Guide to the Willis Family Letters, 1876-1933
Collection number: MC 168
Size: 1 box
About Willis Family
The Willis family took root in New England when Job Willis emigrated from England and
settled in Massachusetts. Although the name of his spouse is not known, they had
three children: Thomas, Martha Willis (Baldwin) and Daniel Shaw Willis. Daniel
married Marinda Hazelton in the 1850s. Marinda came into possession of her family's
farm soon after her marriage. The farm, which is now called the Willis Farm, on
Orford Lower Street was built by Richard Hazelton in 1808. James Hazelton, Marinda's
father, owned the farm in the early 1800s.
Daniel Willis was a wheelwright and carpenter who worked in a shop attached to the
farm. Daniel and Marinda H. Willis had three children: Mary Etta, Carrie A., and
Eugene F. Willis. Eugene married Nellie A. Flanders in Laconia, September 4, 1893.
They moved to Orford and lived in Quinttown on a farm owned by the Willis family.
Eugene and Nellie had three children: Lela M., Laura Mildred and Clarence Daniel.
Lela, the oldest was born at the Quinttown farm. After the death of Marinda H.
Willis on July 26, 1898, Eugene's family moved into the Willis farm to care for
Daniel Willis. Both Laura and Clarence were born at the Willis Farm. Eugene, a
carpenter, drowned in the Connecticut River on July 2, 1911. He was 41 years old.
His widowed family continued to care for Daniel Willis until his death on March 13,
Nellie Willis purchased the farm and continued to operate the family business. Mrs.
Willis died November 3, 1957 aged 87. Lela Willis married Mr. Lamott and had two
sons: Paul I. LaMott and Dean LaMott. She divorced and then married Weymouth Pike.
Laura M. Willis married Guy G. Smith of Fairlee, VT. They had one son, Guy Willis
Smith. Clarence D. Willis married Ruth Ibelle and had a daughter, Janet Lee, and a
son, Russell Eugene.
Information used in this biographical note comes from the Report of the Bicentennial Celebration of the Town of Orford, New
Hampshire, August 7 and 8, 1965
About the Willis Family Letters
The collection consists of personal letters written between 1876-1933. These letters
contain family news, document marital stress and divorce, showcase the enduring love
between spouses, and describe life on a farm during the early twentieth century.
This collection contains forty-five letters, of which thirty-six were written to
Nellie Willis. Nellie received a couple of letters from her daughter, Lela, who was
going through a divorce. A few letters contain exchanges between Eugene and Nellie
when they were separated by Eugene's job. Other recipients of letters include Eugene
Willis, Clarence Willis, Daniel Willis, and Marinda Willis. The oldest letter is
from Sylvia B. (Hazelton) Davis who wrote to her sister, Mrs. Daniel Willis (Marinda
This collection is open
Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions
about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff
[Identification of item], [Folder number], [Box number], Willis Family Letters,
1876-1933, MC 168, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New
Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA
Purchased: Charles Apfelbaum, Watchung, NJ, May 15, 1999 (Accession number:
|Box 1, Folder 1||1876-1901
- To Mrs. Daniel S. Willis from Sylvia B. Davis (Hazelton), April 10-20,
1876. Sylvia writes to her sister, Marinda, regarding
family matters, sicknesses and different cures
- To Mr. Eugene H. Willis From D.L. Willis (Daniel Shaw) regarding deeds
of James Hazelton Farm, Dec. 5,
- To Mrs. E. A. Willis from Eugene (Willis), April 16, 1894. A loving letter
written to Nellie in which Eugene says he misses her and asks when will
she come home also writes of business affairs.
- To Eugene Willis from James Hazelton, Oct. 5, 1901. In a letter addressed to "Nephew" James
Hazelton requests Eugene to send him apples.
- To Eugene Willis from D. S. Willis (Daniel Shaw), July 23, 1901. Written to "My Dear
Son and Daughter," Daniel discusses work, asks Eugene to send him his
tools, and writes to Nellie regarding family matters.
|Box 1, Folder 2||1892-1920
- Two (2) letters and two (2) purple note cards, Dec. 5, 1892. To Eugene from Nellie,
Wishes Eugene a happy Birthday and talks of children and family matters.
To Eugene From Livona--Writes about family matters, catching a runaway
pig, and tells him that Lela has written him (purple card). Purple
card--From Livona. A note to say she was sending the letters.
- To Eugene Willis from Nellie Willis, Aug. 8, 1902. A loving letter in which she writes of
- To Eugene Willis from Nellie Willis, Aug. 26, . A frantic letter to Eugene with the
news that Mary lost her baby. Nellie pleads with him to come
- To Eugene Willis from Addie, addressed to "Friend Eugene," Sept. 8, 1904. Addie mentions that
Nellie had her teeth pulled.
- To Daniel S. Willis from Jennie M. Baldwin (niece), March 12, 1906. A long letter to
Uncle Daniel regarding family news.
- To Miss Lela Willis from Laura, a child's letter to "Sister Lela,"
March 13, 1911.
- To Nellie Willis from Lela Willis (daughter), July 23, 1914. Lela asks after her
Aunt Carrie, who seems to be in a bit of trouble. She also mentions her
job and expected vacation.
- To Nellie Willis from Mother Sarah, Nov.
23, 1917. With a religious tone, Mother Sarah writes of
receiving a letter from Ruth, mentions her illness and asks to exchange
herbs with Nellie.
- To Nellie Willis from Mother Sarah, June
3, 1920. With a religious tone, Mother Sarah writes of
taking a trip and making a rug.
|Box 1, Folder 3||1921
- To Nellie Willis from Mother who speaks of sending letters and
packages of stockings, April 23,
- To Nellie Willis from Bertha M. Whitcher, addressed to "Aunt Nellie,"
May 6, 1921. This letter
from Bertha expresses concern for Nellie (she was sick) and fears no
jobs are to be had. She also asks if Nellie would be interested in
renting her farm.
- To Mrs. Nellie Willis from Martha Chandler, May 13, 1921. Martha writes that
Anna, who gave birth, wasn't supposed to live past the night. Mentions
Nellie's sickness, stockings, and the weather.
- To Nellie Willis from Kimball Union Academy, a form letter detailing
the storage of trunks, Sept. 5,
- To Nellie Willis from Clarence Willis "Just a line to know that I am
alright," Sept. 14, 1921
- To Nellie Willis from Clarence Willis, Sept. 14, 1921. In a second letter from the same day,
Clarence writes that he forgot to mention his purchase of books and
rental of a lock box at school.
- To Nellie Willis from Clarence Willis, Sept. 21, 1921. An informative letter about laundry,
buying watches, and a request for family news and letters.
- To Nellie Willis from Clarence Willis, a note written "to let you know
I am all right," Sept. 28,
- To Nellie Willis from Clarence Willis, a short note saying everything
is fine, Oct. 4, 1921
- To Mrs. Nellie Willis from Mother, a religious letter in which Mother
talks of her travel plans, Oct. 16,
- To Nellie Willis from Clarence Willis, Oct. 18, 1921. A letter from Clarence at school, he asks
to be sent a fountain pen and talks about winning a game against Vermont
- To Nellie Willis from Clarence Willis, Oct. 26, 1921. Letter asking after the farm and writes
that he is thinking of buying skis.
- To Nellie Willis from Clarence Willis, Oct. 30, 1921. Writes that he has received the letter
with money and has bought a pair of skis.
- To Nellie Willis from Clarence Willis, a brief letter regarding his
return to school, Nov. 27,
|Box 1, Folder 4||1922-1928
- To Miss L. Willis [Laura] from Laura Wagner, a birthday card,
Aug. 7, 1922
- To Nellie Willis from H. E. Sherwell, Dec. 19, 1923. A notecard sent thanking Nellie for the
package and mentions parental feebleness.
- 2 letters to Nellie Willis, July 10,
1924: 1) To Nellie Willis from Daniel Finn regarding
deeds to lots in Laconia; and 2) To Nellie Willis from C. B. Hibbard,
Counsellor at Law regarding deeds to lots in Laconia. He also requests
the names of all her children because the deeds are in the name of her
- To Nellie Willis from Sister, Nov 7,
1924. A chatty letter about her sickness and others
- To Nellie Willis from Mrs. Firm, a printed Christmas Card, Dec. 22, 1924. On back of card is a
note about building a new house.
- To Nellie Willis from Josephine, April
10, 1928. This letter is addressed "Dear Sister Nellie;"
Josephine talks of Harry and his sickness.
- To Nellie Willis from Josephine, a long letter about Harry, April 26, 1928
- To Nellie Willis from Lela Willis (LaMott), Oct 8, 1928. Addressed to "Mother",
talks about a separation and the rumors floating around about the other
woman, Mrs. P.
- To Nellie Willis from Lela Willis (LaMott), October 22, 1928. Lela talks of
divorce and feels she is in "a terrible bad tangle."
|Box 1, Folder 5||1930-1933
- To Nellie Willis from Sarah (niece to Nellie), Jan. 2, 1930. Talks about a boy being
born to Thelma on New Years Day. Attachment: newspaper clipping of a
65th wedding anniversary.
- To Nellie Willis from Lela Willis (LaMott), a Mother's day card,
- To Nellie Willis from Sister, a chatty letter about the weather and
illness, Oct. 22, 1930
- To Nellie Willis from Ma Ibelle, Nov.
20, 1930. Writes about her daughter Ruth and Nellie's son
Clarence as a good match. She also thanks Nellie for the gifts.
- To Nellie Willis from Mrs. W.A. Morey (Anna), Oct. 6, 1931. Anna, in a depressed
mood, writes that there is no work for her husband, and she doesn't know
how they will manage. She also mentions Indian summer, pickling and
- To Nellie Willis from Earl and Hazel, a pre-printed Christmas card,
Dec. 22, 1931
- To Nellie Willis from Iva and William, a pre-printed Christmas card,
Dec. 22, 1931
- To Mrs. Nellie Willis from Edith and Bill, a pre-printed Christmas
card, Dec. 1931
- To Mrs. Nellie Willis from E[ ], Feb.
21, 1932. Addressed "To Folks," this letter relates news
- To Clarence Willis from National Life Insurance Company, a letter and
receipt for insurance policy number 441562, Feb. 8, 1933
|Box 1, Folder 6||Undated
- To Mrs. Nellie Willis from Mr. and Mrs. Mayberry, a pre-printed
Christmas card, Dec. 25, 192[
- To Mildred from Josephine, a long chatty family letter, Nov. 30