Willis McKinnis 1839 - 1923

Willis was the son of James McKinnis (ca. 1806-1868) and Jane Elkins McKinnis (1816-1853). He was born on 29 August 1839 in Posey County, Indiana, USA.

He married Dicey Jane Gwaltney on 26 November 1861 in Posey County. They had the following children:

James B. McKinnies (1862 - 1939)
Sarah Jane McKinnis (1868 - 1951)
Ruth Ann McKinnis (1870-1960)
William Daniel McKinnis (1871 - 1953)

Willis married Louisa Jane Ramsey Pitts (1857-1925) on 10 March 1875 in Posey County. They had the following children:

Dicy McKinnis (1878 - 1959)
Edith McKinnis (1879 - 1971)
Louisa McKinnis (1882 - 1973)
Daughter (First Name Unknown) McKinnis (1883 - 1884)
Lizzie McKinnis (1885 - 1887)
Fannie McKinnis (1888 - 1949)
Willis McKinnis (1891 - 1918)
Thomas McKinnis (1893 - 1979)
Archie McKinnis (1896 - 1986)

The first census that Willis appeared in was the 1850 one, in Robinson Township of Posey County. In addition to his parents, Willis's siblings Hugh, Winny, Daniel, Margaret and James all appeared in the census as well. (census image here)

I have been unable to locate Willis's father's family in the 1860 census. After Willis's marriage to Dicey Gwaltney, however, the couple appear in the 1870 census, this time in Center Township of Posey County. Three of their four children showed up as well (since William wasn't born yet), along with an 11 year old named Sarah London or Londen and Willis's 21 year old brother James. (census image here)

Dicey apparently died between December 1871 and March 1875, when Willis married Louisa Ramsey. Dicey is buried in the Gwaltney Cemetery in Posey County.

After Willis's marriage to Louisa Ramsey, the family showed up in the 1880 census. Willis and Dicey's children James, Sarah, Ruth and William were there, along with Willis and Louisa's children Dicy and Edith; as well as a 20 year old named John Ramsey who does not appear to be a brother of Louisa but who may be a nephew or cousin of hers (listed as a farm hand); and a 14 year old named Cornelius Lambeth who was also listed as a farm hand. (census image here)

All of Willis and Louisa's daughters appear to have been born in Posey County, but between 1888 (when Fannie was born) and 1891 (when Willis Jr. was born) the family moved to Gallatin County, Illinois, where they were found in the 1900 census in North Fork Township. All of Willis and Dicey's children had moved out by then, so the remaining children were Willis and Louisa's. (census image here)

In 1901 Dicy married William Huey, and before 1910 daughter Louisa married Ezra Sanders and Edith married James Grant. The 1910 census found the family still in North Fork township, but diminished in size to Willis, Louisa and Fannie and her three younger brothers. (census image here)

Between 1910 and 1920 Willis and Louisa moved to Saline County, Illinois, where they were found in the 1920 census in East Eldorado township. By the time of the 1920 census, none of their children were living in the household. (census image here)

Willis died on 24 August 1923 at the age of 83 (less than a week before his 84th birthday) and was buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery in Posey County. Louisa died a year and a half later in 1925 and is buried next to him.

Other Links

Willis McKinnis page at Find A Grave

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