The Ellis Family

The Ellis Family of Elk Park, North Carolina

Welcome to The Ellis Family website.

main imageThis website is the home of descendants of the three Ellis brothers shown below. William Alexander, James Riley, and Rev. David W. are the sons of John and Jane Murray Ellis. John Ellis was a son of Joseph Ellis, a veteran soldier of the Revolutionary War, and Charlotte Redwine. While John's brothers and sisters remained in Elizabethton, John moved his family to Cranberry and Elk Park where he and his brother-in-law, Thomas Perry, sold charcoal to the Cranberry Mines. While most of our information thus far is based on the descendants of these three sons - Willie, James, and David, you will also find information on the family of Joseph and Charlotte. Some of that genealogical information comes from the John Ellis family bible. John bought this bible in Elizabethton, TN in 1825. The bible remains in the family to this day. Shown here is a picture of one of the pages from that bible, now almost 200 years old! The best place to start to know more about our Ellis family is to read the work of James Franklin Ellis, a great grandson of James Riley Ellis. Click here to read -   Our Ellis Story

Ellis Ancestors

The three Ellis brothers and their grandfather, Joseph
William Alexander & Dicie Ellis
William Alexander Ellis & Dicie Lucretia Buchanan

William Alexander Ellis & Dicie Lucretia Buchanan

William A. & Dicie Ellis

Eldest son of John Ellis & Jane Murray Ellis

James Riley Ellis with son Frank
James and son Frank

James and son Frank

James Riley moved to Banner, IL in the 1860's.

He met his wife, Louisa Smith there and raised their family on the Ellis homestead.

Reverend David W. and Adeline Ellis
Settled in Shell Creek, TN

Settled in Shell Creek, TN

Reverend David W. Ellis was a minister in the mountains of East Tennessee and North Carolina.

Several of his sermon notes survive and are an inspiration.

Joseph Ellis at the Battle of Cowpens
Joseph Ellis

Joseph Ellis

Our oldest known ancestor (so far), was the grandfather of Willie, James, & David.

Born 1762, Randolph County, NC. Died 1848, Grainger County, TN.

Our History - Thank you Margaret!

family imageThis site would not be possible without the contributions of many family members, but we are especially indebted to Margaret Ellis Sepello. Margaret has written two excellent histories on our family; Joseph Ellis and Charlotte Redwine, and John Ellis and Jane Murray. These two volumes were written by Margaret after hearing the stories told by her grandmother that had been passed down orally from Charlotte Ellis herself. We are so fortunate that we have these, and we dedicate this site to Margaret. She has spent many years and many long hours in libraries, homes, cemeteries, and at the typewriter doing research on our ancestors. In addition to her work on the Ellis family, Margaret has written 30 genealogy books, and compiled the 1850 census for Washington County, Tennessee. But she says she is most proud of her role as the editor of the book, Carter County Tennessee and Its People. Click the button below to read her book about Joseph and Charlotte.

Joseph & Charlotte

Years Later

In 1825 when John Ellis purchased what is now known as the “Ellis Family Bible”, it would’ve never crossed his mind that almost 200 years later, a group of his descendants from different states, age groups, and backgrounds would all be gathered around the very same bible that he likely regarded as a prized possession. Not only is the existence of it a treasure in itself, the information recorded in it is a genealogist’s dream. We’re blessed to have a family bible with pages of handwritten records of births, marriages, deaths, and more.These are familiar names of Ellis descendants for many generations, starting with his own children. Truly a nostalgic moment as one turns the brittle pages of our past and tries to imagine what their world and lives were like. Oddly enough, as you get to know those standing in the same room, you see that the Ellis legacy lives on. The intelligence, generosity, quick witted humor, kindness, ideology and hard work are still present in each descendant. It’s taken a lot of time and effort from many to build this database. It’s taken hours of research, luck, providence, and crossing paths with other descendants. The journey of learning about the Ellis family has been a roller coaster and it has all led to this family website. A collection of information, stories and photos that tell the story of each Ellis, building a portrait of their lives, their jobs, their community service, their beliefs and standards. Just as a puzzle is never solved without all the pieces, this story of the Ellis family isn't complete. Each descendant reached, each date added, each photo shared is a piece of the puzzle. We ask you to use this space as a way to share their story. Ask questions, share stories that you heard, add photos that were inherited and document heirlooms that have been handed down. There is no such thing as oversharing and there is no piece of information that is too mundane. We need you; you are a part of this story too! This group, among others, met to view the John Ellis bible. Click the button below to see some pictures from that visit.

John Ellis bible

Jane Murray's Spinning Wheel

Jane Shipwrath Murray, wife of John Ellis and mother to the three Ellis brothers above, passed down this wonderful spinning wheel to her family. You can read more about John and Jane Ellis in Margaret Ellis's history of them by clicking the button below.

John & Jane

A little genealogical humor.
  • Why waste your money looking up your family tree? Just go into politics and your opponents will do it for you.
    ~ Mark Twain
  • Everyone has ancestors and it is only a question of going back far enough to find a good one.
    ~ Howard K. Nixon
  • We've uncovered some embarrassing ancestors in the not-too-distant past. Some horse thieves, and some people killed on Saturday nights. One of my relatives, unfortunately, was even in the newspaper business.
    ~ Jimmy Carter
  • Southerners are so devoted to genealogy that we see a family tree under every bush.
    ~ Florence King
  • My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's ninety-seven now, and we don't know where the hell she is.
    ~ Ellen
Ellis Brothers Reunion

In 1903, James Riley came back home to Elk Park for a visit. Several family photos were made during this visit, including this one. James Riley's son Mansfield was there on the trip and he kept a diary along the way. Click the button below to read excerpts from this diary.


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