Private John P. Willemsen was born 1816 in Germany. In 1857, he settled at Bradenton, Manatee County, Florida. He was married to Sarah Jane (date and place unknown), who was born in 1825 in Ireland.
He was mustered into Confederate service on April 25th, 1862 when he was enlisted as a Private in Captain Smith’s Company (Key West Avengers), 7th Regiment Florida Infantry by Major R. B. Thomas at Tampa, Florida for a period of 3 years or the war.
He was promoted from the ranks to 2nd Sergeant on August 8th, 1862 (likely as a result of the vacancies resulting from the numerous non-commissioned officer transfers to the C.S. Navy on August 5th).
He was reduced to the ranks by his own request on June 3rd, 1863.
He was returned to the position of 2nd Sergeant on July 18th, 1863.
He was reported present on all rolls until he was transferred to the C.S. Navy on February 24th, 1864.
There is no further mention of active service; however, he is known to have survived the war. He is recorded in 1867 as having assisted in erecting a tomb for a Colonel and Mrs. Fulmore of Bradenton; he is also recorded as being a pilot and guide in Manatee County in 1869.
He is accounted for in the 1880 Federal Census at Williamson, Manatee County, Florida, _"Married to Sarah J. (Ireland), age given as “64”, trade as “carpenter”. _
He is also recorded as owning the “Cosmopolitan Hotel” in Bradenton in November, 1888; until that date, it was a polling place.
He died at Bradenton, Manatee County, Florida. The date of his passing is not known, but is thought to have occurred between 1899 and 1909.