Willard McKay was born in 1839 in Pontiac, Oakland County, Michigan, the son of Hiram McKay and Marie Hollendach.
Willard married Michigan native Maria Robertson (b. 1848) in Wayne County, Michigan on December 29, 1859, and they had at least six children: George (b. 1863), Elizabeth (b. 1867), Benjamin (b. 1872), possibly Lester (1874-1875), Willard (1877-1920) and Frederick.
By 1860 Willard (listed as William) and his wife were living in Port Huron, St. Clair County ehere he was working as a painter.
Willard stood 5’8’ with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was a 23-year-old painter possibly living in Shiawassee County when he enlisted in Company D on January 30, 1862, at Owosso, Shiawassee County for 3 years, and was mustered the same day. He was probably hospitalized in April for chronic rheumatism and was discharged on August 8, 1862, at the hospital at Fort McHenry, Maryland for “arthritic rheumatism of ankle joints unable to stand erect” after having been in the hospital four months.
Willard eventually returned to Michigan and by 1870 was operating a perfumery store and living with his wife and two children in Port Huron’s 1st Ward, St. Clair County. By 1880 Willard is working as a candy store owner and living with his wife and four children in Painesville, Lake County, Ohio. He returned to Michigan and was living in Port Huron, St. Clair County in 1888 and in Marine City, St. Clair County in 1890.
It appears that Willard was working as a baker and living in Detroit when he married Michigan and Detroit native Sarah Wise (b. 1858) in Windsor, Ontario, on March 5, 1895.
In 1905 he is working as a candy maker in Port Huron when his son Frederick got married in Chatham, Ontario, Canada (another son Willard and his wife Sarah, also residents of Chatham, were witnesses).
By 1910 Willard (listed as Garrett W.) was a retired candymaker living with his wife Sarah on Losa Angeles Street in San Mateo, California; also living with them was his sons Willard and Frederick and Willard’s wife Jennie.
In 1883 he applied for and received pension (no. 431190).
Willard died on January 21, 1915, in San Mateo, California and was buried on January 25 in San Francisco National Cemetery: WS-229A.