NAMES: Willey

Dear Paul,

We have done about the 1 hour max on your search, and pretty much came up with everything to be found without a major investigation at the courthouse. The Willey family lived in Elkhorn and possibly Versailles townships, and Wateman Willey married two Nighswonger sisters. I have also included a bit on the Nighswonger family that might be of help.


Cemeteries of Brown County, IL p. 76 (Rusk Cem., Elkhorn twp):

Mrs. Ellis, sister of Vincy Baker and aunt of Clara Willey


Same reference, p. 354 (South side Cem., Versailles twp):

Mary Jane, daughter of W. & S. Willey (died 16 Oct 1865, aged 3y 8m 18d)


Same reference, p. 375 (West Side Cem., Versailles twp):

James H. Willey (7 Feb 1864-25 Jul 1904) Son of Wateman Willey & Nellie Swihart
Ida May Willey (17 Nov 1901-18 Dec 1901) daughter of James H. Willey
Wateman Willey (20 Apr 1836-23 Feb 1900)
Sarah [Nighswonger], 1st wife of Wateman Willey (4 Nov 1837-9 Nov 1878)
Lucy J. [Nighswonger], 2nd wife of Wateman Willey (22 Feb 1845-1913)
John F. Willey (1868-1926) son of Wateman Willey & Sarah Nighswonger
Joseph Willey (died 18 Sep 1882, aged 11m 2d) son of Wateman Willey & Lucy J. Nighswonger
Wateman W. Willey (1877-1961) Cousin of James H. Willey (1900 Census, Elkhorn) Nephew of Wateman (1836)
Susan I. Baker, wife of Wateman [W.] Willey 1873-5 Aug 1857 (also referenced on p. 415)
Nellie [Swihart] Willey (died 7 Dec 1953, aged 87 yr) wife of James H. Willey
Rolla Thomas Willey (1906-1965) son of Wateman Willey & Susan I. Baker
Offie Richard Willey (1892-1967) son of James H. Willey & Nellie Swihart
Fred Foster Willey (1891-1972) son of James H. Willey & Nellie Swihart
Clara M. Willey, wife of Charles H. Bradbury (1883-1913)
Charles H. Bradbury (1880-1971)


History of Schuyler & Brown Counties, IL, p. 227:

Wait Willey was listed as a member of the Versailles Christian Church.

Same reference, p. 394 (Residents of Elkhorn twp, 1882):

Wateman Willey, farmer & stock raiser, born Ohio, arrived in Brown County, IL 1858.
Sarah Nighswonger, died Oct 1878, 1st wife of Wateman Willey, born Brown Co, IL 1837.
Lucy Jane Nighswonger, 2nd wife of Wateman Willey, born Brown Co, IL 1844.


1900 Fed Census, Elkhorn twp, Brown Co, IL 117/120:

Lucy J. Willey, b. Feb 1843 (57yr), widow, 2 children/1 living, b. IL, father b. OH, mother b. VA
Clara Willey (dau), b. Mar 1883 (17yr), b. IL, father b. OH, mother b. IL
John F. Willey (stepson), b. Dec 1867 (32yr) single, b. IL, father b. OH, mother b. IL


1900 Fed Census, Elkhorn twp, Brown Co, IL 119/122:

James H. Willey, b. Feb 1864 (36yr), married 13 yrs, b. IL, father b. OH, mother b. IL
Nellie M. Willey, b. Feb 1866 (34yr), 2 children/2 living, b. IL, father b. PA, mother b. KY
Fred F. Willey, (son) b. Apr 1891 (9yr), b. IL, parents b. IL
Offie R. Willey (son) b. Nov 1892 (7yr), b. IL, parents b. IL
Wateman W. Willey (cousin) b. Dec 1877 (22yr), single, b. OH, parents b. OH


Brown County Marriage Returns:

Wateman Willey married Sarah Nighswonger 25 Oct 1860, Brown Co, IL


1850 Fed Census, Elkhorn twp, Brown Co, IL 784/789:

Hamilton Nyswonger 36, b. OH (arr. Versailles twp, Brown Co, IL 1826)
Mary Nyswonger 36, b. VA
Dica Nyswonger 16, b. IL
Frances (fem) 15, b. IL
*Sarah Nyswonger 13, b. IL (1st wife of W. Willey)
James Nyswonger 11, b. IL
William Nyswonger 8, b. IL
Rachel Nyswonger 6, b. IL
*Jane Nyswonger 3, b. IL (age is confusing, but she is very likely Lucy Jane, W. Willey's 2nd wife)
Mary Nyswonger 3mo, b. IL

Note that in 1900 Lucy Jane Willey gave her paretns birthplaces as Ohio and Virginia, which match Hamilton and Mary Nighswonger. I checked all other Nighswonger familes for this period and none had daughters Sarah or Lucy, Lucy Jane, or Jane.


I think it would be helpful to you to request the marriage record for Wateman Willey and Lucy Jane Nighswonger between Nov 1878 and 1881. The Brown County Clerk charges $5.00 per marriage search.

I would also send to the Brown County Circuit Court Clerk for the probate records of Wateman Willey (1900, Box #78) and Hamilton Nighswonger (1862, Box #29).



Hope this is of help to you in your search.

Laurie Huffman
Brown County, IL Lookups

Charles Paul Jones wrote: