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Thursday, February 26, 2015

WILLIS, Margaret and Helen

Helen Chandler WILLIS at 22 mo.
These two images were located at an upstate NY antique shop last fall. I purchased both photos, as the girls were clearly siblings, and I wanted the photos to remain together,

Research finds that the photos were taken about Nov 1892. The photographer was F.E. Willis studio, Middletown CT. The elder girl is identified as Margaret Gordon Willis at age 3 1/2.. The younger girl is Helen Chandler Willis at 22 months. The photographer is their father.

1900 Census, Middletown Connecticut.
WILLIS, Frank E., 40, born Nov 1859 in NH, occupation Photographer
WILLIS, Alice N., 30, born Nov 1860 in VT
WILLIS, Margaret, 12, born Mar 1888 in VT
WILLIS, Helen C., 10, born Jan 1890 in VT
WILLIS, Martha O., 5, born Nov 1894 in CT

In the 1910 Census, Frank is not listed in the household. Alice is given as the head of the house, but marital status is given as "married." So I am not sure where Frank was.  All three daughters are present, and all three are shown as born in Connecticut. Eldest daughter, "G. Marguerite" at age 22 is employed as a teacher.

From the book "Leading Businessmen in Middletown, Portland, Durham and Middlefield"
Margaret Gordon WILLIS at 3 1/2 yrs
FRANK E. WILLIS, Photographer ; studio, 158 Main Street, Middletown, Conn. — The day when it was necessary to pay an exorbitant price for a photograph has passed, and there is now no reason why everybody should not possess an artistic portrait. There is no need to enter into an argument to uphold our position so far as the Middletown people are concerned for all they have to do is to call on Mr. Frank E. Willis at No 158 Main Street, and see what he has to offer as regards goods and prices. The illustrations in this book are from photographs obtained at his studio. We also understand that he always has for sale a fine assortment of views of all the principal points of interest in Middletown and vicinity. Mr. Willis is a native of Keene, N. H., and succeeded Mr. F. J Moore in business in 1889. The premises utilized comprise a large and pleasant reception-room, operating-room and work-room. He is steadily increasing the number of his patrons by strict attention to business, good work and fair prices, and honorable dealing and deserves the cordial support and appreciation of this vicinity. Mr. Willis and his two assistants are always ready and willing to give prompt and polite attention to all patrons.

Vermont Vital Records show that Frank E. Willis and Alice Frost Newman were married in Windsor VT on 27 Apr 1887.  His father was George W. Willis, and his mother was Mary M. Chandler. Frank was born in Winchester NH.

Margaret Gordon Willis is listed as a Junior at Middletown High School in 1904.
She married Burton Leroy Mallory and moved to Cook County, Illinois. She had two children; Burton L Mallory Jr (who died in The Philippines in 1945) and Louise Beckett Mallory (b. 1922).

Helen Chandler Willis, born Jan 5, 1890 in Windsor VT, to parents Frank Willis and Alice Frost.
She is listed in the 1912 Yearbook for Wesleyan University, Middletown CT as a member of the class of '12, and winner of the Olin Prize. She was also listed among Honors students.

The Wesleyan Yearbook of 1921 lists her among Alumni with following entry:

At age 44 (still using name Willis) was listed on the ship's manifest, S.S. Tegucigalpa, from Vera Cruz Mexico to New Orleans , LA.

Youngest daughter Martha Olcott Willis (of whom I have no image) was born 1 Nov 1894 according to church baptism records.

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