Elizabeth Ann Pettit was born December 3, 1818 in New Rochelle, Westchester, New York to William Pettit and Mary Odell (see O is for Odell.) Elizabeth was named after her two grandmothers, Elizabeth Ryder Pettit and Ann Ward Odell. William Pettit was a cabinet maker, and Elizabeth and her younger sister Emeline were trained as seamstresses or tailors. The Pettit family were members of the Trinity Episcopal Church. While in her twenties, Elizabeth came in contact with missionaries from the LDS (Mormon) church and was baptized in June 1841. Her parents disowned her because of her conversion, but she remained close to her sister and they corresponded throughout their lives. Elizabeth married James Grey Willie in New York City on January 18, 1846. They moved to Nauvoo, Illinois and then later to Salt Lake City, and Mendon, Cache county Utah. Here they raised four children, and Elizabeth was a devoted wife, mother, and friend to all. She served as the first president of her local church congregation's women's organization, the Relief Society, and continued in the position for 25 years. She was known to visit in the homes of the women she served, and ask them to bring out their daring or patching as she said, "I might just as vwell be doing something while I sit here and visit." Elizabeth was a good manager of her home, and taught her daughters to weave cloth, knit stockings, and be excellent cooks, among other things. She kept her home and her family neat and clean, and often entertained visitors in her home, supporting her husband in his work as a farmer, postmaster, superintendent of the Coop store, and member of the bishopric of the church. James died in 1895 at the age of 91, and Elizabeth continued on in her home with visits and care from children and grandchildren until she passed away quietly in her sleep ten years later in 1906 at the age of 87.
Elizabeth died quietly in her sleep