Ellis

The obituary of Eliza Ellis Best.

Wilson Daily Times, 6 September 1929.

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In the 1870 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farm laborer James Ellis, 48; wife Zana, 38; and children (grandchildren?) Eliza, 14, James, 5 months, Cora, 13, Macord, 10, Oscar, 6, and Anna, 1.

Benjamin Best, 22, married Liza Ellis, 18, on 22 October 1874 at the residence of James Ellis in Wilson County. James Ellis, Gilford Ellis, and Aaron Ward were witnesses.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Pettigrew Street, farmer Benjamin Best, 26; wife Eliza, 23; and children Virginia, 4, Priscilla, 3, and Columbus, 1.

In the 1900 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Benjamin Best, wife Eliza, and children Virgin N., Mildred, Junius, Sopremia, Benjamin, Corinthia, Remantha, Olian, and Clarence. Benjamin and Eliza reported having been married 25 years, and Eliza reported that 10 of the 12 children she had borne were living.

In the 1910 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: widow Eliza Best, 53, with children Junius, 29, Rematha, 20, Allen, 18, and Clarence, 16, plus grandchildren Suprema, 5, and Martha A., 3.

On 24 January 1917, Clarence Best, 22, of Wilson township, son of Benjamin and Eliza Best, and Geneva Smith, 22, of Gardners township, daughter of Henry and Mahala Smith, were married in Gardners township by C.H. Hagans, a Primitive Baptist minister. Fred Woodard, John Barnes and Len Woodard witnessed.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, marble cutter Clarence Best, 26, wife Geneva, 26, and son Clarence H., 1, plus Eliza Best, 68, Martha Ann Best, 11, and Suprema Hooks, 11. Next door, Junius Best, 38, wagon factory assembly man, wife Mary A., 27, and children Mary Olivia, 2, and Colonius, 4 months.

Eliza Best died 1 September 1929 in Wilson of “injury of rt. leg; cut her leg on a piece of tin.” She resided at 1310 East Nash Street, Wilson, and was the widow of Benjamin Best. She was about 64 years old and had been born in Wilson County to Jim Ellis and Zannie Applewhite. She was buried in Rountree cemetery; Clarence Best was informant.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

This Memorial Day: who was Henry T. Ellis?

On 3 June 1919, the Daily Times published a list of Wilson County soldiers who died during World War I. The list is segregated. First in the Colored List is Henry Ellis, who was killed 6 October 1918 and in whose honor Wilson County’s African-American post of the American Legion was named.

Wilson Daily Times, 3 June 1919.

The Daily Times had commemorated Ellis’ death when it received word in December 1918:

“Private Henry Ellis Son of Mrs. Mary J. Howard, Route 1, Wilson, N.C. Died of wounds received in action while fighting for his country and oppressed humanity.” Wilson Daily Times, 4 December 1918.

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In the 1870 census of Chesterfield township, Nash County, N.C.: farmer Martin Lucus, 52; wife Eliza, 42; and children Irvin, 19, Neverson, 16, Sidney, 13, Eliza, 7, Westray, 6, Anne, 4, and Mary, 2.

In the 1880 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Nelson Eatmon, 66, wife Eliza Eatmon, 50, daughters Amanda Locus, 18, and Mary J. Locus, 14, “son-in-law” Asa Locus, 10, and “daughter-in-law” Lougene Locus, 4, Margaret Howard, 21, and Harriet Howard, 2. [Nelson Eatmon married Eliza Locust on 28 January 1880 in Wilson County. The Locuses’ relationship designations are obviously erroneous; they were Nelson Eatmon’s stepchildren.]

On 6 February 1887, Warren Ellis, 19, of Wilson County, married Mary Jane Locust, 19, of Wilson County, in Wilson County. Phillis Ellis was one of the witnesses.

In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Mary J. Ellis, 34, widow, and children Willis, 12, Walter, 9, William, 8, Henry, 5, and Lou, 4.

In the 1910 census of Jackson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Mary Jane Ellis, 44, and children Henry, 16, Louise, 13, and Charles, 6; and brother Neverson Lucas, 56.

Henry Ellis registered for the World War I draft in Nash County, N.C, in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 10 November 1895 in Wilson County; lived at Route 2, Bailey; was a tenant farmer for Elijah Griffin; and was single. He signed his card in a neat, well-practiced hand: “Henry T. Ellis.”

In the 1920 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Mary Howard, 52, widow; son Charlie Ellis, 17; and sister Luginer Colman, 45, widow.

Mary J. Howard died 20 June 1936 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was the widow of Manuel Howard; was 65 years old; and was born in Wilson County to Martin Locus and Louisa Brantley. Gray Ellis was informant.

Henry T. Ellis, then, was the son of Warren Ellis and Mary Jane Locus Ellis and stepson of Manuel Howard. He was descended (or connected) on his mother’s side from several free families of color with deep roots in the area of western Wilson County — Locuses, Brantleys, Eatmons, Howards — and on his father’s from Hilliard and Faribee Ellis, a formerly enslaved couple who established a prosperous farm in the New Hope area shortly after the Civil War.

I have seen no evidence that Ellis’ body was returned to Wilson County for burial. His parents, grandparents, and siblings are buried in Hilliard Ellis cemetery, but there is no marked grave for him there.

In memoriam: Dora Ellis Dawson.

Wilson Daily Times, 8 May 1992.

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In the 1910 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Jonah Ellis, 42; wife Precilla, 38; and children Mattie, 11, Benjamin, 9, Dora, 8, Jonah Jr., 6, James, 5, and Caroline, 3.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Jonnie Ellis, 56, farmer; wife Prisilla, 46; and children Mattie, 21, Benjamin, 20, Jannie Jr., 17, Dora, 18, James, 14, Coralin, 13, and Mary, 5.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Jonnie Ellis, age unknown, farmer; wife Pricilla, 56; daughter Mary, 17; daughter Dora Williamson, 28; grandchildren Fannie, 8, and Oscar, 7; and boarder Marion Edward, 28.

On 2 October 1933, Tom Dawson, 39, of Black Creek, son of James Dawson and Chanie Brooks, married Dora Ellis, 32, of Cross Roads, daughter of Jonie and Priscilla Ellis, in Wilson County.

In the 1940 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Thomas Dawson, 46; wife Dora, 47; children Annie, 4, Dora Lee, 3, Thomas Jr., 1; mother Chanie B., 73, widow; lodger Willie Melton, 30; and stepdaughter Fannie B. Williams, 17, and her child Annie D., 5 months.

Thomas Dawson Sr. died 4 October 1967 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 6 March 1896 in Wilson County to Pat Faison and Chanie Dawson; was married to Dora Dawson; and was a farm laborer.

Studio shots, no. 161: Jonathan and Annie H. Ellis and children.

Ernest Ellis, Jonathan Ellis Sr., Darlena Ellis, and Annie Hagans Ellis, ca. 1908.

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In the 1870 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farm laborer James Ellis, 48; wife Zana, 38; and children Eliza, 14, [her son?] James, 5 months, Cora, 13, Macoid, 10, Oscar, 6, and Anna, 1.

In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farm laborer James Ellis, 59; wife Zana, 49; children McCoid, 18, Oscar, 17, Anna, 11, James, 10, Johnithan C., 8, and Benjiman S., 5.

Annie Hagans, 18, of Wilson township, daughter of Laurence and Mary Hagans, married Jonathan Ellis, 32, of Wilson township, son of James and Zanie Ellis, on 11 January 1905. Benjamin Ellisapplied for the license, and Primitive Baptist minister Jonah Williams performed the ceremony at Laurence Ellis’ house in Saratoga township in the presence of M.L. Newby, F.S. Hargrave, and S.H.Vick.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Johnathan Ellis, 37; wife Annie, 23; and children Earnest, 4, Dollina, 2, and Johnathan, 1.

In the 1920 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: on Rocky Mount Road, farmer John Ellis, 47; wife Annie, 53 [sic]; children Ernest, 14, Dollena, 12, John Jr., 11, Nettie, 7, Chasey, 6, Nathaniel, 6; and sister-in-law McCordy Ellis, 50.

On 30 November 1927, Ernest Ellis, 22, of Toisnot township, son of Johnston [Jonathan] and Annie Ellis, married Virginia Bullock, 18, daughter of Alfred and Maggie Bullock in Wilson.

On 18 January 1928, Darlena Ellis, 19, of Taylors township, daughter of Jonathan and Annie Ellis, married Earlie Farmer, 21, of Taylors township, son of John and Cleo Farmer, in Wilson. 

Earlie Farmer Jr. died 10 February 1929, aged 2 months, 2 days, in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born in Nash County, N.C., to Earlie Farmer Sr. and Darlina Ellis. He was buried at Williams Chapel cemetery.

In the 1930 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Early Farmer, 21, and wife Dailena, 20, both farm laborers.

In the 1930 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Earnest Ellis, 24; wife Virginia, 19; and son James E., 1.

In the 1940 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer Early Farmer, 30, and wife Darlena, 32.

In the 1940 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Earnest Ellis, 33; wife Virginia, 28; and children James Earl, 10, Charles, 9, and Ruby Mae, 7.

Ernest Ellis registered for the World War II draft in 1940 in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 21 December 1905 in Wilson, Wilson County; he lived at Route 2, Box 274, Elm City; his contact was wife Virginia Bullock Ellis; and he worked for Morrison Webb.

Jonathan Ellis died 12 February 1944 in Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 October 1875 in Saratoga to James Ellis and Zannie Applewhite; was married to Annie Ellis; was a farmer.

Photo courtesy of Cathy Thorne Bynum.

Studio shots, no. 160: Annie Hagans Ellis.

Annie Hagans Ellis.

In the 1900 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Larnce Haggan, 49, wife Etha, 44, and children Joe, 21, Augustus, 19, Oscar, 18, Charlie, 16, Annie, 13, Connie, 10, Lena, 8, Mollie, 7, William L., 4, Minnie, 3, and Pattie, 1, and Lawrence’s widowed mother Alice Hagans, 70.

Annie Hagans, 18, of Wilson township, daughter of Laurence and Mary Hagans, married Jonathan Ellis, 32, of Wilson township, son of James and Zanie Ellis, on 11 January 1905. Benjamin Ellis applied for the license, and Primitive Baptist minister Jonah Williams performed the ceremony at Laurence Ellis’ house in Saratoga township in the presence of M.L. Newby, F.S. Hargrave, and S.H.Vick.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Johnathan Ellis, 37; wife Annie, 23; and children Earnest, 4, Dollina, 2, and Johnathan, 1.

Frederick Douglas Ellis died 8 September 1918 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 8 December 1917 in Wilson County to Jonathan Ellis and Annie Haggans.

In the 1920 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: on Rocky Mount Road, farmer John Ellis, 47; wife Annie, 53 [sic]; children Ernest, 14, Dollena, 12, John Jr., 11, Nettie, 7, Chasey, 6, Nathaniel, 6; and sister-in-law McCordy Ellis, 50.

In the 1930 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Jonathan Ellis, 51; wife Annie, 43; children Jonathan J., 21, Nettie, 18, Chasie, 17, Nathaniel, 15, Macordie, 5, Leroy, 3, and Pattie M., 2; and boarder Mcordie Ellis, 58, widow.

In the 1940 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer J.C. Ellis, 67; wife Annie, 52; children Macordia, 12, Larry, 13, and Pattie May, 12; and sister Macord Ellis, 75.

In 1940, Jonathan Ellis registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 30 January 1909 in Wilson; lived at R.F.D. 2, Box 273, Elm City; his contact was mother Annie Hagans Ellis; and he worked for Morrison Webb, Elm City.

Jonathan Ellis died 12 February 1944 in Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 October 1875 in Saratoga to James Ellis and Zannie Applewhite; was married to Annie Ellis; was a farmer.

In 1944, Leroy Ellis registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 17 November 1926 in Nash County; lived at Route 2, Box 261-A, Elm City; his contact was mother Annie Ellis; and he worked for Rosa Watson, Washington, D.C. “rent the farm.”

Thanks to Cathy Thorne Bynum for contributing this photo of her grandmother!

Tornado blows off porch.

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Wilson Daily Times, 14 July 1911.

  • Reubin Ellis — probably, in the 1910 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Road, farmer Rheubin Ellis, 76; wife Clarkie Ellis, 72; daughters Henrietta, 23, Joemima, 22, and Cherrie Ellis, 19; and grandchildren Annie, 14, Ashley, 12, Rheubin, 11, and Lucy, 11 months. [Actually, grandchildren Ashley and Reuben’s surname was Simms.]

Found in Contentnea Creek.

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Wilson Daily Times, 27 April 1938.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: John Ellis, 48, day laborer; wife Marry, 50, washing; and children Antney, 21, and Alex, 18, draymen, James, 16, Marry, 14, and Delphia, 8.

James Ellis, 45, daughter of John and Mary Ellis, married Viola Keath, 35, daughter of James and Edmonia Perrington, on 6 January 1934 in Wilson.

James Ellis died 16 April 1938. Per his death certificate, he was born 22 March 1884 in Wilson to John Ellis and Mary Daniel; lived at 621 Suggs; was married to Viola Ellis; and worked as a laborer. His cause of death: “suicide by drowning in creek/body found 4-26-38.”

Studio shots, no. 145: James and Jenny F. Woodard.

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James and Jenny Farmer Woodard.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Jack Woodard, 25; wife Cherry, 24, farm laborer; and daughter Martha, 2.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Jason Farmer, 33; wife Candas, 29; and children Florance, 9, Isaih, 6, and George, 4.

In the 1880 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Jack Woodard, 36; wife Cherry, 36; and children Martha, 13, Mattie, 8, James, 6, Mary, 4, Fannie, 3, and Nicey, 5 months.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Jason Farmer, 43; wife Candas, 44; and children Florrence, 17, Isaiah, 13, Geo. W., 11, Jessie, 9, Jason, 6, Jennie, 4, and Mayland, 2.

On 13 January 1897, James Woodard, 22, married Jennie Farmer, 21, at the residence of Jason Farmer in Wilson County.

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer James Woodard, 25; wife Jennie, 26; and children Dophin, 3, Mary, 2, and Rosa, 1.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer James Woodard, 35; wife Gennie, 34; and children Dorthy Lee and Mary, 11, Rosa, 10, Minnie, 6, James Jr., 5, Walter, 3, Jonie, 2, and George D., 10 months; and niece Athena Adkins, 15.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Black Creek Road, James Woodard, 45; wife Jennie, 44; and children Rosa, 19, Mary, 21, Minnie, 16, James Jr., 14, Walter, 13, John, 12, George D., 10, Cherry, 8, Saphronnia, 7, Ed, 5, Jennie Lee, 3, and Martha, 1.

Jannie Woodard died 22 September 1922 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 May 1874 in Wilson to Jaison and Candas Farmer and was a farmer on her own land.

James Woodard died 4 February 1937 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 63 years old; was a widower; was a farmer; and was born in Wilson County to Jack and Charity Woodard.

Minnie Woodard, 22, of Wilson County, [daughter of James and Jennie Farmer Woodard,] married James Ellis, 22, of Wilson County, [son of William and Sarah Barnes Ellis,] on 22 March 1928 in Wilson County. Missionary Baptist minister Geo. Cooper performed the ceremony.

This post honors Minnie Doris Ellis Cummings, born in 1931 to James C. and Minnie Virginia Woodard Ellis. Mrs. Cummings, who passed away 22 March 2020, was one of the mothers of my childhood village. Rest in peace.

Top photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user ziggazigga; photo of Mrs. Cummings courtesy of Edwards Funeral Home, Wilson.

The last will and testament of Lewis Rountree.

On 20 September 1849, Lewis Rountree of Edgecombe County penned a will that included these provisions:

  • to wife Elizabeth Rountree, a life interest in “one negro man George and one negro woman by the name of Fanney aged 31 years.” After Elizabeth’s death, their six daughters were to inherit George and  Fanney equally.
  • to Sarah Jordan, wife of Thomas Jordan,”one negro boy by the name of Sam and one negro girl by the name of Phillis
  • to daughters Eliza Daniel, wife of Willie Daniel; Harriet Ellis, wife of I.G. Ellis; Penelope Rountree; Elizabeth Rountree; Treasia Rountree; and Margaret Rountree “the following negroes to wit — Stephen, Braswell, Hillard, Joe, Dave, Warren, Henry, Joiner, Amos, Rafe, Levi, John, Little Gorge, Fed, Gray, Bob, Love, Rebecca, July, Cherry, Milley, Ester, Deborah, Rhoda, Ann and Louisa,” share and share alike.
  • daughters Eliza and Harriet to receive their shares of community property immediately, and the remaining daughters to receive theirs as they reached age 21

After Lewis Rountree’s death, daughters Eliza Daniel and Harriet Ellis (through their husbands) petitioned for the division of their share of their father’s enslaved property. Eliza Daniel received Brass, Amos, Love, George, Rhody and Ann, valued at $2375. Harriet Ellis received Hilliard, Pheriba, Louisa, Adaline, Levi and Julia, valued at $2400.

Hilliard and Pheriba Ellis were a newly married couple at the time of the division. Hilliard Ellis’ brother Warren remained part of the common property and adopted the surname Rountree after emancipation.

Lewis Rountree Will, Edgecombe County, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.