from Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa by Manoah Hedge The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1906
Past & Present of Mahaska County,Iowa by Manoah Hedge(Willis J. Willhoit) - W. J. WILLHOIT, b. 25 Oct 1849 W. J. Wilihoit, who carries on general farming and also engages in the breeding and raising of pure blooded shorthorn cattle, is conducting his business interests on a tract of land of one hundred and ten acres on sections 6 and 7, Spring Creek township. It is situated within a mile and a half of Oskaloosa and is one of the oldest and best improved farms of the county. In addition to this property Mr. Willhoit also owns a farm of two hundred and seventy-four acres lying in Spring Creek and Adams townsh ips. He is one of the pioneer settlers of the county, dating his residence here from 1851 and he has a very wide and favorable acquaintance among the old settlers and also many friends among the more recent arrivals. Mr. Wilihoit is a native of Kentucky, born October 25, 1849. His father, James M. Willhoit, was a native of Virginia, born October 24, 1819. The family is of German ancestry, three brothers having come to America and settled in the state of New York, while later they removed to Virginia. James M. Willhoit was reared in the Old Dominion and when a man removed to Kentucky. He was married in Owens county, that state, to Miss Harriet Stringfellow, a native of Kentucky, born in Owens county, February 6, 182 3, a daughter of Henry Stringfellow, a native of the Blue Grass state. In the year 1851 James M. Willhoit came to Mahaska county, Iowa, casting in his lot among the pioneer settlers who reclaimed this region for the use of the white race. He bought land in Adams township, located thereon and began opening up a farm, but was not long permitted to enjoy his new home his death occurring on the 6th of April, 1854. His wife, surviving him, reared her family upon the old homestead farm, doing a mother's full duty toward her children. She passed away July 4, 1898, amid the deep regret of many friends as well as her immediate family She had seven children, four sons and three daughters, of whom four are now living. John H. Willhoit, brother of our subject, owns and operates the old homestead in Adams township The surviving sisters are: Mrs. Mary E. Bass, a widow, lives in Monroe township and owns the old home property, which once belonged to her maternal grandfather; and Mrs. Maranda Parr, also a resident of Monroe township. W. J. Wilihoit spent his youth upon the home farm and a common-school education was supplemented by study in Penn College. In his youth he assisted in the farm work as opportunity offered and his age and strength increased creased. He remained with his mother until twenty-four years of age and for a few years carried on the work of the home property. On the 22d of January, 1880, however, he made preparations for having a home of his own by his marriage to Miss Josephine Wymore, who was born in this county, March 7, 1861, and was here reared and educated. She is a daughter of F. M. and Matilda (Parr) Wymore. Her father was one of the first settlers of this locality, coming to Iowa from Indiana. Following his marriage Mr. Wilihoit located on a small farm in Spring Creek township, where he carried on general agricultural pursuits, cultivating and improving his land there until 1898. That he prospered in his undertakings is indicated by the fact that he added to his original holdings from time to time until he now owns nearly eight hundred acres of land. He also placed upon his farm the most modern and superior improvements, developing a splendid property. In 1901 he purchased one hundred and ten acres, where he now resides and he has since added to and remodeled the house and now has a good residence. He has also built two barns, has fenced and tiled the place and has carried on farming along progressive lines, so that he has a good home property here, lacking in none of the equipments of a model farm. In addition to tilling the fields he is breeding and dealing in pure-blooded shorthorns and Scotch top cattle, having a herd of fifty head. He has a Scotch bull, Victor, at the head of his herd, and is well known as a breeder of fine cattle. He makes exhibits at various county fairs and has won numerous premiums. He has gained quite a wide reputation as a breeder and dealer in shorthorn cattle and has done much to improve the grade of stock raised, thereby contributing to the general prosperity of the community. He is also one of the heavy stockholders in the Frankel State Bank at Oskaloosa and through his active business career he has made consecutive advancement, each year seeing an increase in his property. He is especially deserving of mention because of what he has done in connection with the development of corn. He is the originator of the Willhoit corn and may well be termed the Luther Burbank in the line of improving this cereal. He has been working on this corn for forty years and has won numerous prizes on it as heavy and light cob. He has averaged for the last forty years fifty bushels of corn to the acre. The crop in 1904 averaged one hundred bushels to the acre and in 1905 sixty bushels, the decrease in the latter year being due to the severe windstorms. He has sold seed corn throughout the corn states. His aim has been to reduce the weight of the cob and in this way he has accomplished a great work. His efforts have been worth thousands of dollars to Mahaska county as well as being a source of much individual profit. It takes from ninety to one hundred and ten days for the Wilihoit corn to mature and there is no better corn on the market. All his place is tiled and Mr. WilIhoit was a pioneer in this work in his township, being the first to thus drain his farm. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Wilihoit have been born seven children: Clyde, born December 10, 1882, who was educated at Penn College and is now a successful teacher; Harry, born July 18, 1884, a student in Christian College; Clara, born April 4, 1886, and Nell, born May 24, 1888. who are students in Penn College and will complete the course there in the class of 1906; Glenn, born June 5, 1891, attending the home school; Charles, born October 5, 1895, and Gale Lucile, born February 9, 1900, also with their parents. Politically Mr. Wilihoit is a democrat where national issues are involved and has served as a delegate to the county, congressional and state conventions of his party. He belongs to Commercial lodge, No. 128, I. 0. 0. F., of Oskaloosa, in which he has filled all of the chairs and is a past grand. His life has been one of untiring activity and he is one of the prosperous and up-to-date farmers and stock breeders of Mahaska county. He possesses sound business judgment and carries forward to successful completion whatever he undertakes. He is recognized as a man of genuine worth, reliable in business and in citizenship, so that those who know him tender him warm and sincere regard. Moreover he is truly a self made man, who deserves much credit for his success and has every reason to be proud of what he has accomplished. He has worked along practical lines, constantly looking for opportunities for advancement, and has made splendid progress along lines of honorable activity, resulting in success.
Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy