All three served in WWI. Mary is the last direct descendant living today.
The Willetts brothers:
Private William Edgar Willetts was honored with a donation by Mary and his niece, Anne Willetts Jones.
Private Frederick Arnold Willetts was honored with a donation by great-nieces Sue Jones Jordan and Maggie Faulkner Harper.
Private George Finnis Willetts was honored with a donation by granddaughters Darlene Willetts McGee, Joann Willetts Neal, and Beth Willetts Osborne.
Mary then gave a touching speech, sharing her thoughts about the “Honor a Brunswick County WWI Veteran” program to raise funds for the WWI memorial planned onsite at the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range.
“Few people know about this war and the sacrifices that were made. It is our responsibility to educate family members and the community.”
She spoke about the formation of the Daughters of the American Revolution chapter in Brunswick County, as she was one of the early members. They struggled through those first years but have now created a strong base of members. The Brunswick Town chapter has supported the stabilization of the rifle range and now the honoring of Brunswick County WWI veterans.
Mary’s involvement in the DAR came naturally, as her family always emphasized the importance of serving their country at home and in the service. Her father and brothers led by example, as she has done for the generations following. Her nieces are also members of the DAR in their communities.
Later, Mary shared this picture of her father and his siblings. She explained that “My family was poor and those clothes are not indicative of how they lived. I have been told that the traveling photographer rented clothes.”
Mary first contacted Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle range in March. She continues to reach out to others in the community to inform and update them about the memorial to honor the county’s WWI veterans. Her support is energizing and appreciated.
Note: Donations continue to be received by the Willetts family. This story has been updated to reflect the additions. Thank you!