Henry Overton Wills I   1761 - 1826

Henry's name first appears in a Bristol trade directory in 1786 as a partner in the tobacco business Wills, Watkins & Co.

"H.O. Wills was a staunch Congregationalist and very active in the church in Bristol.  Yet, though an earnest man and allegedly a non-smoker, he does not appear to have been unduly austere in his everyday life.  As has been noted, once he had achieved a solid level of prosperity he enjoyed the comfort and elegance of a large Georgian house; and his personal expense accounts contain entries for purchases of 'wine and best port'."1

W.D & H,O Wills and the Development of the UK Tobacco Industry 1786 - 1965 by B.W.E. Alford (1)

Henry Overton Wills was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire on 2nd March 1761. His father, Edmund Wills, was probably a jeweller or watchmaker and his mother, Rebecca, was the daughter of Henry Overton, a leading Congregationalist from Andover in Hampshire.  See family tree below H.O. Wills I was buried in Penn Street Chapel in 1826.  When the chapel was demolished around 1970 the burials were left in the crypt and the land was developed.  In 2006/7, the land is being re-developed and this time the remains of burials are to be reburied - possibly at Canford Cemetery.

 

 

 

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