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The Western Star, April 22, 1921.


Was a Civil war Veteran and a Pioneer Settler in Comanche County.

Elias & Adeline (Stewart) Willard
At left: Elias & Adeline (Stewart) Willard

At 8:40 o'clock a.m. on last Tuesday, April 19, 1921, and a little less than nine days after the death of his wife, Elias Willard passed away at his home in this city. He had been in failing health for several months, but his condition had not been considered serious, until two or three months ago, when his physical and mental vitality began to give way rapidly. He was able to be about town occasionally, however, but it was evident that the end was not far off, hence the news of his death on Tuesday was no surprise. Complications which terminated in uremic poisoning were the immediate cause of his death.

Funeral services were conducted from the Methodist Episcopal church in this city at 3 o'clock p.m. on Thursday, the pastor, Rev. W. M. Austin, being in charge. He was assisted in the service by Rev. J. B. Handy and the other pastors of the city. Rev. Austin used as a text, "For we know that, if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens," 11 Cor. 5:1. Interment was in the Crown Hill cemetery by the side of his wife, who was laid to rest the week before.

The pall-bearers were the same as those acting at the funeral of Mrs. Willard - all former neighbors of the Willards. The surviving members of the Grand Army of the Republic of this county were honorary pallbearers. The I. O. O. F. lodge also attended the services in a body.

New Erie, Wayne-co, Ohio, was the place and March 23, 1841, the date of the birth of Elias Willard. His father was Samuel Willard, who was one of the pioneer settlers in northern Ohio. Young Willard during his youthful days experienced much of the hardships and endured many of the privations of early settlers, and it was in that way that he became a strong, vigorous and ambitious young man.

He was 20 years of age when the Civil War broke out, and his patriotic impulses soon led him to volunteer his services for the defense of the Union cause. His entry into the army was on October 12, 1861, for a two years enlistment. On December 15, 1863, he re-enlisted for the remainder of the war as a "Veteran Volunteer," and was a member of Co. A., 68th Ohio Infantry. In all, he served his country for nearly four years and participated in many of the principal battles and campaigns of the Civil War. His company took an active part in the battles of Fort Donelson, Corinth, Shiloh, Iuka and Champion Hill, also in the siege of Vicksburg and with Sherman on his famous "march to the sea." At Vicksburg he took part in running the gauntlet on the Mississippi river above that city for a distance of 14 miles, thus aiding materially in the Union victory which attended the fall of that strongly fortified Confederate city. His regimental flag, now in Washington, D. C., shows that Mr. Willard took part in 34 important battles and in 36 minor battles of the war. His record as a soldier indicates that he was always brave and even daring, and that his loyalty to Stars and Stripes was constant and genuine. Several times he was cited for bravery and for distinguished service in action. One of the medals he received was granted by the state of Ohio. He was wounded three times. In the battle of Champion Hill he received quite a severe wound in one of his jaws, but he never had to go to a hospital. Mr. Willard was mustered out of the service on July 10, 1865, and immediately returned to his home in Ohio to again take up the pursuits of peace.

On November 18, 1865, in Napoleon, Ohio, Mr. Willard was united in marriage with Miss Lucy Adeline Stewart. They continued to make their home in northern Ohio, until May, 1884, when the "call of the West" led them to seek a home in southwestern Kansas. They lived for a while in Harper-co., and then moved on to Comanche-co., a part of the family coming in the year 1885 and the remainder of the family in January, 1886. They settled in the eastern part of this county, where they lived for a number of years. About 13 years ago the family moved to Coldwater, and here continued to make their home.

Mr. Willard had, during his 36 years residence in Comanche-co., become one of our best known citizens. He and his faithful wife knew from actual experience what it meant to settle in a new country and to endure the hardships and the struggles of pioneer days, but indomitable industry and perseverance was a part of their nature, so they continued to give their time and labor toward the building up of a home. And they were successful not only in that respect but also in helping to establish good schools and many of the advantages and comforts which contributed to the happiness and success of the people. In every good work Mr. and Mrs. Willard took an active part, and for that reason they were esteemed by all who knew them, and especially by those who were intimately associated with them in any way. Mr. Willard in all his dealings with his fellow men never failed to adhere strictly to the principles of honesty, fairness and justice. As a husband and father he was devoted and considerate, and as a citizen he was classed as a loyal devotee to all that makes for the betterment of the community. His loyalty to his country was pronounced and steadfast, and no less devoted was his loyalty to the Christ whom, during the last 45 years of his life, he had devotedly served. His membership in the Methodist Episcopal church began many years ago and through all the years he was permitted to live, his faith never faltered nor did his devotion to christian ideals ever lessen. he died with a firm faith in Christ as his Savior, and it may truthfully be said that many people here and elsewhere will long remember and be influenced for good by the countless examples of christian living and unselfishness and loving service left by Mr. and Mrs. Willard. They have passed on, but they will not be forgotten. Mr. Willard had been a faithful and consistent member of the Odd Fellows lodge for about 45 years. He had long been a member of the Grand Army of the Republic.

As noted in the obituary of Mrs. Willard, printed last week, the surviving children are eight in number, as follows: Will Willard of this city, Ed Willard of Ashland, Mrs. Geo. Cross of Brentwood, Ark., Frank Willard of Port Clinton, Ohio, Mrs. B. A. Nettleton of Oak Harbor, Ohio, Mrs. E. M. Ireland of this city, Mrs. Robert Dunn of Liberal and Mrs. L. E. Shankel of Spivey, Kans. All were present at the funeral except Frank Willard, Mrs. Cross and Mrs. Nettleton. Two brothers, J. M. Willard and Henry Willard, and one sister, Miss Sarah survive. At the time of is death Mr. Willard was 80 years and 27 days of age.

The Western Star, April 2, 1920.

Elias Willard

Elias Willard of this city was 79 years of age on Tuesday of last week, March 23, and the day found him still hale and hearty and able to walk about fifteen blocks to the post office and back. He recalled on that day that just 57 years ago, on March 22, 1863, he took part in the battle of Purdy, in the state of Tennessee. One can scarcely realize that it has been nearly 60 years since the young men in blue marched forth to help preserve the Union and to put down the institution of slavery in this country. But the ranks of the veterans of the Civil War are becoming almost depleted. In a few years more a very few of the heroes of '61 and '65 will be left.

The Western Star, April 15, 1921.


Was a pioneer in Comanche-co.
and One of Our Best-Known Women.

After a lingering illness extending through six months, Mrs. Elias Willard died at her home in this city at 15 minutes after noon on last Sunday, April 10, 1921. With remarkable patience she had borne her suffering throughout the long period of her sickness, and when it became evident that the end was near she showed no fear of death; rather she welcomed a release from the letters of disease which bound her to this life.

At times her condition seemed to improve, but the utmost care which loving hands could give and the exercise of medical skill proved unavailing in restoring her to health. The end came soon after noon on Sunday. She was conscious almost up to the moment of her death, and an hour or so before had talked freely with the members of the family.

Funeral services were conducted from the Methodist Episcopal church at 3 o'clock p.m. on Tuesday and were in charge of the pastor, Rev. W. M. Austin, assisted by Rev. J. D. Handy, and the other pastors of the city. It was an impressive service. Many of the neighbors and friends of the deceased were present and all gave evidence of their high regard for their departed friend, whom in life they had so long known and so much esteemed. Rev. Wheeler read the scripture lesson and Rev. Johnson offered prayer, Rev. Handy in a few well chosen words, paid a beautiful tribute to the life and character of the departed. The sermon by Rev. Austin was a message of comfort and inspiration to the living. He used as a text the words, "Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in his season," Job 5:26.

A male quartet composed of Messrs. Silsby, Hazzard, Hiner and Brower, also a mixed choir, composed of the four persons named and Mrs. Martin Zerby and Mrs. C. W. Thompson furnished the music. Six of the former neighbors of the deceased - D. T. McIntire, Fred Schenk, W. J. Pepperd, J. M. McCay, Henry Gates and John E. Todd acted as pall bearers. The women's Bible Class of the Sunday school, of which Mrs. Willard was the teacher, also the Rebekah lodge of which she was a member, attended in a body. The casket was covered with beautiful flowers. Interment was in the Coldwater cemetery.

Mrs. Willard was a native of Ohio, having been born in Huron in that state on April 29, 1848. Her age, therefore, at the time of her death, was 72 years, 11 months and 11 days. Her maiden name was Lucy Adeline Stewart. On November 18, 1865, she was united in marriage with Elias Willard, the marriage being the culmination of a long acquaintance and friendship. Mr. Willard had just returned from the stirring scenes of the Civil War, in which he took an active part, having been true to his "sweetheart back home" through all the years. Mr. and Mrs. Willard continued to live in northern Ohio until the spring of 1884, when they turned their face westward to seek a home in the great Southwest. They landed in Harper, Kans., in the spring of that year, and lived in Harper-co., for about two years, when the inviting prairies of Comanche-co. led them a little further westward. Coldwater was then just being started by some citizens of Harper, and settlers were beginning to come to this county.

Mr. Willard and his son, Ed, came to Comanche-co. in the year 1885 and picked out a claim, and in January, 1886, the family moved from near Harper to this county. They first settled in Logan-tp., but afterwards moved to a farm in Nescatunga-tp., where they made their home until about 13 years ago when they moved to this city, and here they continued to reside.

During all of her 35 years residence in this county Mrs. Willard gave unstintingly of her time and her efforts toward helping to build up a home and to add all that she could, not only to the comfort and happiness of her own family, but the welfare and happiness of all about her. She was always an inspiration and a help not only in her own home, but to every one with whom she came in contact. Her constant thought seemed to be for her family and her friends, and no sacrifice on her part was considered too great, if it but made someone happier and better. She was always, interested in every kind of social and religious work and took as active part as an officer, teacher or leader to the Sunday school and church and kindred organizations. In her life she continually manifested the most beautiful christian spirit, and many are the people here and elsewhere who have been the recipients of her generosity and kindly, loving and neighborly ministrations.

In countless ways and on many occasions Mrs. Willard proved her thoughtfulness for the welfare of others, and it may be said of her that her greatest pleasure was found in the service which she was able to render to her family and to her neighbors and friends. Through the 56 years of her married life she never lost an opportunity to help alleviate suffering and to add to the comfort of those about her. In her sphere of human activities she went about as an angel of mercy, bringing cheer and comfort to the sick and sorrowing and help to those in need of real sympathy and encouragement. She was a wife and mother of the highest and best type, and a citizen and neighbor such as helps most to uplift humanity and make the world better. She will be missed, but her influence will live on to the end of time.

Early in life Mrs. Willard was converted and became a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and she never faltered in her faith or changed in her loyal devotion to her Christian profession. One of her last acts before she took sick was to teach her Sunday school class. She taught a genuine christianity not only by precept but by her example of living a Christ like life and following in the footsteps of her Master.

Deceased is survived by her husband, who is now in a critical condition of health, also by eight children, 31 grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, two brothers and one sister. The surviving children are: Will Willard of this city, Ed Willard of Ashland, Mrs. Geo. Cross of Brentwood, Ark., Frank Willard of Port Clinton, Ohio, Mrs. B. A. Nettleton of Oak Harbor, Ohio, Mrs. E. M. Ireland of this city, Mrs. Robert Dunn of Liberal, Kans., and Mrs. L. E. Shankel of Spivey, Kans. Five children preceded their mother in death. The brothers are Jed and Will Washburn of Port Clinton, Ohio. The surviving sister is Mrs. Geo. Hollingshead of Port Clinton, Ohio. All the surviving children except Mrs. Cross and Frank were present at the funeral services. To the sorrowing relatives the sincere sympathy of all is extended.

The Western Star, April 22, 1921.


Adopted by the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal church of Coldwater, Kans.

Whereas, God, in His infinite wisdom, has seen fit to call our dear sister and co-worker, Mrs. Lucy Willard, to her heavenly home, be it

Resolved, The members of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Coldwater Methodist Episcopal church, extend our heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved family; and be it further

Resolved, That our society has sustained a great loss of a dear friend and valuable missionary worker. Be it further

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be printed in our county paper, and written in the minutes of our society.


Shankel - Willard
Lewis Ellsworth Shankel of Wichita and Miss Helen Josephine Willard of this city were united in marriage at 3:30 p.m. on last Saturday, September 20, 1919, in Wichita, Kansas. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Homer E. Moore, pastor of the First Christian church of Wichita, at his home. On Sunday the bride and groom came to this city and made a visit with the bride's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Elias Willard. They will make their home at 437 N. St. Francis-ave., in Wichita. The groom is one of the successful commercial men who have helped to build up Wichita's immense wholesale business. For about 11 years he has been in the employ, most of the time as a traveling salesman, of the Lehmann-Higginson Wholesale Grocery Co., his work for some time past bringing him to Coldwater each week. He is a popular salesman and is capable, deserving and trustworthy in every way. The bride has lived in this county all her life and has received her education in the schools here. She attended the Coldwater high school, graduating with the class of 1914. Since that time she has taught each year in this county and has been very successful as a teacher. She is a young lady of pleasing personality and possessed of those qualities which make and hold friends. Mr. and Mrs. Shankel have the sincere good wishes of many friends in Comanche-co. The Star believes that they are in every way worthy of the very best in life. -- The Western Star, September 26, 1919.

Also see:

Rozella Irene JOHNSON, grand-daughter of Elias Willard.
Surnames: Johnson, Willard & Wharton.

"As a reminder of how "time does fly" Elias Willard stepped in the other day and told us that it was 52 years ago on last Monday that he and several hundred other Union soldiers helped run the blockade at Vicksburg, taking the ship "Tigress" past the Confederate forts which guarded the Mississippi river. Those were stirring events and they are not easily forgotten by the participants."
-- The Western Star, April 23, 1915.

Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news articles and obituaries to this web site!

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