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Ulysses Grant Atwell
1903-


Liza Lowdusky Harp
1898-1944

Willis Allen Atwell

Born:    22 Sep 1924   Livingston, Kentucky
Died:      5  Oct 1986   Alpaugh, Tulare, California

Spouse:   Thelma Lucy Welch   b. 21 Feb 1923   d. 22 Sep 1924
Married:   11 June 1946   Albuquerque, Bernalillo, New Mexico

Children of Thelma and Willis Atwell:
Children of Loretta Reed and Willis Atwell:
Living Son (1947)
Living Son (1949)
Living Daughter (1953)
Rose (1955-1955)
Living Son (1957)
Living Son (1945)

A brief history of Willis Allen Atwell

Willis Allen Atwell was born to Liza Lowdusky (Harp) and Ulysses Grant Atwell on September 22, 1924 in Livingston County, Kentucky. He had three older sisters and an older brother.

In the 1930 census, Willis was living with his parents and siblings in Golconda, Pope, Illinois. His father was listed as a farmer.

In approximately 1944, Willis married Loretta Reed. They had one son together, but were divorced shortly after.

On June 11, 1946, Willis married Thelma Lucy Atwell in Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, New Mexico. Thelma was born to Lillie Pearl (Wiley) and Richard Raymond Welch on February 21, 1923 17 1/2 miles west of Campo in Baca County in southeastern Colorado.

Willis who was known as Slim, Willie or to his family as "Pappy", was a hard working man who specialized in farming. Up before sunup and working late into the evening, Slim provided for his family.

Once Slim was staying at a hotel that caught on fire. Running from the flames, Slim was on fire and someone grabbed him and helped him to extinguish the flames. It couldn't have been a closer life and death experience, and after a painful recuperation from his burns, he returned to the demanding hours of the farmer.

Thelma and Willis raised three sons and a daughter [all living], but lost their daughter Rose at birth. Their children all learned the meaning of a hard day's work.

The Atwell family lived on at least a couple of farms in the San Joaquin Valley, including French Camp, California. In addition to farming, they raised livestock to supplement their income and dinner table. Eventually, the Atwells settled in Alpaugh, California, a very small town in Tulare County.

Willis Allen Atwell died 5 Oct 1986 in Alpaugh and he is buried in District Cemetery.

Thelma lived for two decades following the death of her "Pappy" and often talked of how much she missed him. However, she enjoyed the fact that all of her children had settled into either Alpaugh or a closeby community. On April 10, 2005, Thelma also passed away in Alpaugh.

[Researcher Note: Uncle Slim was always a quiet man around us; however, forever etched in my memory is him walking in after a long, hot day in the fields. He would sit down with sweat dripping down around his neck, and dust covering his face until it was gray with the dirt he'd been toiling in. He'd take off his hat, and he would smile from ear to ear with his wife by his side.

-- Ellen Anne (Welch) Rowley    

Research References:

1- Kentucky Birth Index, 1911-1999
Name: Willis A Atwell
Date of Birth: 22 Sep 1924
County: Livingston
Mother's Name: Lodusky Harp
Volume Number: 110
Certificate Number: 54903
Volume Year: 1924

Source Information: Ancestry.com. Kentucky Birth Index, 1911-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006. Original data: Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Kentucky Birth, Marriage, and Death Databases: Births 1911-1999. Frankfort, Kentucky: Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives.

2- 1930 U.S. Federal Census -- Golconda, Pope, Illinois. Listed (Page 21 of 25)
Eulis E Atwell 27
Dusky Atwell 32
Lawrence R Atwell 10
Ailene Atwell 7
Willis A Atwell 5

Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: Golconda, Pope, Illinois; Roll 550; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 6; Image: 568.0. Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2002. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

3- Social Security Death Index
Name: Willis Atwell
SSN: 342-14-5749
Last Residence: 93201 Alpaugh, Tulare, California, United States of America
Born: 22 Sep 1924
Last Benefit: 93201 Alpaugh, Tulare, California, United States of America
Died: Oct 1986
State (Year) SSN issued: Illinois (Before 1951)

Source Citation: Number: 342-14-5749;Issue State: Illinois;Issue Date: Before 1951. Source Information: Ancestry.com. Social Security Death Index [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2009. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.

4- California Death Index, 1940-1997
Name: Willis Allen Atwell
Social Security #: 342145749
Sex: MALE
Birth Date: 22 Sep 1924
Birthplace: Kentucky
Death Date: 5 Oct 1986
Death Place: Fresno
Mother's Maiden Name: Harp

Source Citation: Place: Fresno; Date: 5 Oct 1986; Social Security: 342145749. Source Information: Ancestry.com. California Death Index, 1940-1997 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2000. Original data: State of California. California Death Index, 1940-1997. Sacramento, CA, USA: State of California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics.