Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Nina Blundon Wills, 1865-1937
By Kendall Clevenger, Jenna Eberly, Britney Galik, Ty Kress, Emma McSurdy, Undergraduate students, California University of Pennsylvania
Nina Franklin Carey Blundon was born on December 17, 1865 in Winfield, West Virginia. She was the eldest of two sisters born to Civil War Veteran, Major Edgar B. Blundon and Sarah Frances Young. Blundon lived in Burning Springs, West Virginia prior to her marriage, graduating from Wheeling Female College and becoming a schoolteacher. She was employed by the Charleston Public Schools until her marriage.
On September 28, 1888 Nina Blundon wedded Woodson Tyree Wills in Kanawha County, West Virginia. Mr. Wills worked as a postal worker for Fayette City for the first year of their marriage, until he acquired a job on the railroad. The pair welcomed their first child, Bernard Louis Wills, on March 30, 1891. Nine years later, the 1900 census places the family in Washtenaw, Michigan. Their second child, Lawrence Blundon Wills, was born on January 6, 1901 in their Michigan home.
By 1915, Mrs. Wills had moved back to Kanawha County, where she was an active participant in chartering the fourteenth chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in West Virginia. Wills is listed as the "organizing regent" for the chapter on the Kanawha Valley Chapter's website and her home was listed as the first meeting place. Along with active DAR participation, Wills was also very prominent within local government, church activities, and women's organizations. From 1919-1921, she was president of the West Virginia Federation of Women's Clubs, which had over 6,000 members for the purpose of "creating greater usefulness in the home and a higher appreciation of citizenship." It was through this organization that she came in contact with the suffrage movement, presiding over a dinner at the Ruffner Hotel that was part of the West Virginia state suffrage convention held in Charleston in 1919.
Among her other memberships, Mrs. Wills participated in the Woman's Relief Corps, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and an Auxiliary of the Grand Army of the Republic. Her extensive civic affairs experience led her to become the only Republican woman candidate for Kanawha County House of Delegates in 1922. Following the announcement of her running, the Charleston Daily Mail reported that it "created much interest and excited favorable comment." She received the seventh-place vote, for an election that allowed six to be elected. Although she got the highest number of votes among the Republican candidates, the Democratic candidates received the six highest vote counts.
Wills was also a musical composer and a noted poet. In 1907, Blundon composed a song called "Clover Blossom". Later, on September 14, 1920 one of her poems titled "The Memorial Monument" was published in The West Virginian newspaper as an entrant in a contest. The poem discussed a monument that she campaigned to build for those who lost their lives in war.
Nina Blundon Wills died at the age of 71, on January 28, 1937 of a heart attack at her home. She was buried in the Spring Hill Cemetery in Charleston, Kanawha County, West Virginia.
1870 U.S. Census, Burning Springs, Wirt, West Virginia, p. 18, Digital Images. Ancestry.com
1900 U.S. Census, Ann Arbor Ward 1, Washtenaw, Michigan, p.12, Enumeration District 84. Digital Images. Ancestry.com.
1910 U.S. Census, Charleston Ward 9, Kanawha, West Virginia, p.9A, Enumeration District 75. Digital Images. Ancestry.com.
1920 U.S. Census, Charleston Ward 3, Kanawha, West Virginia, p. 14B, Enumeration District 90. Digital Images. Ancestry.com.
1930 U.S. Census, Charleston, Kanawha, West Virginia, p. 10B, Enumeration District 29. Digital Image. Ancestry.com.
"Area DAR celebrates a Century of Service to God, Home and Country." Herald-Dispatch (Huntington, WV), Sep. 12, 2014, https://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/putnam_news/area-dar-celebrates-a-century-of-service-to-god-home-and-country/article_3853e43c-66f2-57e8-a0de-ff11c74b9a1b.html
"At this hour." Charleston Daily Mail (WV), Nov. 6, 1922, 1. Ancestry.com.
"Candidates are Filing Campaign Statements." Charleston Daily Mail (WV), Oct. 30, 1922, 6. Ancestry.com.
"Inherits Her Interest in All Public Matters." Charleston Daily Mail (WV), July 30, 1922, 5. Ancestry.com.
"Memorial Page for Nina Blundon Wills." Find a Grave. Accessed September 18, 2020. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/60208411/nina-b.-wills.
"President greets state delegation." Charleston Daily Mail (WV), April 13, 1932, 14. Ancestry.com.
"Sixty-five Candidates Seeking Seat in House." Charleston Daily Mail (WV), 1922, July 2. 1922, 13. Ancestry.com.
Wills, Nina Blundon. "Kanawa Valley Chapter [Report]." Proceedings of the Twenty-Fourth Continental Congress of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution 24, 1915, 920-921. https://books.google.com/books?id=l2UUAAAAYAAJ&dq
Will, Nina B. Wills, West Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1724-1985, vol. 24, 1936-1937, Ancestry.com.
"Wills Rights." Charleston Daily Mail (WV), Jan. 28, 1937, 17.