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    1. [WILLIS] The Graham and Willis Cemetery near Forest Hill, Louisiana
    2. Ruth Smith Graham Ruth contracted Typhoid and told her husband, Robert Graham (pictured here) she wished to be buried at the top of a hill on their homestead near Forest Hill between present-day Perkins Creek and Barber Creek. She died June 2, 1869, at age 55, and was the first to be buried on the hill known as the Graham Cemetery. Robert Graham is buried next to her. Four of their daughters married four of Rev. Daniel Hubbard Willis Sr.'s sons. He was Rev. Joseph Willis’s (1758-1854) eldest grandson and the first of his descendants to enter the ministry. Julia Ann Graham (1845-1936) married Daniel Hubbard Willis Jr. (1839-1900). Demerius Graham (1849-1886) married Calvin Willis (1855-1911). Annie Graham (1855-1936) married Robert Willis (1858-1939). Mary Ann "Maggie" Graham (1853-1940) married Dempsey Willis (1854-1919). Robert Graham and Ruth Smith Graham were Randy Willis's maternal great‐ great‐grandparents. Their daughter, Julian Ann Graham married Daniel Hubbard Willis Jr. They too are buried in the Graham Cemetery. They are Randy Willis’s great-grandparents. Daniel Hubbard Willis Jr. fought in many of the great battles of the Civil War, including Shiloh, Bull Run, Perryville, Murfreesboro, Missionary Ridge and Chickamauga. He was a great-grandson of pioneer Louisiana Baptist preacher, Rev. Joseph Willis. He was a rancher and Constable of Spring Hill, Rapides Parish (present-day Forest Hill). Julian Ann Graham married Daniel Hubbard Willis Jr. They also are buried in the Graham Cemetery. Their youngest son Randall Lee Willis was buried in the Graham Cemetery. He is Randy Willis’s namesake and grandfather. ***** Joseph Willis-He was born (1758‐1854) a Cherokee slave in Bladen County, North Carolina. He preached the first evangelical sermon west of the Mississippi River in 1798. He was born into slavery. His mother was Cherokee and his father a wealthy English plantation owner. His family took him to court to deprive him of his inheritance, which would have made him the wealthiest plantation owner in Bladen County, North Carolina in 1776. He fought as a patriot in the Revolutionary War under the most colorful of all the American generals, Francis Marion, The Swamp Fox. His first wife, Rachel Bradford Willis, died in childbirth, and his second wife died only six years later, leaving him with five young children. He crossed the mighty Mississippi River at Natchez at the peril of his own life, riding a mule! He entered hostile Spanish‐controlled Louisiana Territory when the dreaded Code Noir (Black Code) was in effect. It forbade any Protestant ministers who came into the territory from preaching. His life was threatened there because of the message he preached. His denomination refused to ordain him until 1812 because of his race. On November 13, 1812, Joseph Willis constituted Calvary Baptist Church at Bayou Chicot, Louisiana. He went on to plant more than twenty churches in Louisiana. On October 31, 1818, Joseph Willis founded the Louisiana Baptist Association at Beulah Baptist in Cheneyville, Louisiana. Joseph Willis founded all five charter member churches. After overcoming insurmountable obstacles, he blazed a trail for others for another half‐century that changed American history. Joseph Willis was Randy Willis’s 4th great-grandfather. Randy Willis PO Box 111 Wimberley, Texas 78676 512-565-0161 [email protected] My new novel, Destiny video Trailer: Website: Amazon author's page: Blog: Three Winds Blowing trailer: Twice a Slave trailer: Twice a Slave, the play trailer:

    05/26/2019 08:24:54