JOSEPH P. WILLS, deceased, whose portrait is shown on the opposite page, settled in Labette county, Kansas, in 1879, and followed farming in a successful manner until his death in 1895. He was located in the northeast quarter of section 29, Oswego township. Mr. Willis was born in New York City, in 1829, and was a son of John and Nancy (Partridge) Wills.
John Wills was born in London, England, in 1803 and was a shoemaker by trade. He lived in New York City for a period of nineteen years, and in 1848 located in Chicago, where he followed his trade until 1870. He then moved to Tennessee, near the city of Knoxville, where he died in 1872. His wife, Nancy Partridge, was born in 1805, and died in New York City, in 1845. They were parents of four children: Samuel, deceased; Lottie, deceased; Mary, deceased; and Joseph P., the subject of this sketch.
Joseph P. Wills lived in New York City until 1848, when he removed with his parents to Chicago, Illinois. He was a sailmaker by trade, and when he arrived in Chicago went into the sail, awning and tent business, for himself, and continued thus until 1872, when his health failed and he sold out his business. He moved on a farm near Knoxville, Tennessee, and lived there until 1876, when he went to Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1877, he was married and then moved to Sherman, Texas. There he lived, until 1879, when he settled in Labette county, Kansas. He purchased property in the northeast quarter of section 29, Oswego township, where he was engaged in farming and stock raising until his death occurred. He was a man of high character, and enjoyed the utmost esteem of his fellow citizens. He was a Republican in politics, and was treasurer of Oswego township for two terms.
Mr. Wills was united in marriage with Eliza M. Jones, a daughter of Ross and Martha (Whitehead) Jones. Mr. Jones was born in Hamilton county, Ohio, March 21, 1823. In 1828 he moved to Warren county, Ohio, with his parents, and lived there on a farm until 1840. He then went to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he ran the first engine on the Little Miami Railroad. His run at that time was between Cincinnati and Springfield, Ohio. He worked on this road until 1844, when he was married to Martha Whitehead. He lived in Cincinnati until 1850, when he moved to Franklin county, Indiana. There he cultivated a farm until 1873, when he returned to Cincinnati, and died there in 1878. He and his wife were the parents of the following children: Eliza M.; Ada (Elliott); John, deceased; Nettie (Thomas); Lucinda (Cadugan); and Oscar.
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph P. Wills became parents of four children, as follows: Florence (Dudley), who has one daughter, Pearl; Lottie (Hayden), who has two sons, - Ralph W. and Archie R.; Clarence; and Nettie.
By a former marriage, Mrs. Wills had a son, T. L. Sturgeon, whose father, Thomas R. Sturgeon, of Louisville, Kentucky, died in 1867. Thomas R. Sturgeon was a soldier in the Union army, and received injuries in the war, from which he never recovered.
Transcribed from History of Labette County, Kansas and its Representative Citizens, ed. & comp. by Hon. Nelson Case. Pub. by Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill. 1901
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