Joseph Malvuren Willey


Source: Wheatheart of the Plains:
An Early History of Ochiltree County, Texas


Joseph Malvuren Willey

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J. M. (Joe) Willey was born in Jasper County, Indiana.  His nationality was Scotch, Irish, and Dutch.  He married Harriet (Hattie) Phillips who was born in Black Oak, Missouri.  Her nationality was Indian, Scotch, and Irish. 

They had ten children, all of them being born in Missouri, except the youngest son, Wesley.  Their children are: Mable; John; Myrtle; Albert; Sudie; Delphia; Grace; Vivian; Charlie, and Wesley.

The J. M. Willey Family came to Oklahoma from Missouri in 1901.  They moved one half mile from Bridgeport, Oklahoma, and the children walked to school in town.

In January 1905, Mrs. Willey passed away.  The oldest daughter, Myrtle, and the oldest son, John, both married and moved from home.  There were five children left at home then.  Delphia, being the oldest, helped to raise the younger ones. 

They bought land near Foss, Oklahoma, and lived there for a year.  Then they bought land near Samsonville, Oklahoma, and the children went to a country school.

In 1909, Mr. Willey married Mamie Church, and in 1914 they came to Ochiltree County, Texas.  They bought farm land seven miles east of Perryton and built a four-room house. 

They drove a "Baby Overland" car to Ochiltree County and had their furniture and other belongings shipped to Forgan, Oklahoma.  They burned coal and cowchips for fuel and were fortunate enough to have a windmill for their water.  Only Vivian, Charlie, and Wesley were at home now.

They drove a horse and buggy to Paradise School and church.  For entertainment they had wild plum pickings, all day dinners at Paradise, church and evening singings. 

They had basket dinners, picnics, and all day quiltings.  They went hunting, visiting and had protracted meetings.  Their neighbors were the Hurters, Murphys, and Ray and Arthur Neis. 

Charlie died in World War I when the flu epidemic was so bad.  J. M. Willey was a partner in the first mercantile store in Perryton when Old Ochiltree moved to Perryton. 

In later years, other married sons and daughters moved to Ochiltree County to farm.  They were: Mrs. Joe (Myrtle) Halsey; Mrs. Jess (Grace) Russell; Albert Willey; John Willey; and Mrs. J. L. (Delphia) Wagnon.  Other married daughters were: Mrs. Mable McLallen and Mrs. Vivian Riggs.

J. M. Willey died in 1928.  His surviving children are: Vivian Riggs; Delphia Wagnon; and Albert Willey.


Submitted by
Delphia Willey Wagnon and Vivian Willey Riggs

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