To Eric Meacock's WILLIS FAMILY PAGE          01/01/2009
                         Willis = an english name from Devonshire to Ireland 17c.

Edward.jpg (30157 bytes)Edward & Ann Willis with Son Charles


Book launch 24-8-2002 at Charters Towers Qld 

The above limited edition private publication is available for purchase from Eric Meacock contact

Robert Willis 1808?-1887 & Joanna O'Connor 1816?-1858 (aka Jane Frances) married 6 April 1834 RC Church Roscommon-Kilteevan Roscommon Ireland. Both buried Ballinamore cemetery Eldest son Edward Willis born Aug?. 1834 (Baptised 31-8-1834)

GraveR&JWillisIE.jpg (52335 bytes)c.1887c.19152005

Edward Willis and Margaret Grey married 11 July 1861 at Cloone Leitrim Ireland.
No record of Margaret's death/burial has been found, nor has any record of second marriage to her sister Ann Grey been found.
The following should be noted: The desire of widowed men to marry the sister of their deceased wife became the subject of particular agitation from the 1860s onwards and strong feelings were roused on both sides. However, it was to be nearly 50 years before the campaign for a change in the law was successful, despite the introduction of draft legislation in Parliament on many occasions. The lengthy nature of the campaign was referred to in the Gilbert and Sullivan opera Iolanthe, in which the Queen of the Fairies sings "He shall prick that annual blister, marriage with deceased wife's sister".
Family legend has it that after Edwards first wife died he married her sister and as this was illegal in Ireland they came to Australia. It appears likely that theirs was a common law marriage.

The Cloone cemetery has headstones on graves for both 'Gray' and 'Colreavy' family members alongside each other. Grey/Gray is the English equivalent of the Irish name Colreavy.

Edward & Ann WILLIS  from Lietrim Ireland to Queensland Australia c.1865  
Ann died in Charters Towers 1895. Buried Pioneers Cemetery
Children   : Ann (1865 lived few hours only), Margaret Ann , Robert, Jane , Charles, Annie , all born Qld


 Margaret m. Charles Black Qld {see grave photos #2,3&4 above}
ch. Isabella, Ted, Jack, Jane (Jean) b.Charters Towers Qld

                        David, Alexandra b. Boulder W A  (Family emigrated to NZ)

Robert m. Elizabeth Whalen Charters Towers Qld c1895.
ch. Robert,  George Edward & stillborn female ...All died in Charters Towers and buried there. Step Childrens descendants Whalen, Archers still live C.Towers.

GraveRobtWillis1870.jpg (56842 bytes) Grave Elizabeth and son George Edward Willis the small vase of flowers on right marked grave of Robert Willis which has since had a headstone erected on it as shown above (click on photos to enlarge)

Jane m. Robert Kerr WA {See Kerr Family History}
ch. Bill, Olive, Bob,  Harry, Gordon b. Boulder WA

Charles m. Elizabeth Williamson
ch.  Jean b.WA
Lived Fremantle WA

Annie  m.  Percy Sims Boulder WA
ch. Edie, Len, Ted, Flo, Jess, Bert, Vera, Doug, Max  b.
WA  Lived & farmed Wickepin area WA

Edward Willis siblings all migrated from Ireland to New Zealand. Brothers Robert and James had children and their descendants live in New Zealand.

The Willis family have a long history in Fermanagh County Ireland.
A Willis was the first sheriff of County Fermanagh established 1585.
In 1612 Cpt. Humphrey Willis and Cpt.William Cole were sent from Devonshire to County Fermanagh. Cole settled at Florencecourt & descendants became and still are Earls of Enniskillen.
Royal Irish Constabularly records show Robert Willis father of Edward (Qld) and Robert (NZ) et al, recommended to the RIC by the Earl of Enniskillen.
Numerous Willis family cousins emigrated to Victoria and Queensland family connections also exist with expat Irish families ;- Phair, O'Connor, Connor, Bracken, Flattery, Flatrey etc.
A Willis family connection also exists with Hugh Bracken born 1840 Drumback Enniskillen who arrived Melbourne Vic July 1861 joined the Victorian Police and was at Glenrowan in 1880, captured by Ned Kelly he escaped and warned police reinforcements of Kelly's whereabouts and when Kelly fled from the burning hotel in his armour Bracken together with Sgt Steele rushed and captured Kelly.

Here is a link to Eric Meacock's visit to Leitrim August 2011 Click to open

Here is a link to a Willis story in Taranaki New Zealand

Click to open

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