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Home: Regional: U.S. States: North Carolina: Craven County

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Re: Willis Families, 1790
Posted by: Ben Bennett (ID *****6586) Date: March 13, 2004 at 17:49:49
In Reply to: Willis Families, 1790 by Sandy Reckseit of 942

My mother's family were Willis's of Craven/Pamlico Co. I have a copy of James Willis Sr's will and a Bible listing of James Willis Jr. birth Aug. 9, 1744. James Sr. had 10 children including Frances and Joshua. Samuel Willis, Sr. was born in Va. in 1720 and died in NC in 1805. The following is from the notes of my mother who is deceased.

       Samuel Willis was born in Virginia, and came to Craven Co. , N.C. by1753. There are land grants to Samuel Willis in Virginia in 1741, and he was most likely born in or by 1720. He died in 18O5 in Craven Co.,N.C.
Samuel Willis married Sarah Norman about the year 1754. He evidently came to Craven Co. , about 1753. The first land grant in Craven County is this year.
He had issue: sons, Norman, Major, and Samuel. He mentions these in his will and also a daughter, Susannah. He evidently had two other daughters for he mentions in his will his grandchildrens, Polly Pearce, Ephraim Pearce, Daniel Miller, Wm. D.B. Adams and Betsey F.Adams, Susannah Willis married Ephraim Pearce, July1, 1788, so Pearce grandchildren would be children by Ephraim Pearce.
Samuel Willis was a man of education and infleuence. He was made Judge of the court of Admirality for Port Bath in I778 ( see N.C. Historical Records , Vol. 12 pages 784, 786, 790, 841, 882, 851) and was a member of the North Carolina Assembly in 1780 (N.C. Historical Records, Vol. 19, p384)
Samuel       Willis and his brother Joseph and James -were early in Craven County ( previously called Bath Co. ) they were there by 1743 -a deed of land proves that Samuel left a will in 1773-8? in which he mentioned many daughters -wife (not named)
and one son.
This 2nd Samuel is the father of Major, Norman, and Samuel. These men all are mentioned in his will. So far we do not know who his wife -or either of them Ist Samuel, and 2nd- Samuel, but I strongly suspect the first Samuel's wife was born and married in Va. probably Ilse of Wlight Co. and the 2nd was probably a Tison -The names Major and some of the other names are mentioned in a Tison's will.
Evidently -much connection with Beaufort Co. N .C ., where they may have settled first.
Samuel ard Joseph Willis -witnessed Will of James Turner 1735. Same to Sarah Braswell 1733.       .
Samuel Willis lived and died on Swift Creek. This to me, is the clue, I need, I feel she, Sarah , was Samuel's.wife.
Now there are two Tyson's who are ours- then we meet them again in the Sugg and Hardee lines.
John Hardee is a witness to this will; and also Edmond Tison and John King- would be interesting to follow this up.

I also have listing and ancestors of the other Willis's that you referred to. My mother, Thelma Willis Bennett, spent years researching our ancestors, both sides came to the Pamlico/Craven Co. area. They are intertwined. I am my own cousin many times over I think. I have tons of information which I have been trying to decipher over the past year and still haven't put it all together. I am not sure exactly what you are looking for. You can email me at

Looking forward to hearing from you.
Ben Bennett

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