Willis

Willis, a lumbering and agricultural market town, is on the Missouri Pacific Railroad eight miles north of Conroe in north central Montgomery County. In 1870, as the Houston and Great Northern Railroad began surveying Montgomery County's first rail line, Galveston merchants Peter J. and Richard S. Willis, landholders in Montgomery County, donated a townsite to the railroad along the proposed route. By that time a number of Black farmers in the vicinity had already organized a Methodist congregation, which became the first church in the community of Willis. By 1872 the rail line had been extended through the town, and most of the businesses and residents of Danville, Montgomery, and Old Waverly had begun moving to the new town. That same year, a post office was established and a White Baptist congregation was organized. In 1874 citizens of the burgeoning new community launched a prolonged but unsuccessful struggle to transfer the county seat from rival Montgomery to Willis. A weekly newspaper, the Willis Observer, began publication as early as 1875. By the late 1870s Willis had become a prosperous shipping point for timber and agricultural commodities and a center for the manufacture of lumber products, wagons, and agricultural implements. In 1879 the town's first White Methodist church was constructed. In the early 1880s a three-story building was erected to house the Willis Male and Female College which, until its demise in 1901, functioned as a semi-private boarding school for students in elementary grades through college.

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Willis is part of or belongs to the following places.

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Adoption Status: ⭐
This place has been adopted and will not be available until May 9, 2027
Adopted by:
Therese Palermo & Bernie Hughes
Dedication Message:
The Hughes Family

Currently Exists

Yes

Place type

Willis is classified as a Town

Locations

  • Latitude
    30.42577400
    Longitude
    -95.48198400

Has Post Office

Yes

Is Incorporated

Yes

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Willis by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Willis
Pop. Year Source
7,144 2019 Texas Demographic Center
5,662 2010 Texas Demographic Center
3,985 2000 Texas Demographic Center
2,764 1990 Texas Demographic Center