McCulloch County History, Vol. I
Compiled by Wayne Spiller

     John Dial Willis born in Benton Co., Alabama, Dec. 26, 1844, came to Williamson Co., Tex. in 1854, with his widowed mother, his grandparents and the Willis uncles and aunts.  He enlisted in Civil War from Williamson Co., Tex. In June 1861, he married Martha Ann Melinda Stovall in Burleson Co., Tex. March 18, 1869.  He moved his family to San Saba Co., Tex. in 1875 and settled in Harmony Ridge Community.
     In 1882 the family moved to Rattler on the Brown Co. side of the Colorado River.  Five years later the area became Mills County.   He lived at Rattler 25 years during which time he and his sons ran a cotton gin and grist mill, a store and a winery.  He was justice of the peace and was the first and only postmaster from May 19, 1892 to Nov. 28, 1906. A low-water crossing of the river  few hundred feet below the dam permitted settlers on the San Saba Co. side of the river to trade at Rattler,
     In 1908 John came out of retirement and settled in Rochelle, McCulloch County, Tex., where he owned and operated the water works until 1920 at the age of 76 when he retired the second and final time.  His wife, Martha Ann Melinda (Stovall) Willis, was born in Cherokee Co., Texas. March 26, 1847.  Her grandfather and father Stovall as well as her mother and grandfather Shoemaker were all qualified as citizens of the Republic of Texas.
     Joseph E. Willis, the eldest son of the above couple was appointed postmaster at Rochelle, McCulloch Co., Tex. April 27, 1909.  His successor was appointed August 14, 1933.  He had previously served as postmaster of Locker, San Saba Co., Tex.

These sketches were largely researched and prepared by Dayton Moses Carrell,
son of Margaret Catherine (Willis) Carrell for:
     McCulloch County History Book, Vol. I
Compiled by Wayne Spiller

Submitted by: Louann Hall