Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
THOMAS E. WILLIER. One of the best known and most efficient railway builders of the West during the past generation was the late Thomas E. Willier, a most successful man in his line, and a man whose career indicates how perseverance, self-reliance, tact, honesty and genuine worth will win in the battle of life.
Mr. Willier was born on the 6th day of August, 1864, in Peoria, Illinois, and was the eldest of three sons of Joseph W. and Hanora Willier. His father was one of the pioneers of railway construction, and at an early age the son, too, took up the same business, and was identified with his father in the building of a number of roads in the eastern states. Mr. Willier came to Springfield in the year 1887 and was connected with many of the most important railroad projects in the West and Southwest from that time until his death. His labors also extended to Jamaica and Costa Rico and about twelve years before his death he completed several important contracts in that section of the country. The last important work in which he was engaged was the building of the Iron Mountain railroad from Crane to Springfield, a part of which was through some of the most rugged sections of the Ozarks. For a number of years Mr. Willier was at the head of the Willier Construction Company, but during the last three years of his life he was not actively engaged in business. He was, however, preparing to again take an active part in railroad construction when he was suddenly summoned from the scene of his earthly labors.
On September 9, 1902, Mr. Willier was married to Anna E. Arnold, daughter of George W. and Louisa (Buissart) Arnold. Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Willier, namely: Catherine E., Thomas E., George J. Margaret Louise and Robert A., all of whom, except the eldest, are living. Two brothers and three sisters also survive Mr. Willier--Joseph, Dr. A. F., Nellie, Mrs. Frank O'Hara and Sister Marie Theresa, of the Benedictine Convent.
Mr. Willier's death occurred on the 19th day of April, 1910, as the result of an operation for appendicitis, performed at the St. John's Hospital in Springfield. Mr. Willier was widely known to the railroad world, and everyone familiar with his methods pronounced him a most efficient and progressive builder of transportation lines. He was a persistent student of all that pertained to his work, and was, consequently, a master in his line, and one whose services were in great demand. He left behind him the record of a life well spent in every particular, and will long be sadly missed from the circles in which he moved.
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