Name: Joseph Martin ?Joe? WILLARD
Birth: 14 JUL 1865 in Near Thomasville, Oregon Co., Mo
Death: 5 SEP 1963 in West Plains, Howell Co., Mo
FILE: ~/Documents/Mary Jo/2 Website gen files/spurlock/Rhoda-Joe.jpg
_SIZE: 794.000000 953.000000
Change Date: 3 NOV 2015
Joseph was my great-grandfather.
For pictures, go to my webpage at:
Joe was named for his 2 grandfathers, Joseph Colyott and Martin Willard. (He had an uncle, John George Colyott, who was born the same month as he was.)
At age 21, Joe became a Christian (July 16, 1886) and began preaching soon after, preaching his first sermon when he was still 21 years old. His first text was, "If any man would come after me, let Him take up his cross and follow me." He said "people went to shouting."
He was preaching at the Methodist church at Liberty Hill, Sharp County, Ark when he met Susan Rhoda Spurlock. After meeting Rhoda at church, Joe went home and wrote her a letter, received an answer from her, and wrote again. 2 1/2 yrs later they were married at her father's home (her mother had died 7 years earlier) in King's Mill, Ark. at 6:00 in the evening. The ceremony was performed by John McKelvey.
They lived on 40 acres about 3 miles east of Rover in Oregon Co, Mo where all their children were born.
1900 Oregon Co, Mo, Highland twp, #132
Willard, Joseph - b Jul 1865 Mo, par b Mo
. . . . . Susan R - b Dec 1867 Ar, par b Ky/Tn
. . . . . Naomi G - b Dec 1891 Mo
. . . . . Albert A - b Mar 1894 Mo
. . . . . Arthur J - b Dec 1896 Mo
1910 MO census - Oregon Co, Highland twp, p 69:
Willard, Joseph M. (head) - 44, m 21 yrs, b MO, par b MO
. . . . Rhoda (wife) - 42, 7 ch/5 liv, b Ar, par b IN/TN
. . . . Neoma G. (daug) - 18, b MO
. . . . Albert A. (son) - 16, b MO
. . . . Arthur J. (son) - 13, b MO
. . . . Walter A. (son) - 9, b MO
. . . . Wayne W. (son) - 2, b MO
. . . . John Sr. (father) - 70 (widowed), b MO, par b VA/OH
1920 Oregon Co, Mo, Highland twp, p. 56:
Willard, Joseph M. - 54 Mo
. . . . . Rodah (wife) - 52 Ark
. . . . . Walter A. (son) - 18 Mo
. . . . . Wane W. (son) - 11 Mo
. . . . . Cecil B. (son) - 9 Mo
Parsons, Edna (niece) - 13 Mo
Willard, Jessie B. (daug-in-law) - 18 Mo
Joe was a pioneer Methodist circuit rider preacher for the districts of West Plains and Koshkonong, Missouri and Independence Co (including Batesville), Ark. While Joe was gone on his preaching trips Rhoda gathered up the neighborhood children and with her own held Sunday School in her home. In 1901 he made $61 on his circuit all year, along with some food and clothing that was given to them. When he was home he farmed and raised livestock and in his spare time he loved to fish. The old church beside the Redburn Cemetery near Rover, Mo. was the last church where Joe pastored (about 1928). After that the Methodists wouldn?t appoint him to a church because he wasn't a seminary graduate.
This church was later taken over by the Pentecostals, but sometime later they got into a church fight and the church headquarters at Springfield closed them down.
When their children were grown, Joe and Rhoda deeded their land to their son Wayne and moved to West Plains in neighboring Howell Co. When he was in his 70's Joe served on the Howell Co. court as the Southern Associate Judge (like a county administrator). His name is on a plaque at the Howell Co. Courthouse in West Plains, because he was the elected Southen District Judge at the time the courthouse was built. (The placque is on the south wall of the main hall east-west on the ground floor.)
He had a sales route (with Keokuk Medicine Company from Keokuk, Iowa) selling spices, flavorings, extracts and linaments. He did this for 8 years, and often took chicken or eggs at part of payment. He had a chicken coup on the running board of his Model-T causing some of his grandchildren's Cuningham cousins to call him "Grandpa Chicken." Joe became very well-known on his sales route, often invited to stay for dinner with family he sold to. Later, when he ran for county judge (commissioner) he was already well-known in the area.
Rhoda was a saintly woman and had little tolerance foolishness. Once when her granddaughters caught her humming a foolish tune, "Mares Eat Oats," which she probably thought was some hymn, she was very embarrassed and probably prayed for forgiveness. Joe, on the other hand, was fun-loving and could be very silly and sometimes even a little coarse with his jokes. Rhoda would become a little irritated and would say, "Now, Dad."
Albert later bought some land near their old place in Oregon County and they lived there for several years.
Following are some newspaper clippings about them. Joe loved to see his name in the paper.
1947: A Trapper at 82
"Shown above with the evidence of his success as a trapper is 82 1/2 year old Rev. Joseph M. Willard, retired Methodist minister, who lives two miles east of Rover.
He walks two miles every day over the fields and woods to examine his dozen traps. Walking, he thinks, is very beneficial to good health. He has lived in Oregon County all of his life except eight years, 1927-35, when he lived in Howell County. He served on the Howell County Circuit Court during the period when the new courthouse was built.
He traveled for a household products company for several years and always maintained a farm and supplied his family with a bountiful array of vegetables and meats.
Mrs. Willard, known to her friends as "Rhoda", is 80 years old and also in excellent health. She keeps busy the year around making rugs, quilts, working in their garden and putting up hundreds of quarts of delicious fruits and vegetables. Of course all this is in addition to her regular housework and on the side she has time to grow many beautiful flowers, and assist in the care of a flock of chickens, two cows and some sheep.
The Willards have five sons living and three daughters deceased. The sons are Albert Willard of Willow Springs; Cecil B. Willard of Ft. Madison, Ia.; Wayne Willard, Koshkonong; and Arthur and Walter of West Plains. They will have been married 59 years on March 19th.
A grandson, Lyndal Willard, lives with them and attends High school in Thomasville.
Mr. Willard makes at least one shopping trip every week to West Plains and still does some preaching occasionally.
The hides pictured above include 1 fox, 3 opossum, 3 civet cats, 1 coon and 1 skunk."
1953: Joseph M. Willards Married 64 Years
"Mr. & Mrs. Joseph M. Willard celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary March 22, at their home in Rover with 46 relatives and friends present. Dinner was served at noon and followed by an afternoon of visiting and picture taking.
The dining table was centered with a two-tiered wedding cake, decorated with pink and green flowers. A profusion of spring flowered decorated the Willard home for the celebration. The couple received a number of gifts and congratulatory cards.
They were married March 19, 1889 at Ash Flat, Ark., and have lived most of their married life on the farm where they are now. Mr. Willard is 88 and his wife 85. They are still well and happy and keep busy about their farm place growing vegetables and flowers and visiting with their many friends and relatives. Mr. Willard enjoys hunting and fishing.
Four of their five sons were present for the celebration with Cecil Willard of Beatrice, Neb., being the only one who could not be there. The four who attended were Albert of Willow Springs, Arthur and Walter of West Plains and their wives, Wayne Willard of Rover and his wife.
The grandchildren present were Mr. & Mrs. Bob Stokes of Kansas City, Mr. & Mrs. Hollis Hale, Mr. & Mrs. James Oliver, West Plains, Miss Nina Fay Willard and Mrs. J.I. Willard of Rover. The great grandchildren present were Freddie Hale, Joe and David Oliver, West Plains; Joyce, Wilda and Mary Willard of Rover. There were also a number of nieces, nephews and friends present."
1954: 70 Persons Help Celebrate 3 Wedding Anniversaries and 4 Birthdays Sunday
West Plains Daily Quill, March 23, 1954:
"Three wedding anniversaries and four birthdays were celebrated Sunday at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Hollis Hale in Olden as 70 persons gathered for a noon dinner principally honoring the 65th wedding anniversary of Mrs. Hale's grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Willard of Rover.
It was also the 35th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. R.A. Cunningham of Ava and the 19th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Preston Sellers of West Plains. Mrs. Sellers is a cousin of Mrs. Joe Willard. Mr. Cunningham is a brother of Mesdames Arthur and Walter Willard. The four members of the family who had birthdays in March and who also came in for a share in the honors were Mrs. Hale, the hostess, and three sons of the Joe Willards, Albert, Wayne and Walter Willard. The Hale home was decorated for the occasion with vari-colored snapdragons, Easter lilies and ivy. The serving table was placed on a long porch and held a bountiful meal. Mr. and Mrs. Joe Willard received many gifts, cards and flowers in honor of the occasion. Pictures were made, also recordings of songs by Mr. and Mrs. Joe Willard and others.
All the children were present except the youngest son, Cecil Ben Willard who lives in Beatrice, Neb. The Willard sons and wives present were Mr. and Mrs. Albert Willard, Mr. Mrs. Arthur Willard, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Willard, Mrs. Wayne Willard. Grandchildren present were J.I., Mary, Lyndal, Dallas, Glenn and Nina Willard, Mrs. James Oliver, Mrs. Hollis Hale, Mrs. Bob Stokes. Great grandchildren present were Joyce, Wilda, Mary Jo Willard, Freddie Hale, Joe and David Oliver, Lana Jean Willard. All the grandchildren were present except Letitha Ann Willard of Beatrice, Neb., Dr. Joe Louis Spann of Eglin AFB in Florida and Dr. S.E. Spann, Jr., who is a medical officer in the U.S. Navy now serving off the coast of Japan. Others present for the event were Bob Stokes, Mrs. J.I. Willard, Mary Francis Willard, Mr. and Mrs J.H. Cordell, Donald and Denny Cunningham, Shirley Napier, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Burk, Jim Duncan, Mr. and Mrs. J.D.S. Willard, Etta Ruth Willard, Beverly Rouintree, Mabel Kirkpatrick, Mrs. J.W. Kirkpatrick, Ira E. Kunkel, Annie L. Kunkel, Mr. and Mrs. Ned G. Holloway, Rev. and Mrs. M.A. Widener, E.N. McAllister, Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Calloway, Mr. and Mrs. E.M. Hale, Margaret Foth, Mr. and Mrs. W.B. Hodge, Mary Ellen Willard, Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Stoke, Mrs. M.J. Burns and Eliza Burns, James Oliver, Pansy Downing, Mrs. Glenn Willard, Mr. and Mrs. Elba Francis, Mr. and Mrs. E.M. Jarrett, Mr. and Mrs. Manuel Forrester, Herbert, Lola and Ralph Willard, Mrs. Della Spurlock, Mr. and Mrs. Preston Sellers, Mr. and Mrs. Ocia Davidson and Oleta."
1954: Joseph Willard, 88, Married 65 Years, Still Good Trapper
"If you were happily married for 65 years and were nearly 89 years old wouldn't you be ready to relax and take life easy? But not Mr. Joseph M. Willard of Koshkonong Rt. 3. In the Quill office today he mentioned his garden he has gotten ready and planted and that this Winter he had trapped 17 foxes, one wolf, 14 opossums, 1 coon, 2 skunks and 3 civit cats."
1955: Sixty-Sixth Wedding Anniversary Party Held at Willard's
"A family dinner party celebrating the sixty-sixth wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph M. Willard of Rover was held Sunday at their home. A large decorated cake inscribed "66th Anniversary" in green, rose and white, was a feature of the dessert course.
Those present were four of their five sons and their families, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Willard of Willow Springs, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Willard and Mr. and Mrs. Walter Willard of West Plains, Wayne Willard of Rover; a grandson, J.I. Willard of Rover and his family; a niece, Mrs. Jim Summers and her family; and neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Trantham. One son, Cecil Ben Willard of Beatrice, Neb., who could not be present, sent greetings for the occasion."
1955: 90-Year-Young Man Still Good Trapper
ALTON (special) - You're never too old to try. Joe Willard, age "just past 90", stepped up recently to purchase his state trapping permit, here.
To old? Don't you believe it. Joe bought his resident trapping permit with bounty money collected that day for two coyotes he'd trapped.
1955: The bio below was told to Elsie Oliver by Joseph M. Willard when they were living on Missouri Ave. in West Plains, Mo. Elsie said, "My grandfather told me that he sure wanted this written down, so that anyone interested would know about his life."
Joseph M. Willard was born July 14, 1865, seven miles south of Thomasville, Mo., to John and Sarah Jane Willard.
My first teacher's name was Mrs. Decker, when I was five years old. My wife and I received eighth grade educations, as high as could be achieved at that time. We used the old blue back elementary spelling book.
In my teens I practiced fiddling (hill-billy style), but in 1886, I decided to lead a different life and professed religion on July 16, 1886, about noon. I felt that the Lord wanted me to preach, and I preached my first sermon in April, 1887 about 2 miles east of Brandsville at a hewed-log Methodist church. My text was "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and follow me."
I married Rhoda Spurlock, March, 1889, a fine girl from King's Mill, Sharp County, Arkansas. She was the daughter of David and Mary Spurlock. We had 8 children, 3 girls passed away while young, and 5 boys still living. We have 13 grandchildren and 18 great-granchildren, all of whom we are very proud.
I was a circuit rider.
by Joseph M. Willard
1956: 91-Year-Old Trapper in Oregon County
ALTON (Special) - Hardin Franks, agent for Missouri hunting and fishing permits here believes that he may have sold a trapping permit to the oldest active trapper in Missouri.
Recently the Rev. Joseph M. Willard, 91, a well-known resident of western Oregon County, sent in his remittance for his 1957 trapping permit. He has caught 12 'possum, 2 civet cats and one dog since the beginning of the season. Rev. Willard has spent some 70 years of his life as a Methodist minister in this section.
Their last few years together they lived in West Plains, in a little house that Albert bought for them. Then later lived with Joe┘s nephew, J.D.S "Johnny" Willard.
1959: Couple to Celebrate 70th Anniversary
The West Plains Daily Quill, March 1959:
"The Rev. & Mrs. Joseph M. Willard will observe their 70th wedding anniversary with open house from 2 until 4 o'clock Sunday afternoon at their home at 718 Missouri Ave. The Rev. Mr. Willard, born 7 miles south of Thomasville, will be 94 July 14. Mrs. Willard, born at Sharp County, Ark., was 91 Dec. 11. They were married in a 6 o'clock ceremony by the Rev. John McKelvey at Sharp County, Ark., 6 miles east of Ash Flat. At that time the post office was located at Kings Mill on Big Creek. Mrs. Willard, the former Susan Rhoda Spurlock, is the youngest daughter of Dave and Mary Spurlock. The Rev. Mr. Willard spent a greater part of his life as a circuit rider preaching at Cabool, Hickory Valley and Arkansas for the Methodist Church. He served as county judge for 2 years in the southern district. He served with Judge J.L. House and the late Jim Spence who built the present courthouse. They have eight children, including five sons, A.A. Willard, city collector at Willow Springs, Arthur Willard, caretaker of the deep well here, Walter A. Willard, who operates a sewing machine shop on Monks Street, Wayne Willard, a carpenter here, and Cecil Ben Willard, Beatrice, Neb., and three daughters who are deceased, Belva Ann, Gertrude Spann, and Luna Druscilla; 13 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren."
1961: Couple Celebrates 73rd Anniversary
Rev. and Mrs. Joseph Martin Willard, of West Plains, Mo. celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary. He will be 97 July 14 and she was 94 in December....
Joe & Rhoda lived together 73 years, 7 months & 27 days.
Joe died in the West Plains hospital 10 months after Rhoda. He was 97 years old. They were both buried at Oak Lawn Cemetery in West Plains, Howell Co., Missouri.
REV. JOSEPH MARTIN WILLARD - An area Methodist Minister for 77 years, the Rev. Joseph Martin Willard, 98, West Plains, died this morning in Memorial Hospital where he had been a patient since Aug. 16.
He served for two years as southern county Judge with Judge J. L. House and the late Jim Spence when the present county court house was built in 1936.
The Rev. Mr. Willard was born 7 miles south of Thomasville July 14, 1865 to the late John and Sarah Colyott Willard. On March 19, 1889 Mr. Willard married Susan Rhoda Spurlock, the youngest daughter of the late Dave and Mary Spurlock of Ash Flat, AR. Mrs. Willard died Nov. 18, 1962.
The Rev. Mr. Willard spent a greater part of his life as a circuit rider preaching at West Plains, Cabool, Hickory Valley and Arkansas for the Methodist Church.
Survlving are five sons, Albert A. Willard, city collector at Willow Springs; Arthur Willard and Walter Willard both of West Plains; Wayne Willard, Koshkonong; and Cecil Ben Willard, Kansas City. Three daughters, Belva Ann, Gertrude Spann and Luna Druscilla preceded their parents in death.
The Rev. Willard married a number of couples, but during his two years as county judge, he married 72 couples.
He received his 50-year Mason pin from the Koshkonong lodge and was a member of the Odd Fellow lodge there.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete but will be under the direction of Carter Funeral Home ot West Plains, MO. (WEST PLAINS QUILL, 05/Sep/1963)
For map of Oregon Co, Mo. go to:
The community where the Willards lived is a little SE of Rover.
Find A Grave Memorial# 16875752
Father: John Elbert? WILLARD b: 1 DEC 1839 in St. Clair Co, Mo
Mother: Sarah Jane COLYOTT b: 17 SEP 1847 in Madison Co, Mo
Susan Rhoda SPURLOCK b: 11 DEC 1867 in King's Mill, Sharp Co, Ark
19 MAR 1889
in King's Mill, Sharp Co, Ark, at her home
- Belva Ann WILLARD b: 17 FEB 1890 in Oregon Co, MO
- Gertrude Naoma WILLARD b: 4 DEC 1891 in Oregon Co, MO
- Albert Alexander WILLARD b: 12 MAR 1894 in Oregon Co, MO
- Arthur John David WILLARD b: 4 DEC 1896 in Oregon Co, MO
- Walter Andrew WILLARD b: 23 MAR 1901 in Oregon Co, MO
- Luna Drucilla WILLARD b: 7 DEC 1903 in Oregon Co, MO
- Wayne Warren WILLARD b: 10 MAR 1908 in Oregon Co, MO
- Cecil Benjamin WILLARD b: 17 SEP 1910 in Oregon Co, MO