Thomas Jackson Wills,
Dr. TJ Wills graduated from American Medical College (now Emory University medical school) in 1887. Moved to Wilkes County in 1890 to begin a medical practice. He was the first of the Wills doctors and had a “horse and buggy” medical practice, visiting patients in their homes as there was no hospital. Dr. Wills was known for his generous spirit to help his fellow man.
Charles Edward Wills, Sr., M.D.
Was the second generation of Wills doctors. He obtained his M.D. at Columbia University in New York and did a three year residency in New York, a rarity in the early 1900s. Training was interrupted by his military stint commencing in Aug 1917 and ending Sep 1919. Dr. Wills, Sr. was a World War 1 Veteran and settled in Washington around 1920. Dr. Wills had a medical/surgical practice until his untimely death from an accident in 1956. He and his wife, Frannie, as well as many others opened Washington Memorial Hospital on Spring Street in Washington, GA. Frannie was a graduate RN from Rochester General hospital in NY and later had additional training in NYC. Frannie and Dr. Wills tended the hospital garden, stoked the furnace, and managed the hospital despite the innumerable hours they spent taking care of people. They were mostly paid by “a pat on the back” or vegetables or eggs. However, it was their mission in life and it gave them great joy. After the traumatic death of Dr. Wills, the hospital was renamed Wills Memorial Hospital.
Charles Edward Wills, Jr., M.D.
Followed the tradition to become the third generation of Wills doctors in Washington. Dr. Wills received his M.D. at the Medical College of Georgia and began a residency program at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York but had to return to Washington as Dr. Wills, Sr. was having health issues. After eighteen months serving in the Korean War, Dr. Wills returned to Washington for good. Dr. Wills did it all as his practice included family practice, general surgery, obstetrics, and orthopedics. In the late 1960s, Dr. Wills began doing bariatric surgery which became a true passion for him. He performed over 2000 bariatric surgical cases in Wills Memorial Hospital with many of his patients coming from the surrounding states.
But Dr. Wills and his wife, Tut (Adrienne Pilcher), left a larger legacy as they had 7 children, 19 grandchildren, and now 25 great grandchildren. Four of the grandchildren are physicians who are now the 5th consecutive generation of Wills doctors: Henry Garrard IV (pediatrician, Athens, GA) Brad Wills (orthopedic surgery, Huntsville, AL), Edward Wills (general surgery, Augusta, GA), and Anne (Wills) Bowers.