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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Pike County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Caswell B. Willett, farmer, Murfreesboro, Ark. Mr. Willett is recognized as a careful, energetic agriculturist of this community, and by his advanced ideas and progressive habits has done no little for the farming interests hereabouts. Originally from Chatham County, N. C., where his birth occurred on June 10, 1830, he is the seventh of twelve children born to Charles and E. E. (Thomas) Willett, both of whom were natives of Chatham County, N. C. The parents left that county and moved to Monroe County, Ga., in 1833, and there passed the remainder of their days, the mother dying in 1840, and the father in 1866, at the age of sixty-six years. The father was a man of prominence, and at different times was engaged in various occupations, which brought him in considerable wealth. Caswell B. Willett was reared in Georgia, and received but a limited education in the common schools. After the death of his mother, which occurred when he was but a small child, he was taken by his grandmother and an uncle, with whom he remained until grown. At the age of twenty years he commenced working for himself as a farmer, and was married, first, in 1850, to Miss Emeline Martin, a native of Georgia, and the daughter of Henry Martin, who was born in South Carolina. To Mr. and Mrs. Willett were born nine children, seven now living, and all residing in Pike County: Charley H., Louisa F., Fannie, Robert C, William S., Emeline and Ancil G. All these children are married, with the exception of William S. and Ancil G., the former of whom is living near Murfreesboro, and the latter with the father. Louisa F. was married, in 1874, to F. P. Hughes, a successful farmer of Pike County; Fannie married, in 1881, Mr. J. W. West, a farmer of this county, and Emeline married, in 1884, C. A. Watson, a farmer of this county. Mrs. Willett died on July 26, 1866, and Mr. Willett was married, in 1870, to Miss Mary A. Kolb, a native of Georgia, and the daughter of Harmon Kolb. This marriage resulted in the birth of one child, Edgar S., who is residing with his parents. During the late war, Mr. Willett enlisted as a private in the Confederate army in July, 1862, and was in the Chatham Flying Artillery. He was discharged on the 6th of December of the same year, on account of physical disability. In 1864 he enlisted in Capt. Sharp’s battalion, in which he served until the close of the war. He was in numerous skirmishes, although in no general engagements. In 1877 he moved from Georgia to Howard County, Ark., and settled permanently in Pike County in 1878. There he now resides on his farm of 200 acres, sixty-five acres under cultivation, and his principal crops are corn and cotton. Mr. Willett is a member of the Farmers’ Union, which he joined in 1889, and of which he is president. He was first elected school director in 1883, and has since served with the exception of 1884 and 1886, when he filled the position of justice of the peace. He is a Democrat, but is not active politically. He and Mrs. Willett are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

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This family biography is one of 71 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Pike County, Arkansas published in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Pike County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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