From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Willis, Frank R.

(born: April 1870  -  died: May 17, 1955) 

Frank R. Willis, from Louisville, KY, raised poultry. In 1912, he won twelve awards for his Indian Game chickens. The event was one of 200 events for chicken raisers. Willis lived at 737 East Burnett Avenue in 1921. His dark Cornish chickens, Mohawk strain, was the best shown in the fair poultry exhibit at the Kentucky State Fair. Throughout 1923, Willis placed ads in the Courier-Journal for the sale of his Cornish chickens. In 1933, Willis' chickens won national and international awards, including the World's Champion Cockerel award at the World's Fair in Chicago.

Frank R. Willis was also a painter, interior and exterior. He also placed ads in the newspaper for his painting services. His occupation is given as a painter on his Kentucky Death Certificate #116 55-9724, Registrar's #3037. 

Frank R. Willis was the son of Caroline and Robert "Bob" Willis, according to the 1880 U.S. Census. The family of eight lived in the Spring Garden District of Louisville when they were enumerated in the 1880 U.S. Census. 

For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; "Two hundred events for chicken raisers," The Courier-Journal, 09/13/1912, p.4); Frank R. Willis in the following Crisis articles, "Industry," vol. 13, no. 1, November 1916, p. 29, and "Industry," vol. 19, no. 2, December 1919, p. 82.; "M. & M. Building at fair success," The Courier-Journal, 09/19/1921, p.9; "Livestock" (ads), The Courier-Journal, 03/14/1923, p.12; "Business Service (ads), The Courier-Journal, 01/12/1924, p.12.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Spring Garden, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Fascinating story of Black Kentuckians : their heritage and traditions
NKAA Entry: Dunnigan, Alice A.
NKAA Source: Crisis (periodical)
NKAA Source: Courier-Journal [Louisville] (newspaper)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Willis, Frank R.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 18, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-12-11 00:35:58