The baptism of Charles Henry Wills, son of Justin Wills and Magdeleine Burleigh, is not recorded but he told the 1900 census that he was born in May, 1848 (which accords with his age of 2 in the 1850 census, and 12 in 1860). He was listed as “Charles Henri” at the baptism of his daughter Sarah, and “Charles H.” in the 1900 census. He was obviously named for Justin’s brother Charles Henry Wills (1823-1845), who had died in 1845 shortly before this man’s birth.
On 13 Sept. 1871 there was a double marriage: Charles Henry Wills marr. his cousin Francis Anne “Fanny” Burleigh (daughter of James Burleigh and Frances Martha Cason), the same day that his sister Laura married another cousin James Madison Burleigh. Fanny was born on 18 June 1854. Charles and Fanny’s farm was next to their siblings and cousins Auguste Burleigh, Joseph Burleigh, and James M. Burleigh (and Laura), and his sister Amanda Devalcourt.
In the 1910 census, living with Charles and Fanny were their boys Marcey (and wife) and Henry and Jules Richard, a widowed boarder. Charles died 24 Apr 1919 (the death record says he was 72), so with Fanny in the 1920 census were only Henry and daughter Eve. Fanny died on 21 September 1926.
Charles and Francis are buried at Grand Coteau next to his sister Amanda. Their children are the only lines named Wills in St. Landry Parish in the 20th century.
Thanks to James Thaddeus “Rick” Richard for collecting the photos on this page.
126.96.36.199) Charles Wills (1872 – 1931) marr. Caroline ‘Carrie’ Richard
Born 24 May 1872, died 8 February 1931. He married Caroline ‘Carrie’ Regina Richard (1877-1960) on 16 Nov. 1897. They lived in Sunset and are buried at Grand Coteau. In Carrie Richard Wills’ obituary, the Daily World reports that survivors include 20 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. The 1910, 1920 and 1930 Census give various names for children, but in general:
- —Charles Rene “Raney” Wills (1899-1983), living with parents in 1930 census, later in Baton Rouge, died in Arnaudville.
- —Mary Frances Wills (1901-1994) m. Leo Jean Baptiste Guidry, lived in Sunset.
- —Marshall Edward Wills (1903-1970). The 1940 census lists him as “grocery store proprietor” in Opelousas and he later retired as a city employee there.
- m. 1) Octavia Timmons (1904-1944) with children: Lloyd, Floyd
- m. 2) Clara Arnold (1927-2011) with children: Marshall Jr, John Wayne, Kenneth, Charlene Ann, Mary Fabiola, Carrie Sue, Sheila Jane
- —Constance Theodora “Dora” Wills (1905-bef. 1920)
- —Vivian Wills (1907-2000 in Luling), unmarried, lived in New Orleans
- —Fergus (?) Wills (1909-bef. 1920), listed as 1/2 year old in the 1910 census
- —Henry Felix “Felix” Wills (1911-1970), marr. Emma Lou Rivette. He was a WWII veteran. The obituary notice reports funeral services for Felix “Peter” Wills of Baton Rouge.
- —Leota Wills (1914-1987), m. C. Fortune. Although married, she and her two children were living with her mother in 1940. Listed as “Edna” in the 1920 census, either by confusion or a second given name.
- —Mildred Alberta “Cricket” Wills (1916-2004) m. Joseph Henry Smith and lived in his hometown of Arnaudville. “Alberta” in 1920 census. Called “Mildred ‘Cricket’ Smith” and “the former Mildred Alberta Wills” in her obituary in the Daily World, which listed 5 sons and 1 daughter and mentions 15 grandchildren.
- —Gertrude Mae Wills (1918-2001), unmarried nurse, lived in Portland OR, died in Santa Barbara CA.
- —Mary Fabiola Wills (1920-2012, tombstone and obituary). She became a Daughter of Charity with the name Sr. Charlita. Said to be the youngest of 12 children, she was remembered fondly by her great nieces as “Aunt Tee” and “Honeybunch”.
188.8.131.52) Frances Elvina Wills (1874-1967) marr. Henry Johnson
Born 4 Jan. 1874, died 19 Jan 1967 in Church Point, and buried there. On 7 Dec 1898 (church record; courthouse 20 Nov), she marr. Henry Johnson (1878-1934), a farmer. She was known as an excellent gardener. A newspaper article mentioned “her enviable fall tomato crop, of which she now has 300 plants growing into the blooming stage.”
- —Pearl Johnson (1899-1984) m. Hubert Guidry
- —Earl Thomas (1906-1965) m. Ora Latiolais
- —Percy (1910-1970) m. Ruby Daugereau
184.108.40.206) Joseph Edouard Wills (1876-1880)
220.127.116.11) unnamed child (1877-1877)
18.104.22.168) James Clarence Wills (1879 – 1922) marr. Edmonia Johnson
Born 26 Oct. 1879, died 15 Oct 1922. He marr. Edmonia Johnson (1882-1941) on 11 Aug. 1899 and her widowed mother lived with them for many years. He and his wife are buried in Church Point.
- —Charles Prescott “Pres” Wills (1900-1972) m. Etta Bergeron.
Pres Wills was one of the major players in the sweet potato business in the Church Point, Louisiana area, which was so significant in the tuber business that it was labeled the “Sweet Potato Capital of the World”. He was a grower, packer, and shipper to areas such as Houston and San Antonio, Texas during the 1940’s and 1950’s. He was one of four individuals which owned and operated a major sweet potato kiln to store the potatoes. However, Prescott was particularly unlucky when he lost one kiln in 1964 and another 1969 due to fires. Children: Clarence (died as a boy when hit by a horse), Mary Sable “Toppy” (Wills) (Bergeron) Calais, twins Norma Bell “Bell” (Wills) Savoy and Norma Dell (Wills) “Tiny” Venable, and Barbara Ann (Wills) Higginbotham.
- —James Wesley “Wesley” Wills (1902-1973) m. Marie Emeritte Bergeron
- —Mary Hilda “Hilda” Wills (1906-1968) m. 1) Theogene Richard Sr. in 1923 with 5 children (including James Clarence Richard named for his grandfather), divorced; m. 2) Bill Dean, m. 3) Cornelius Antone Bahnsen in 1963.
She worked in the Vinton Post Office.
- —Hazel Wills (1911-1987) m. Gabriel Daigle, Jr.
22.214.171.124) Joseph Dudley “Dudley” Wills (1880-1928) marr. Ida Richard
Born 3 Sept. 1880, d. 13 Dec. 1928 in Sunset. He marr. Ida Hillard Richard (1879-1968) on 23 Oct. 1900. They are buried at Grand Coteau. Children:
- —Charles William “William” Wills (1901-1971) m. Rosetta Corine Perkins; daughters Barbara Ann Wills and Linda Sue Wills, both of Lafayette (apparently unmarried)
- —Leander “Lee” Wills (1903-1968), lived with his mother in Sunset.
- —Joseph Justin Wills (1905-1930). His grave has “Jeston”.
- —Lilly Mary Wills (1908-2006) m. Guilphy Paul Breaux. Lived in Lafayette.
- —Katherine “Kitty/Katie” Wills (1911-1999) (obit) m. Earl Vallery “Pat” Guedry Sr. Lived in Opelousas.
- —John Arthur “Arthur” Wills (1915-1974) m. Phobe Ellen Gaudet. Lived in Lafayette. Obituary says he died after an extended illness and lists sons Arthur N. Wills of Ossun, John W. Wills of Lafayette, daughter Phobe Elizabeth Wills of Lafayette.
- —Ida Mae Wills (1918-2001) m. Eugene Marcel. In the 1930 census of her mother are recorded a daughter “Dorthy” (age 15) and John Arthur (age 12), without Ida Mae. There is no other record of “Dorthy” so it seems that enumerator was confused by names and ages.
126.96.36.199) Mary Lilia “Lelie” Wills (1882 – 1905)
Born 17 March 1882, died 10 Dec. 1905 “aged 23”.
188.8.131.52) Joseph Adelbert “Delbert” Wills (1884 – 1931) marr. Lilian Richard
Born 18 Feb. 1884, marr. 8 Jan. 1907 to Lillian Richard (1886-1979, tombstone, obit a member of Oak Grove Baptist Church). Name recorded as “Albert”, “Adelbert”, “Dalbert”, “Adolbert Eugene”. Raised his family in Sunset, next to his mother and brothers. According to his obituary in the Clarion-News, he died 11 October 1931 at Sunset “following an accidental shotgun wound in his stomach. It is thought that he was cleaning the gun at the time and didn’t know it was loaded.” His funeral was a Grand Coteau. Children:
- —Joseph Easton Wills (c. 1907-1988) m. Rita Breaux
- —John Weston Wills (1914-1981; tombstone, obit) m. (1) Nina Stanford, (2) Minnie Lee Wade, (3) Bessie Anderson
- —Lillian Mae Wills (1917-1994) m. Smiley J. Babin. Called both “Mae” and “Lilly Mae”
- —Jules Charles Wills (1922-1989) m. (1) Shirley Vicknair ?, (2) Ollie Mae Flynn
184.108.40.206) Henry Toulmin Wills (1887-1936)
Born 15 March 1887, single and living with his parents in 1910 and 1920. In his World War I draft registration, he said he was living in Sunset LA and was supporting his father, mother, and sister. According to his obituary in the Clarion-News, he was still living in Sunset when he died 25 April 1936 of pneumonia after having the flu. His funeral was at Grand Coteau.
The source of his name seems to be Henry “Harry” Toulmin (1766-1823), who was an important legal scholar, Secretary of State of Kentucky, strong advocate of the Louisiana Purchase, judge of the Mississippi Territory, then Alabama legislator. Alternatively, his grandson Harry Theophilus Toulmin (1838-1916) was a Confederate colonel, Alabama politician and judge (confirmed in January 1887).
220.127.116.11) Marcellus “Marcy” Daniel Wills (1888-1967), marr. Esther “Etta” Timmons
Born 22 Dec. 1888 (baptismal record; tombstone says 23 Dec. 1887 but conflicts with Henry), died 1 Feb. 1967. He marr. Etta Timmons (1889-1957) on 19 Oct 1909. They are buried at Grand Coteau. Called “Morcey” in baptismal record, “Daniels M.” 1900 census, “Marcellus” 1910, “Maushal” 1920, “Mossy” 1930. Children:
- —Ethel Wills (1910-1987) m. J. Abbie Latiolais, lived in Church Point
- —Mary Grace Wills (1915-1993) m. Joseph Collins, lived in Opelousas
- —Charles J. Wills (1918-1990) m. Amy Boudreaux; lived in Lawtell; son Karl.
18.104.22.168) Sarah Eva “Eva” Wills (1891-1959), marr. Edward Marcellus de Valcourt
Born 16 March 1891, marr. 20 Nov 1922, died 15 Jan. 1959. Called “Aunt Sweetie”. She and her husband are buried at Grand Coteau.
22.214.171.124) Leander Wills (1893-1893)
126.96.36.199) unnamed child (1894-1894)