James Dandridge Willison was born in December, 1852, the second son of J. W. Willison and Catherine McIntosh, sister to the present Colonel D. N. McIntosh, one of the leading men of the Muskogee Nation. James’ father was a white man from Virginia, who settled in Jefferson, Texas, at an early day, having emigrated with his father from England in 1704, being a member of Sir William Calander’s family. The subject of our sketch has the old family Bible, printed in 1585, which contains this record. At the age of twenty-two Mr. Willison settled fifteen miles south of Muskogee, and began farming and raising stock. Five years afterward he moved to Eufaula, and in three years to Fort Gibson, where he remained until 1891, when he returned to Muskogee and went into the hotel business. He is now proprietor of the Elliott Hotel, on the east side of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad track. Mr. Willison married Miss Mary Mackey, in June 1879, the eldest daughter of W. T. Mackey, ex-auditor of the Cherokee Nation. By this marriage they have four living children, Howard, Dandridge, Irene Bowers and James Mackey. Mr. Willison has a pasture of 35,000 acres south of town, in which he grazed for other parties 13,000 head of cattle the season. He has 400 acres of farm, with a good residence situated thereon, besides horses, oxen and a large stock of hogs. His freighting outfit cost him $2,000. He has also been engaged for six years in the lumber business. Mr. Willison is five feet ten inches high, and weighs 140 pounds. He is a man of gentlemanly appearance, intelligent, and possessing sound business judgment. Although Mr. Willison has refused political honors and remained conservative in questions involving national interest, yet he is a man of very considerable popularity, and would doubtless make a successful politician, if he so desired.
Biography of James Dandridge Willison
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