7.2) Justin Wills (c. 1813/15-1883), the son of Frederick Wills and Theresa Hamilton, was born in Maryland and moved to Louisiana with his father as a small boy. The name “Justin” was not common in Maryland then and is probably a byform of “Justinian”, which seems to have been an ancestral name (see the Wills Family in the colonial period) and was the middle name of his nephew Ernst Justinien Follain.
He received $200 in the 1832 will of his aunt Mary H. Wills.
On 28 Oct. 1839 in Grand Coteau, he married a neighbor, Magdeleine Burleigh (7 April 1815 – 3 March 1860), the daughter of Robert Burleigh of North Carolina and Marie Therese Taylor (“Taleur” in local records). Her name in French parish records is Marie Magdeleine but it’s unclear whether she went by French, English or other versions.
In the 1840 Census, the newlywed Justin and his wife had in their home another woman (aged 20-29, perhaps sister Caroline) and a teenaged boy (perhaps brother Stanislaus), as well as three enslaved persons. Many records (especially French ones) write his name as “Gestin” or other variations. For example, on August 15, 1840, “Gestin Wills” bought some land in St. Landry parish from John Fall. In May 1843, “Jesten Wills” appears as one of ten passengers arriving back in New Orleans from Veracruz on the brig “Architect”.
In the following decade, Justin and his wife had seven children, but sadly four died as small children. The 1850 census records him as a “Planter” aged 35, with his wife Maria (for Maria Magdalena) and the three surviving children, with four enslaved persons; one final daughter was born later that year.
Eventually, Justin became the farm manager for wealthy William Hardy (a fellow Marylander by birth), since he is recorded at age 44 in that house in the 1860 census (although Justin had $3750 of his own real estate and was holding 6 enslaved persons). His wife Magdeleine Burleigh Wills had died a few months before, so his children are listed in the adjacent house with Theresia Wills as the ”planter” (without property) and Justin’s oldest son Adelbart (aged 17) as “manager”. The identity of Theresa Wills (born in Maryland about 1809) is unclear — she is probably the widow of Justin’s brother Stanislaus (she died 1861).
No record in the 1870 Census was found for Justin Wills, but his daughter Amanda was living in Grand Coteau at a teacher’s house that year. In 1880, the widower Justin Wills is listed as farmer; living with him was his sister Caroline Follain.
Justin’s death on 13 Aug. 1883 is recorded at the parish in Grand Coteau, where the many baptisms and deaths in his family are also recorded.
Three of the children (Charles, Laura, and Adela) married Burleigh cousins, grandchildren of their mother’s brother James. The Burleigh spouses were themselves also cousined on their maternal side (Keson/Cason).
Children of Justin Wills and Magdeleine Burleigh:
7.2.1) Mary Penelope Wills (1840-1847)
7.2.2) Adalbert Wills (1841 – after 1860)
Called “Albert” in the parish record of his birth 6 Dec.1841, then “A” aged 9 in the 1850 census and then “Adelbart” aged 17 in 1860.
7.2.3) Engelbert (or Ethelbert?) (1843-1844)
7.2.4) Frederick Wills (1845-1845), named for his father’s father.
7.2.5) Joseph Hamilton Wills (b. 1846), died in infancy. Named for a relative of his father’s mother.
7.2.6) Charles Henry “Charley” Wills (1848 – 1917/20) marr. Francis Anne Burleigh
They had 13 children, of whom 6 had offspring. All those in Bayou Louisiana with the surname Wills descend from this marriage.
7.2.7) Laurence “Laura” Wills (b. 1849 – 1923) marr. James Madison Burleigh
The parish records have “Laurence Wills” (a French girl’s name) for her birth 12 Aug. 1849, and the 1860 census calls her “Laurant”, although she was apparently known later as “Laura”. Also recorded as Mary Laura. On 13 Sept. 1871, she married James Madison Burleigh (1852-1921, son of James), the same day her brother Charles Henry married another Burleigh cousin. They are buried at Grand Coteau.
Children: Marie Esther/Hester, James Edward, Joseph Lawrence, Frederick “Freddy” (presumably named for his great-grandfather Frederick Wills), Marie Madeleine, William Louis, Justin, Marie Cornelia, Joseph Athelbert, Florence, Leo(nard) Lloyd, Theophile, Charles.
7.2.8) Adela “Della” Wills (1850 – 1905), marr. Auguste Burleigh
She was born 1 Nov. 1850 (church records 1850, tombstone 1851), marr. 25 Oct.1871 Auguste Burleigh (1852-1930, son of Augustus). She died 18 May, 1905 and is buried at Grand Coteau. They lived in Sunset, neighbors of her brother Charles Henry Wills (listed immediately before her in the 1880 and 1900 census).
Children: Madeleine, John Berchman, Ervin, Gertrude, Robert, Joseph, Augustus, Marie Edna, James Hamilton, Theresa, Charles Gilbert.
7.2.9) Mary Anne Amanda “Amanda” Wills (1854 – 1922), marr. Benjamin A. Devalcourt
Born 12 May 1854, died 17 Jan. 1922. Called “Manda” (aged 7) in the 1860 census, but “Amanda” in 1870 and on 25 Jan 1877 when she marr. Benjamin Alexandre Devalcourt (1855-1931). They are buried at Grand Coteau. [Her name was transcribed by Hebert as “Mary Anne Enandrus” but that must be a mistake for Amanda].
Children: Frank Thomas “Thomas”, Marie Agnes, Theodora, Mary Catherine, Benjamin Alexandre, Mary Elizabeth, Alexander, Louise Caroline “Caroline”, Laura Mary.