Message Boards > Localities > North America > United States > States > Kentucky > Sandi Gorin's Kentucky Biographies
Subject: WILLINGHAM 1110 Reese Sullenger Ellis Patterson Glenn Fisher Thompson, Carlisle Co.
Date: Friday, July 03, 1998
Memorial Record of Western Kentucky, Volume I and Volume II, Lewis Publishing Company, 1904, pp. 81-83. Carlisle Co. JAY WILLINGHAM
Jay Willingham is an efficient county officer, now filling the position of sheriff of Carlisle county, and the trust reposed in him is well merited, for he is most faithful to his duty and loyal to the obligations which devolve upon him. He was born in what is now Hickman county, at Spring Hill, Kentucky, on the 4th day of March, 1850, and is a
son of Thomas T. and Sallie (Reese) Willingham, the former a native of Henderson county, Kentucky, while the latter was born near Murray, [sic] Tennessee. The paternal grandfather of our subject, Jarrett Willingham, became an early settler of what was then Ballard but is now Carlisle
county. He cast in his lot with the early settlers in the vicinity of Cunningham and was there connected with agricultural pursuits for many years, dying at an advanced age. The maternal grandparents of our subject were James and Rebecca Reese, who came from their native state of Tennessee to Kentucky, establishing their home near Spring Hill in Hickman county. In their family were the following named: James, Joel, John, Sallie and Betsey, all of whom are now deceased. Thomas T. Willingham was reared in Carlisle county, and after arriving at years of maturity wedded Miss Sallie Reese, whose birth occurred in Hickman county. They took up their abode near Spring Hill, where they lived for thirty years, and on the expiration of that period they came to Carlisle county, settling in its western district near Arlington. There they spend their remaining days. The father was a farmer by occupation,
following that pursuit throughout his entire life in order to provide for his family, and in his undertakings he prospered because he was energetic and industrious and because of his keen foresight in business matters. He
served his locality as magistrate for several years, and gave an unfaltering support to the Democracy. Both he and his wife were advocates of Christian living, and were loyal members of the Missionary Baptist church. He died when seventy-three years of age, and his wife passed away
at the age of seventy-two years. Their children were as follows: Margaret, who is the widow of Thomas Sullenger and resides in California; Alpha, who is the widow of Thomas Ellis and is living in Carlisle, Kentucky; Maria, the deceased wife of Marion Patterson; Mary, the wife of
Brit Glenn, of Carlisle county, Kentucky; Jay; Richard, a miller of Carlisle county; Robert, a machinist of Bardwell; and William, who was the third of the family and died while serving in the Confederate army during the Civil war. Jay Willingham was reared upon his father's farm, and in his youth attended the country schools. He began the battle of life for himself when about nineteen years of age as a farmer, and for twenty years carried on agricultural pursuits in Carlisle county. He then engaged in the stave
business, which he followed for a year and on the expiration of that period resumed farming, which continued to claim his time and energies until he was called to public service. He became deputy sheriff in 1898 and served
in that capacity until 1900, when he was appointed to fill out the unexpired term caused by the resignation of F.P. Fisher as sheriff. At the regular election Mr. Willingham was then elected to the office, and is the present incumbent. He discharged his duties without fear or favor, and is a most loyal custodian of the public peace. Mr. Willingham was united in marriage to Miss Jennie Thompson, a
native of Alabama,and they have become the parents of three children: Edward, Inez and Shirley. Mr. and Mrs. Willingham were married in 1881, and have since traveled life's journey happily together. They hold membership in the Missionary Baptist church and are people of sterling
worth, enjoying the high regard of all with whom they are associated. Mr. Willingham is identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and is true to the beneficent teachings of the fraternity. He deserves much
credit for his success in life, and may well be termed a self-made man, for whatever he possesses has been acquired through his own perseverance, discriminating efforts and indefatigable industry. He started out in life on his own account empty-handed, and steadily has worked his way upward, overcoming all obstacles and difficulties in his path by determination and resolute purpose.