Thomas Willis

Kentucky, USA
Death 1870 (aged 44–45)
Mason, Ingham County, Michigan, USA
Burial Mason, Ingham County, Michigan, USA
Plot Section A - Lot 217
Memorial ID 47404018 · View Source
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Name originally was Frank Demas but changed it when he escaped from slavery to Thomas Willis so as not to be found by his master. According to his wife's obituary, she escaped first to Canada with her daughter Mahala (Mrs. Henry Lyon) by underground railroad. Her and her husband were reunited there later by her husband after his escape. They lived in Canada a few years, and then Detroit finally coming to Mason, Michigan where he died 4 years later. (From the information in the article of Aug 15, 1907, I estimated the year they came to Mason as 1865 and he died approximately in 1869/1870)

Husband of Mary Willis. They were the parents of:

Mahala Willis 1850 - 1928 (Henry Lyons)
James Willis 1859 - 1953
Henry D. Willis 1863 - 1942
Mary Willis 1866 (James Monroe and Albert James)

1860 United States Federal Census
Name: Thomas Willis
Age: 40
Birth Year: abt 1820
Gender: Male
Race: Mulatto
Birth Place: Kentucky
Home in 1860: Raisin, Lenawee, Michigan
Post Office: Adrian
Family Number: 335
Value of real estate: View image
Household Members:
Name Age
Thomas Willis 40
Mary Willis 38
Mahala Willis 3
James Willis 7 Months

1870 United States Federal Census
about Thomas Willis
Name: Thomas Willis
Age in 1870: 45
Birth Year: abt 1825
Birthplace: Kentucky
Home in 1870: Vevay, Ingham, Michigan
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Post Office: Mason
Value of real estate: View image
Household Members:
Name Age
Thomas Willis 45
Mary Willis 52
Mahaly Willis 13
James Willis 10
Henry Willis 8
Mary Willis 4

From a Find A Grave Contributor

Family Members




  • Created by: Sandra Moore
  • Added: 1 Feb 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 47404018
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Willis (1825–1870), Find a Grave Memorial no. 47404018, citing Maple Grove Cemetery, Mason, Ingham County, Michigan, USA ; Maintained by Sandra Moore (contributor 47025864) .