William Obed Willis as son

Author: Gerald Soper
Date published: 25/01/2022

                                    Edward Willis (1866 – 1907)

                                    Phyllis Willis (1872 – 1950)


Edward Willis was born in 1866 in Newbury, the son of Edward and Harriet, nee Eggleton, Willis. He had a twin sister Elizabeth Annie. Edward’s father died in March 1869 when he was only two years old. In the 1871 census he was recorded with his mother Harriet along with siblings Kate aged 13, William aged 10, Mary aged 7, Elizabeth Annie aged 4 and Ellen aged 1 at Northcroft Lane in Newbury. Phyllis was a char woman.


Ten years later in the 1881 census Edward was still living in Northcroft Lane in Newbury with his mother and siblings Kate aged 23, Elizabeth Annie aged 14 and Ellen aged 11. Harriet was still a char woman, Kate a domestic servant, Edward an errand boy and Elizabeth a dressmaker.


On 26 January 1886 Edward signed up to the Royal Berkshire Regiment where he served until 14 April 1886. On the following day 15th April, he transferred to the Kings Royal Rifles where he served until 13 April 1898. He served in the United Kingdom until 24 November 1890, then in India from 25 November 1890 until 5 February 1894 before returning to serve in the United Kingdom from 6 February 1894 until his departure from the Army on 13 April 1898.


Phyllis Wilkins was born on 26 November 1872 in Newbury, the daughter of Joseph James and Ann Maria, nee Palmer, Wilkins. Her father died in May 1876. In the 1881 census she was recorded with her grandmother Ann Palmer and her mother Ann Maria in The City in Newbury. Her grandmother was recorded as a needlewoman and her mother a charwoman. Ten years later in the 1891 census Phyllis was recorded with her grandmother Ann Palmer and sister Ann in Derby Road in Newbury and her occupation was a laundress.


Phyllis attended the National School in Newbury, leaving on 30 July 1885 although re-entering again on 12 October 1885. The date she finally left the school was not recorded.


Edward and Phyllis married on 7 July 1894 at St John in Newbury. A few years later on 22 March 1900 Edward signed up to the Royal Rifles reserve regiment but it appears he was not accepted as he left the service the same day.


In the 1901 census Edward and Phyllis along with children William Obed aged 9, Marion aged 5, twins Kate and Edward Kate aged 3 and Mildred aged 2 were living in Hampton Road in Newbury. Edward was a general labourer.


Edward died on 21 December 1907 at the National Hospital in Queens Square, Holborn in London from multiple causes. He was buried at Newtown Road Cemetery on 2 January 1908.


In the 1911 census Phyllis was recorded with her children Edward Joseph aged 13, Mildred aged 11, William aged 10, Arthur Henry aged 8 and Thomas James aged 2 at Hampton Road in Newbury. Phyllis was a charwoman.


In the September 1939 national register Phyllis was living at 9 Hampton Road with her sons William and Thomas. William was recorded as a laundry storeman and Thomas as a wood sawyer.


Phyllis died 1 January 1950 and was buried at Newtown Road Cemetery on 4 February 1950.


William Obed Willis, son of Edward and Phyllis was buried at Newtown Road Cemetery on 3 February 1968. Edward’s mother Harriet Willis was buried at Newtown Road Cemetery on 23 November 1912. Both of Phyllis’s parents were buried at Newtown Road Cemetery, her father Joseph James Wilkins on 1 June 1876 and her mother Ann Maria on 31 January 1918.


Website designed and maintained by Paul Thompson on behalf of the Friends of Newtown Road Cemetery.

Administrator Login