William S. S. Willes

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William S. S. Willes
William S. S. Willes.png
Born (1819-03-18)March 18, 1819
Jefferson County, New York
Died February 3, 1871(1871-02-03) (aged 51)
Residence Lehi, Utah
Nationality American
Occupation Territorial militia captain
City councilman
Religion The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Spouse(s) Lucinda Alzina Lott (1852)
Docia Emmerine Molen (1857)
Children 11

William Sydney Smith Willes (March 18, 1819 – February 3, 1871), familiarly known as Sidney Willes,[1] was a Mormon pioneer, member of the Mormon Battalion, and a founder of Lehi, Utah.[2]


Willes was born in Jefferson County, New York. In 1846, he marched as a member of the Mormon Battalion (private, Company B).[3][4] In 1851 he arrived in Lehi, Utah.[5] In 1852, he married 18-year-old Lucinda Alzina Lott, daughter of Cornelius Lott. They had 10 children together. Five years later Willes began practicing plural marriage when he married 24-year-old Docia Emmerine Molen. They had one child together, but then divorced. Docia married Lucinda's older brother in 1862. Willes did not take any additional plural wives.

Willes participated in the early political and civic life of Lehi, Utah. In 1853, he served on the first city council[6] and was captain of the Lehi division of the Utah Territory militia, the Nauvoo Legion, in which he was involved in the Walker War[7] and the Utah War.[8] He later served as Alderman[9] and in a variety of other positions,[10] including on the 1865 Lehi Library Association.[11] He was a member of the LDS Church's sixty-eighth quorum of Seventy when it was organized in Lehi in 1862.[12]

During the April 1863 general conference, Willes was called on a mission to England.[13] Upon his return, he captained[14][15] a pioneer company of English and German saints that crossed the plains in late summer 1865.[16]

Willes died on February 3, 1871, at the age of 51.

Note that Willes has no relation to the LDS hymnwriter William Willes.


  1. ^ (Gardner 1913, p. 69)
  2. ^ (Gardner 1913, pp. 41, 54–55)
  3. ^ Esshom, Frank Ellwood (1913), Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, Salt Lake City: Utah Pioneers Book Publishing Company, p. [page needed], OCLC 2286984 
  4. ^ "A Documented, Researched Roster of the Mormon Battalion". www.mormonbattalion.com. [1]. Accessed 20 August 2007.
  5. ^ (Gardner 1913, p. 41)
  6. ^ (Gardner 1913, pp. 54–55)
  7. ^ (Gardner 1913, pp. 69)
  8. ^ (Gardner 1913, pp. 126)
  9. ^ (Gardner 1913, pp. 74)
  10. ^ (Gardner 1913, pp. 157, 160, 166)
  11. ^ (Gardner 1913, pp. 102)
  12. ^ (Gardner 1913, pp. 240)
  13. ^ Cannon, George Q. The Latter-Day Saints' Millennial Star. 1863, p. 334.
  14. ^ "Captain W. S. S. Willis' Company," Deseret News, 20 Sept. 1865, 403.
  15. ^ Swain, Monte R. (2008-05-27). "He Cares More About the Shoulder Than About the Wheel". Speeches. BYU Press. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  16. ^ Willes, W. S. S., to Brigham Young, 8 Sept. 1865, in Brigham Young, Office Files 1832-1878, reel 42, box 30, fd. 18. See online version at [2]. Accessed 20 August 2007.