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.