Sunday, April 26, 2009


Photo right: The Willits at home near McLouth, Kansas. L. to R. Addie, daughter of Mahala and John F., John F., Mahala, Lulu Bell, another daughter, and Harry Nevins, a son, who is seated on the horse. For those not paying attention, Mahala Myers Willits was an older sister of William P. Myers.

The next page is a riot! Ralph’s first divorce! Bear in mind that Ralph and Alleen were married on January 17, 1920. The divorce is dated February 23, 1921 and a marriage license was applied for on February 25, 1921 and he married Helen M. Baldwin in Kalamazoo, Michigan on February 26, 1921. There were no interstates in those days!
Finding this divorce was just pure dumb luck….I have no idea what county in Michigan to search for the second divorce, so I will, also, leave that for future generations.


The following contributed by Donald and Deloris Willits.
John F. and Mahala had a large family. While still living in Indiana, before the move to Kansas, their first child, Clara Violet was born on September 28, 1860. January 16, 1864, their second child, Flora Helen was born. In Kansas, on December 28, 1865, another daughter, Mary Alice was born. Daughter four, Lizzie Jane was born August 3, 1867. Two years later, Mahala gave birth to twins on June 8, 1869. The twins were named Charles Cromwell and Cora Adda (Addie.) On March 20, 1871, Harry C. was born, but he died on September 12 at age five months, 12 days. On August, 1873, Mahala gave birth to her second set of twins, a boy named Harry (the second Harry) and a girl named Eva May. On June 17, 1875 Lula Bell was born. The second Harry, Eva's twin, sadly, caught fire in the family fireplace and died in November of 1875. The youngest son, Leonidas John was born July 15, 1878. Leonidis was my husband's grandfather. If I count correctly, John F. and Mahala had eleven children, including the two sets of twins. John F. passed away on December 18, 1910 at age 77. Mahala passed away June 29, 1923 at the age of 84.
Obituary for Mahala Myers Willits.
Mrs. John F. Willits died at her home in the north part of town last Friday at the age of 83 years, following a period of slowly declining health. The funeral was held at the home Sunday afternoon, the sermon being preached by Miss Nettie Haworth, minister of the Friends Church, of which deceased had been a member. Music was furnished by the United Brethren choir.
She was the widow of a noted pioneer citizen of this community and state, who passed away in December of 1910.
Mahala, daughter of Nathan and Mary Myers, was born near Noblesville, in Hamilton County, Indiana, December 8, 1839, where she grew to young womanhood, and was married to John F. Willits October 9, 1859. They moved to Howard County, Indiana, and lived three years. On August 25th, 1865, they arrived on the old homestead north of McLouth where they lived to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Soon after this event, they moved to the present home in McLouth where one year and a few days later Mr. Willits died. Since that time she has lived alone with her daughter, Addie. To this union were born twelve children, three of whom died in infancy, and three, Mary Alice, Lizzie Jane and Charles Cromwell lived to be grown, dying in young man and womanhood. She leaves to mourn her loss, one brother, Chas. F. Myers of Noblesville, Indiana and five daughters and one son, Mrs. Clara Steeper, Mrs. Flora Nevins, Mrs. Lulu Sparks of Lawrence, Kansas, Mrs. Eva Pyle of Phoenix, Arizona, Addie Willits and Lee J. Willits of McLouth. Fifteen grandchildren and eight great grandchildren remain as her descendants.
She had been gradually failing since last February but was never confined to her bed. She lived an exemplary life, took a friendly interest in her neighbors, and was a most unselfish mother, met each one with a smile until the last breath of her life, uncomplaining of any hardship, and she met not a few, coming as she did, to this country
as one of the pioneers. No sacrifice was too much for her to make for her family. She passed quietly away June 20, 1933, aged 83 years, 6 months and 21 days in the eventide of a long life of unselfish service for those she held most dear, and with a firm belief in her Maker, and that all was well with her soul. She was a birthright member of the Friends church and for a number of years attended meeting at the Friends church at Springdale.
There is no proof, as yet, that Mahala was a birthright Quaker. I can find no records in Indiana or Ohio that state that Nathan and Demaris were Quakers. Demaris (Mary) joined the Quakers after Nathan died.
As a side note: John F. Willits started his political life as a Republican switched to the Populist and ran for governor and U. S. Senate (lost both in hotly contested elections) and finally switched to the Socialist Party and ran for Congress twice. This Socialism thing seems to have been a trend with some of the old Quakers.

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