Historical Markers StoppingPoints.com Historical Markers, Sightseeing & Points of Interest Scenic Roads & Points of Interest
About Us | Photo Gallery | Free Widgets | Featured States | Search Site
Home North Carolina Halifax County City of Brinkleyville Historical Markers William H. Wills

William H. Wills

NC-561, Brinkleyville, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 36° 16' 38.2044", -77° 53' 27.4812"
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Methodist Protestant minister. President of the General Conference, 1866. Head of Halifax Male Academy & Elba Female Seminary. Grave here."
     William Henry Wills, a minister and educator, was long active and influential in the Methodist Protestant Conference. Wills was born in Tarboro on August 4, 1809, and became a licensed preacher in 1831. He made his home near Brinkleyville in Halifax County, traveling a variety of circuits and serving many churches during his career.

     William Wills established the Halifax Male Academy at Brinkleyville in 1855, and the complementary Elba Female Seminary shortly thereafter. The Reverend Jesse Hayes Page, later Wills’s son-in-law, served as the principal of the two Methodist schools until their closure in 1868. Wills was dedicated to the North Carolina Annual Conference, serving as secretary and as president at various times. He was nine times a delegate to the national General Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church, serving as president of that body in 1866. His presidency of that body permitted him an audience with President Andrew Johnson. William Wills was influential in the negotiations that led to the reunion of the northern and southern branches of the Methodist Church at the General Conference of 1877.

     William H. Wills married Anna Maria Baker Whitaker on May 13, 1835. Together they raised nine children at their home, known as Rocky Hill. Wills was paralyzed in 1884 and died at Rocky Hill on June 22, 1889. A founder of Bethesda Church near his home, Wills is buried in the cemetery on the church grounds.

William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, VI, 223-224—
sketch by Ralph Hardee Rives
Nolan B. Harmon, Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974)
Ancel H. Bassett, A Concise History of the Methodist Protestant Church (1887)
William H. Wills Historical Marker Location Map, Brinkleyville, North Carolina