McCulloch County History, Vol. I
Compiled by Wayne Spiller
Biography submitted by Ella (Willis) Lipps

     The book,"The Willises of Virginia" by Maude Porter, in 1665 traces the Willis family from Oxford, England through Virginia and North Carolina to Murfessbrough, Tennessee.  John Nelson was born in Tennessee in 1816.  The family migrated to Benton County, Alabama about 1819, where they lived until coming to Texas in 1853.   His parents were Wm. John Willis born 1789 NC, and Ann (Johnston) Willis born 1791 in SC or VA.  John married Elizabeth Webster, daughter of Mathew and Amelia Webster, in Alabama Dec. 21, 1841.  She died in 1888 and he in 1908.  They are buried in the "Spiller Graveyard" on land inherited by a great-granddaughter, Evelyn (Willis) McLerran and her husband, E. O. McLerran.  Her father was Calvin Willis, grandson of John.
     John Nelson joined the Texas State Troops in May 1864.  His commanding officer was 1st Lieut. Decator Baron.
     The following are the children of John and Elizabeth (Webster) Willis:
         (1). John Leroy, born February 27, 1843, died at New Orleans, La. During the Civil War, of cholera, March 2, 1865.
         (2). Mathew Shook, born June 8, 1845, joined the TST from Camp San Saba.  He was on temporary duty in Coleman Co., Texas.  While chasing a steer his horse ran under a limb, threw him and broke his neck.
         (3). Nary Ann, who married J. H. Davis (a brother to Jeff, Joe and Cal), was born January 10, 1848.  Their children were Millie, Ross, and Clint.
         (4). Amelia Texana, born July 17, 1850, married Cal Davis.  Their children were Donia, Ada, Bill, and Tom.
         ( 5). William James, born April 23, 1853, married Ludie C. Anderson.  Their children were Milton, Leonard, Laura and Fannie.
         (6). David De Jose, born February 15, 1856, married Melissa Angeline Williams, daughter of James Williams of Mason County.  Their children were Arthur Nelson, James Ezra, Della Ann, David Calvin, William Alfred, Nelly Amelia, Nolie Bell and Ella.
         (7). Sarah Eugenia, born June 14, 1857, married N.B. Cotton.  They had one son, John. She died September 30, 1885.  She is buried in the "Spiller Graveyard" beside her parents.
     John and Elizabeth lived for a while near his parents in San Saba County.  He paid property and poll taxes in that county for 1868, 1869, 1870.  They took a herd of cattle to Colorado in 1870.  His mother died in 1873 while he was gone.  He built a house by the San Saba River, near George Henry.  He owned a tract of land near Lost Creek crossing but did not live there.  David inherited this land, and his son, Calvin, inherited it from him.
     The Willis family ranch property lies along the north bank of the San Saba River from the vicinity of the mouth of Lost Creek, joining the Campbell ranch on the east, then north to the Long Valley lane and following the lane west to a point near the old river crossing northwest of Voca.

     Contributed by Ella (Willis) Lipps for
     McCullloch County History, Vol. I
     Compiled by Wayne Spiller

Submitted by: Louann Hall