Isaac Underhill Willets

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Isaac Underhill Willets (December 7, 1819 – October 10, 1899)[1][2] was a Long Islander and prominent farm owner best known today for the road named after him, I.U. Willets Road.

This 1873 map shows the location of I.U. Willets' land, his name appears to the left of "Searingtown." The road above his name is I.U. Willets Road.

I.U. Willets Road[edit]

The road (in western Nassau County) was built in 1850 through the middle of his lands. He complained that there were too many roads on Long Island to begin with. The road is known today as I.U. Willets Road.[3] In Willets' time, the road was known as Westbury Road.[4] The Northerent and the Buckley Country Day School now occupy the land on what was Willets' property.

Personal life[edit]

Willets was born to David Willets and Deborah Whitson in Westbury, New York. He married Mary Cromwell on December 29, 1843. By 1849, Willets had one of the largest farms in the area.[5] His farm was located in the area where North Hills and Herricks meet. This area was once known as Plattsdale.[6]

Isaac and Mary had five children: Marietta Willets (1844–circa 1910), Sarah C Willets (1844–1891), Isaac Willets (1855–?), Edwin C Willets (1858–?), Emma Willets (1852–1912).[7][8]

In 1912 (after his death), Willets' 216-acre (0.87 km2) farm was bought by a corporation intending to build a large cemetery. These plans fell through after a political battle and a state law was passed banning the creation of any new cemeteries in Nassau County.[9]

The Willets family was prominent in Quaker affairs on Long Island. David Willets, an ancestor of Isaac U. Willets, came to America from Wales in 1650.[2] In 1845, members of the Willets family purchased a homestead on Cow Neck (near present-day Port Washington).[10] This house had previously been owned by another prominent Long Island family, the Sands Family.

References[edit]