William A. Willingham, of Chattanooga, was born in Beaufort County, S. C., July 6, 1837, son of Thomas and Phoebe S. (Lawton) Willingham, both natives of South Carolina. Our subject was reared and educated in his native State. In 1859 he married Miss Emilie F. Dews, of Daugherty County, Ga. She died in 1868 leaving four children, three now living: John T., Edward G. and Maxie Belle (wife of J. K. Nuckells, wholesale shoe merchant, of Columbus, Ga). In 1862 our subject enlisted in the Third South Carolina Cavalry, and served one year as a non-commissioned officer. In 1865 he left South Carolina, and spent three years in agricultural pursuits in southwest Georgia. In 1869 he engaged in the lumber business at Forsyth, Ga., where he continued until 1876, after which he engaged in the same business at Columbus, Ga. In January 1885, he established a sash, door, blind and general lumber business at Chattanooga. In 1869 Mr. Willingham married his present wife, Mary J. Woodruff, of Columbus, Ga., who bore him three children: Furman D., Florence and Ruby. (Mary the eldest is deceased.) Mr. Willingham is a director in the Chattanooga Savings Bank, a Democrat, an ancient Mason, a member of the A. O. U. W. and K. of P., and a deacon in the First Baptist Church of Chattanooga.
"History of East Tennessee" 1887