Biography of Willis P. McCreary
Adams County, NE Biographies





Willis P. McCreary, distinguished as an able criminal lawyer, well known as a sportsman and esteemed in all circles by reason of his genuine worth, his public spirit and his activity in behalf of the general welfare, was born in Lawrence county, Pennsylvania, November 8, 1854, his parents being Pearson and Nancy (Dean) McCreary. The father, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1832, was a drover and stock buyer by occupation. He died in 1856 and the mother was again married in 1859. In 1865 the family removed to Lee county, Iowa, where the stepfather of our subject engaged in general farming. The mother, who was born in 1833, met death in the memorable railroad wreck at Chatsworth, Illinois, in 1887.

Willis P. McCreary was a lad of eleven years at the time of the removal of the family to Lee county, Iowa, where he attended the district schools. Later he became a student in the academy at Denmark, Iowa, and prepared for a professional career as a law student in the State University, from which he was graduated on the 28th of June, 1876. He had left the farm when seventeen years of age and had engaged in school teaching, also employing other methods in order to earn the money that would enable him to pursue his law course. On the 14th of July, 1876, he opened a law office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he remained until 1884, when he came to Hastings and has here since followed his profession. In 1887 he formed a partnership under the firm style of Capps, McCreary & Stevens, but his partners have both passed away, and Mr. McCreary remained alone in practice until 1912, when he admitted E. E. Danly to a partnership under the firm style of McCreary & Danly, an association that is still in existence. For three terms Mr. McCreary filled the office of prosecuting attorney for Adams county and he has always been accorded a large and distinctively representative clientage, for he displays marked ability in presenting his cause before the courts. He possesses superior oratorical powers and is regarded as the most eloquent lawyer practicing at the Hastings bar. His practice extends all over southwestern Nebraska and he has been connected with some of the most important cases tried in the courts of the state.

On the 1st of January, 1878, Mr. McCreary was united in marriage at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to Miss Mary B. Greene, who was born in that city and is a daughter of William and Louisa (Higley) Greene, who were natives of England and of Connecticut respectively. Mr. Greene and his brother George, who was afterward judge of the supreme court of Iowa, went to Cedar Rapids in an early day from Buffalo, New York, and opened the first store in the former city. They afterward made their way to Colorado and opened up mines at Silverton, hauling the machinery for a smelter on pack mules over the range from Durango, Colorado. Subsequently they returned to Cedar Rapids and William Greene was active in financial circles there. He became a prime mover in the building of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad and was associated with the freight department of that road at a time when one of his fellow employes was A. L. Mohler, now the president of the Union Pacific Railroad Company.

To Mr. and Mrs. McCreary have been born four children, Willis M., who is engaged in general merchandising at Scotts Bluff, Nebraska, is married and has one child. Mary and Dorothy are at home. James R. is a graduate of the State Manual Training Normal School at Pittsburg, Kansas, and is now engaged in teaching manual training in the schools of Hastings and is also operating a farm. He is married.

Mr. McCreary was reared in the Quaker faith. He is active in the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and is a recognized leader in the ranks of the republican party. He served as president of the Republican Club of Nebraska in 1896 and was very active in that compaign. He also did much work all over the state under the direction of the state central committee in the campaign of 1900 and his words of eloquence and learning never fail to carry weight and in many cases bring conviction. He is a lover of good horses, always enjoys good clean sport and, in a word, his is a well rounded character, in which business and pleasure maintain an even balance. In the practice of law he has made steady progress and, while nature endowed him with the gift of oratory, he has never depended upon it to sway juries but has always carefully prepared his cases and bases his arguments upon the law applicable to the point at issue.

From:
Past and Present of
Adams County, Nebraska
Supervisong Editor: Judge William R. Burton
Assistant Editor: David J. Lewis
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago, 1916


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