Parish L. Willis

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Parish Lovejoy Willis
Parish Lovejoy Willis.png
Oregon State Senator
In office
1891 – 1895
Constituency Multnomah County
Personal details
Born November 3, 1838
Putnam County, Illinois
Died October 28, 1917(1917-10-28) (aged 78)
Los Angeles, California
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Iren H. Stratton
Alma mater Willamette University
Occupation Attorney

Parish Lovejoy Willis[1] (November 3, 1838 – October 28, 1917) was an American attorney and politician in the state of Oregon. A native of Illinois, he served as cavalry in the Rogue River War before becoming a lawyer. A Republican, he served one term in the Oregon State Senate in the early 1890s.

Early life[edit]

Parish Lovejoy Willis was born on November 3, 1838, in Putnam County, Illinois, to Stephen Daws Willis and Nancy Ann Ross.[2][3] He was educated in the public schools of Illinois before the family moved to the Oregon Territory in 1852.[2] During the Rogue River War in Southern Oregon he served as a private in the mounted volunteers from March to June 1857.[2]

Willis continued his education at the Umpqua Academy in Roseburg from 1859 to 1861.[2] He then went to Salem and attended Willamette University from 1862 to 1865.[2] In July 1865, he graduated from the school with a bachelor of arts degree.[4] While in school he also kept the monthly weather data for Salem from 1863 to 1865.[5] Also while still a student Oregon Governor A. C. Gibbs appointed Willis as the state librarian, beginning service on July 5, 1864.[6] He was later elected by the Oregon Legislative Assembly to the position and served until October 19, 1866.[6]

On September 6, 1866, he married Iren H. Stratton in Salem, and they had two daughters and one son.[2][3] That same month Willis was admitted to the bar and began practicing law in Salem in partnership with Richard Williams.[2][3] The law firm lasted until 1873 when Willis left to partner with Reuben P. Boise for three years.[2] In 1879, he moved to Portland where practiced in partnership with Seneca Smith until 1883.[2] Willis then partnered with Williams again for two years and then went into a solo practice.[2]

Political career[edit]

Willis was elected to the Oregon State Senate in 1890 to represent District 17 in Multnomah County.[7] Elected as a Republican, he served one, four-year term in the legislature spanning two legislative sessions.[8] During the 1893 session he served as chairman of the assessments committee.[9]

Later years[edit]

In business he was involved in a variety of ventures as a board member including the banking,[10] telephone,[3] and the mining industries.[11] Willis was a major shareholder of the Hot Lake Sanatorium Company in Eastern Oregon along with future governor Walter M. Pierce.[12] They were both accused of fraud by another investor, but cleared by the courts of any wrongdoing in 1918.[12] The former sanatorium is now the Hot Lake Hotel and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[13] Parish Willis died on October 28, 1917, in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 78.[14]


  1. ^ Sometimes spelled Parrish
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Colmer, Montagu, and Charles Erskine Scott Wood. 1910. History of the Bench and Bar of Oregon. Portland, Or: Historical Pub. Co. p. 246.
  3. ^ a b c d Who's who in the Northwest, Western Press Association, 1911, v.1.
  4. ^ Hines, Gustavus. Oregon and Its Institutions; Comprising a Full History of the Willamette University. Carlton & Porter, 1868, p. 246.
  5. ^ United States National Museum (1874). "Classified Record of Monthly Meteorological Reports Preserved in the Smithsonian Institution". Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution. U. S. Govt. Print. Off.: 118. 
  6. ^ a b Fenton, William D. (1901). "Political History of Oregon From 1865 to 1876". The Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society. Oregon Historical Society. 2: 331. 
  7. ^ Oregon Legislators and Staff Guide: 1891 Regular Session (16th). Oregon State Archives. Retrieved on March 22, 2009.
  8. ^ Oregon Legislators and Staff Guide: 1893 Regular Session (17th). Oregon State Archives. Retrieved on March 22, 2009.
  9. ^ Baker, Frank C. (1893). The Journal of the Senate of the Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon for the Seventeenth Regular Session. State of Oregon. p. 735.
  10. ^ Oregon Office of State Bank Examiner. (1910). Annual report of the State Bank Examiner to the Board of Bank Commissioners of the State of Oregon. State of Oregon, p. 52.
  11. ^ Wells, William Bittle. (1900). The Pacific Monthly: A Magazine of Education and Progress. Pacific Monthly Pub. Co., Vol. 4, p. 138.
  12. ^ a b Clarke Woodward Drug Co. v. Hot Lake Sanatorium Co., 88 Ore. 284, 169 P. 796 (1918). West Publishing Company.
  13. ^ "Oregon National Register List" (PDF). State of Oregon. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  14. ^ History of the Columbia River Valley From The Dalles to the Sea. Vol. II. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company. pp. 837–839. 

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