Independence Daily Reporter, June 14, 1916:
Willard Musson was born Jan. 1st, 1840 at Erie, Penn. Died June 5th, 1916. His mother died in his infancy. He was taken to New York state to live with his father’s relatives, his father going west to Manitowoc, Wis. At the age of four years he was taken to his father where he remained until he was about ten years old being then placed on a farm with an uncle, near Napierville, Ill. He stayed here several years, then went to Champaign, Ill., where his father had located and again married. He lived here several years until the civil war broke out.
When the call of President Lincoln for volunteers, he went to Springfield, Ill. to enlist in a company formed of his friends and acquaintances. On arriving at the camp at Springfield, one of his friends overjoyed at his coming threw his arms around him and in the friendly scuffle, they slipped and falling dislocated one of his shoulders as a result of which the recruiting officers would not accept him for some months. While recuperating he went to Cerro Gordo, Ill. at which place early in 1862 he enlisted in the 107th Ill. Vol. Inf., with which regiment he served until the close of the war. He saw much hard service, being engaged in twenty- two battles and skirmished and not once during all that time did he sleep in a house.
He was idolized by his comrades and affectionately addressed by them as “The Little orderly.”
Returning to Cerro Gordo at the close of the war, on being mustered out at Springfield, he engaged in business. On July 31st, 1867 he was married to Miss Belle Doyle, shortly thereafter moving to Cobden, Ill. Three children were born to them: May, Gussie and Leighton; Gussie dying in infancy.
The family moved to Elk City, Kans., in the fall of 1878 to which place Mr. Musson had preceded them by a few months. He bought a one-half interest in the flouring mill of Wm. Wright, they continuing in partnership for several years when Wm. Wright sold his interest to others. Mr. Musson continuing in the new firm of Musson, Behrens and Weston under the firm name of The Elk City Mill Co. which erected a new and modern roller flouring mill.
He had been a sufferer from millers asthma for some years and sold his interest in 1901, since which time, until within the last two years he has engaged in carpentering and out door work.
He served the city faithfully many terms in office and was always deeply interested in affecting the municipal, always standing for law and order.
He was an active member of the G. A. R. from the time of its institution and attended and took part in every Decoration Day service with the single exception of the last one. He lost nothing in patriotism or loyalty with added years, yet it may be truly said of him that malice and rancor were foreign to his being, for he numbered many among his dearest, truest and best friends of men who wore the grey. He was a generous neighbor, kindly hearted and true. A younger brother of his recently said, “Do you wonder that we all loved him when he braved the hardships and battles of the civil war for $18.00 per month and sent the money all home that we small children might live, I call that sacred money and surely there is a crown of glory for such.”
By faith he was an Episcopalian adhering closely to the teachings of his church. He was a firm believer, and a constant reader of the Bible; often remaking that “If we would live each day right, we need have no fear of the hereafter.”
To mourn his loss he leaves a wife, son, daughter, three brothers, three sisters, four grandchildren and many friends.
South Kansas Tribune, June 7, 1916:
Elk City lost by death last Monday one of its great workers in pioneer days—we refer to Mr. Willard Musson, an old soldier, a working member of the Presbyterian church, and a good citizen there for forty or more years. He was a miller by trade and succeeded the late William Wright in the Elk City flour and saw mill in the good old days when Elk City was “pulling on the bits” for business. Mr. and Mrs. Musson’s home was a rallying center for temperance, social and Christian work and they were builders. After selling the mill he was active in politics not for himself but for others, and in the school and general work of good citizenship. He was aged 75 years, and is survived by his widow, daughter May and son Leighton.
From Cutler’s History of Kansas, 1883:Musson, Willard Bio
WILLARD MUSSON, miller, was born in Erie County, Pa., January 1, 1840. When a child his mother died and his father removed with him to New York. At four years of age he accompanied his father to Manitowoc, Wis. In 1857 they removed to Campaign County, Ill, where he lived until the civil war. He enlisted in September, 1862, in Company H of the One Hundred and Seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He served as an enlisted man three years and was mustered out as Orderly Sergeant at the expiration of his term of service. He returned to Illinois and returned to Cerro Gordo, Platt County, and engaged in milling. In 1867 he moved to Cobden, Union County, and was the foreman of a lumber company until October, 1878, when he came to Kansas and settled in Elk City and bought an interest in the Elk City Mills, the firm of Wright, Musson & Behrens. He is now serving his third term as a member of the City Council. He belongs to the Masonic Order and the G. A. R. He was married in July, 1867, at Cerro Gordo, Ill., to Miss Isabella L. Doyle. They have two children, May and Leighton.
Contributed by Mrs. Maryann Johnson a Civil war researcher and a volunteer in the Kansas Room of the Independence Public Library, Independence, Kansas.