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EZRA WILLARD, a prominent attorney of Atlantic, Iowa, and familiarly known as "Judge" Willard, was born in Wyoming county, New York, December 21, 1840, and is of English descent on both the paternal and maternal side. His father, Russel Willard, was a native of Vermont and a son of Russel Willard. The mother of our subject, Phoebe Rich by maiden name, was likewise a native of the Green Mountain State, and when a child removed with her parents to New York, where she was reared and married. The younger Russell Willard was by occupation a farmer. He died when his only child, our subject, was a babe, and thus early in life was Judge Willard deprived of a father's protection and support. He remained with his mother until he was fifteen, being taken by her when he was four years old to Williams county, Ohio, where his boyhood days were spent in attending the public schools. At fifteen he went to live with an uncle in Elkhart, Indiana, with whom he remained until attaining his majority. Up to 1858 he attended the common schools, then he spent one year at Notre Dame, and in 1860 was at Elkhart, engaged in the study of law.

When the great Civil war came on, young Willard was among the first to enlist for service in the Union army. That was in 1861. He had just been admitted to the bar and was ambitious for success in his chosen profession, but he dropped his law-books and, as a member of Company C, Ninth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, went to the front. He enlisted as a private in the three-months service, and at the expiration of his term re-enlisted in the same company and for a period of three years, at this time being appointed Second Lieutenant. This appointment was soon followed by promotion to the rank of First Lieutenant, and it in turn by that of Adjutant of the regiment. The last name position he held until he tendered his resignation in 1863, on account of his physical condition, he having been wounded in the battle of Shiloh, a ball passing through his right limb. Besides Shiloh, he fought at Stone River and was a participant in many other prominent engagements.

After receiving an honorable discharge, Mr. Willard returned to Elkhart, Indiana, and engaged in the practice of law, but shortly after, in 1864, came west to Iowa and located at Adel in Dallas county, where he remained until 1876. Between 1876 and 1881 he was a resident of Dallas, Texas, and in the latter year returned to Iowa and this time took up his abode in Atlantic, where he has since remained and where he has conducted a large and remunerative law practice.

Mr. Willard was married in Elkhart, Indiana, in 1861, to Miss Harriet Hooper, a native of Michigan, and a daughter of Isaac Hooper, one of the early settlers of that State. Their union has been blessed in the birth of one son, Edward, who chose his father's profession, was admitted to the bar in 1888, and is now engaged in practice with his father.

Fraternally, Judge Willard is identified with the Masonic order, in which he has advanced to the Royal Arch degrees. Politically, he has long affiliated with the Democratic party, and has been honored by his party with the nomination for Attorney General and also for the Legislature; but, while in each instance he received a vote that was highly complimentary, he was defeated. Both as a lawyer and citizen he is held in high repute, and justly so, for his life has been so ordered that it entitles him to this high standing.

From A Memorial and Biographical Record of Iowa, Volume I, Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1896, pp. 386-387. Transcribed July, 2015 by Cheryl Siebrass.

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