Descendants of Ann Harris

Fourth Generation

(Continued)


50. James Porter Wills (James Porter Wills , John Wills , Ann ) was born on 26 Feb 1880 in Sydney. He died on 21 Sep 1971 in Sydney.

James Porter Wills (born 1880) married Elizabeth Maude Crane in 1902 when aged 22. They produced 7 children. The family lived in Smith St Wentworthville, the same street and his parents until 1927 when James built the family home nearby at 27 D’Arcey Rd Wentworthville. However, James and Elizabeth separated in 1928 with Elizabeth retaining the family home.

James was a bootmaker and worked with his father in James Wills & Co. at Newtown. On his father’s retirement, James took over the business and changed the name to Wills & Son in 1928. The factory was located at the rear of 583 King St, Newtown. The business continued to employ many of the Wills family. The partners in the business were his eldest surviving son Gilbert, and his brother Albert Leslie Wills (Mate). James’ two other sons, Walter and Albert Leslie (Bill) also worked in the business. The business, however, went bankrupt and after Gilbert’s death was reconstituted as J & W Wills with James and his son Walter as the owners. The factory, which manufactured mainly children’s shoes, was firstly at Hurlstone Park but later moved to Phillip St Parramatta and then into newly built premises at Hassall St, Harris Park. Other family members who worked in the new business were the two Albert Leslie’s, Mate and Bill, Donald, son of Gilbert, and George Albert, Alexander Leslie and Ivy Monica, chidren of George Wills.

James retired in about 1960, aged about 70, to live at Dangar Island in the Hawkesbury River. He died in 1971 aged 91..

James married Elizabeth Maud Crane daughter of John E Crane and Mary in 1902 in Redfern. The marriage ended in divorce.Elizabeth was born in 1885 in Glebe. She died on 22 Jul 1966 in Sydney.

They had the following children:

  162 M i Arthur J Wills was born in 1902 in Redfern. He died in 1902 in Marrickville. The cause of death was Bubonic plague.
  163 M ii Harold R Wills was born in 1903 in Redfern. He died in 1903 in Newtown. The cause of death was Bubonic plague.
+ 164 M iii Gilbert Henry Wills
+ 165 M iv Walter James Wills
+ 166 F v Phyllis Wills
+ 167 F vi Dorothy Wills
+ 168 M vii Albert Leslie Wills

51. Walter Wills (James Porter Wills , John Wills , Ann ) was born on 21 Dec 1881 in Waverley. He died in Jul 1983 in Yagoona.

Walter Wills (born 1881) became a jockey and then earned his living as a professional punter betting on the horses and on professional athletics which was popular in the early 20th century. He essentially lived on his wits and is reputed to have not paid income tax. For a time he worked in his father’s bootmaking business.

Walter married Maud Kimberley in 1904 and produced two children. He lived mostly at Campsie and was a keen dancer. In his 90s he still went regularly to see the early morning track work at Canterbury. He bought a new suit when he was 97 believing he would get many years of use from it. His son Jack died 2 days before his father’s 100th birthday. Walter lived to be 101 years.

Walter married Maud Kimberley daughter of Josiah Kimberley and Margaret in 1904 in Redfern. Maud was born in 1886 in Petersham.

They had the following children:

+ 169 F i Hilda E M Wills
+ 170 M ii John Henry Wills

52. George W Wills (James Porter Wills , John Wills , Ann ) was born 1 on 13 Jun 1883 in Waverley. He died 2 on 24 Oct 1971 in Rockdale. The cause of death was Heart attack. He was buried on 27 Oct 1971 in Woronora Crematorium.

George Wills (born 1883). George was initially a bootmaker in his father’s factory. He then became a professional boxer and fought for the Australian lightweight title under the name of Dealer Wells. It is reputed that “Wells” was a misprint in the fight program and George decided to accept this as his boxing name. He later worked on the wharves as did many professional boxers of the time.

George married Amber Hickey in 1905 and they produced 4 children,. Amber died in 1917 aged 32. The next day, George moved in with the next door neighbour, a Mrs Smith and her two children and married her the same year. His attitude was that his children needed a mother, and no doubt to absolve himself of daily parental chores. His children intensely disliked their new mother as they felt they were given second class treatment in the household including poorer quality meals and George did not stand up for their interests.

George married Olive Rigby in 1937 when his children had reached adulthood. George died at age 88.

George married (1) Amber Rose Burton Hickey daughter of Peter Francis Hickey and Harriet Sarah Burton on 1 Jul 1905 in Redfern. Amber was born 1 on 30 Nov 1884 in Glebe. She died in 1917 in Redfern.

They had the following children:

  171 M i George Arthur Alfred Wills was born on 20 Nov 1905 in Newtown. He died on 20 Nov 1998 in Grafton.

George Albert Wills was a POW of the Germans in WW2. As prisoner he was assigned to work on a farm in Austria and to his account looked after the farm and the farmer’s wife. The farmer was a lieutenant in the German forces on the Russian front and, unfortunately for George, survived the war and returned to his farm, forcing a hurried exit for George..

On his return to Australia, George worked as a bootmaker in the James Porter Wills’ business. He married a Frenchwoman, Georgette Geist in 1954 when aged 48. It is reported that Georgette foretold her death in tea leaves and soon after was killed in a road accident. George lived to age 95.
        George married Georgette Victoria C Geiste in 1954 in Campbelltown. Georgette was born in France. She died in Jun 1965 in Bowral.
+ 172 M ii Harry James Wills
+ 173 F iii Ivy May Monica Wills
+ 174 F iv Stella Irene Wills
+ 175 M v Alexander Leslie Wills

George married (2) Olive M Smith in 1922 in Sydney. Olive died in 1929 in Redfern.

I have spoken to nearly all the grandchildren of George Wills & Amber Rose Hickey, and none of the know the name of the stepmother.
There are legendary stories from all the grandchildren about how cruel and abusive the stepmother was but none of the grandchildren know her name.
Most accounts report that she was just brought home by George Wills. Some say it was the lady next door. Michael Wills thinks her name was Smith. He is the son of Alec Wills and lived at home with Alec for a long time.
The stepmother was not Olive Rigby whom George married when he was 54.
The stepmother must have been brought in to care for the Wills children about 1918. It is unlikely that the kids got much care and Alec was only three at the timeJoan's mother Ivy told her that George offered to' slit her throat'. My mother told me that when George was about 16 he came home with a rifle and threatened to shoot stepmother if she ever touched the Wills kids again.
Nobody knows what happened to her, but she probably died before Alec was 16? Say 1930

Leslie James Wills
18 nov 2003

George married (3) Olive Hilda Alice Rigby daughter of John W Rigby and Mary A in 1937 in Campbelltown. Olive was born in 1898 in Canterbury. She died on 9 Apr 1984 in Brighton.

55. Miriam Ruby Wills (James Porter Wills , John Wills , Ann ) was born on 1 Feb 1889 in Waverley. She died on 8 Sep 1989 in Mona Vale.

Miriam Ruby Wills (born 1889) and known as Ruby was the oldest surviving daughter. She worked in her father’s bootmaking business until her marriage in 1912 to Walter Bolt when they moved to Lithgow. Walter was a butcher but was forced from the business when he lost his left arm in a car accident.

Ruby had a fine business instinct. She built a ballroom as an annex to her house. She and Walter took dancing lessons in Sydney then opened a dancing school known as “Ecole-de-dance” which also doubled as a wedding reception venue. She also operated the canteen at the Lithgow small arms factory, a cake shop in Lithgow, and a catering business that specialised in sporting functions. It is claimed that she knew many famous sportsmen including Don Bradman.

The Bolts moved to Queenscliff in about 1945 and bought a milk bar called the Surf Inn on the Corso opposite Queenscliff beach. It was on a trip to Lithgow in 1948 that Walter died suddenly while having a drink at Katoomba. Ruby continued to own the dance and catering businesses in Lithgow into the 1970s when she was in her 80s. She also bought a block of flats at Eurobia Ave Manly.

The Bolts were good friends with Raymond Lewis, the postmaster at Queenscliff, and his wife and when Mrs Lewis died, Ruby married Raymond. She later moved to Chatswood. Ruby lived to 100 years.

Miriam married (1) Walter James Bolt son of John Bolt and Mary in 1912 in Newtown. Walter was born in 1889 in Lithgow. He died in 1948 in Katoomba.

They had the following children:

+ 176 F i Mavis Olga Bolt
  177 M ii Leslie Bolt was born in 1915 in Lithgow. He died in 1991 in Wagga Wagga.

Leslie served in WW2 and remained a bachelor all his life.
+ 178 M iii Jack Baxter Bolt

Miriam married (2) Reginald Emanuel Bennett Lewis in 1950 in Manly. Reginald was born in 1889 in Parramatta. He died in 1994 in Manly.

56. Albert Leslie Wills (James Porter Wills , John Wills , Ann ) was born on 4 Feb 1891 in Waverley. He died on 13 Apr 1994 in Wentworthville.

Albert Leslie Wills (born 1891) was always known as Mate but the reason is not known. Mate was a bootmaker for most of his working life in various Wills bootmaking businesses and for a time was a partner in Wills & Son. He served in WW1 and was stationed in Egypt, Belgium and France. Because of his trade he was often called upon to repair soldiers boots but spent much of the war as a cook.

On return to Australia Mate married Rose Anne Henries in 1920. Both Bill Wills and Dorothy Meek (their children) commented that Rose was an extremely beautiful woman. Mate lived at Wentworthville and owned considerable land around Craddock St. He produced 7 children, the youngest being born when Mate was aged 50. Mate lived to be 103 years and at age 100 was still remarkably active. He was still living in his house at Wentworthville with intellectually impaired son Albert. His 100th birthday party was a large affair and allowed many sides of the family to make contact. Mate gave instructions as to most aspects of the party including the food, table arrangements and the entertainment. On the night he sang his favourite songs and danced with many of the women at the party.

Albert married Rose Anne Henries daughter of Laurence E Henries and Sarah in 1920 in Sydney. Rose was born on 13 Oct 1898 in Dubbo. She died on 25 Oct 1974 in Wentworthville.

They had the following children:

  179 F i Norma Elsie Wills was born on 25 Jul 1921 in Newtown. She died on 26 Sep 1939 in Parramatta.

Norma was an epileptic and her health meant she only worked at odd jobs. She died at age 18 in 1939 with her death attributed to an epileptic attack. Norma was considered to be an accomplished pianist.
  180 F ii Joan Aileen Wills
        Joan married (1) Gordon Alfred Stephens. Gordon was born on 6 Feb 1922. He died on 4 Jun 2002.
        Joan married (2) Noel Frederick Hayes. Noel was born on 17 Nov 1927. He died on 10 Oct 1999.
  181 M iii Albert James Wills was born on 10 Dec 1923 in Wentworthville. He died on 7 Mar 1995 in Wentworthville.

Albert was intellectually impaired and lived with his father for most of his life.. .He died at age 71.
  182 M iv Victor Clarence Wills was born on 11 Apr 1925 in Wentworthville. He died on 26 May 1981 in Broken Hill.

Vic was an outdoors person and after time at the Lithgow small arms factory became a rabbit trapper in the far north west of NSW, spending much of his time around Tiboburra. He died in Broken Hill at age 66 from an undiagnosed brain tumour.
+ 183 M v Donald Ross Wills
+ 184 M vi Allan Richard Wills
+ 185 M vii Colin Peter Wills

57. Vina Violet Wills (James Porter Wills , John Wills , Ann ) was born on 30 Jun 1892 in Albion Park. She died on 18 May 1976 in Yagoona.

Vina Violet Wills (born 1893) was known as Duck. The origin of her nickname is not exactly known but it was reputed to have been given by her brothers.

She married Herbert Cyril Pepper in 1915 and they had 3 children. Duck becomes divorced from Herbert Pepper and it would seem to be acrimonious as she reports no father on the death certificate of their younger daughter, Georgette in 1925 at age 9 months and seems to have lost contact with her eldest daughter Iris and son Wallace althoug hshe became reconciled with Iris in later years.

Duck subsequently married George T O’Brien in 1925. They produced two children the eldest of whom died at 2 years following an accident. George O’Brien was a powder monkey working in coal mines and then went farming which took them to a number of regional towns in NSW. He then worked on the construction of Warragamba dam where a blasting accident damaged his arm and forced him from work. He died in 1939.

Duck settled at Newtown for many years from 1940 with her youngest daughter Violet. Monica Carroll lived with Duck for the last 8 years of her life following the death of her husband. Duck died in 1976 at age 84.

Duck can be considered to have had a hard life losing 3 children in dramatic circumstances and losing contact with two other children as well as having a marriage end prematurely and another acrimoniously. However, Violet reports that Duck was a kind, patient and forgiving person although like all the Wills women was an independent spirit. She worked until she was 75, much of the time as a shoe machinist, having started her working life in her father’s bootmaking business. Duck was also close to her sisters Elsie and Ruby.

Vina married (1) Herbert Cyril Pepper son of Samuel Pepper and Elizabeth M in 1915 in Newtown. The marriage ended in divorce.Herbert was born in 1893 in Newtown. He died in 1939 in Lismore.

They had the following children:

+ 186 F i Iris May Pepper
  187 M ii Wallace Edward Pepper was born in 1919 in Wollongong. He died on 12 Sep 1944 in At sea.

Wally lived at Casino where he was a professional boxer in the lightweight division. He served in the army and became a prisoner of war at Changi. He was being transported to by sea to a labour camp possibly in Burma but was killed when the ship was torpedoed by the American navy.
  188 F iii Georgette Pepper was born in 1924. She died in 1925 in Ashfield.

Vina married (2) George Thomas O'Brien son of Henry O'Brien and Elizabeth on 2 Nov 1925 in Redfern. George was born in 1897 in Gerringong. He died on 25 Jul 1939 in Newtown.

They had the following children:

  189 M iv John Terence O'Brien was born in 1927 in Surry Hills. He died on 27 May 1929 in St Peters.
  190 F v Violet May O'Brien
        Violet married (1) Harry Summers Chandler. Harry was born on 18 Mar 1927. He died on 3 Nov 1977 in Yagoona.
        Violet married (2) George Charles Berry. George was born on 17 Oct 1920 in Nz. He died on 2 Mar 2005 in Tauraunga, Nz.

58. Elsie Myra Wills (James Porter Wills , John Wills , Ann ) was born on 23 Aug 1895 in Newtown. She died on 2 Apr 1988 in Hurstville.

Elsie Myra Wills (born 1895) was known as a gregarious fun-loving person. She worked for much of her life in the shoemaking business. She started her working life with her father’s bootmaking business and returned to her brother’s business during the depression as her father did not believe his children being on the dole. During WW2, Elsie worked for Fostar’s Shoes at Chippendale but was blackballed by the union over an unknown issue to do with military boots. She somehow managed to avoid the black ban and later gained employment at John Hunter Shoes at Redfern. Her last job was with Acme Shoes at Hurstville where she worked until 77 years of age.

However, she took time out throughout her life to have other experiences including a round the world trip with her sister Ruby at a time when women did not travel widely. Elsie also liked betting on the horses and regularly attended Canterbury and Warwick Farm races with Mate, Duck and Olive (daughter of John Wills).

She married James Cobb in 1921. James was an accountant who worked for a timber merchant, Tanner & Middleton, and a produce agent, Garthan Bros. They produced two daughters. Elsie died age 92.

Elsie married James John Cobb son of James J Cobb and Mary E in 1921 in Sydney. James was born in 1889 in Newcastle. He died on 30 May 1955 in Hurstville.

They had the following children:

+ 191 F i Valma Jean Cobb
+ 192 F ii Shirley June Cobb

59. Baden Powell Wills (James Porter Wills , John Wills , Ann ) was born on 9 Apr 1900 in Newtown. He died on 12 Aug 1948 in Ipoh Malaysia. The cause of death was gunshot. He was buried in Batu Gaja, Malaysia.

Baden Powell Wills was born at Newtown in 1900, 5 years after his nearest sibling. He was named after Lord Baden-Powell who in the Boer War was the commander of British forces in the siege of Mafeking that was lifted in May 1900.

The family wanted Baden to complete school and go to university but peer pressure at the Newtown school resulted in his leaving at age 14 to work. Baden moved around for most of his life. He became a trades engineer serving his apprenticeship at the Lithgow steel works. He served in WW1 enlisting in the ambulance corps towards the end of the war. In Australia, it is known that he worked as a engineer in the Darwin power station and ice works, on a pearling lugger in Broome and in a gold mine in New Guinea. He sent pearls and gold nuggets to his sister Elsie for use as 21st birthday presents for his nieces. It is reported he part-owned a racehorse in Darwin and a jockey called Jacky-Jacky.

Baden also worked for a tin mine in Thailand before WW2, was a civilian POW at Changi, Singapore and on release returned to Australia where he worked in the Leichhardt ice works. He was only in Australia for 12 months, before returning to Thailand (Siam) in late 1946, only 3 months after the birth of his youngest son. He then went to Ipoh, Malaya as dredgemaster for a tin mine where he was shot by Communist terrorists in 1948 at age 48.

He married Cissie Howe (nee Gum) in 1946 but their relationship started many years earlier as they had met in Darwin, probably in the 1920s. It seems likely that Cissie’s parents would not have approved of the relationship and this may account for her spending time in Hong Kong, ostensibly to learn Chinese, but more probably to find a Chinese husband. They seemed to have come together in the 1930s in Sydney when Cissie was married to William Howe. Baden and Cissie had 2 sons, before their marriage and a 3rd son in 1946 after their marriage on Baden’s return from Changi, as William Howe had died during the war.

Baden married Cissie Elizabeth Gum daughter of Fong Sing Gum and Ah Gew Sen in 1946 in Sydney. Cissie was born on 29 Sep 1904 in Darwin. She died on 11 Sep 1977 in Randwick.

Cissie would seem to have met Baden Wills in Darwin during the 1920s. Cissie told of being sent to Hong Kong by her family to learn Chinese but it suspected that she was sent to find a Chinese husband as she would have spoken Chinese in the home as it is almost certain her mother would not have spoken English and certainly not in the home.

She married a William (Willie) Howe and they lived in Townsville but it is not known when and where they met and why they ended up in Townsville. Cissie and Willlie separated while in Townsville and it is suspected that Baden then made contact with her in Towsnville. Cissie came to Sydney for medical testing in the late 1930s and ended up living with Baden in Glebe. They had 2 children, Ron and Jim, before Baden went to Asia and was imprisoned by the Japanese in Changi, Singapore. It seems that Willie Howe died during the War and on Baden’s return to Australia in 1945, Cissie and Baden married and Alan was born in 1946.

After Baden’s death in 1948 in Malaysia, Cissie owned Chinese restaurants in Liverpool St, Sydney (Asiatic Café) and Stanmore Rd, Enmore (Sun Hing Café) and a number of investment properties. She last lived at Randwick and died in 1977 from a brain tumour.

Baden and Cissie had the following children:

+ 193 M i Professor Ronald Baden Howe Wills
+ 194 M ii James Sidney Howe Wills
  195 M iii Alan Eric Wills was born in Aug 1946 in Leichhardt. He died in Jan 1994 in Wyong.

Alan was a psychology graduate from Sydney University but never worked professionally. He worked initially in the public service and then mainly as a courier. He took his own life at age 47.
        Alan married Gerada van Hassalt.

61. John Henry Wills (George Edmund Joiner Wills , John Wills , Ann ) was born in 1885 in Paddington. He died in 1951 in Gosford.

John married Lily Evelyn Hawkins in 1912 in Petersham. Lily was born in 1891 in Inverell. She died on 24 Jul 1979 in Hammondville.

They had the following children:

+ 196 F i Lily N Verle Wills
+ 197 F ii Ella Mary Wills
+ 198 F iii Dulcie Valda Wills
  199 F iv Gwenneth K Wills was born in 1926. She died in 1927 in Hurstville.
+ 200 M v Jack Mervyn Wills

62. Oliver Daniel Wills (George Edmund Joiner Wills , John Wills , Ann ) was born in 1887 in Waverley.

Oliver married Alice M.

They had the following children:

  201 M i Francis G Wills
  202 M ii Oliver John Wills was born in 1910 in Paddington. He died on 23 Oct 1911 in St Leonards.
  203 M iii Ernest C Wills
  204 F iv Doreen M Wills
  205 M v Charles Wills

63. Anthony Charles Wills (George Edmund Joiner Wills , John Wills , Ann ) was born in 1889 in Waverley. He died on 13 Jun 1942 in Sutherland.

Anthony married (1) Elsie Dorothea Rosten daughter of Charles Henry Rosten and Mary Ann in 1911 in St Leonards. The marriage ended in divorce.Elsie was born in 1894 in St Leonards. She died in 1951 in Manly.

They had the following children:

+ 206 F i Ida Mary Victoria Wills
  207 M ii Charles Wills was born in 1915. He died in 1915 in St Leonards.

Anthony married (2) Kathleen Amelia Aubin in 1923. Kathleen was born in 1888 in Rozelle. She died in 1957 in Balmain.

They had the following children:

  208 F iii Patricia Kathleen Wills
        Patricia married Cecil Edward Mahoney. Cecil died in 1963 in Murwillumbah.

65. Ida Dorothy Wills (George Edmund Joiner Wills , John Wills , Ann ) was born in 1893 in Waverley.

Ida married John Purcell in 1914 in St Leonards.

They had the following children:

  209 M i Anthony J Purcell
        Anthony married Gwendoline Frances Challis.
  210 M ii James Oliver Purcell was born in 1918 in Katoomba. He died on 12 Jan 1919 in Sydney.
  211 M iii John Purcell
  212 F iv Ida Purcell
+ 213 F v Greta Frances Purcell

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