Select Ellis Miscellany



Here are some Ellis stories and accounts over the years:

Ellis at Kiddal Hall


The road crosses Potterton Bridge and on top of the rise above Potterton Beck stands Kiddal Hall, mentioned in the Domesday Book as Chidale or cow valley.

In the late 14th century, Sir John Elys held Kiddal, whose family had built the Hall and were to be associated with Kiddal for 400 years.  Later, John Ellis supported the King in the Civil War.  It is thought that he was killed by Parliamentary forces on the doorstep or in a small room in Kiddal Hall.   It has often been said that those who live there can still hear the sound of foot haunting the old hall.

On the south wall of the Ellis chapel in Elmet church in Barwick is a stone tablet to William Ellis of Kiddal Hall who died in 1771.  He had married Mary Bourne and was the last of the Ellis family to have lived in the Hall. He was a surgeon in London who inherited the hall from his brother in the 1740's and proceeded to pay off the mortgage.


Rowland Ellis and the Quakers in Dolgellau

George Fox and John ap John had travelled throughout Wales, arriving at Dolgellau from Machynileth in 1657.  Their preaching made a great impression on many local families.  However, these Quakers went through a very difficult time when King Charles II was restored to the throne.  They were considered a danger to society.  Robert Owen of Dolsenau, the local squire, was imprisoned for five years in a very dark prison on the banks of the river Aran.      

Rowland Ellis, a gentleman farmer who had joined the Society of Friends in 1672, led a Quaker group which emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1686.  He was a man of culture and later wrote A Salutation to the Britains, the first Welsh book to be published in America. 

Ellis is remembered in Wales.  Along the banks of the river Aran still stands his Bryn Mawr farmhouse.  In the town there is a permanent Quaker exhibition at Ty Meirion in Eldon Square.  Two historical novels by Marion Eames, The Secret Room and Far Wilderness, dramatized his life.  They proved a great success when televised in serial form on BBC Wales. 


Some Early Ellis Emigrants to America

Birth Ellis Name From -
1593 John Wales (Llanycil)
1607 John, and Elizabeth England
1618 Morris, and Catherine Wales (Llanycil)
1628 John, and Elizabeth England
1647 Cadwalader, and Jane
Wales (Llanycil)
1661 John, and Margaret England (Kent)
1683 Cadwalader, and Margaret
Wales (Llanycil)
1704 Richard, and Jane Ireland (Dublin) 

 
Cadwalader Ellis was apparently one of William Penn's colonists in Pennsylvania.  He married Margaret Edwards, also born in Wales, in Goshen township in 1712.  He died in 1730. 


Ellis Island

Ellis Island was no more than a lot of sand in the Hudson river, located just south of Manhattan.  The island was named Kiodhk (Gull Island) by the Michegan Indians that lived on the nearby shores.  Soon after the British took possession of the area from the Dutch in 1664, the name of the island was changed to Gibbet Island because men convicted of piracy were hanged there.

In the 1770's, the island was sold to Samuel Ellis, a local joiner made a freeman of New York.  He developed it as a picnic spot.  Ellis then offered the island for sale and it was eventually sold to the US War Department in 1808 for $10,000.  It was not until 1892 that the well-known immigration station on the island was opened. 


The Ellises of Leicester


The Quaker Ellises who lived in the county of Leicester were a large and remarkable family, as a recent book, Ellis of Leicester - A Quaker Family Vocation, recounts.

Starting as successful farmers, branches of the family were soon in business, particularly in the extraction industries of lime, slate, coal, and granite.   They were merchants for all these commodities and many more products besides.  They were also involved in banking, building societies and insurance.  From their humble beginnings, many of their businesses have continued as part of larger conglomerates.

Perhaps the best known member was John Ellis of Beaumont Leys and Belgrave Hall, noted most of all for his involvement in the Leicester & Swannington and Midland Railways, but there were many other family members whose achievements are worthy and interesting to record.

From a strong commercial base and a strong adherence to their Quaker beliefs, they were very concerned with social welfare and committed in their work to support hospitals, schools, churches, and the temperance movement.  Among them were writers, borough and local councillors, and three members of Parliament. 


William Ellis of Belstone

William Ellis who died in 1936 lived all his life in the small village of Belstone on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon.   He was described by one writer in 1902 as "the most versatile of living Englishmen."  The Book of Belstone put it this way:

"Mr. Ellis's skills included photographer, Dartmoor guide, repairer of watches and clocks, chemical manure and seed merchant, dog breeder (red setters a speciality), dealer in game, Knight of Honor and the Warden of Primose League, postman, organist, churchwarden, bell-ringer, lay reader, boot and shoe maker, bicycle repairer, gardener, wireless operator and portreeve."

A later Bill Ellis from this village was well-known locally as a singer of old Devon folk songs.  


Archibald Ellis - from Ireland to Kansas

Archinald Ellis grew up in county Mayo in Ireland but set out, at the age of 23, for America.  He met his wife Ann on the voyage over and they settled first in New Jersey and then in Lake county, Illinois where he pursued his trade as a chandler.

He had a zest for adventure.  When the news first came through of the discovery of gold in California, he rushed out there.  He was gone two years before returning to his family in Illinois.  But the gold bug had gotten to him and he soon retrurned for another stint, this time staying for seven years before coming back via Cape Horn.

It was in 1859 that he set out from Illinois with his family for Walnut valley in Kansas territory.  They embarked on a boat at La Salle on the Illinois river, went down that stream and into the Mississippi, and at St. Louis changed to a smaller boat and turned against the current of the Missouri and finally disembarked at Westport Landing (now Kansas City).  The family had horses and wagons with them and they set off across the country to Emporia, a budding new village on the Kansas prairies.  There Archibald left his family and went in search of suitable farmland.  He found it in what is now Butler county, Kansas.

Archibald and Ann had nine children, of whom the sixth-born, John, became a prominent early Kansas stockman and farmer.   He was old enough to remember when buffalo still roamed the area.


The Ellis House in South Dallas


Sitting at 2426 Pine Street, across the street from Charles Rice Elementary, is the former home of James M. Ellis, an Englishman who was among the earliest real estate developers involved with the construction of modern-day Dallas.

It is the last vestige of a time when South Dallas was an expanse of cotton fields and dirt roads that were paved over some eight decades ago.  Certainly, it's the last house in the area built in the Classical Revival style, with wood shingles adorning the gables and its wraparound front porch, steeply pitched roof, and once elegant sunroom jutting from the side.

Researchers debate the house's age.  Some insist it was built in 1905, others say a few years later.  The name of the architect is not known.  


Reader Feedback - Patrick Henry Ellis in South Africa and His Descendants

I am a 6th generation Ellis after Patrick Henry Ellis who came to South Africa in 1795.  Patrick married an Afrikaans lady, a descendant of Pierre Joubert, Margaretha Magdalena Joubert, in 1803. 

  • they had nine children, the second being my great grandfather, Gideon Jacobus Ellis, named after Magdalena’s father Gideon Joubert.  
  • G.J.‘s son was named Gideon Jacobus Johannes Christiaan, the 3rd and 4th names coming from Patrick’s father John Christian.  
  • G.J.J.C.’s son was Patrick Henry, sometimes known as Patrik, my grandfather.
  • my father was Gideon Jacobus
  • and I am also G.J.  I was born in 1931 in Ladysmith, Western Cape province. 

I have a fairly comprehensive list of all family members of my family tree. but I would like to know more about Patrick’s parents and further back.


Deon Ellis (deon.ellis@mweb.co.za)



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