William Alfred Wills and Joseph I Wills Jr. were two brothers (sons of Joseph Ignatius Wills, Sr.) who lived next to each other on Cobb Neck and attended the Catholic Church at Issue. Their children intermarried and both families were active supporters of the Confederacy.
3.1.) William Alfred Wills (1811/12-1870)
William is a Wills family name, but the source of Alfred is not clear.
Around 1840, he married Dorothy Rosella “Rose” Hamilton (c. 1812 – ), da. of James Hamilton (1772-1859) and Dorothy Smith. Her aunt Theresa Hamilton was the wife of his uncle Frederick Wills. Two of her uncles went on the Catholic emigration to Louisiana along with Frederick Wills.
Georgetown College records him as the guardian for his brother Francis there in the 1840s. In 1845, he was appointed one of the commissioners to apportion the dowry of Mrs. Mary Spalding (with his cousin Francis Thompson).
He does not appear by name in the 1840 Census, nor does his age allow him to be placed in the household of his brother Joseph Ignatius Wills, Jr. In the 1850 census, he is recorded in Allen’s Fresh as farmer in the household of his retired father-in-law James Hamilton (neither assigned a value of real estate): Wm. A. Wills (38), Rachel (mistake for Rosella, 38), Walter (8), James (5), and 6 slaves.
In the 1860 Census are Alfred A. (78, mistake for 48), Rose D. (48), John W. (18), James H. (15) with $4000 real estate, $4000 personal property, and both boys in school. They lived adjacent to his brother Joseph I. Wills, Jr. The slave schedule for that census lists William A. Wills in Allen’s Fresh with 7 slaves.
His joined the Confederate 1st Maryland Artillery (with many others from Charles County) in the summer after the war began, but was discharged a year later in October 1862 due to his age and chronic diarrhea. The Certificate of Disability says “Private William A Wills of Capt Wm. F Dement’s Company of Maryland (Artillery) of the Confederate States, was enlisted by Capt. R. Snowden Andrews, of the Maryland Artillery, at Richmond on the sixteenth day of August 1861 to serve for the war. He was born in Charles County in the state of Maryland, is fifty years of age, five feet eleven inches high light complexion hazel eyes gray hair and by occupation when enlisted a farmer. During the last two months said soldier has been unfit for duty sixty days.”
He died in 1870. His administrator was his son James A. Wills. Securities were his two sons and wife: James A. Wills, John W. Wills, and Rose D. Wills of Chas. Co. The federal census taken on 21 September 1870 records the three of them living together with $3000 of real estate and $800 personal property.
3.1.1) John Walter Wills, C.S.A. (1842/3-1879)
He was usually recorded in documents as “John W. Wills”, but the 1850 census lists Walter Wills aged 8, and family tradition says “Walter” was the middle name of the Confederate solider John W. Wills. In 1870 (when the census records him as 26), he was a bondsman for Louisa E. Simms and James E. Higdon, the administrators of the estate of Mark Levi Simms.
He died in 1879, and the Port Tobacco Times of 9/19/1879 strikes him from electoral roll of 5th district as “dead”.
3.1.2) James Alfred Wills (1845-1917), C.S.A.
James A. Wills (born 1 April 1845) and his brother John W. Wills served together in Company B of the 2nd Maryland Infantry, C.S.A., composed of many from Charles County including their cousin Augustine Wills Neale. Both were severely wounded at Gettysburg but they survived the war, surrendered at Appomattox Court House and returned to farm at Issue.
On 9 Feb. 1873, he was married to Anna Florence “Nannie F.” Edelen (born Dec. 1845) by Fr. Toall of St. Ignatius with witnesses: John W. Wills and Catharine Higdon. The bride is listed as residing in the District of Columbia.
In 1915, they moved to Oakton, VA. He died on 3 Feb. 1917 in Oakton, and she a few weeks later and was buried on March 2, 1917. Both are buried at St. James Catholic Church, Falls Church VA (his tombstone, her tombstone); the graves was marked in 2004 by Richard C. Wills.
They told the 1900 census that they had had 6 children, of whom 3 were still living (presumably the three with them: Richard E., Mary M, Marie V.). Issue:
188.8.131.52) Richard Edelen Wills (1873-1937). He was born 18 Nov. 1873, bapt. 26 Nov. 1873, godparents John W. H. Wills and Maria K. Edelen. He marr. Maria Harriet Wills (1865-1953), his father’s cousin (see below). They moved to Washington, DC and then to Prince George’s Co. He was hit by a train and died instantly 3/12/1937 in Berwyn, P.G. Co, Md. They had seven children: James Earl Wills (children), Mary Innetta (Wills) Page, Viola Elizabeth Wills, Joseph Edelen Wills, Agnes Dorothy (Wills) McGlynn, William Alfred Wills, Laura Ann “Annie” (Wills) Marsden.
184.108.40.206) James Eugene Wills (1875 – died young), born 12 Jan. 1875, bapt. 17 April 1875 at St. Ign.CP (godparents were Edward Wills and J. Mathews). Died before the 1880 census.
220.127.116.11) Maria Placidia Louisa Wills (1876-died young), born 8 Sept. 1876, bapt. 17 Nov. 1876 at St. Ign.CP (godparents: James Wills and Ellen Posey, per Cecilia Taylor). Deceased before (or omitted from?) from the 1880 census.
18.104.22.168) Maria Laura Wills (1878- d. bef 1900). Born 28 Sept. 1878, bapt. 8 Nov. 1878 at St. Ign.CP. godparent: Laura Elisabeth Burch. Recorded as “Laura” aged 2 in the 1880 census.
22.214.171.124) Mary Agnes Wills (“Mae”) (1881-1959) = Sr. Mary Seraphina. The records of Georgetown Visitation Convent say she was born at Woodland Point, Charles County in 1881, entered the convent in 1911, and died 9/3/1959, 78 years of age, professed 46 years. They understood that her cousin was a Sister of Mercy. Presumably, she is the “Mary M. Wills” listed in the 1900 census at home and the “May Wills” listed with her relative Maria K. Edelen in Baltimore (both born May 1881). Probably she and her cousin Marie were at school there and so her parents also listed them on the census at home.
126.96.36.199) Maria V. Wills (Jan. 1885- ?). Recorded as Marie V. born “Jan 1885” in the 1900 census in Charles County with her parents. Probably the 12-year-old (born Feb 1888) Marie Wills in Baltimore then with her sister (see the note above) was a cousin and not this same girl.
3.4) Joseph I. Wills, Jr. (1817-1880)
The household of Joseph I. Wills, Jr is recorded in the 1840 Census (Charles Co, District 4), with Males: 1 (15-19), 1 (20-29) Females 1 (15-19), 1 (20-29), 1 (50-59) Slaves 4. Since he would only have been about 23 at that time, we can assume that the older woman is his mother (aged about 56 then) and the others are his siblings: 26-year old Lucy Ann (but possibly it could be a wife), and teenaged Elizabeth and Francis.
Around 1840, he married Eliz. H. Norris (1824-1878). Her maiden name is known from her daughter’s baptismal record. Also Joseph I Wills was a witness of the will of Harriet Norris in 1846 who mentions daughter Elizabeth, and accordingly Dec 1846 Chas. Co. Orphan’s Ct. p. 198 “Mary Ann and Francis Ignatius Wills, minors, are placed under the guardianship of their father, Joseph I. Wills” with Zach. Lloyd and Benj. Welch securities. Joseph I. Wills was a witness for the will of his uncle John B. Wills, Jr and the 1852 will of his uncle Charles Wills.
The 1850 census shows Joseph T.(?)(33), Betty (25), Ignatius (8), Mary A. (8), Irene (2); he is listed near or on Havre de Venture as “farmer” but without real estate; apparently on land of Wm. B. Stone. After the death of his brother-in-law Zachariah Lloyd in 1859, he is named a guardian (along with his sister and her oldest son) for his two younger nephews (Chas Co. Guardian Bonds, 1833-83, f. 480).
The 1860 Census lists the members of the family as Joseph I Wills (42), Elizabeth H. (32), Mary A. (17), Irene A. (11), Joseph I. (7), Edward (5), John (1). He had $5000 worth of real estate and $10,000 of personal property, and the three older children were attending school. They lived adjacent to the property of his brother Alfred Wills.
July 1862: a letter of Lt. John H. Stone, CSA to his sister reports a brief visit home from the army in Virginia: “We called on Mr. Reed who kindly transported us across the Potomac, landing us about midnight at Mr. Joseph I. Wills. We enjoyed his hospitality until Sunday evening when we resumed our journey homeward distant 16 miles.” Maryland Historical Magazine, 85 (1990), pp. 109-143.
After the war, the 1870 census records the household with the following members: J.I. (farmer, aged 53), E.H. (keeping house, 43), Irene (20), J. (farm laborer,17), E.E. (attending school, 15), J.B. (attending school, 12), E (attending school,10), L. (6), H. (5), I (1) and a farm laborer L. Penn (18). They had $3000 real estate and $1000 personal estate.
Mrs. Elizabeth Wills, wife of Joseph I. Wills, died aged 50 on 9 Feb. 1878 “at the residence of her husband in Cobb Neck” (Md. Independent 2/14/1878).
“Joseph I. Wills in his 63rd year died 24 March of pneumonia at his home ‘Potomac View’ in Cobb Neck” (PTT 4/16/1880). His admr. was John B. Wills; securities were John B. Wills, Irene A. Wills, James A. Wills, all of Chas. Co. The Federal Census in June of that year recorded “Ann Irene Wills” as head of the household with four brothers working on the farm, two young sisters, and oysterman Lemuel Penn.
Of their many children, only two (who married other Wills cousins) are known to have had offspring.
3.4.1) Mary Ann Wills (“May 12, 1842-June 3, 1907”, acc. to Mary Neale White) marr. Chas. Alexander Wills Neale (1843-1933), her 2nd cousin, son of Eliz. Ann Wills and James Francis Neale). See that family for descendants.
3.4.2) Francis Ignatius Wills (1842-), died or moved before 1860.
3.4.3) Irene A. Wills (1848-); “Ann Irene” single in 1880.
3.4.4) Joseph Wills (1853-1880). He died in Cobb Neck “3/17/80 aged 25 years of pneumonia”
3.4.5) Edward E. (1855- ). He was godfather of his cousin James Eugene Wills in 1875. Edward E. Wills was a witness in the administration of the estate of Jos. I. Wills 1880.
3.4.6) John B. Wills (1858 – 1884/5), administrator of his father’s will. Not to be confused with his cousin John B. Wills (1861-1883), son of Dr. Francis Reed Wills.
3.4.7) Wm. T. (?) Wills (c. 1860 – ?), recorded as “E” aged 10 in the 1870 Census, and “Wm. T.” aged 20 in 1880.
3.4.7) Bernard Leo Wills (1864-99). Died of pneumonia at Issue, buried “Cobb Neck Catholic Church”. He was administrator of the estate of his brother John B. Wills in 1885.
3.4.8) Maria Harriet Wills (3/5/1865-3/9/1953), called “Hattie” and “Hennie”, bapt. 3/15/1865 at Cobb Neck: “Mary Henrietta Wills, da. of Joseph I. Wills and Eliz. Norris”; her godmother was Rosa Wills. “Mary Henrietta Wills” confirmed in 1878 at the Holy Ghost Church, Cobb Neck, by Cardinal Gibbons. “Maria Harriet” in the 1880 census. She marr. Richard Edelen Wills, son of her cousin (above). Died: 3/9/1953 in Berwyn, PG Co., Md.
3.4.9) Mary Inetta Wills (1868?-1961). Aged 11 in the 1880 census. She was confirmed in 1878 at Holy Ghost Church, Cobb Neck, by Card. Gibbons. She lived with her sister Hattie’s family in Washington for many years, and never married. She died in 1961, at age 94 or 95.
3.4.10) Marie Rebecca Wills (1877/8-1950), single. In the 1930 census, she was living with her sister Hattie’s family in Berwyn, Md.
Probable offspring of one of the older sons of this family:
“Miss Lula Wills of Charles County” whose marriage to Mr. Fred D. Perkins of Hyattsville on 22 December 1897 at Holy Ghost Church, Charles County by the Rev. J. Wade is recorded in the Evening Star (DC) 12/29/1897?]
The 12-year-old (born Feb 1888) Marie Wills was recorded in the 1900 census in Baltimore at her relative Maria K. Edelen’s.