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History of Crawford and Clark Counties, Illinois, Vol. II.

William Henry Perrin, ed.

(Chicago: O.L. Basking & Co. Historical Publishers)


Martin Willard, farmer, P. O. West York, is the oldest settler now living in Melrose Township, coming to the immediate locality where he now lived, in June 1818.  His father, Joseph Willard, was a native of North Carolina, and was born November 14, 1769.   He was a son of Martin and Rachel Willard, and was raised in his native State, and was married November 23, 1796, to Miss Peninah Jessop.  She was born in North Carolina, and died in Clark County, Ill., on the 8th of October 1841.  They had a family of eleven children, all but the two younger born in North Carolina.  Margaret and Martin was born in Orange County, Ind., and the latter, the subject of these lines, born on the 19th of May, 1817.  The family landed in what is now Melrose Township, on the 12th of June, 1818, and was the owner of one horse and cart. He began without house or any shelter other than a rude protection for his family, which he constructed of poles set up and covered with poplar bark.  Here,
surrounded by a dense forest of timber, infested with wild animals and Indians, he began to make for himself a home, and with the help of his older children, soon had made a cabin house and cleared a small field.  He lived to make for his family a comfortable home, and died where Martin now lives on the 14th of February 1845.  This circumstances, therefor, under which
Martin was raised, were such as to fit him well for the battle of life, and now, although sixty-six years old, is still able to oversee the interests of the farm.  He was married, February 21, 1841, to miss Sarah Draper. She was born in Indiana July 13, 1819, and is the daughter of Jesse and Abigail Draper.  Their family consists of ten children, two of whom are dead, viz.: Caroline, born March 8, 1842, the wife of Riley Mills; Mary J. Born November 20, 1843, died September 11, 1865; Isaiah, born September 17, 1845, died July 19, 1879; William M., born December 21, 1847, married to Miss I. Burrows; Charlotte, born November 13, 1849, the wife of Edward Wold; Amanda, born August 22, 1851, the wife of William P. Claypool; George Willard, born July 3, 1853; Martha A., born November 20, 1855, the wife of Henry Newlin; Alice C., the wife of A. Gideon, was born November 11, 1857; Frank P., born June 3, 1861, married to Barbara Stuck.  Mr. Willard and wife are members of
the Society of Friends, commonly called Quakers.  Their ancestors were members of the same organization.

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