Willis G. Hines was born in August of 1834 in Geauga County, Ohio, the son of Massachusetts natives Abraham Woodward Hines (1787-1873) and Amanda Davis (1803-1845).
Abraham married Hope Titus on August 5, 1812 in Shrewsbury, Rutland County, Vermont and then Amanda Davis on July 5, 1821 in Massachusetts; after Amanda died he married Ruth Ann Brainard on November 28, 1849 in Huntsburg, Geauga County Ohio.
In 1850 Willis was probably working as a laborer and/or living with a wealthy farmer named Luman Penfield, in Penfield, Lorain County, Ohio.
Willis and his family left Ohio and settled in western Michigan sometime before the war broke out.
He stood 5’11” with blue eyes, sandy hair and a light complexion and was a 27-year-old farmer probably living in Saranac, Ionia County when he enlisted at the age of 27 in Company D on May 13, 1861. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.)
He apparently suffered from epilepsy, and on September 25, 1861, Captain Moses B. Houghton of Company D wrote that Hines had suffered “at least seven” fits “since he has been in the service of the U.S. and in this company.” On October 11, 1861, Hines was in fact discharged at Arlington Heights, Virginia, for “epilepsy, which existed previous to his enlistment.”
Willis returned to Ionia County where he reentered the service in Company G, 27th Michigan Infantry on December 28, 1863, at Boston, Ionia County for 3 years, crediting Berlin (Saranac), Ionia County, and was mustered on January 29, 1864, at Ovid, Clinton County. He may have joined the regiment while it was still in eastern Tennessee or perhaps after it was transferred to the Army of the Potomac in April of 1864.
Willis was reported absent sick from June of 1864 through April of 1865, and although he was supposedly returned to duty on December 5, 1864 from Mower hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in fact he actually entered Turner’s Lane hospital in Philadelphia the same day. He was transferred to Harper hospital in Detroit, on March 9, 1865, where he was honorably discharged on May 18, 1865.
Willis remained in Michigan after the war.
He was living in Clam Lake, Wexford County when he married Ohio native Sarah Slagel on January 12, 1873 in Clam Lake and they had at least two children.
In 1880 there was a Sarah Hines (b. 1846) living with her mother Sarah Slagel (b. 1810) in Haring, Wexford County; also living with them was 14-year-old Sanford Slagel, Sarah Slagel’s grandson.
Willis had been living in Saranac when he was admitted to the Northwestern Branch National Military Home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on February 12, 1879. He listed himself as a widower and his nearest relative a brother Lewis Hines in Saranac, Ionia County. He was discharged at his own request on July 3, 1879.
Willis was living in Rocky Comfort, Little River County, Arkansas when he married Arkansas native Nancy A. Salyers (b. 1854) on July 28, 1884 in Little River, Arkansas and they had at least two children: Edna (b. 1889) and Richard (b. 1894).
Willis eventually settled in Arkansas sometime before 1889; he was a retired carpenter living with his wife and two children in Mena, Polk County, Arkansas in 1900. By 1910 Willis was living with his wife and their daughter Edna on Old Dallas Street in Center Polk, Arkansas.
In December of 1865 he applied for and received a pension (no. 69946).
Willis died on April 3, 1912 and was possibly buried in Arkansas or in Michigan.
In 1912 his widow was residing in Arkansas when she applied for and received a pension (no. 784137).