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EDWARD A. WILLS. – The subject of this brief article came to Union county possessed of but little goods of this world but endowed with a rich capital of courage, stability, and pluck, and with heart and hands to take hold of whatever opportunity opened to make a good success. Here he has found that which he sought, and from the possessor of limited capital he has, by his good financiering, connected with equal executive ability and wise management secured for himself a gratifying competence and placed his name among the most substantial citizens of the county, while also he has worught out achievements in other lines that mark him as a genious and benefactor of his fellows.
Mr. Wills was born in Taylor county, Iowa, on April 3, 1866, being the son of William E. and Martha J. (Laney) Wills. The father was a farmer and carpenter and died when our subject was one year old. In his native place the son was reared and there attended school, gaining a good educational discipline. He also worked on the home place and for the neighbors, until he had arrived at man’s estate, and then fitted the old-fashioned “prairie schooner” and traveled toward the west until he landed in Oregon, arriving in this state on August 1, 1887, and in the Grande Ronde valley on October 1, 1887. He engaged with a saw mill company, whose plant was situated north of Summerville, and these wrought for two months, then made rails, and later went to work on a ranch. In these occupations he continued until 1894, also assisting in 1891 to erect the brick blocks in Lagrande. In 1894 he rented a place of eighty acres, one mile west from Alicel, and there did general farming for one year, living during that time in a tent. On October 24, 1894, he rented the place that he now owns, and the following year he purchased the property. He added to this quarter section eighty acres more, all good land. This land is situated three-fourths of a mile from Alicel, and is all well cultivated and produces good crops. He has it well improved with all necessary conveniences, and also has a fine orchard. he makes a specialty of grain and stock, taking a great interest in well-bred animals. In 1898 he had one hog at the county fair that took first premium, being Poland China breed.
In political matters Mr. Wills is very active, being chairman of the Republican committee, from 1900 to 1902, and is always laboring for good men in office. Fraternally he is affiliated with the I.O.O.F., Farmers Lodge No. 49, of Summerville. He has held all of the chairs in the subordinate lodge and also has served as delegate to the grand lodge. He is also a member of the encampment No. 7, of Baker City, of Knights of Pythias, Red Cross Lodge, No. 27, of Lagrande, and of the Modern Woodmen, Island City Camp, No. 1003. Mr. Wills is is interested in the welfare of the county and displays the intelligence of a typical citizen. He is a stockholder in the Artesian Company that is intending to sink wells next summer throughout the county. Mr. Wills and A.J. Hughes are the patentees of a device for spreading manure that is working very successfully, nad to this they add a scraper and cultivator attachment, and many of them are in practical operation throughout the county. They completed this excellent invention on September 25, 1899. In the fall of 1897 Mr. Wills’ mother came from Iowa to dwell with her son, and is at the present time so doing. Mr. Wills is one of the leading citizens of our county, and his uprightness and integrity have won for him hosts of friends in every walk of life and he has the esteem and confidence of all.