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WILLIS, JAMES MADISON

WILLIS, JAMES MADISON (1822–1907). James Madison Willis, physician, state representative, and Confederate officer, was born in Jones County, Georgia, on December 11, 1822. Willis was raised on a Georgia plantation and, upon reaching adulthood, attended the University of New York, where he studied medicine and surgery and graduated with honors in 1846. Willis returned to Georgia and settled in Barnesville. On October 18, 1848, he married Dorothea Cordelia Blalock. This couple had six sons and two daughters. During the 1850s Willis engaged in state politics and served as a delegate representing the Georgia Know-Nothing Party at its convention in Cincinnati. In 1857 he relocated with his family to Texas and settled in Cass County where he continued to practice medicine and engage in politics. He won election as representative for Cass County (renamed Davis County during the Civil War) to the Tenth Texas Legislature and served from November 2, 1863, to August 6, 1866. During this time, he also served as a brigade surgeon for the Confederate army in the Western Theater. Following the war, Willis moved to Waco and continued his practice until retirement. He was an active Mason and Odd Fellow, a steward of the Fifth Street Methodist Church in Waco, a founding member of the Waco Medical Association, and a trustee of Waco Female College. He died on February 24, 1907, and was buried in Waco’s Oakwood Cemetery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Barnesville News Gazette (Georgia), March 7, 1907. George Plunkett [Mrs. S. C.] Red, The Medicine Man in Texas (Houston, 1930). Waco Times-Herald, February 25, 1907.

Aragorn Storm Miller
Aragorn Storm Miller

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Handbook of Texas Online, Aragorn Storm Miller, "Willis, James Madison," accessed October 17, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fwicn.

Uploaded on October 22, 2014. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.