Per Powell and Powell, Wilson County Founding Families (2009), published by Wilson County Genealogical Society, William Ellis was born about 1740 in what was then Chowan County, North Carolina. He married Unity Dixon and settled in an area of Edgecombe County that is now Wilson County. His and Unity Ellis’ children were Willie, William, Coffield, Dixon, John, Gray, Jonathan and Spicy Ellis.
William Ellis made out his will on Christmas Eve 1812 in Edgecombe County:
- to wife Unity Ellis, a life interest in the plantation on which lived lying at the fork of Mill or Panthers Branch and Toisnot Swamp, to revert to son Willie Ellis at her death. Also, Unity received life interests in enslaved people Arthur, Jonas, Isham, Belford, Lisle, Pat, Mimah, Treasy and Hester.
- to son Coffield Ellis, a grist mill and land lying on the south side of Mill Branch, as well as slaves Sam and Harry, who were available to Unity Ellis during her lifetime or until Coffield turned 21
- to son Dixon Ellis, the plantation on which William formerly lived on White Oak Swamp and a second parcel of land, as well as slave Giddeon
- to son John Ellis, the plantation on which John lived on the main road from Tarboro to Stanton’s Bridge [roughly modern N.C. Highways 111 and 222], containing 149 acres, as well as a second one-hundred-acre tract and an enslaved man named Jack
- to son Gray Ellis, if he had heirs, a plantation near Tarboro containing 125 acres (to go to son Jonathan Ellis if Gray had no lawful children) and an enslaved man named Bob
- to son Jonathan Ellis, a plantation on the south side of the main road from Tarboro to Greenville, containing 100 acres, and an enslaved man named Guilford
- to daughter Spicey Ellis, a plantation on the south side of Toisnot Swamp on the main road from Stanton’s Bridge to Tarboro, containing 100 acres, and slaves Hannah, Byhuel, Chaney and Beedy
- to son William, an enslaved man named Jim; and
- to son Willie, slaves Anthony and Mol, who were available to Unity Ellis during her lifetime or until Willie turned 21
Unity Ellis died in 1817, before the settlement of William Ellis’ estate. Her share of William’s enslaved estate was divided thus: to son John, Arthur ($525) and Pat ($5); to son Dixon, Jonas ($712); to son Coffield, Belfour ($712); for son Willie, Isham ($636); for son Jonathan, Mima, Sary and Clary ($888); and to son William, Trease ($600) and Hester ($350). Lisle, presumably, died between 1812 and 1818, and Sarah and Clara were born to Mima during the same period.
In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Isom Ellis, 67; wife Patience, 62; and son (grandson?) Jacob, 18, farm laborer.
Perhaps, in the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Guilford Ellis, 40, farm laborer; wife Pleasance, 29; and children Ned, 16, Cherry, 14, Jesse, 12, Arabella, 11, and Sarah, 4.
Will of William Ellis (1812); Wilson County, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.