Anna E. “Annie” HILLIARD
Submitted by Descendants: Holly Hill, Riley Davis, and Taylor Hill HAYNES; Caroline Grace, Jonathan Bennett, Michael Robert, Robert Lewis, and Robert Lewis HILL Jr.
Although the exact date and location of William Henry Willingham’s birth remains a mystery, the 1840 census shows his residence as Ware County, Georgia. There in 1838, he married Annie E. Hilliard, daughter of Silas and Abigail Hilliard. Annie and William were the parents of nine children, three of whom died at a young age.
William served four enlistments in the Second Indian War in Ware Count and farmed for his livelihood. Prior to 1845, the family relocated to Columbia County, Florida, where William voted in Florida’s first statewide election. A few years later, they moved to Hillsborough County’s Itchpossassa Settlement, near present day Mulberry. The tax rolls of 1862 record that William owned 1550 head of cattle. He had over 400 acres of land, 160 acres of it granted as bounty land for his service in the Second Indian War. While in Hillsborough County, William served in the Third Indian War.
When he felt it was safe to move farther east after the Indian Wars, he sold his land and cattle and moved to Chloroform Branch, a large range in the Kissimmee River Valley. About ten years later, he gave both land and cattle to a son and relocated near Ft. Meade in Polk County, where he raised cattle, owned orange groves, and operated a ferry service across the Peace River.
For her husband’s service during the Indian Wars, Annie received a widow’s pension after William died in 1886. She died in 1901 while visiting her daughter Ellen in Basinger, Florida, and was buried in the Basinger Cemetery.
William Henry Willingham was first established as a Florida Pioneer in 2004
Anna E. “Annie” Hilliard was first established as a Florida Pioneer in 2008