Biography of Willis Francis Callaway
(1810 - 1854)

In about 1842, two brothers, Enoch Hays and Jesse Hays, and Willis Francis Callaway, who had married their sister, Elizabeth Hays, came from Coosa County, Alabama to Rusk County, Texas.

They first settled at Camden in the Northwestern part of Rusk County, but in 1849, Enoch Hays and Willis Callaway went to the Northeastern part of the county in search of a location for a water mill, and purchased a site from Jesse Walling, a lawyer from North Carolina, who had been given a grant of 4000 acres in that locality in 1832.

At that time the county seems to have been fairly well settled up, and they erected their mill, Bill Wilhelm, a Mill-Wright from Tennessee doing the work and making the machinery for the water-mill.

In 1853, they named the town "Millville", and platted it for public sale. In August, 1854, Willis F. Callaway died, and L. F. Keener was appointed Administrator in Case No. 378, on the County Court docket of Rusk County, Mrs. Elizabeth Hays Callaway, his surviving wife, who signed the waiver by her mark, having waived her right to be appointed. R. B. Woodall and Willie Dollahite were sureties on Keener's Bond. On November 7, 1857, Jesse Hays filed application for administration on the Estate of Enoch Hays, who seems to have died in 1856. Willis F. Callaway's interest in the mill, at his death, went to William Fellows, but upon the death of Enoch Hays in 1856, C. C. (Bud) Callaway, son of Willis F. Callaway, acquired the mill and operated it as "Callaway's Mill" until the Civil War came on in 1861.

Because of the intimate relationship between the Hays and Callaway families, I give here Enoch and Jesse Hays' wives and children. Enoch Hays' wife was Bettie Gilchrist, and she also died in 1856. They had three children, to wit:  Bama, wife of Joe Denington; Bettie, wife of George Jones; and George Hays, who died a bachelor. Bettie Jones had three children, to wit: Gil S. Jones; Ann, wife of Willis Kuykendall; and Mattie, wife of Marvin Adams. Jesse Hays and wife, Dinah, had 6 daughters, some listed as follows: Letha, who married Enoch Job Callaway (Uncle Eane); Mattie, who married W. H. Lasseter; and Penny, who married a man named Ethridge.

Sallie Callaway, who was a sister of Willis Francis Callaway, and her husband, Willis McMurtry, came to Texas evidently with her brother. She had three children, to wit: Willis McMurtry (Cousin Willis); Martha, who married John Graham; and Phoebe, who married Jim Kuykendall.

After the death of Willis F. Callaway in August, 1854, his widow married Wylie Dollahite, and after his death, she married a man named Fortson, and she died on October 5, 1880, at the age of 64, and was buried beside her first husband in Harmony Hill Cemetery, Rusk County, Texas.

C. C. (Bud) Callaway, the eldest son of Willis Francis and wife, seems to have operated the Hays-Callaway Mill at Millville from about 1857, after the death of Enoch Hays, until the Civil War began in 1861. After the war had been in progress probably a year, C. C. Callaway was detailed to manufacture hats for the Government, and went into a factory at Jefferson, Marion County, Texas, where he worked until the end of the war.

Gil Jones says, "That Sarah Ann Hays, a sister of Enoch and Jesse Hays and Elizabeth Callaway, married John M. Walling".

~ This record was prepared by Gib Callaway of Brownwood, Texas, principally from information supplied by Gil S. Jones of Henderson, Texas. Done June 1, 1957, Gib Callaway.

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