The Willes family initially traveled to the Salt Lake Valley without their father, William Willes. Their mother, Ann Kibbey traveled with their five children, Fredrick George, Harriet Ann, Ann Sarah, William John, and John Kibbey, in the Appleton M. Harmon Company in 1853. Their father was serving a mission to India when they left for the Salt Lake Valley.
Four years and two months after their parting, the family was reunited when William arrived in Salt Lake on 20 October 1855, on the seventh anniversary of William's baptism, according to their father's journal.
Their father traveled home from his mission in the Milo Andrus Company in 1855.