Mary Ann <I>Wakefield</I> Willard

Mary Ann Wakefield Willard

Illinois, USA
Death 7 Dec 1903 (aged 80)
Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Woodland, Yolo County, California, USA
Plot Block 8, Lot 9
Memorial ID 78023267 · View Source
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Death of Mrs. Mary A. Willard
Died In Los Angeles On December 7th
Was One of the First White Women In Yolo County -
Lived Here For Years

WILLARD - At the Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, December 7, 1903, of old age, Mary A. Willard, aged 82 years, a native of Wisconsin, a pioneer of California.

The deceased was one of the first white women in Yolo county, having crossed the plains with her husband and his family, and settling on Cache Creek in 1850. She was the widow of Alexander Hamilton Willard, Jr., who died in Yolo county in 1870, he being the son of Alexander Hamilton Willard, prominent in the history of the Lewis and Clark expedition of the first white men to cross the mountains in 1804. With the death of Mary A. Willard, much interesting data relating to that expedition as repeated by the elder Willard, and much of the early history of pioneer life in California, becomes a sealed book. In those days there were no daily paper, no telephones, and no Associated dispatches, and as the new settlers unfolded their tents on Cache Creek, they built huge campfires to keep Uncle Billy Gordon's Spanish cattle at a respectful distance, and later, when the pioneers were gathered around the big old fashioned fire places, piled high with huge backlogs it was always the same stories of their own experiences, over and over again, tales of their own disappointments, hardships and pleasures on that six months journey crossing the plains behind ox teams for the new country.

Mrs. Willard was the daughter of Judge John Allen Wakefield, prominent as a financier and a leader in the early history of Wisconsin and Kansas. She was a sister of Senator W. H. T. Wakefield, who is an editor and prolific writer on the social and economic questions of the day; and aunt of Professor Benjamin Terry, of the Chicago university. Mrs. Willard descended from a long lived and intellectual race of Scotch and Irish, and was a recognized heir to the large "Antrim Estate" in Ireland, now in litigation.

Mrs. Willard was the mother of fourteen children, most of whom are natives of Yolo county. Two daughters, Mrs. C. J. [J. C.] Hawkins, of Tulare and Mrs. Arthur Scott, of Los Angeles, and four sons, John, Henry, Hamilton and F. P. [Franklin Pierce] Willard survive her.

It will be remembered that in 1882 Mrs. Willard sold the last of the Willard estate, which originally consisted of several hundred acres of the Billy Gordon Grant on Cache Creek. With the proceeds she joined a son-in-law in Texas, in establishing a stock ranch with very disastrous results.

Her declining years have been spent with her children, principally with her daughter, Mrs. [Emma] Hawkins.

While visiting at Madison a year ago, Mrs. Arthur Scott, was summoned to what was then supposed to be her mother's deathbed, and since that time has given the deceased her constant care.

Mrs. Willard never rallied, but for a year or more has gradually failed from old age, till the end came without a pain or struggle. The remains were cremated at the Evergreen Cemetery, Los Angeles, December 10, 1903, in the presence of a few friends and four generations of her own family.

The ashes will be interred in the grave of her husband, Alexander H. Willard, in the Woodland Cemetery.

Though it has been over thirty [20 is penciled in] years since Mrs. Willard left Yolo county she will be remembered by many of the older residents as a lady of many virtues and sterling qualities. She came of that sturdy old stock which made possible the settlement and civilization of the Golden West. A woman of rare intellectual qualities, brave spirit, she shared the hardships and privations of early life in California, rearing a family of children each of whom will ever be an honor to her memory. To such women the present high state of civilization, prosperity, and happiness, particularly of Yolo county, will remain to the end a living monument and tribute. May her ashes rest peacefully on the spot where lies the remains of her pioneer husband in the Woodland cemetery.

Her old home, mentioned in the foregoing, in which she lived happily for so many years, is now known as the Archer property near Madison.

The Mail of Woodland
Woodland, California
17 Dec 1903

Newspaper clipping courtesy of LSLeister.


Mary A.
Mother of G.H. Willard
Born 1823
Died Dec. 7, 1903

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  • Maintained by: CZNBJL
  • Originally Created by: Tom Decker
  • Added: 9 Oct 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 78023267
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Mary Ann Wakefield Willard (11 Jun 1823–7 Dec 1903), Find A Grave Memorial no. 78023267, citing Woodland Cemetery, Woodland, Yolo County, California, USA ; Maintained by CZNBJL (contributor 47647261) .