EARLY WILLEY HISTORY

by Mark Willey 6/2/1993
Allen           Isaac [+ Joanna Lutton]            John    1Gen   YEAR
------------------------VVVV------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Isaac Hannah Sarah Mary  John [+ Miriam Moore]  Abraham----2nd    1650
--------------------------------VVVVV-------------------------------------------------------------------
Isaac [+Rose Bennet] Isabel John Miriam Allen Abel  Mary   3rd    1675
-------VVVV------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Isaac [+Deliverance Tallman] John  Abel  Ephriam Zachariah 4th    1700
------VVV------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Nathan Deliverance Abigail Barzillai Darius Miriam Comfort 5th    1750
------------------------------VVV-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Nathan Joanna Barzillai Lavina Elijah John Eleazer Isaac Irene Jane 6th
---------------------------------VVV------------------------------------------------------------------------
Unknown Ira Eli Unk Unk Ezra Malinda Matilda  Aaron [+ Angeline]  1800
---------------------------------------------------VVVV----------------------------------------------
 Ira Evaline unnamed Emeline Alwilda Elizabeth  William    8th    1850

Note: 4th generation female children: Sarah, Hannah, Rachel, Miriam, Dorothy, and Deborah

Summary of my line - Isaac1, John2, Isaac3, Isaac4, Barzillai5, Elijah6, Aaron7, Ira8 etc. down to me in the 12th generation.

     Willey is old English wilig (willow) + leah (wood or clearing).1 In England there are 5 parishes and 5 towns named Willey as well as one town named New Willey, a Willey Manor in Herefordshire dating from 1086, a Willey House in West Surrey, a Willey Moor in Cheshire, and a Willey River in Wiltshire. On the Severin River, there was the Willey Foundry from 1719-1776, at least, which even made artillery used against America in the Revolutionary War. Surnames were adopted in England between 1250 and 1450.

     The Willey name is widespread in England, but fairly rare among immigrants -only 4 male Willeys came to New England before 1685.2 Richard Willey married Alicia Somersby 3-Oct-1546 in Alford, Lincoln, England. Rycherd Wylley and Salley Freer married in Mumby, (7 miles east of Alford) England July 4, 1603.3 On 3-NOV-1605 they had a son Allen who married Alice Mason on 15-MAY-1628 in Alford, Lincolnshire.3 Allen joined the Boston Church on 2-NOV-1634. John Willey, born 1610, was in Reading, Mass in 1635. He married Elizabeth Clough in Watertown5 on 21-JUN-1644 and they had at least 3 children: Tim born 1653, Susanna born 1655, and Sarah born 1658.6 This John moved to Colchester, CT, about 16507 and worked on the New London mill-dam in 1651.8 The proximity of Allen and John to Isaac in age, in England, in Boston, and for John, in New London suggests a fraternal relationship. There is a tradition among the Delaware Willeys of three brothers coming from England.4 The only "proof" is that in a time when children were traditionally given family names, Isaac's son John named his first three boys: Isaac, John, and Allen.

     Isaac Willey was born @1614 in England. He married 19-year-old Joanna Lutton in 1637.3 They were in Boston at least by August 8, 1640 because there they baptized their son, Isaac (Boston Records., p.10). In 1645, Isaac was one of the five original settlers of the Nameaug plantation at the mouth of the Pequot River which became the Town of New London, Connecticut on 6-MAY-1646. Isaac was a selectman in 1647. He built his farm at Mill Brook at the base of Post Hill on the upper part of what are now Williams and Main streets. Later he moved to the head of the Niantic (Nahantic) River where "Old Goodman Willie" was legally confirmed in his property in 1664. He was one of three "certain individuals at Pequot" who were charged in May of 1649 for resisting a constable and letting go an Indian in their charge. In 1657 he had 3 cows, 6 calves, a litter of swine, and a share in 2 or 3 sheep.8 Although a 23-JUL-1650 letter from the First Church in Boston had recommended Joanna, in 1667 Goodwife Willey was presented before the court "for not attending public worship, and bringing her children hither" and fined 5 shillings.6 In November, 1669, Isaac was one of 4 men to lay out the King's Highway between N.L. and the Niantic River.8 Over a land dispute between New London and Lyme, on March 12, 1671 Isaac was among those arraigned in Hartford "for attempts by violence to drive Mr. Griswold and Lt. Waller off their land, and resistance to authority, and assault."

     Isaac's son John fought in the Narraganset campaign of King Phillip's War from 1675-1677, the critical feature of which was the massacre of 1000 Indian women and children.8 John was posthumously granted tracts of land in Voluntown, CT, in 1696 for his service.10 John moved with his brother Abraham to East Haddam in 1687.4 John was one of the founders of the town, in fact, the date of its inception is calculated by events in his life. Part of his land grant was a 27 acre farm a half mile SW of Hadlyme on the Lyme line where lay his house, worth seven pounds and ten shillings.4 When John died on May 2, 1688, the inventory of his estate was 169 pounds, 13 shillings, 6 pence. Abraham died on January 8, 1691/2 and his wife, Elizabeth Mortimer Willey returned to New London with her two sons and daughter. None of them became residents in East Haddam.4 Brother Isaac had no children.8 So, all the East Haddam Willeys, the ancestors of most of the Willeys in America, are descended from John.

     John's son Isaac was born in New London 18-JAN-1670-71 and married Rose Bennet at Lyme on 14-DEC-1697. His son Isaac was born at Lyme on 15-SEP-1699 and married Deliverance Tallman there on 12-MAY-1727. He was admitted as a freeman at Lyme on 11-SEP-1753. He had 4 and a half acres of land in the 9th division of E. Haddam in 1750 as well as land at Comstock's Ferry. He died 2-JUN-1767. Barzillai, born at Lyme on 10-SEP-1734, married Joanna Church before 1760.9 He moved to Oneida County, NY, between 1790 and 1800 apparently following his eldest son Nathaniel (see 1800 roll 23 p 174B and 1810 roll 33 p 86 census).

     Elijah was born 6-FEB-1766 and was baptized at the Hartland First Church on 18-JUN-1769.11 In the 1790 census Elijah was still living with his parents, four brothers, and four sisters near Middletown, CT. In the mid-1790's he and his brother John, born 26-JUL-1771, moved to MASS and about 1798 to Crawford County, PA. About 1796 Elijah married Waitstill Mary UNKNOWN (nickname Waity), born 1-SEP-1773 in Vermont. Her father lived with them in 1800.12 There is a statement at the Crawford County Historical Society that the Willey brothers came from Stueben County, NY, but this may be speculation based on the fact that most early settlers in the county came from there. We know from the same history that John had a son James in October 1797 in MASS. Sometime before 1800, John married Polly West and he and Elijah moved a few miles north near her brother in Le Boeuf twp, Erie County, PA.12 Elijah and Waity had 3 boys and 5 girls by 1812.13 Elijah "Wiley" served in the First PA Regiment of Artillery (Provost's) as a volunteer private during the War of 1812. Aaron Band was born on 16-AUG-1816 in PA. In Clermont County, OH, where he moved before 182014, Elijah's farm was rented from William Tripp, Survey 5959, Goshen twp (see 1827 tax records). This is the area bounded by county roads 117, 158, 215, and 57; and is a couple miles north of Goshen. Probably his eldest daughter didn't come with them from Pennsylvania. On 4-SEP-1827 Elijah bought a 133 acre farm in Warren County, Ohio, with two horses and two cows.15 On her 7-JAN-1854 will in Warren County, his wife's name was given as Waity Marie Willey and she signed with an "X". She and Elijah are buried in the Osborn Cemetery one mile west of Blanchester and a hundred yards east of their farm with one daughter and three grandchildren.
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WILLEY, NEW HAMPSHIRE LINE

After the descendants of Isaac Willey of New London, the second largest group of Willeys in America are descended from Thomas Willey of Dover, New Hampshire, born about 1617 in England. Sue and Rick Willey have just sent me a very solid listing of this family which is not as well known. Anyone who can trace their ancestry back to 1850 should be able to link to one or the other of these main Willey families or alternatively realize that they are from a small independent line that parachuted in. Checking both the two main lines therefore should advance one's knowledge. I present this line as a PDF file. If you do not have an Acrobat reader you can get one free at http://www.adobe.com

New Hampshire Willey Family

ERIE, PA WILLEYS

Since several people are researching the John Willey (26 Jul 1771 - 13 Jan 1837) of Erie Co, PA, 6th generation line and his wife Polly West (12 Mar 1779-1 May 1855) married 12 Mar 1795, I am including his children here. I also put them in the current LDS Ancestral file version 4.17.
James Oct 1, 1797 Mass  m. Sally Custer -> son Josiah p.961 Crawford History.
Abigail b. 15 July 1799
John C.  21 Mar 1801 married Sally Webster before 1829; they are 
buried together in Frisbee Cemetery in Crawford Co.  She died 9 Sep 1848 
and he died 20 Jun 1883. (Thanks to Mary LeBlanc for this 
informaton on marriage and deaths. Note a John H. Willey married 
Eliz Ward 7 Jul 1836 according to a listing in the Erie Gazette 
Newspaper.  He died 8 AUG 1847.)   
Isaac 10 Jun 1804
Johanna  10 Sep 1806
Polly 27 Aug 1808
Jane  29 Mar 1812
Philena 26 Mar 1814 (I am in contact with a descendant of hers) married 3 X
Levi  18 Aug 1816
George  9 Jun 1818
Barzilla 20 Aug 1821 (They didn't check their Bible for spelling)
Charles Layfayette  24 Jul 1824
It also says on the tombstone "N.B. There were five infants died"
I believe that was in addition to two named infants that are also on the tombstone that died young that I did not list above. Finally, some advice - Crawford Co Historical Society in Meadeville is the place to look, not the Erie Co. Historical Society in Erie. John's will is file #27591 dated 1836 in the Erie Co Courthouse. His adult children are also listed in his will.

THE DELAWARE WILLEYS

Larry Coyle and Larry Willey have done tremendous work on the Delaware line of this family descended from William Willey 1716/17 LDS AFN #16SS-7X7. Since I did not put this branch in the LDS database due to lack of information, let me here place a tentative chart of the Delaware branch:
 1.Isaac WILLEY 1614 England       /1st 4 generations in Henry Willey's book
    +Joanna LUTTEN or Lutton
  2. Abraham WILLEY b  abt 1650 d 1692
     +Elizabeth MORTIMER
    3. Thomas WILLEY b.1684
       +Ann HOUGH  went to Delaware after 1734.
      4. Abraham 1711
      4. Elizabeth 1714
      4. William WILLEY b.1716
        +WAITMAN?                     /spec based on child's name
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
   Generation 5 and 6 to present is solidly known. The connection of them
   to Abraham4 or William4 is by association.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
        5. William WILLEY 1733        /to be son of William would marry abt 16 yrs
           +Ann SMITH 1734              /more likely son of Abraham b.1711? I think so.
           6. John WILLEY 1757         /source LDS F837111 for whole family
           6. Waitman WILLEY 1760
           6. Betsey WILLEY 1762
           6. Bridget WILLEY 1764
           6. William WILLEY 1767
        5. Absalom WILLEY 1739         /source of this family deed 1792
           +Margaret! Polk?
           6. James 1764
           6. John 1766
           6. Nancy abt 1769
           6. Magdalane 1771
           6. Absalom 1780
           6. Boyde 1781
           6. Margaret abt 1784
           6. Mary abt 1786
           6. Levin abt 1787
           6. William Polk WILLEY 1787
        5. Levin WILLEY                   /1756 these two help measure
        5. Waitman WILLEY           /William's (b.1733) property Sussex Co
      4. Ann 1718
      4. Thomas 2 Feb 1720
      4. Jabez  b. abt 1728 died age 14.

Larry Coyle has compiled a comphrehensive list of Willeys in DE and PA in the 18th Century. Ahijah Willey +Susan GRANT, whom some place in the Delaware line because of wild speculation in books from W. VA is clearly descended from Joseph Willey AFN FVBN-GF, Henry Willey #34, born 16 APR 1705 married to Lucretia HOLMES. Part of this family went to VT, and they had names like Benjamin, Joseph and Seth. Then probably Benjamin b. 6-SEP-1737 who moved to Fonda, NY, and Root, Montgomery Co, NY. Then Ahijah and then the Eber Willey 1797 that ended up in Monongalia Co, W VA. Benjamin's family is not constructed. Not all of Ahijah's family is constructed.

MISC

The Willey crest is: a rose bush vert, bearing roses argent and Willey arms are: argent, 3 griffs passant sable (Burke: General Armory 1884).

November 26, 1761, The Pennsylvania Gazette - "JUST imported in the Ship Willey, John McConnell, Master, and to be sold from on board said Ship, at Mr. Joseph Sims Wharff, the Times of a Number of likely Irish Servant GIRLS."

There is a town of Willey in Christian Co, IL, just NE of Taylorville, founded by DeWitt Clinton Willey, son of Israel Willey (Henry Willey No. 244), who donated land for a railway junction. It is too small to show up on most state maps. Israel and 4 sons had moved to Christian City, IL, from Cincinnati, OH. DeWitt Clinton Willey married Mary Black and had:

  1. Harriet m. John C. Davis and moved to Brookfield, MO.
  2. Henrietta m. Newton J. Brown and moved to Ripley, OK.
  3. John Willey
  4. Horace Lincoln Willey m. Zullie M. Leaton. Children: Arthur, Lella, Nellie and Dorice Clinton Willey b. 4 Mar 1867 d. 1942 in Santa Maria, CA. His son is Richard Arnold Willey.
  5. Ida May m. P.M. Lawler at Taylorville, IL.
  6. Raymond C. Willey m. Lora M. Swift. Moved to St Louis, MO.
  7. Frank Willey m. Ida Russell. Lived at old homestead 1/2 mile from Willey. Children: Lora and Russell DeWitt Willey.

There is a town of Willey, population 92, in Carroll Co, IA, founded by Josiah Willey, born in Cornwall, England on August 18, 1819, and his three sons. It is commonly believed that the town was named after Josiah, Jr.. A recent Carroll County History has an excellent 7 pages all about it. There is no record of Josiah in Cornwall but he may be descended from Thomas Willy of 1660 and before that Peter Willey, Vicar of Ruan Minor in 1530.

Waitman T. Willey (18 Oct 1811 - 2 May 1900) was a US Senator from both VA and W. VA for ten years during and after the Civil War, also of the Delaware line. His father was William Willey, jr. born 1767 in Sussex Co, DE. He came to Monongalia Co. VA in 1782. Waitman got his M.A. at Augusta College in 1834 and later another at Madison College. He became a respected lawyer. He was a strong Methodist and wrote articles for his favorite church periodicals. He had 7 children. In 1856, he became a strong supporter of the free school movement. He was a conservative of the Whig Party and sided with the Union over the Confederacy calling seccession a "triple treason" - against the US Government, Virgina and the people. However, he was not anti-slavery (he owned slaves) and expected slave owners to be compensated for their loss after the Civil War. Most of his immediate family including his brother and son William were Confederates. After the war, Waitman was the leading force in the creation of the separate state of West VA - a secession!. (WAITMAN THOMAS WILLEY: ORATOR, CHURCHMAN, HUMANITARIAN by Charles Ambler, Huntington, W. VA, 1954)

The Rev. Samuel Hopkins Willey (1821-1914) was a founder of the University of California. He wrote a memorial to his father Darius Willey (1765-1849 NH).

MT WILLEY

Mt Willey MapWhite Mountains

There is a 4302 foot MT. WILLEY in the White mountains of NH at Crawford Notch named after an unfortunate family descended from Thomas Willey (b.1617 - d. Sept 1680) and his wife Margaret Crawford (1615-1680) of Dover, NH. Not related to Isaac Willey. The NH Park Service has a house there called "Willey House" and it has its own zipcode 03893. The ballad written by T.W. Parsons called THE WILLEY HOUSE and also Hawthorne's short story THE AMBITIOUS GUEST were based on this event. Basically, Samuel Willey, jr of Bartlett, his wife, five children and two hired men were crushed by a mudslide on August 28, 1826. The bizarre twist was that they died trying to flee to safety in a nearby cave, but if they had stayed in their house they would have been safe, since a ledge above it diverted the slide. It was a national sensation.

Frank Loyd Wright built the "Willey House" in St. Paul, Minnesota, along the Mississippi in 1934. It is a beautiful one-story ranch, very modern looking and which cost less than $10,000. It is currently being restored and there is a webpage for it on the net.

blueprint of Willey House

FURTHER BIBLIOGRAPHY

The classic book, the Willey bible Isaac Willey and his Descendants by Henry Willey (1888) has been put online by Elaine Merrell, a tremendous effort (footnote 9 above, also LDS film #1036667 item 1 and Library of Congress microfilm # 84/8475). She typed up the first 7 generations of Willeys in America. This and the Leroy Willie (footnote 6 above, LDS film 1320974 item 3) book listed above are the best books on the family, but there are some others:

If anyone is looking for any Willey name the place to go is Comprehensive list of Willeys. These pages by Kenneth Willey are the most comprehensive extention of Henry Willey's book going with 7,000 names plus. Besides Isaac's line there are a few independent lines of Willeys.

THE WILLEY STORY 1614-1977 by William David Willey 1977 mimeograph (also LDS film #1513338 item 7). David was born in 1906 and this date is sometimes associated with this booklet. This has a little information on the Abel Willey, born 8 Mar 1740, line that went to Canada. It has a few anecdotes: a Willey waking up with a bear, wrestling a hustler in Montreal, and the best was a story about Abel saving himself during the French and Indian War by hiding from Indians in a hollow log for days (taken unattributed from a book on the Lumleys). It has a few recent lines from Canada but isn't generally worthwhile.

SOME ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS TO ISAAC WILLEY OF NL CT AND HIS DESCENDANTS by Charles Putnam 1951 LDS film #0015547 item 7, is simply a descendant chart type book of one line. It is an enlargement of an earlier similar booklet by an Alice Willey.

THE WILLEYS OF DIXON, IL. LDS has a microfilm of this. It is basically a descendant chart of the Thomas Willey family from Dover.

See the 1790 census for Willeys.

Here is a gedcom file of Elijah Willey and his pedigree (48K): Gedcom

Here is a list of all Willeys who served in the Revolutionary War compiled from D.A.R. records and National Archives pension abstracts: Soldiers of the Revolution

There was a Willey reunion at Caldwell, Noble Co., OH, June 19-21, 1998. Most of the 60 attendees were descended from Absalom Willey of the DE line. The next one planned to be in central Iowa in the year 2000 organized by Larry Willey is postponed indefinitely.

E-mail Mark Willey: pha1941@hotmail.com.

URL: Willey Family

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