Mr. William (Bill) A. Willits passed away June 6th, 2015. He set up a 501(c)3 for the purpose of preserving the historical mansion and surrounding structures. There is currently an effort underway to place this on the National Register of Historic Places. There has been approval from the State Board to recommend its' listing. Also planned, is some construction in the coming months and years to restore the house in hopes to open it up for viewing, education, and events. Much more to come - this will take some time.
Mission: Historic Preservation and Education
William Drury came to this area in 1833 and thought it was "God's Country." Within a short time, he owned land from the Edwards River bottom to the Bluff. Mr. Drury was elected County Recorder in 1835 for the newly organized Mercer County. William Drury and a brother-in-law, Levi Willits, entered into a small dry goods and grocery business in 1840. Mr. Drury married Vashti Lewis of Indiana in the same year. A new home was built for his bride called "Verdurette." A carriage house, barns, elaborate fountains and statues on the lawn, and an octagonal brick windmill tower all added to this stately home. A deer park was located across the road from the main buildings. Verdurette even had its own power plant. The Drury's adopted one son, Edward L. Drury. Edward and his wife had two sons, Purne and Clair. Purne was the inventor or the Viceroy Buggy Builder for Dodge Stables. Clair lived in the Verdurette until 1916. William Drury died in 1897. Mrs. Vashti Drury died in 1909. In Mr. Drury's will, money was left to build a college in the county. Thus, William and Vashti College was built in Aledo and opened in 1908; Clair was an architect for the college. The college name was chosen for each of the Drury's first names. It closed in 1923.
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