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Willis Conner

Male 1822 - 1887  (65 years)


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  • Name Willis Conner  [1, 2, 3, 4
    Born 15 Mar 1822  Tattnall County, Georgia Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4
    Gender Male 
    Died 13 Nov 1887  Sabine County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Buried Conner Cemetery, Sabine County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Notes 
    • There was a Willis Conner in the "1840 Decatur County Georgia Census Index " (Frances T. Ingmire, Mountain Press). Decatur is very near the Florida border. Could this be him?

      Came to Texas in 1857 from Tattonall County, Geogia.

      Was shown on the muster roll of Captain J.M. Burroughs Company of the Sabine County Volunteer Infantry, CSA, and was enlisted at Hemphill, Texas by Drury Field for 3 months duty on January 15, 1863. His headstone is marked Texas Infantry, CSA.


      On his "12 to Midnight" blog, Ed Wetterman (edwetterman@hotmail.com) writes:

                In the 1880's several of Sabine County's families became embroiled in an unfortunate shooting feud that disrupted the whole community.  Fathers, sons, daughters and cousins became engulfed in the fighting that would ravage the county from 1883 to 1887.

                It began with the murders of Eli Low and Kit Smith in Holly Bottom off Housin Bayou in the southern part of Sabine County.  The bodies were found about ten feet apart and the men had been shot in the back.  The funerals were quickly held and many thought it suspicious that the Conner family had not attended.

                It was known that the Conner and Low families had argued in the past about free-ranging and the building of schools and roads.  Apparently many angry words had been exchanged, but the situation had never erupted into violence.

               After a short investigation, Willis Conner, along with his sons, Fed, William, John and Charles were indicted for the murders and held without bond.  Charles and Fed's trial was held first and they were found guilty. Charles was sent to prison for twenty-five years.  Fed was given life in prison, but successfully appealed his case and was retried. He was again found guilty.  He would never serve, however, as the jail was broken into and Willis, Fed, William and John escaped into the countryside- where they began a running war with the law enforcement of the day.

                The Texas Rangers were called in to assist in arresting the Conners, but were ambushed and one Ranger, J.H. (Jim) Moore was killed.  William Conner was also killed and many others were wounded.  Willis, Fed and John escaped the battle.  The Rangers, having suffered a grievous defeat, left Sabine County and did not return.  John Conner then abandoned Willis and Fed and according to Ruth Sibley Davis in her book "Neighbor against Neighbor,"  moved to start a new life in Louisiana.

                The people of the county, wanting to end the violence, began to pressure local officers to arrest the Conners. Eventually, a private investigator was hired and disguised as a cattle buyer went through the county looking for clues to the Conner's whereabouts.  He learned that Willis and Fed's families left food and supplies for them on a trail somewhere deep in the woods.  An ambush was set up and Fed Conner was killed.  Willis escaped, but was killed a few weeks later, when his young grandson, a boy of twelve, was coming to give him food.  The boy had been tracked and followed by a posse and in the ensuing gunfight, Willis and the boy were killed.

                This sad situation finally ended the Low-Conner Feud which had divided the county for so long.  For years, no one wanted to discuss what had occurred as it was simply too divisive and the families too intermingled to be considered a worthy subject of conversation.

         <http://12tomidnighted.blogspot.com/2005/03/sabine-county-feudthe-real-west.html>
    • (Research):

      Census Listings:

      1850 Census
      Georgia, Tatnall County, No. 79 Subdivision
      Enumerated 9 Dec 1850
      (image on ancestry.com is very faint)
      ???-332
      William and Nancy Conner
      333-335
      Willis Conner 28 Farmer birthplace: ditto (Tatnall?)
      Percy Conner 25 birthplace: ditto (Tatnall?)
      Fedrick Conner 3  birthplace: ditto (Tatnall?)
      Charles Conner 1 birthplace: ditto (Tatnall?)

      1860 Census
      Texas, Sabine County, Patroon Beat No. 5, PO Milam
      Enumerated 7 July 1860
      Page 31
      231-232
      Willis Conner 37 M Farmer $--- $1700 Ga
      Piercey Conner 35 F Ga
      Frederick M Conner 12 M Ga
      Charles W Conner 10 M Ga
      Leonard J Sonner 8 M Ga
      Alfred H Conner 6 M Ga
      William Conner 4 M Ga
      Catherine P Conner 2 F Ga

      1870 Census
      Texas, Sabine County, Beat No 2, PO Sabine Town
      Enumerated 2 August 1870
      Page 24
      503-504
      Conner, Willis 47 M W Farmer $500 $500 Ga
      Conner, Therisa (sic) 45 F W Keeping House Ga
      Conner, Federick M 23 M Ga
      and on a separate page (appears to have been inadvertantly seperated?)
      Texas, Sabine County, Beat No. 3, PO Brookeland
      Enumerated 4 Aug 1870
      Stamped 19
      502-502
      Charles W 21 M W Ga
      Leander J 17 M W Ga
      Alfred H 16 M S Fl
      William E 14 M W Fla
      Percy D 13 F W Fla
      John M 9 M W Tx
      Nancy B 7 F W Tx

      1880 Census
      Texas, Sabine County, JP 2
      Enumerated 2 July 1880
      Page 19 SD 1 ED 84
      168-179
      Jackson and Susan Low family
      169-180
      Connor, Willis W M 58 Farmer Ga SC Ga
      Connor, Pierce W F 55 Wf Ga Ga SC
      Connor, Wm W M 25 Son Fla Ga Ga
      Connor, John W M 19 Son Tx Ga Ga
      Connor, Nancy W F 15 Dtr Tx Ga Ga
      170-181
      Connor, Alfred W M 27 Farmer Fla Ga Ga
      Connor, Sarah W F 24 Wife La Miss La
      Connor, Alfred W M 7 Son Tx Fla La
      Connor, Stephen W M 5 Son Tx Fla La
      Connor, Fanny W F 3 Dtr Tx Fla La
      Connor, Riley W M 1 Son Tx Fla La
    Person ID I7403  Strong Family Tree
    Last Modified 17 Aug 2014 

    Family Piercy Douglas,   b. 4 Apr 1824, Tattnall County, Georgia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Oct 1898, Many, Sabine Parish, Louisiana Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 74 years) 
    Married 1 Aug 1844  Tattnall County, Georgia Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Children 
     1. Frederick M. "Fed" Conner,   b. 26 Jul 1846, Tattnall County, Georgia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Oct 1887, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 41 years)
     2. Charles Wilson Conner,   b. 30 Jan 1849, Tattnall County, Georgia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1890, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 41 years)
     3. Leander Jackson Conner,   b. 29 Jan 1850, Georgia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 24 Nov 1923, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 73 years)
     4. Alfred Horton "Bubba" Conner,   b. 24 Feb 1852, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Dec 1924, Orange, Orange County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 72 years)
     5. William E. Conner,   b. 15 Nov 1854, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 31 Mar 1887, Sabine County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 32 years)
     6. Catherine Piercey Conner,   b. Abt 1858, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     7. John M. Conner,   b. Abt 1861, Sabine County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     8. Nancy B. Conner,   b. 8 Oct 1870, Sabine County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Sep 1938, Hemphill, Sabine County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 67 years)
    Last Modified 4 Nov 2012 
    Family ID F3600  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsDied - 13 Nov 1887 - Sabine County, Texas Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Sources 
    1. [S352] Schluter, Helen Gomer "1860 Census of Sabine County Texas with Civil War Records".

    2. [S1394] Ancestry.com - Georgia Marriages, 1699-1944.

    3. [S98] 1860 United States Federal Census [Ancestry.com database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004., (Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1860. M653, 1,438 rolls. This database is an index to individuals enumerated in the 1860 United States Federal Census, the Eighth Census of the United States. Census takers recorded many details including each person's name, age as of the census day, sex, color; birthplace, occupation of males over age fifteen, and more. No relationships were shown between members of a household. Additionally, the names of those listed on the population schedule are linked to actual images of the 1860 Federal Census.), Texas, Sabine County, Patroon Beat No. 5, PO Milam Enumerated 7 July 1860 Page 31 231-232 (Reliability: 3).

    4. [S873] Find A Grave [database online]; http://www.findagrave.com/, (Thousands of contributors submit new listings, updates, corrections, photographs and virtual flowers every hour to the FIND A GRAVE website. When it comes to administrating, building and maintaining the site, Find A Grave is largely operated by its founder, Jim Tipton.), # 18823084 (Reliability: 3).