George Willis, carrying on general farming and stock-raising
upon one hundred and seventy-three acres of land lying partly in
Franklin and partly in Jefferson township, was born in
Lincolnshire, England, June 9, 1849. He is a son of George and
Mary (Copeman) Willis, also natives of that part of England, the
father born in 1824. He gave his attention to agricultural
pursuits during all of his active life, dying in Lincolnshire in
1868. His widow afterward married again and came to America,
locating in Colorado, in which state she made her home until her
death, as the age of sixty-six.
George Willis was reared in his native community and acquired his education in its public schools. He afterward served an apprenticeship as a locomotive and stationary engineer and at the age of eighteen began working at this occupation, following it successfully until he came to America. He crossed the Atlantic in 1875 and pushed his way westward to Colorado, locating twenty miles north of Denver, where he became connected with the Union Pacific Railroad as locomotive engineer on the run between Denver and Boulder. Here he remarried for seven years, after which he turned his attention to farming in Colorado, buying a tract of land in that state, and upon it he resided until 1898, when he sold and came to Iowa, buying his present farm. He owns and operates one hundred and seventy-three acres of land, eighty of which lie in Franklin township and ninety-three in Jefferson, and the property is in an excellent state of cultivation, reflecting everywhere his careful supervision and practical methods. Aside from general farming Mr. Willis is also extensively interested in stock-raising and he is very attentive to his interest along this line which under his able management has proven profitable and important.
On the 5th of June, 1873, Mr. Willis was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Bowmen, who was born in Durham, England, June 16, 1855, a daughter of John and Margaret Bowmen, natives of that section. The father followed the carpenters trade for many years, making his home always in England, where he and his wife both passed away. Mr. and Mrs. Willis are the parents of five children: Abraham, who married Miss Minnie Dorsey and who is engaged in farming near his fathers farm; Mary Anna, the wife of Richard Whalye, who is a butcher in Waterloo; Elizabeth, the wife of Edward Ewing, who is operating a farm near the old homestead; Anna, who married William Ewing, of Jefferson township; and George, who resides at home.
Mr. Willis is a member of the United Brethren church and gives his political allegiance to the republican party. He is one of the successful men of Franklin township and his prominence and prosperity are the more creditable to him since they have been attained through his energy, courage and perseverance. In all of his dealings he has been thoroughly reliable and in matters of citizenship helpful and progressive, giving his aid and influence to many measures for the public good.
-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by
Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich
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