There are many records besides the census, and sometimes the most exciting revelations can be found online just by searching a place name. I located a book titled "1895 Landmark Book, Oswego County, NY" and a chapter about the town of Constantia. To my surprise, my family was mentioned:
"Wendell Willis came to the town in January, 1837, had eleven children, and died here about 1877; his widow's death occurred June 1, 1883."
By August of 1850, Grandpa had become a successful landowner and ran a busy, successful farming operation in Constantia. The Non-Population Schedule, or Census, describes the farm in detail: 149 acres, combined cash value of $1915, numbers of horses, milk cows, cattle, sheep, and swine, and produce including wheat, corn, oats, pounds of wool, Irish potatoes, butter, cheese (100 pounds!), and hay.
|Location of Constantia|
Five years later, the Willis farmers remained near each other in Constantia where Grandpa and Grandma could enjoy watching their grandchildren grow up. The population in this small village had risen to 3,483 souls from only 1,193 in 1830. The number of persons residing here decreased slowly and would not reach 3000 for one hundred years - in 1970.
Wendal Davis Willis died in 1876 at age 82. He was a hard-working man and a credit to those who follow. May God be with you, Grandpa.
|Constantia Center Cemetery|