Isaac Watts Willard


Isaac Watts Willard
In 1838,Isaac Watts Willard (1803-1879) and partners Peter Gremps and Lyman Daniels surveys and platted the village of Paw Paw. That same tear, Gremps and Willard opened a mercantile and grist mill in the village. Willard moved to Paw Paw in1840and opened a hotel. At the site of this marker, he built a sawmill, which he operated until his death. A Vermont native, Willard first visited Michigan in 1830. A year later, he moved to White Pigeon and opened a mercantile with future governor John Barry. After the partnership ended in 1834, Willard moved to Kalamazoo and opened Willard's Mercantile. In 1849, he became a commissioner of the Paw Paw and Lawton Plank Road Company, which built the only plank road in Van Buren County.
 
 
Side 2
Isaac Watts Willard's lifelong involvement in civic and political activities began when he served as the first resident clerk of the St. Joseph County Circuit Court. In 1836, he became the first Postmaster of Kalamazoo. That year he also represented the county at the second Convention of Assent, which accepted the federal government's terms for Michigan statehood. Later, Willard became the county Probate Judge. He represented Van Buren County at the 1850 Michigan Constitutional Convention. In 1853, President Pierce named him Timber Agent for Michigan and the Western Territories. In 1859, he became Paw Paw's first village president/ In the cemetery on Prospect Hill, Willard built a 127-foot-tall tower. He is buried there, at the summit of the hill.

Registered Site L2264
Erected 2014

Location: South Kalamazoo Street
Paw Paw, Van Buren County

Topics:
Early Settlers


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