Hiram Willits. The subject of this memoir, whose portrait appears in the body of this work, is the oldest child
of Robert and Sarah Willits (Beard was her maiden name), and was born in Wayne county, Indiana, February 5, 1821.
He resided in his native county till September, 1842, receiving, in the meantime, a common school education. He,
with his parents, moved to Van Buren county, Iowa, in 1842, where he followed farming till April 1, 1850. He then,
with his wife, started across the plains for California, and arrived at Hangtown (Placerville), August 17th of
that year. He immediately settled at Rough and Ready, where he opened a hotel, which business he followed for five
or six months. In March, 1851, he took up his residence in Colusa county, where he secured a claim some seventeen
miles from the town of Colusa, and began farming and stock raising, and also opened a public house, and remained
there till August, 1857, when he came to Mendocino county, and settled in the beautiful and fertile valley of Little
Lake. Since then, a charming little town has sprung into existence on his place, which bears his name. He began
farming upon his arrival at that place, and is still engaged in it. In 1865 he began merchandising, his store being
the nucleus about which the town has grown. He is still engaged in that business, in connection with his farming
He was appointed postmaster at Willitsville in 1860, being the first one in that place, and with the exception
of two vacancies of about eighteen months each, he has held the office continuously ever since. He was a member
of the second Board of Supervisors, and held the office for about nine years. When the Mendocino Agricultural Association
was organized, he took a very prominent part, and has been Treasurer of the society continuously since its organization.
He has always taken an active part in whatever would advance the best interests of Mendocino county. He lived there
before it was a county, and has always felt that interest in her growth and prosperity, which a father feels for
a child. It is emphatically his county, and as all the worthy pioneers feel concerning their county, so does he.
He has seen the county grow from a few hundred inhabitants to many thousands, and where he broke the wild sod,
now stands a thriving and busy village. March 13, 1844, he was united in marriage with Miss Margaret J. Johnson,
a native of Ohio, born August 11, 1827. They have no children.
History of Mendocino County, California
Alley, Bowen & Co., Publishers
San Francisco, California 1880
Mendocino County, CA
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