlock

Nate and Polly (Willard) Lowe. The original picture had Arthur and Albert standing behind them.

Albert standing, Arthur sitting

Albert in his WWI uniform.

Willard line -  2-James - 2-Martin - 3-Squire - 3-Wm. Henry -  3-John - 4-David - 4-Joseph - 5-Albert - home