07 February 2018


These two ancestors of mine were Ida Lawrence Willis (1865-1935) and her husband Benjamin Willis (1853-1924), my great-great-grandparents. They were married in 1878 and had 10 children. Benjamin was killed when the horse pulling his cart along the street in downtown Morehead City bucked and threw him to the ground. He hit his head on a stone and didn't survive. Ida and Benjamin's first-born was Howard Closs Willis (1879-1935), who was my mother's grandfather. My mother said she remembered him. To her, he appeared to be a very elderly gentleman sitting in a straight-backed chair with a blanket on his knees, though he was only about 55 years old at the time of his death. My mother was only 5 years old in 1935. Howard's wife Millie had succumbed to influenza in the great 1918 epidemic.

The other children born to Ida and Benjamin were Ada, Prudence, Maude, Eva, Allena, Eugene, Early, George, and Harold. I personally knew three of them and a fourth lived in Morehead City through the 1950s — I must have met her at some point, but I have no memory of it.. The last of Ida's children to die was my Aunt Eva (Eva Agnes Willis), who had married a man named Emmitt Willis. They had one son, Gordon, whom I remember as well but he died before his mother did. Aunt Eva was 83 years old when she passed away. They say she was a notorious skinflint, enjoyed a good tipple, and scared the neighborhood children because she was so stern.


  1. The frames and images are remarkable. Thanks for sharing their pictures. Wonderful that you know your family history in such detail. And who doesn't enjoy a glass of tipple, I say.

    1. I second what Diogenes said. Precious memories.

  2. I love family history. It's wonderful that you have these photos!

  3. Interesting that Eva married someone with the same surname as hers.

  4. We had neighbors in Spokane - the Thompsons and Maryann's maiden name was Thompson so it was fun to call her Maryann Thompson Thompson.

  5. I had an Aunt Ida. I like old fashioned names and especially like the name Early.

  6. Every neighborhood needs a stern old lady, and Yay I say for a good glass of tipple.
    Lovely that you have these memories and pictures. Precious beyond measure.

  7. Ken... I am deeply sorry for your loss... and I apologise for not saying so sooner.
    My only excuse is that in Safari on my iPad-mini Blodger no longer recognises me on yours, Walt's and Simon&Susan's blogs... no one else's!! Just those three... it tells me to sign in or "Creer ub blog"... yet lapredelaforge is as large as life, signed in as usual on six others that I read.
    Anyway.. that's history... I am about to change this machine that I can only use after 2am French time for a faster system...
    don't hold your breath!!

    Yes, I am so sorry... and so glad you got there!! I was with Mum when she crossed the great divide... it snowed the day I was born... and when I went out to get a bottle of beer from the car, it was snowing... so I said to Mum... "You know it snowed the day I was born... and do you know what... it is snowing now!"
    I must've hit some sort of release valve for her... the laboured breathing changed to a very level, slow, normal state... then suddenly stopped. At that point I kissed her goodbye... but she'll never leave!! She's here, now... a Mother's strength and grace never leaves us... especially, I think... us their boys... because that's what we always were to them!

    So, spiritual hug from afar, from me...
    And my gods... yo are the spitting of your great-great-grandfather... instantly recognisable!!
    Peace Ken, peace...
    and the best wishes!!


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