Benjamin Willis V
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Benjamin Willis V (1774-1860)

  • Wives:

    •  Blansett Morrison (1775(2) - 1835)

      • She came to America with her father (John Morrison) and mother (Flora Campbell) from Scotland when she was only about 15 years old.

      • They were married before 1801 in North Carolina.

      • She never learned to speak English distinctly.

      • About 1835, Blansett Morrison Willis, a young daughter and an infant granddaughter were scalped by the Indians when the Indians raided the Willis home located near the village of Dakota, Georgia. The murdered family are all buried in the cemetery at Dakota, Georgia, where their graves may be seen today. See photo near bottom of page.

    • Amelia Fletcher (1816 -October 28, 1887)

      • Daughter of Joseph Fletcher,

      • Married David Branch who died in 1854.

      • After David's death, Amelia married Benjamin Willis. They had no children.

      • Amelia is buried in the Macedonia Church Cemetery in Irwin County, Georgia.

  • Children: (they had eleven children)

    • Peggy Willis (??-1835) Died 1835, Dakota, Turner County, Georgia
      Fact: 1835, killed, and scalped , by Indians

    • John Washington Willis (1803- 1885) married to Matilda Calloway (??-??)
      Born in Bladen County, North Carolina, died in Tift County, Georgia (Salem Baptist Church)

    • Maintain Willis (1808 - ??) married to Sarah Merritt (??-??)
      born in Telfair County, Georgia, died in Irwin County, Georgia

  • History Notes:

    • Benjamin Willis, who was born in Cumberland County, North Carolina in 1774.

    • Benjamin died in 1860 in Worth County, Georgia.  

    • Benjamin and Blansett were married prior to March 28, 1801.  In John Morrison's will of that date, he  gave "to my son-in-law Benjamin Willis my plantation afer my wife's decease and he should obligate himself to pay to my grandsons......"(4)

    • He is reported to have possessed a land deed in Laurens County, Georgia, in 1811.

    • He was included in the census of Laurens County, Georgia, in 1820.

    • These records revealed that he served as Grand juror in March 1821 in what was then Irwin County, Georgia. (Worth County was later formed from part of Irwin county)

    • From "History of Turner County" Georgia: "In relating the importance of "old Pindertown" (in Turner County) stated ...."It was here that old man Willis had a blacksmith shop, long before the Indians killed his family near Dakota in 1837." Reference here is to Benjamin Willis, husband of Blansett Morrison.

      • From "History of Worth County" Georgia: "Sam Story Whips Indian. The Indian Kills Willis Family"
        "The following story has been told to me by many others but I'll tell it as Uncle Jack Collins told it to me in 1900. Uncle Jack was but a youth when it occurred, but was 87 years old when he told it to me. A man by the name of Willis lived a few miles west of Dakota, Ga., but was away from home working on a water wheel for a grist mill near the Ocmulgee River. One night he had horrible dreams and seemed to hear the cries of his family nearly forty miles away. He immediately arose and walked all the way home to find that his family had been murdered. One of the younger women grabbed a small child and fled and was more than a half mile away from home when her pursuers over-took her and slew her. Rev. J.J. Davis said that Mr. Nas Hendserson, who had been for about forty years, said that they stamped the child to death in the mud with their moccasin shod feet.

        Uncle Billie Whiddon was but a small boy and was away from home and knew nothing of what had happened and on coming home at night, and finding no one there, for the pioneers had congregated for protection, knew something was wrong and slept in the staple loft over his horse.

        The murdered family were all buried in the cemetery at Dakota, where their graves can be seen today.

        Uncle Billie Whiddon said that Mr. Willis was not sure that the Indians did the crime, but suspected his son-in-law, but afterwards while among the Seminoles in Florida, he found his wife's kettle ands some bed clothing that he knew.

        The cause of this trouble was that Uncle Sam Story found an Indian stealing his hogs. He caught the Indian, tied him to a pine tree and gave him a good "flogging" with his cow whip and they retaliated by killing the Willis Family."

        This story is also related in the "History of Lee County, Georgia"

    •  

    • Blansett Willis Headstone
       

      People trying to locate this cemetery can go to MapQuest and type in "Jones Road, Dakota, GA"--Dakota is small enough that you don't need to be more specific than that. Dakota is about 5 miles north of Ashburn, on Highway 41. If you're going north on 41, you'll see the Dakota Baptist Church on the left; Jones Road is maybe 200 yards past the church (also on the left). Jones Road ends a "block" from US 41 (less than 100 yards) at Dakota Road (so small it doesn't show on MapQuest): the cemetery is at the intersection of Jones Road and Dakota Road.

      The cemetery was used for burials as recently as 1977. It's a tiny cemetery (fewer graves, I think, than the Willis cemetery). There are two concrete slabs by the fence at the back of the cemetery, and this marker is by those slabs. None of the other graves appear to be Willis family, but many have broken markers. What I was told was that this was the family burial ground on Benjamin's farm. Benjamin and Blansett's children moved south into what would become Worth County. Benjamin eventually sold the land at Dakota and moved south, too (I read somewhere that he was living with daughter Mary Smith when he died), but he deeded the family burial ground to the church. Someone looks after the cemetery and keeps the grass cut...maybe the church.

      Kathy Fowler

      (Mollie Willis Fowler's great-granddaughter)

       


       

Please send any updates/additional information about the Willis Family to info@willisclan.net

 

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Last modified: August 22, 2009