JOSEPH WILLS, sheriff of Houghton County, Michigan, since
January 1, 1901, and a prominent citizen of Houghton, was born in 1863, at Greenland,
Ontonagon County, Michigan, and is a son of Capt. Thomas
who has been a well known resident of Calumet, Houghton County,
Michigan, for some years.
Capt. Thomas Wills was born in England and brought his family to
Calumet, Michigan, in 1867, when he accepted the position of mine
in the Hecla branch of the Calumet & Hecla mine. Although not
the past two years, he is well known all through the mining district.
wife died in the spring of 1902, the other surviving children, except
subject, being: Thomas, who for a number of years has been in the
mercantile business at Calumet, Michigan; Edward, mining captain at the
mine; Jack, who is a bookkeeper associated with his brother, Edward,
resides at Arcadian Mine, and William and Elizabeth, who live at home.
Joseph Wills was the third member of his parents' family and passed
through the common and high schools of Calumet and then entered the
machine shop of the motive power department of the Calumet & Hecla
mine, being the second apprentice boy received, the first being John Feggery. For 22 years he was connected
with the motive power department, and worked up from apprentice to the position of master
mechanic of motive power at South Hecla branch of the Calumet & Hecla mine, serving as
such during the last seven years, and resigning in order to accept the sheriff's office,
to which he was elected and re-elected by the Republican party. Of this organization he
has always been a stanch supporter, but he is the only one of his family who has ever
accepted office. Although his father was well qualified and an active member of the
party, he was never willing to take official responsibility. Sheriff Wills has met every
requirement of his position with energy and efficiency and has maintained the law in
Houghton County, although many of its residents have not always been inclined to keep the
Mr. Wills married a daughter of John A. Danielson, of
Calumet, Michigan, who became connected with the Calumet & Hecla mine in its early days
and was long associated with it. Fraternally, Mr. Wills is a member of Calumet Lodge, A.
F. & A. M., and of the Elks of Hancock, Michigan. In religious attitude, the family
favors the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Source: Biographical Record, Houghton,
Baraga and Marquette Counties. Chicago: Biographical Publishing Company, 1903.