Orange County, Florida

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Orange County FLGenWeb: Biographies: Alva James Willis

Source: "History of Florida: Past and Present, Historical and Biographical," Volume 2, Harry Gardner Cutler, Lewis publishing Company, 1923, Florida.

Alva James Willis

Alva James Willis was born at Oakland, and since early manhood has been closely identified with the truck growing, citrus fruits and other agricultural interests in that section of Orange County. He is one of the successful men. thoroughly progressive, and his public spirit has earned him a high degree of community esteem.

He was born at Oakland, August 30, 1879, son of James Edward and Nancy (Hobart) Willis, being one of their four children, the others of whom were Edward Hobart, deceased, May Lindsay and Nellie Gertrude. The parents were born in Massachusetts, reared and married there, and the father then took his bride to Illinois, where he had spent some time prior to his marriage. In 1878 the family came from Illinois to Florida and after one year at Apopka settled at Oakland, where they homesteaded and began general farming and orange culture. James E. Willis was a soldier in the Union Army during the Civil war. He died at Oakland in 1915 at the age of eightyone, and his widow passed away in 1912, aged about sixty-nine. They were members of the Presbyterian Church.

Alva James Willis was reared on his father's homestead, attended the public schools, and long experience has made him an authority on everything connected with the growing of vegetables and oranges in this section. He now has a fine property with forty acres planted to fruit and has trucking and other general farming lands as well. Mr. Willis is a Presbyterian, is a past master of his Masonic Lodge and a member of the Knights Templar Commandery and Shrine. He married in 1907 Miss Pine Mae Cooley. Their five children are Clarence James, Roscoe George, Robert Cooley, Helen Dorothy and John Kenneth.