THOMAS I. WILLIS.
The work of tilling the soil has always claimed the attention of Thomas I. Willis, who was born in Marengo township,
July 29, 1865, a son of Richard and Ann (Reed) Willis, in whose family were eight children, five sons and three
daughters. The parents were both natives of England and were reared and married in that country. Thinking to find
better opportunities in the new world, they sailed for the United States and settled in Ohio. The father was a
brickmaker by trade and followed that business in Ohio until 1854, when he came with his family to Iowa and entered
the employ of Thomas Leader of Marengo township. It was while he was thus engaged that the birth of Thomas 1. Willis
occurred. The father carefully saved his earnings until he was able to purchase a farm, which he then cultivated
and improved until his life's labors were ended in death in 1903 when he was seventy-three years of age. His wife
passed away in 1899 at the age of sixty four years.
The usual experiences of farm life came to Thomas I. Willis during the days of his boyhood and youth. At an early
age he began work in the fields and alternated his time between the labors of the farm and attendance at the district
school. When he arrived at years of maturity he began farming on his own account and he now operates one hundred
and ten acres of land belonging to his father-in-law. On the 2d of March, 1892, he was united in marriage to Miss
Mary B. Williams, of Iowa county, a daughter of John D. Williams, whose record appears elsewhere in this volume.
To Mr. and Mrs. Willis have been born four children. Mary Inez, who was born June 17, 1893, was graduated from
Oberlin College on the completion of a kindergarten course. Alice May died August 4, 1898, at the age of four and
a half years. Horace Hugh, born December 18, 1903, and Alma Ann, born May 20, 1905, are both in school.
Mr. Willis is a firm believer in education and the improvement of the public school system and for twenty years
has done effective service as secretary of the school board. Both he and his wife are members of the Wesleyan Methodist
church and their lives are guided by its teachings. In politics he is a prohibitionist, stanchly advocating the
cause of temperance in every way. In a word. he stands for all those things which tend to uplift mankind and benefit
the community at large.
History of Iowa County, Iowa
And its People
By: James C. Dinwiddie
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Iowa County, IA
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