Biography of John V. Willis

In addition to the business of general farming which our subject carries on, he has been greatly interested in contract work and freighting, having followed the latter from Lewiston to Grangeville for eleven years. Also he furnished the telephone poles for the line from Lewiston to Mt. Idaho, from Morrow to Nez Perce and from Ilo to Culdesac.

John V. Wilks was born in Steuben County, New York, on April 12, 1851. His father, William Wilks, was born in England on January 10, 1821, and was a farmer and lumberman. He married Harriet, the daughter of Rance and Sarah E. Robbins. She was born in New York State in 1827, and is now living in Tillamook, Oregon. Our subject has the following brothers and sisters: Sarah E. Christianson. William M., John V., James, George, Charley L., Marv Ann Hull, Olive L. Ramon, Hans, Ellen Crugg, Hattie A. Clinesample, Emma, Lillie E. and Albert.

Our subject remained with his parents until he was nineteen and gained meanwhile an education from the district schools. Then he began farming and lumbering in northern Wisconsin, where four years were spent, and during this time he married Miss Eliza C, daughter of William D. and Cynthia F. Newton, natives of Vermont. The father was a pioneer in Wisconsin and had many fights with the hostile savages. He was an expert violin maker. The mother was born on August 4, 1822, and was left a widow in Wisconsin with nine children, and she endured great hardships and wrought with an untiring hand to accomplish the support and bringing up of this large family. She taught the first schools in Oconto County and was a practicing physician, being in great demand among the people of her vicinity. She died on December 4, 1901. Mrs. Wilks has the following brothers and sisters. Charles H., born September 20, 1845, George N., born March 22, 1847: Sarah E. Hiszh, born April 7, 1855: Robert P., born May 21, 1848; Edward D. W. I., born in 1849: Myron A., born June 1, 1852; Luman O., born in 1854: Hattie A. Foltsz, born in 1856.

When Mr. Wilks married he went to York, Nebraska, and lived there for seventeen years. Thence he came to Rockford. Washington, and did timber work for three years. The next move was to their present place, about one mile northwest from Forest, where he has a farm of eighty acres, which is well fenced. He also has good buildings and other improvements. The school house is on Mr. “Wilks’ place and he is an active advocate for good schools.

In 1893 he was chosen road supervisor and held it seven years and is asked again to fill this position. To Mr. and Mrs. Wilks there have been born the following named children, John W., born April 2. 1873; Eddie, born January 22, 1875; Emeline, born April 21, 1876; Eliza L., born July 10, 1878: Martha E., born December 28, 1880; George F., born March 16, 1883; Rosa M., born June 5, 1885; Bertha M., born March 29, 1888: Lillie E., born April 21, 1891; William D., born July 25, 1892; Zoa F., born June, 10, 1894; Ruth E., born May 28, 1895; Myrtle A., born February 8, 1898.

Back to: Nez Perce Biographies

Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903

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