WILLOUGHBY, Albert F. 1833-1927
Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 4/13/2015 at 14:08:16
Oldest of Grundy Pioneers Passes To Last Reward
A. F. Willoughby Died At Home of His Son Tuesday Night
Funeral This Afternoon
Mr. Willoughby Had Been a Continuous Resident of Grundy County For 72 Years
A. F. Willoughby died at the home of his son, Harold, in this city Tuesday night. The end came very peacefully. He had not been sick. The body was worn out with years, though his mind remained clear and alert to the end. He would have been 94 on his next birthday. He was born while John Quincy Adams was president. That was before any railroads had come into active use in the world. The changes, growth and development that took place in this country during this one lifetime are marvelous when viewed from this long and eventful life. Mr. Willoughby not only lived many years beyond the average span of life but he lived with his eyes and his mind open. His mind to the end was an encyclopedia of events which took place during his long career. Personal experiences of three-quarters of a century ago were as clear to this wonderful man in the nineties as if they had taken place but a few years ago. His mind was a dependable diary of the early history of this country.
Mr. Willoughby came to Grundy county in 1855. That was 72 years ago. We are quite sure there is not another person now living whose pioneer history goes back to such an early date. He had very much to do with the county's early development and for many years he was an important political factor in the community.
Funeral services will be held at the Baptist church in this city this afternoon. Burial will be by the side of the wife in the local cemetery.
Albert Fitch Willoughby, only son of Rev. B. C. and Joanna Willoughby, was born in Chautauqua county, New York, September 3, 1833 and died at Grundy Center, Iowa, April 12, 1927, aged 93 years, 7 months and 9 days.
Being the son of a Baptist minister, his early childhood was spent in the various pastorates of his father in western New York. He received his education at Chamberlain Institute at Randolph, N.Y.
As a young man he was very frail, but in later years became strong and robust. About the time that he reached his majority, he and a chum of his seriously planned to go to Rio Janiero, but they did not have money enough for the trip and another chum having just returned from visiting a relative in Iowa, they decided to come to Iowa, so in October 1854, he came to Iowa. The railroad ended at Rock Island and after being ferried across the Mississippi, they found a man with team and wagon headed for Cedar Rapids and they got a ride with him. The winter of 1854 he spent in Cedar Rapids, where he helped build the first shack on the island where the court house now stands, and helped lay the floor of the first Presbyterian church west of the river. From Cedar Rapids he went to Vinton, Cedar Falls, Charles City, Algona and finally Eldora, where he spent some time before finally coming to Grundy Center in 1855.
On May 7, 1861, he was married to Sarah Macy and established a home on the Macy homestead in western Grundy county. In 1863 he was elected County Clerk of Grundy county and moved to Grundy Center where he made his home until March 1873, when they moved to their farm in Clay township, Grundy county, where they lived ten years, when they were obliged to leave the farm on account of the health of Mrs. Willoughby. Then for three years they lived in Randolph N.Y., caring for his aged parents, when failing health of Mrs. Willoughby again compelled them to move and they moved back to Grundy Center where they remained permanently.
Feb. 19, 1924, Mrs. Willoughby was called to be with her Master, after which Mr. Willoughby made his home with his elder son, Harold, until the time of his death.
The winter of 1894 he and his wife spent at El Paso, Texas, and Roswell, New Mexico, and the winters of 1898 and 1899 at Fairhope, Alabama.
Five sons were born to this union, George Macy Willoughby, who died Dec. 9, 1864, aged two years; John H. Willoughby, who died Sept. 28, 1870, at six months of age; Bliss F. Willoughby, who died Aug. 14, 1894, at the age of 27 years; Harold T. Willoughby, now living at Grundy Center, Iowa, a member of the hardware firm of Trevillyan & Willoughby, and Hugh A. Willoughby, of Grundy Center, an attorney.
Mr. Willoughby was a devoted, earnest christian. He helped organize the first Sunday School in Grundy Center and later, in 1868, helped to organize the present First Baptist church of Grundy Center, of which he was the last surviving charter member. Wherever he was, he saw to it that there was a Sunday School and his interest in church and Sunday School work continued to the end.
He leaves to mourn his loss, his two surviving sons, Harold T. Willoughby and Hugh A. Willoughby, a number of nieces and nephews and a host of friends.
--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 14 April 1927, pg 1
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