Transcribed from History of Labette County, Kansas and its Representative Citizens, ed. & comp. by Hon. Nelson Case. Pub. by Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill. 1901

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Shelby Willis

SHELBY WILLIS, one of the prominent and influential farmers identified with the growth and development of Labette county, resides in section 20, Liberty township. He is a native of Shelby county, Kentucky, and was born in 1832. When but three years of age, he moved with his parents to Marion county, Indiana, where he received his early mental training. In 1843, his parents moved back to Shelby county, Kentucky, where they remained until 1851. In that year, they went to Fountain county, Indiana, and later to Marion county, Iowa. In 1855 they located in Jefferson county, Iowa, and six years afterward moved to Union county, Iowa. Shelby Willis enlisted in Company L, 3d Reg., Iowa Vol. Cav., in 1864, and was mustered out at Atlanta, Georgia, in 1865. At the close of the war, Mr. Willis returned to Union county, Iowa, where he resided until he located in Labette county, Kansas. He settled on his present farm, in 1894, where he has carried on general farming ever since. He is a man of sound judgment, and good business ability, and his agricultural career has been very successful.

Mr. Willis was married to Sarah J. Bradley, a native of Bond county, Illinois. She was born in 1836, and died in 1890. Her father, William Bradley, was born in North Carolina, in 1815, and died in Decatur county, Iowa, in 1891. Mr. Willis had 11 children by this, his first marriage. They were: Mary (Wilson), of Union county, Iowa, whose children are, - Lyman, Laura, Horner, Mattie, Stella, Harry, and Clarence; William, deceased; John, of Adams county, Washington, the father of the following children: Chloe, Addie, Roe, Dean, Claude, and Hazel; Etha (Waln), of Holyoke, Colorado, whose children are, - Royce, Bruce, Floyd, and Joseph; Lucy (Kelly), of Adams county, Washington, whose children are, - Gilbert and Fay; Sarah (Bryant), of Labette county; James, of Adams county, Washington; Irna (Hoffman), of Cedar county, Missouri, - the mother of Neva and Veta; Ada, deceased; Hattie (Bicknell), of Adams county, Washington, whose children are, - Floyd and Forest; and Annie, deceased.

Mr. Willis formed a second union, in 1895, by wedding Mrs. Ary Christie, widow of Andrew J. Christie, who was born in Indiana, and died in Kansas, February 15, 1890. Mrs. Christie was born in 1833 in Mercer county, Kentucky. Her father, John Rynerson, was also a native of Mercer county, and was born in 1806. He died in Hendricks county, Indiana, in 1865. He married Elizabeth Cunningham, who was born in 1808, in Mercer county, Kentucky, and died, in 1849, in Hendricks county, Indiana. They reared the following offspring: William, James and Christopher, deceased; Ary, the wife of Mr. Willis; Jane; Mary, deceased; Elizabeth (Moon), of Hendricks county, Indiana; Sarah, deceased; Mattie (Cooper), of Hendricks county, Indiana; and Laura (Goss), deceased. Mrs. Willis, before her marriage to our subject, had reared 10 children, namely: John, deceased, whose children are, - Cosalia, Effie, Isaac, and Ary; William, deceased; Jennie (Potter), of Cherokee county, Kansas, whose children are, - Josie (Tower), of Pueblo, Colorado, Emma (Wadsack), Flora, Charles, Ary, Clara, Laura, Obad, Fred, Homer, and Irne; Wilson, deceased; Elisha, of Labette county, whose children are - Grace (deceased), Daisy, Lizzie, William, Ernest, Raymond, Roy and May; Sarah (Kenworthy), deceased, whose children were, - Pearl, Frank, Charles, Florence (deceased), Clara, Emma (deceased), and Enoch; James, of Labette county; Albert (deceased), whose children were, - Sophia, Albert, and Samuel; Fred, who served in Company F, 34th Reg., U. S. Vol. Inf., 8th Army Corps, in the Philippine Islands; and Mary (Haggard), deceased, whose children were, - Richard, Harmon and Earle. Mr. Willis has been township trustee three terms, and justice of the peace and school director for fifteen years.