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Missouri State University Libraries

Lena Wills Collection

Collection Number: M002
Volume: Approximately 16 linear feet processed, plus books in storage
Dates: 1876-1986

Provenance

The collection was given to the Missouri State University Libraries on November 7, 1986, following Mrs. Wills’ death, by her sons James R. and R. Kenneth Wills.

Copyright

This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code). Copyright violations within the collection were found and removed.

Access

The collection is unrestricted. Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be obtained from the Department of Special Collections and Archives. Citations should be as follows: Identification of the item, box and folder number, Lena Wills Collection [M002], Department of Special Collections and Archives, Missouri State University.

Biographical/Historical Sketch

The Missouri State University Libraries acquired this collection in November, 1986, following Mrs. Wills’ death. Her sons, James R. and R. Kenneth Wills, donated the collection in their mother’s name. Mrs. Wills and both of her sons are alumni of Missouri State.

The collection, consisting largely of books and periodicals, was housed in the Special Collections room and "reorganized" by at least two people, a student assistant from Acquisitions and Collection Development, and a graduate student from Reference with an interest in genealogy. There is no record of a collection inventory or other finding aid. In March of 1998, Special Collections Associate Jenni Boone was assigned the project of arranging, describing, and preserving the Lena Wills Collection.

Lena Wills was best known in Springfield for “Ozarks Genealogy,” the genealogy column she wrote from 1969 until her death in 1986 for the Springfield News Leader. An avid genealogist, she taught classes in the subject at Central Bible College and other places.

Wills was born in 1902 and raised in Gerster in St. Clair County. As a child, her family lived in the back of a store and she got to know the customers, which cultivated her interest in people and families. When she later got involved in genealogy, she was surprised to discover that some of the "uncles" and "aunts" she had known growing were actually related to her. In 1922, she came to Southwest Missouri State Teacher’s College (now Missouri State University). She did not finish her degree at that time, however, and married Ralph Wills in 1924.

After her children were grown (Jim graduated Missouri State in 1951 and R. Kenneth was attending) she returned to school in 1953 and graduated with honors in 1957. In 1969, she wrote her first genealogy column for the News Leader. She studied other genealogy columns in preparation for the task, and decided that her column would provide more than just names and dates when possible.

She began building an extensive library of genealogy materials. She also recorded family trees, indexed several funeral home and other types of records, and even indexed her own collection.

Scope and Content

This collection is comprised of almost 2000 books and periodical issues, mainly related to genealogical records in Missouri. There are also some subject files, several maps, and card indexes. The books and periodicals were collected by Wills over the course of perhaps 35 years. The manuscripts and correspondence relate mainly to her genealogy column, which was published from 1969 to 1986.

There are four series in the collection:

Series 1: Manuscripts
Series 2: Oversized materials
Series 3: Card indexes
Series 4: Books and periodicals

Several of the books and periodicals are on long-term loan to the Springfield-Greene County Library District. Those on loan are predominantly duplicates or books not relating directly to Missouri.

Container List

Series I: Manuscripts (Missouri Counties      
Box 1 1 Barry County 1952-1986
  2 Barry County marriages, 1837-1847 n.d.
  3 Barry County cemeteries, 1832-1976 1979-1982
  4 Barton County highway maps 1967-1977
  5 Bates County 1966-1967
  6 Bates County marriages, 1868-1871 1977-1979
  7 Benton County 1973-1979
  8 Boone County n.d.
  9 Buchanan & Butler County 1975-1978
  10 Calloway County MO 1984
  11 Camden County n.d.
  12 Camden & Laclede County 1968-1981
  13 Carter County n.d.
  14 Cass County 1972-1975
  15 Cedar County 1968-1983
  16 Cedar County marriages, 1845-1865 n.d.
  17 Cedar County cemeteries n.d.
  18 Cedar County miscellaneous 1969-1983
  19 Chairton County 1968
  20 Christian County 1970-1986
  21 [Christian County cemeteries] 1970-1979
  22 Christian County cemeteries maps 1960-1969
  23 Cemetaries-Pembina 1971-1973
  24 [1870 Census, Christian County Missouri] n.d.
  25 [1860 Census, Christian County Missouri] n.d.
  26 Christian County: Sparta Funeral Home records 1974
  27 [Christian County marriages] 1972-73
  28 Christian County miscellaneous 1970-1985
  29 Christian Co. [1 of 2] 1973-1979
  30 Christian Co. [2 of 2] 1928-1984
  31 Clay County n.d.
  32 Clinton County n.d.
  33 Cole County 1956-1973
  34 Crawford County 1952-1974
  35 Dade County 1907-1985
  36 Dallas County 1970-1977
  37 Dallas County: Wills and Administrative Bonds (1871-1883) n.d.
  38 Dent County 1976-1980
  39 Douglas County 1972-1985
Box 2 1 Douglas County records 1973-1975
  2 Douglas County Census (1860) n.d.
  3 Dunklin County n.d.
  4 Franklin County n.d.
  5 Gasconade County 1975-1979
  6 Gentry County 1972-1978
  7 Greene County Soldiers 1966-1978
  8 Greene County 1880 Census [1of 3] n.d.
  9 Greene County 1880 Census [2 of 3] n.d.
  10 Greene County 1880 Census [3 of 3] n.d.
  11 Paxton Funeral Home records, 1871-1900 n.d.
  12 US Census for 1900 for the town of Ash Grove, Missouri with Index n.d.
  13 Greene County miscellaneous 1908-1968
  14 Holland, Hopewell, and Smith Cemeteries; Greene County 1862-1986 1986
  15 Springfield Leader and Press Obituaries (1969-1970) 1969-1970
  16 Greene County Taxes 1833-1834 1982
  17 Henry County 1970-1979
  18 Henry County marriages 1838-1870 1977-1979
  19 Hickory County 1974-1983
  20 Hickory County Clippings 1960-1983
  21 [Hickory County, Missouri] 1876-1983
  22 Howell County 1972-1976
  23 Howell County marriages & miscellaneous 1867-1871 1977-1980
  24 Jasper County 1971-1983
  25 Jasper County: Poor Farm, late 1870s-1917 n.d.
  26 Jefferson County 1981
  27 Laclede County 1942-1983
  28 Laclede County cemeteries 1972-1980
  29 Lawrence County 1942-1983
  30 Lawrence County miscellaneous 1921-1982
  31 Livingston County, 1845-1945 n.d.
  32 Maries County 1971
  33 McDonald County 1973-1974
  34 Miller County 1971-1978
  35 Miller County Information: Peggy Smith Hake n.d.
Box 3 1 Mississippi County n.d.
  2 Montgomery County n.d.
  3 Morgan County 1955-1978
  4 Newton County 1972-1983
  5 Oregon County 1972-1973
  6 Osage County n.d.
  7 Ozark County 1985
  8 Ozark County marriages n.d.
  9 Ozark County cemeteries, Book 1 n.d.
  10 Pettis County 1969-1976
  11 Phelps County 1967-1975
  12 Pike County 1969
  13 Platte County 1927
  14 Polk County 1959-1982
  15 Polk County cemetery 1968-1974
  16 Polk County, MO 1860 Census n.d.
  17 Polk County 1870 Census n.d.
  18 Polk County 1880 Census n.d.
  19 [In a book of rememberance], 1883-1886 n.d.
  20 Pulaski County 1971-1985
  21 Pulaski County Census Index 1973
  22 Ralls County 1986
  23 St. Clair County 1969-1980
  24 Meyers, Baker and Rife 1983-1984
  25 St. Clair County marriage records and index, 1855-1866 n.d.
  26 Saint Clair County obituaries and cemeteries 1971-1981
  27 Saint Genevieve and St. Francis 1971-1980
  28 Scott County 1978-1979
  29 Shannon County 1978-1979
  30 Stone County 1978-1979
  31 [Stone County cemeteries and marriages], 1851-1893 1967-1984
  32 Taney County 1972-1976
  33 Taney County cemeteries 1971-1976
  34 TexasCounty 1972-1977
  35 Texas County Missouri cemeteries Book I n.d.
Box 4 1 Texas County cemeteries Book II n.d.
  2 Texas County cemeteries Book III n.d.
  3 Texas County cemeteries n.d.
  4 Texas County Missouri cemeteries n.d.
  5 Vernon County 1965-1980
  6 Wayne County 1974-1975
  7 Webster County 1972-1981
  8 Webster County Missouri marriages (Aug 1872 - Mar 1887) n.d.
  9 Webster County miscellaneous n.d.
  10 Wrights County 1970-1980
  11 The Family of James Woodruff Christie n.d.
  12 Cole Family 1982
  13 Delosier 1981
  14 The Name and Family of Elliot(t) and Eliot n.d.
  15 The Name and Famly of Graves n.d.
  16 Cathey, Kith and Kin 1975-1977
  17 Kershner 1978
  18 Priester, Knabb n.d.
  19 A, B, C, D, E 1964-1984
  20 F, G, H, I, J, K 1974-1984
  21 L, M, N, O, P, Q 1974-1984
  22 R, S, T, U, V, W 1974-1986
  23 Family Organizations 1970-1983
  24 [Genealogy Columns] 1973-1980
  25 Handy book for Genealogists 1971
  26 ["Historical Notes" on Southwest Missouri] n.d.
  27 [Libraries and Books] n.d.
  28 Missouri n.d.
Box 5 1 Missouri: Towns and villages by Paul Moser n.d.
  2 Ozark Genealogy (1976) 1976
  3 Ozark Genealogy (1977) 1977
  4 Southwest Missouri Church Index n.d.
  5 Cunninghams in California n.d.
  6 Georgia (marriage records and cemeteries) 1967-1968
  7 [Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee marriages] n.d.
  8 Charles Co. Maryland, 1729-1797 n.d.
  9 North Carolina 1967-1980
  10 [Old West] 1960-1961
  11 South Carolina 1968
  12 [Virginia] 1972-1974
  13 [Genealogy columns from The Virginia Gazette] 1955-1962
  14 Wagon Trains 1976
  15 [Emigrant-Immigrant trails] n.d.
  16 North Carolina (1700-1912) n.d.
  17 [Early Missouri maps] n.d.
  18 Missouri Territory (1813-1819) MO State (1821) n.d.
  19 [Map - Lunenberg County, VA] n.d.
  20 [Maps of Kentucky] n.d.
  21 [Maps of Tennessee] 1969
  22 Wayne County 1819-1831, Greene County 1833-1835 n.d.
  23 [Greene County Maps] 1970
  24 [All Abroad] (Frisco Magazine) 1956
  25 [C.B.C.] (Central Bible College) 1964-1966
  26 [Christian County, Missouri cemeteries folder 1 of 2] n.d.
  27 [Christian County, Missouri cemeteries folder 1 of 2] n.d.
  28 [Christ County cemeteries index] n.d.
  29 Genealogy Columns (1979-1982) 1976-1982
  30 [J.P. Docket Ledger] Wright County, 1927-1930s 1979-1985
  31 [Photograph Album] 1910-1916, n.d. 1910-1916
Oversized items from Series 1: Located in Map Case, Drawer 2      
  1 Barry County highway maps 1961
  2 Barton County highway maps 1969-1973
  3 Bates County highway map 1970
  4 Benton County maps 1965-1979
  5 Butler County maps 1967
  6 Camden County maps 1968
  7 Camden County map 1968
  8 Cedar County map 1963
  9 Chariton County map 1967
  10 Christian County maps 1968
  11 Christian County maps 1968
  12 Christian County maps 1955-1969
  13 Christian County map 1968
  14 Christian County map 1968
  15 Clay County map 1974
  16 Crawford County map 1967
  17 Dade County maps 1968-1972
  18 Dallas County maps 1947-1966
  19 Dent County maps 1961
  20 Douglas County maps 1968
  21 Gasconade County maps 1963-1967
  22 Greene County map n.d.
  23 Henry County map 1977
  24 Hickory County maps 1968
  25 Family chart and Howell County map 1967-1974
  26 Jasper County map 1969
  27 Laclede County maps 1966-1970
  28 Lawrence County maps 1970
  29 Maries County map 1968
  30 McDonald County map 1967
  31 Miller County maps 1964-1968
  32 Mississippi County map 1971
  33 Morgan County map 1969
  34 Newton County map 1968
  35 Oregon County map 1968
  36 Ozark County map 1967
  37 Phelps County maps 1967-1970
  38 Platte County maps n.d.
  39 Polk County maps 1947-1969
  40 Polk County map 1965
  41 Death record charts n.d.
  42 Pulaski County map 1968-1979
  43 St. Clair County map 1968-1979
  44 Stone County map 1965
  45 Taney County map 1970
  46 Texas County map 1963
  47 Vernon County cemetery map, map, and newspaper 1967-1985
  48 Webster County map and newspaper 1932-1966
  49 Wright County newspaper and map 1968-1976
  50 Carroll County, TN map 1970
Series 2: Oversized materials, located in Map Case, Drawer 2      
  51 [The Ancestral lines of Richard Warren] n.d.
  52 [Topographical maps] Spokane, Nixa, Ozark, Bradleyville, Highlandville, and 1943-1970
  53 [Springfield, 1972] n.d.
Series 3: Card Indexes [Currently not available online]      
Series 4: Books and Periodicals      
book 1   Missouri Historical Review v.51:no. 3 (1957:Apr.) - v.72:no.3(1983:Apr.) Some missing 1975-1983
book 2   Springfield! Magazine, 1980:June - 1986:Nov. Some missing 1980-1986
book 3   Car-Del Scribe, v.DD:no.467,667-867, v.EE, v.8:no.3 (1971:Mar.) - v.16:no.5(1979:Oct.) some msg. 1971-1979
book 4   Four States Genealogist, v.1 (1968) - v.4 (1971), v.6:no.1(1973) 1968-1973
book 5   Seventeen Seventy-Six v.2:nos.3-4(1983), v.3:nos.2-3 1983
book 6   Christianity by E. Bevan 1932
book 7   50 State Capitals 1969
book 8   Hexology: The History and Meaning of the Hex Symbols by J. and J. Zook 1962
book 9   Survey of American Census Schedules by E.K. Kirkham 1959
book 10   When I Was a Little Girl, by R.O. Southworth 1974
book 11   1860 Federal Census for Dollinger County, Missouri by E. P. Ellsberry n.d.
book 12   1860 Buchanan County, Missouri by F.R. Nelson and B.R. Jackson 1974
book 13   Carroll County, Missouri Marriage Records, 1833-1856 by E. P. Ellsberry n.d.
book 14   Marriage Records of Cole County, Missouri, 1821-1851 by E. P. Ellsberry n.d.
book 15   Tombstones and Historical Miscellaneous of Dade County, Missouri, vol. 2 by C. Belk 1981
book 16   1860 Dade County, Missouri Census by Sefton n.d.
book 17   Sinking Creek Cemetery 1983
book 18   Marriage Records of Harrison County, Missouri A-D by E. P. Ellsberry n.d.
book 18   1830 Census of Franklin County, Missouri n.d.
book 19   Marriage Records of Jefferson County, Missouri 1821-1848, vol 1 by E. P. Ellsberry n.d.
book 20   Marriage Records of Jefferson County, Missouri 1848-1869, vol 2 by E. P. Ellsberry n.d.
book 21   1860 Federal Census of McDonald County, Missouri by E. P. Ellsberry n.d.
book 22   1860 Federal Census for Miller County, Missouri by E.P. Ellsberry n.d.
book 23   Record of Marriages Morgan County, Missouri 25 March 1860 to 18 August 1893 by I. S. Yarnell 1974
book 24   Land Grant Certificates Morgan County, Missouri Book 1 by O.C. Hutchison 1975
book 25   1860 Federal Census for Nodaway County, Missouri by E.P. Ellsberry n.d.
book 26   St. Clair County, Missouri 1850 Federal Census by E.P. Ellsberry n.d.
book 27   1860 Federal Census for St. Francois County, Missouri by E.P. Ellsberry n.d.
book 28   1860 Federal Census for Texas County, Missouri by E.P. Ellsberry n.d.
book 29   1860 Federal Census of Wright County, Missouri by J.L. Smith n.d.
book 30   Archaeological and Historical Survey of Areas to be Affected by the Pierson Creek Trunk Sewer, City of Springfield, Greene County, Missouri by R.E. Cooley and M. Fuller 1976
book 31   Description of Roscoe Community Cemeteries, vol. 1 1980
book 32   History of Chariton and Howard Counties Missouri by T.B. Smith and P.S. Gehrig 1923
book 33   Missouri History in Cedar County by C. Abbott and L.B. Hoff 1971
book 34   Historical Sketches of Cedar County Missouri by C. Abbott 1967
book 35   History of Callaway County, Missouri 1884
book 36   History of Clay and Platte Counties, Missouri 1885
book 37   Son of Pioneers by O.E. Brown 1973
book 38   History of Greene County, Missouri 1883
book 39   Forty- Leven Stories About Forty- Leven People, pt. 2 by W.L. York and E.V. York 1976
book 40   History of Howard and Cooper Counties, Missouri 1883
book 41   History of Johnson County, Missouri 1881
book 42   Part of Our Lives by T. Luthy, Jr. 1976
book 43   History of Saline County, Missouri 1881
book 44   History of Hickory County, Missouri by B. B. Ihrig 1970
book 45   History of Henry County, Missouri by U. W. Lamkin 1919
book 46   History of Vernon County, Missouri 1887
book 47   Centennial History of Lowry City, Missouri, 1871-1971 1971
book 48   History of Missouri Baptists by R. S. Douglass 1934
book 49   Negro Pioneer by K.B. Carter 1965
book 50   Thankful People by A. Bass 1950
book 51   My Indian Family by H. Wernher 1945
book 52   Ark and the Dove by J. M. Ives 1969
book 53   Some Early Residents of Polk County, Missouri by M. Dunaway 1978
book 54   Genealogy of Old & New Cherokee Indian Families by G. M. Bell 1972
book 55   List of Newspapers with Genealogical Query Columns n.d.
book 56   Starr's History of the Cherokee Indians by J. Gregor and R. Strickland, eds. 1967
book 57   History of William Andrew Jackson Family by W. D. Jackson n.d.
book 58   Honor Roll of Greene County, Missouri 1919
book 59   Map of Greene County, Missouri n.d.
book 60   Antioch Cemetery 1980
book 61   Stories About Family Names by R.F. Wagner and M. F. Wagner 1961
book 62   History of Pettis County, Missouri 1882
book 63   Life in Pettis County - 1815-1973 by H. N. Lang 1975
book 64   1860 Federal Census for St. Genevieve County, Missouri, by E.P. Ellsberry n.d.
book 65   Carroll County, Missouri Wills and Administrations 1834-1879 by E.P. Ellsberry n.d.
Items from Series 4 (Located in Record Box)      
  1 [Backtracker], vol. 12 1983
  2 [Douglas County Historical and Genealogical Society Journal], vol. 1-2 1974-1975
  3 [Ellsberry Records], catalog of Ellsberry's publications n.d.
  4 [Genealogy Digest], v.6:nos.2-6 1975
  5 [Kansas City Genealogist] v.3:no.3, v.10:no.3 1963, 1970
  6 [Miscellaneous Missouri periodicals], Four States Genealogist, v.6:no.1; Missouri Geographer, v.21:no.2; Ozark Magazine, v.13:no.5 1975-1984
  7 [Miscellaneous national periodicals], Family Heritage, v.1:no.1; Family History Magazine, v.3:no.3; Family Name Exchange, 1981: Sept.; Family Tree, v.1:no.1; Genealogists' Exchange, v.4:no.11; Genealogy Club of America Magazine, v.4:no.1; Genealogy Tomorrow, v.2:no.8; Query Name Index, v.3:no.1; Trading Post, 1981:Sept. 1962-1985