John Ellis

5 Jan 1828 - 25 Sep 1901

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John Ellis

5 Jan 1828 - 25 Sep 1901
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BIOGRAPHY OF JOHN ELLIS (John Ellis was born in England in 1828, and was an orphan. He later came to America, married and was in the 1st handcart brigade to Utah. This was a letter he wrote for his son to preserve the story of his life.) Letter to his son John Gregory Ellis written 1 March 1899 To m
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Life Information

John Ellis

Born:
Died:

Ogden City Cemetery

11th Avenue
Ogden, Weber, Utah
United States

Headstone Description

George, son of John G & Rose A Drake-Ellis. John, born at Derby, Derbyshire, England. Mary, wife of John, born at Downham, Lancashire, England. Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Bailey.
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juicyjaffa

May 27, 2012
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j burton

May 25, 2012

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Biography of John Ellis (Letter to his son John Gregory)

Contributor: juicyjaffa Created: 7 months ago Updated: 7 months ago

BIOGRAPHY OF JOHN ELLIS (John Ellis was born in England in 1828, and was an orphan. He later came to America, married and was in the 1st handcart brigade to Utah. This was a letter he wrote for his son to preserve the story of his life.) Letter to his son John Gregory Ellis written 1 March 1899 To my Son, John Gregory Ellis: Dear Son: At your request} have tried to write a few events and circumstances of my life. But owing to an unsteady hand and failing memory. you will find it a very poor job. Most biographies begin with a generation or two back. But 1 cannot do that. I do not know any. The first that I knew of myself was in my infancy, living with one Mrs. Gregory. a very pious old lady. And the last time I saw her I was passing by one of her son's house, and she came out into the road to see me and talk to me. She told me not to go with bad boys. She said "You were always a good child, and I hope you will be a good man." I never saw her again. When I was in England last I was shown the house at a little distance from where I was born in, on the first of January 1828. When I was four years old, I was taken from Mrs. Gregory by those whom I learned to call Father and Mother. And I never knew any others. We went to live at Matlock Bank. 1 remember going to an infant school in the village, kept by an old woman. And I never went to any other, just because I would not except Sunday School. And there I learned to read. After I was eight years old I had to work at one thing or another until I was ten or eleven. I then went with Father into Cheshire, where he was working on a conservatory for one Squire Davenport. I went to work with the painters and glaziers at anything they wanted me to do. I got six shillings a week. When that job was done, Father went back there too, tending the painters and glaziers as before, at six shillings a week. When the glazing was done 1 was done there. While on that job I went to night school in the village where we lodged, being about ten miles from home. At the end of that time I was twelve years old past. In March following I went to live and work for a Mr. Lockley, a farmer at Edensor. There I got right homesick. I felt that 1 could never stay there. But with a little encouragement from one side and a little "ash" from the other, I got reconciled, and stayed with them four years. The reason I got "ash" was because hickory did 110t grow in that country. However, the two medicines have the same effect if equally administered. At this time J was past sixteen. I then went to Dreitwich in Worcestershire, where the family had moved to. And when I got there, Father had gone to Manchester. And in a week or two we all moved to Manchester. On the second morning after we got there I took Father's breakfast to the shop where he was working. And the boss happened to come along while1 was waiting. He thought I was a healthy looking fellow and asked Father what he was going to do with me. He told him him I wanted to be a joiner. "Well", says he, "let him come along." So the next morning I went to work. Now, being a strong boy, I was kept more at running the hand cart than at hauling stuff that was prepared for jobs in town--and sometimes out of town. I concluded that I was doing too much horse work for the pay I was getting, so I quit, and got a job at a machine shop where they manufactured machines for cotton factories. I worked for the man who did the wood work for those machines, and he drilled me pretty well at the bench. It was all bay wood. I did not know how to set a cap on my plane bits. I did not know the difference between a jack plane bitt and a smoothing plane. He was a cabinet maker by trade, and a quick worker, and he kept a sharp eye on my motions. He did not use very polite language when he corrected me. However, we got along pretty well. I got seven shillings a week from his office, and he gave me ten or twelve shillings every time he settled up his contracts, which was every six weeks. It was all piece work with him. I was doing better as far as wages were concerned than 1 could at a carpenter's shop, but after awhile 1 found that I learned all I was going to at that job. He did all the fitting to the machine. He had a good paying job, and he thought if I got so that I could do all the work he might get his prices dropped, so I concluded that I was not learning a trade and I went back to my old shop, and I got a better show but not so much money. After I had been there a few weeks I was sent out into the country about seventeen miles to a pretty good job with a Scotsman. His name was John Wightman--and be deserved the name. We had a very pleasant time that summer, but when November came, it was good¬bye to good times for me. It was November 1845, that I got word from Manchester that if I wanted to see my father alive I must go at once. So I started off at once. It was nearly dark. I had to walk three miles across country to take the stage six miles to the railroad station. I remember when I got in the middle of those fields I came to a standstill. I raised my hands and prayed that father might live, if he could only sit in the corner and give me instruction. But when I got home he was dead. During the night preceding the day that I got word to go, I had a strange dream, if it was a dream. Whightman and I lodged in an upstairs room. It had one window, and I thought Father came in through that window. and came to the bed and said to me: "You must not call me George Ellis anymore. I am George Death." It was not the nightmare, but I felt I had the nightmare all the next day. He had belonged to the Odd Fellows for a long time. There had been a split in the order, and he had been hesitating as to which party to go with. And by doing so "was lost" so far as getting any benefit was concerned. After the funeral we were left pretty bare. Elizabeth and George were too young to do anything, and we all had to subsist on my wages, and pay rent. My wages were seven shillings a week now. I made a proposition to my boss to be bound to him for eight shillings a week for two years. I told him I must have more wages to give up learning a trade. He told me if I could do better he would not blame me for leaving him. I think it was the next day I met John Wightman on the street. I told him my circumstances. He thought a minute. Then says he, “John, you go over to McFee’s shop. See if you can get on with him. If you can you will be all right.” Now I had never known that shop and it was only five minutes walk from the shop where I was. I went over to that shop, but the young boss told me that the father was away from home, but he expected him home that day and if I would call the next morning I could see him. So the next morning I went again and found him going to breakfast. Says he, “My son tells me that you have been after a job.” I said, “Yes, sir.” He then asked me where I was working, and how long I had been at the trade,etc. I told him. “Well,” says he, “I will endeavor to see Mr. Irland today, and you see me again.” So along in the forenoon he came to the shop and he and Mr. Irland went outside into the yard and had a long confab, and when Mr. Irland came into the shop he looked very sarcastic at me and wanted to draw in his horns. But I told him he had said he would not blame me for leaving if I could do better, and I would not talk 2 with him about it So next morning I went again to see McFee. He said."Well, have you made any more arrangements with Mr. Irland?" "No sir." "WeIl, he tells me he is only paying you seven shillings a week. I think a big boy like you ought to be worth more than that" This was Saturday morning. He told me to bring my tools on Monday morning. I was satisfied about the wages without asking he would give me. When I went on Monday morning I saw the shop was full of first class work. He would have nothing else, and it rather scared me. But 1 put in my best licks and gave satisfaction, and he gave me nine shillings a week to start with. I should have stated that a big strike was pending at this time. And when the strike was over he gave me ten shillings. But he never got any more important contracts. His business fell away, he took sick and died. His son sold out, but he got me on at another shop. I never saw him again. I have always had a great respect for that man. He was a friend in need. He would always vindicate me whether I was right or wrong. A thought occurs to my mind. What am I writing all this stuff for? And then, if I don't, what would there be to write? For it is these small things that make up our lives. Well, I went to work for the firm of Mellor and Greenhatch. They were pretty heavy contractors, and kept a saw mill and lumber yard. I was put to work with a stair builder in a shop to ourselves and we got along very well together. But after I had been there awhile I got "struck" with America, and the desire to go to the states increased upon me up to the time that I left. In the first place, I was made acquainted with an emigration society. I became a member, and paid money into it for some time. The scheme was a very good one in theory, but like many more good schemes it lacked honesty to carry it out. They claim to have taken up a tract of land in what was then the Territory of Wisconsin for colonizing. Now, after a certain amount of money was subscribed they had sort of a lottery drawing for so many chances to emigrate, and the lucky ones had their expenses paid to go to Wisconsin, to have forty acres of land and a log house, and give years to pay for it. But I found out that things were not going straight, so I quit it. But the desire to go to America still grew stronger. My shopmate and 1 sometimes got to discussing religion and thought we ought to join some church. but I never could settle my mind on which church, being so many and all different. And my conclusions came to the same point--Wait until I get to America, and I may find a church there to suit and join it. So in January 1851, I left England. intending to go to Wisconsin by way of New Orleans. but I had not enough money to take me past St Louis. and like many of the Mormons in those days. I 11” “stuck" there. We had a very bad voyage across the ocean--rough and tempestuous in the forepart--and fever raging in the later part. There were close on fifty dead thrown overboard. And very few were allowed to land in New Orleans. I was affected with it. but not to let it get me down. I would go around but I was as weak as water. I could not eat for the seven days we were on the river to St Louis. And I could not eat for a week after I got there. I sometimes overheard some of the boarders say "that fellow will die". And I really felt that I would like to. I was almost consumed with thirst, and very 3 with him about it. So next morning I went again to see McFee. He said, "Well have you made any more arrangements with Mr Irland?" "No Sir." "Well, he tells me he is only paying you seven shillings a week. I think a big boy like you ought to be worth more than that." This was Saturday morning. He told me to bring my tools on Monday morning. I was satisfied about the wages without asking he would give me. When I went on Monday morning I saw the shop was full of first class work. He would have nothing else, and it rather scared me. But I put in my best licks and gave satisfaction, and he gave me nine shillings a week to start with. 1 should have stated that a big strike was pending at this time. And when the strike was over he gave me ten shillings. But he never got any more important contracts. His business fell away, he took sick and died. His son sold out, but he got me on at another shop. I never saw him again. I have always had a great respect for that man. He was a friend in need. He would always vindicate me whether J was right or wrong. A thought occurs to my mind. What am I writing all this stuff for? And then, if I don't, what would there be to write? For it is these small things that make up our lives. Well, I went to work for the firm of Mellor and Greenhatch. They were pretty heavy contractors, and kept a saw mill and lumber yard. I was put to work with a stair builder in a shop to ourselves and we got along very well together. But after I had been there awhile - I got "struck" with America, and the desire to go to the states increased upon me up to the time that I left. In the first place, I was made acquainted with an emigration society. 1 became a member, and paid money into it for some time. The scheme was a very good one in theory, but like many more good schemes it lacked honesty to carry it out. They claim to have taken up a tract of land in what was then the Territory of Wisconsin for colonizing. Now, after a certain amount of money was subscribed they had sort of a lotterv drawing for so many chances to emigrate, and the lucky ones had their expenses paid to go to Wisconson, to have forty acres of land and a log house, and give years to pay for it. But I found out that things were not going straight, so I quit it.But the desire to go to America still grew stronger. --,' .,/ My shopmate and I sometimes got to discussing religion and thought we ought to join some church, but I never could settle my mind on which church. being so many and all different. And my conclusions came to the same point -- Wait until I get to America. and I may find a church there to suit and join it. So in January 1851, J left England, intending to go to Wisconsin by way or New Orleans. but 1 had not enough money to take me past St Louis, and like many of the Mormons in those days, I was "stuck" there. We had a very bad voyage across the ocean--rough and tempestuous in the forepart--and fever raging in the later part. There were close on fifty dead thrown overboard. And very few were allowed to land in New Orleans. I was affected with it, but not to let it get me down. I would go around. but I was as weak as water. I could not eat for the seven days we were on the river to St Louis. And I could not eat for a week after I got there. I sometimes overheard some of the boarders say "that fellow will die". And I really felt that I would like to. I was almost consumed with thirst, and very 3 Likely a little homesickness mixed with it. 1t took most of the summer before 1 got my strength. I went to work for one dollar and twenty five cents 3 day. A stranger did not have a very good show in those days, and 1 was not very good in then to make acquaintance being young and alone. I took a trip to Wisconsin the latter part of that summer, to see two men that I knew when I was a boy. It was in the harvest time. It was there that I first saw a cradle for cutting grain. And of course 1 had to try it. 1 worked away with it until they said I was pretty good with it. After a few days, I went back to St Louis. In August 1852 I was working out in the country. I was taken sick with bilious fever. 1t held me down two months after that. Chills and fever got hold of me; consequently I got behind. And it was sometime before I got straight again. In June 1853, I got married. Soon after that I got a job at the P.R.R. car shop (Pennsylvania Railroad), and had better luck so far as steady work was concerned. But for years I never got through August or September without a bilious attack. On the last day of March our first baby was born. He was a fine big boy, but he lived only three months. We named him George Emmett. Sometime in the winter of 54-55 we got word that your grandmother Emmett was dead, and that put me in a very peculiar frame of mind. I had not seen the Gospel yet although I read a good deal about it. I knew how your mother felt, as all her sisters and brothers were in Utah just on her account and if it were so that I could not stand it here, I would go on to California. But in the meantime the eyes of my understanding began to open little by little. until on a certain day in November 1855, I felt that I was having a very interesting conversation with some person invisible to me. But it showed to my satisfaction that Mormonism was true, and in a few days I went and got baptized. We were living in the second ward (in St Louis) and I went to the ward meetings, as I wished to learn all I could, and in a very few weeks the Bishop ordained me to the office of a teacher and I was appointed to visit with the presiding teacher of the district that I lived in. We visited every Sunday morning through that winter. About the close of that winter my companion was called to act as Bishop in another ward, and I was appointed to take his place as presiding teacher. The Bishop then gave me a certificate with instructions to present it to the Elders' Quorum, and there ordained an Elder. In the spring we got word about the hand Cart proposition, and I made up my mind to come that way for different reasons. One was that I learned how to handle a handcart to perfection. Another was that I had not the means to buy a team outfit. as I had in the fall previous sent fifty dollars home to England. and sixty dollars I paid to bring Ann from England to St Louis. Another was that if I put it off another season I might not be any better prepared, and I had seen so many Mormons who had been stranded in St Louis who year after year were "going" to go to the Valley in the spring, and some never got away, and that might have been my case. For I always had a sick spell in the hot season. When l had found out about the time the steamboat would start up the river, I gave notice to the foreman that I should quit at the end of the month, because they paid every month, and our time was made up to the last of the month, and sometimes it would be the eighth of the next month before the paymaster got around to the shop and back time was not due until another month. Well, he did not seem to pay much attention when I gave him notice. 4 But soon afterward he came to me and wanted to know what I was quitting for and I told him that I was going to Utah. He said, "If you want more wages. you can have it." I told him that 1 was satisfied in that respect. 1 told him that I was not expecting to get another shop as good for some time. He asked me when I was going to start up the river. I told him 1 did not know the exact time. "Well", he said. "1 would like you to work up to the last day that you can." I asked him about the back time if I worked into the next month. "The paymaster won't be around soon enough for me." He said, "I will be responsible for that." And so he kept on holding out every inducement within his power for me to stay. The last thing he told me was that he would rather any two men were leaving rather than me.and the Master mechanic, Mr Williams would come sometimes and sit on my bench with his back against the wall and chat for an hour at a time. He had hardly ever recognized me before. Now what was all this worth? I believe they were sincere in it all. Now I believe they were inspired by a false spirit to tum me from going, and 1 knew they were only hired servants like myself and I felt that it would not do for me to tie to them. And so it turned out. For I had not been gone a year when I heard that the master mechanic had gone onto some other road, and an entire change all around; that there was only one man there that was there when 1 was, and that was a German that told me he would give me a barrel of beer if I would not go away. So I think I was just about right in my conclusions. Early in June we went on the steamboat "Arabia" and in about seven days we arrived at Florence, the outfitting point for crossing the plains at that time. James McGaw was Chief Agent there for the Church. After we had been there for a few days he called a meeting one night to organize the camp. So after several captains had been appointed and voted in, he nominated Elder John Ellis as President of all the handcart companies. Now there were no handcart companies there. There were only a score or two waiting to join the companies when they came along from Iowa City. We camped there nearly two months. We started with our carts on the 24th of July 1856, for the "Valley" and we arrived in Salt Lake City a little before sundown, September 26, 1856. We stayed in Salt Lake City three or four days and then came to Ogden. I went to work for Jonathan Browning for two dollars per day in any kind of pay - Flour was six cents a pound. I never got a hundred pounds at one time for several years. During the first winter, the Nauvoo Legion was reorganized and from that time on we did allot of training and drilling. In fact. "military" was on top in those days. On the 24th of July. 1857, word came that an army was coming to Utah. Soon after, martial law was proclaimed. and then drilling, etc., was the chief business of the country. I did considerable work on the tabernacle. In the early fall we had to pick up our grub and shoulder our guns and march north. expecting to meet some of the enemy who had been reported as having started for that point. We went through Cache Valley and into Marsh Valley and there we camped for some time. I don't remember how long. When we broke camp, we crossed over the mountain from Marsh Valley into Malad Valley, and back home. We were about a week when the signal was raised to assemble and march to Echo Canyon. We camped there until near Christmas. We had to furnish our own rations, and those who had the best fared the best. All that I could take were some home made crackers and a few pounds of flour. Occasionally a beef was killed, but when divided up among so many it only raised a general smell through the camp. 5 Well, we came home. My boots and shoes were worn out, and 1 had nothing to buy any with. 1 had one pair of light shoes but the soles were parted from the uppers, and 1 had to cut them off at the waist, and that let the soles of my bare feet come in contact with the ground when the ground was bare. But the ground about that time was covered with snow, and sometimes mud. I had taken a contract of John C. Thompson (Jack) to finish his adobe house. And after we came back from Echo I went to work on it. I cased the windows and put up the stairs and some other work. and for pay J had agreed to take what he supposed was ten acres of land a little south of where Pincocks now live. I rented the land early in the spring and he sowed it in wheat. He had only just got it in when orders came from Brigham Young to stop sowing and planting, and all other improvements, and to work and make wheat boxes and wagon boxes and move south, and nobody knew where to or how far. Well we had no bread stuffs on hand at the time, and I had no team to move with. But there was a great demand for boxes and wagon boxes that I could have got lots of wheat. But Thompson proposed that if I would work his lumber up into boxes he would call it square for the land. And when men came to me to make boxes I told them that I was under obligation to Thompson to pay for the land. Many thought I was very foolish to pay for land that 1 would never see again. However, I thought it right to do so. In the meantime, your Uncle Thomas had taken your mother and Mary Ann and Sarah to Salt Lake City, and when he came back I had nearly a load of flour to take back. He got half of it for hauling. I had been detailed to stay in Ogden with others to guard the place, or if it came to words, to bury everything up. Well the people had not been gone long when I had a very strong impression that they would return. I got Jack Thompson to plow the half acre lot that I owned, and planted it with potatoes, and persuaded several others to plant their lots. But while I was away South helping to get the folks back. the cattle got into my lot and destroyed the potatoes. Now II interested myself in getting James Riley's family back as I did my own, for he never left Ogden to see after them. However, Ihad twenty-five bushels of wheat for my share off the land I had rented, and about two tons of fine clover hay that wintered poor old "Brock" when she was a two year old. Well it seems that a person cannot give a sketch of his own history without touching someone else, even to the animals. Our lives are interwoven so much with others. In the fall of 1858 I exchanged lots with Bishop Edward Bunker. and bought an old log house off him and moved it onto the present 101. It was the house that you and Lizzie were born in. Late in the same year the Sixtieth Quorum of Seventies was organized to take in a number of young men who had been organized into what was caned a standing army and filled up with members of the Elders Quorum, and I happened to be one of them. I think it was the next spring that I traded that ten acres for the five acre lot, and after that we began to do a little better. During that summer we made the seats for the Tabernacle. They were made of native lumber, and I had a big share in the planing mill. The pay was tithing and donation –a kind of pay that I always felt a satisfaction in, so long as we had bread in the house, After a while Brock had a calf, and we got a few sheep, and we began to feel that we were living more substantially. Well I don't know of any important event in the following year except your birth, for it 6 seems like the nearer 1 come towards the present the less J can recollect. the summer of 1861 your mother and I received our endowments in the old Endowment House in Salt Lake City, and Lizzie was born in August of the same year. Now I think you are sufficiently acquainted with my history since then, for it is not very interesting 10 me to write many more. But J trust that your own history will be very different from mine. You have had a much better start, and I hope and fully believe that you will continue. John Ellis Ogden, Utah 1 March 1899

p.2, Letter Home, John Ellis' Arrival in St. Louis

Contributor: juicyjaffa Created: 7 months ago Updated: 7 months ago

In the John Ellis-Mary Ann Emmett Ellis Bible two letters were found as follows: John Ellis Voyage to America, Jan 21, 1851 A transcription of his Letter written in pencil On light blue tissue paper (see other photo and story), and this one, now in possession of the J. Franklin Ellis Family, presently, Darcy Ellis Sandberg. St. Louis May 4/51 Dear Mother Brother and Sister I sat down to write these offered lines to you hoping they will find you in good health as it leaves me at present. I shall not say much about the Voyage for it is only and old yarn spun over again but it was a very unpleasant one we were beating about in the Channel for a fortnight and was very near striking on a rock had it not come daylight just in time. I could not eat anything for 2 weeks but after that I had pretty good health I was only Sick about 4 hours and not very bad. But when I got within a few days sail of New Orleans I had a touch of the ship fever it was very bad on board our Ship for thay was such a dirty set on board thay were 500 passengers and nearly all Irish. and the very worst sort of Irish. There was 28 deaths on board. Thay just died in their dirt and was throne overboard like dogs without anything to sink them. I saw lots of them floating like a plank on water as far as I could see them and some of them half naked. there was one man jumped overboard close to New Orleans he was raging with fever and a young girl 17 or 18 years of age threw herself through the Starboard port hole and was never seen again. I would not come out in such a vesel again for all America if I knew it and the Captain was one of the D_____dst rascals that ever crossed the ocean. May his potatos freeze. I was very bad when I got to St. Louis all the way up the river I was in that low way that I was tired of living and nothing stir me up once man gave me a tumbler full of whiskey I drank it off but it was only like as much water to me there was one circumstance that Cheered me up a little and that was when there was another Steam Boat along side of ours having a race then I thought there was some chance of a Blow up a very common thing on this river they have Steam Boats here that will run 20 miles an hour The fact of the matter was with me I was nearly clamed out and when I got to New Orleans I could not eat anything when I got to St’. Louis I could scarsly speak. My voice was almost gone. I am Boarding with Yankee and to him I am indebted for being here or anywhere els he comes from Virginia and She is an English woman. I pay 2 dollars per Week for Board and Lodging. We have Beef, Mutton, Pork and Sometimes Catfish every meal and I play a good hand at it I can nealy eat as much 2 men and I geting strong again. I have been working a week or two I get 8 dollars per week some get more but thay will not give a stranger so much as one that born in the country somewhere but I shall manage with that. St Louis is a fine city it rises up from the Misispi on to the top of a hill But it is very hot here in summer thay say it was hoter here Last summer than it was in Orleans so you must write back as soon as you get this for you cannot get any money until I get your directions when I find it too hot I will go into Wisconsin thay all speak well of it that has been their. give my respects to all inquiring friends if any send me all particulars is J. Yates living yet send me word how Geo. Has behave himself and how he is getting along I will send you as much mony as I can I have had to buy a pair of Summer trousers to work it as been warm as your hottest Summer. Dear Sister give this to Mother soon as you get it I will send you more particulars about the country another time From yours trly J. Ellis Never mind paying the postdirect John Ellis Carpenter St. Louis North America

Autobiography of John Ellis

Contributor: juicyjaffa Created: 7 months ago Updated: 7 months ago

Written by John Ellis Ogden, Utah March 1, 1899 To my son, John Gregory Ellis Dear Son: At your request I have agreed to write a few events and circumstances of my life. But owing to an unsteady hand and failing memory you will find it a very poor job. Most biographies begin with a generation or two back, but I cannot do that. I do not know any. The first that I know of myself was in my infancy living with one Mrs. Gregory, a very pious old lady. And the last time I saw her, four or five years after I had left her, I was passing by one of her sons' house and she came out in the road to see me and talk to me. She told me not to go with bad boys. She said "You were always a good child and I hope you will be a good man." I never saw her again. When I was in England last I was shown the house at a little distance from where I was born on the fifth of January, 1828. When I was about four years old I was taken from Mrs. Gregory by those whom I learned to call father and mother, and I never knew any other. We went to live at Matlock Bank. I remember going to an infant school in the village, kept by an old woman. And I never went to any other, just because I would not, except Sunday School, and there I learned to read. After I was eight years old I had to work at one thing or another until I was between ten and eleven. I then went with father into Cheshire, where he was working on a conservatory for one Squire Davenport. I went to work with the painters and glaziers at anything they wanted me to do. I got six shilling a week. When that job was done father went back to work on the Chatsworth Conservatory belonging to the Duke of Devonshire, and I went to work there, too, tending the painters and glaziers as before, at six shillings a week. When the glazing was done, I was done there. While on that job I went to a night school in the village where we lodged, being about ten miles from home. At the end of that time I was twelve years old past. In March following I went to live with and work for a Mr. Blocksley, a farmer at Edensor, where I got right homesick. I felt that I never could stay there, but with a little encouragement from one side and a little "ash" from the other, I got reconciled and stayed with them four years. The reason I got ash was because hickory did not grow in that country. However, the two medicines have the same effect, if equally administered. At this time I was past sixteen. I then went to Droitvich in Worcestershire, where the family had moved, and when I got there mother had gone to Manchester. And in a week or two we all moved to Manchester. On the second morning after we got there I took father's breakfast to the shop where he was working, and the boss happened to come along while I was waiting. He thought I was a healthy-looking fellow and asked father what he was going to do with me. He told him I wanted to be a joiner. "Well," says he, "Let him come along." So the next morning I went to work. Now being a strong boy, I was kept more at running the hand cart than at the bench. I had to haul planks to the saw mill to be sawed into boards, and haul stuff that was prepared for jobs in town and sometimes away out of town. I concluded that I was doing too much horse work for the pay that I was getting, so I quit, and got a job at a machine shop where they manufactured machines for cotton factories. I worked for the man who did the woodwork for those machines, and he drilled us pretty well at the bench. It was all baywood. I did not know how to set a cap on my plane bitts. I did not know the difference between a jack plane and a smoothing plane. He was a cabinet maker by trade, and a quick worker, and kept a sharp eye on my motions. And he did not use very polite language when he corrected me. However, we got along pretty well. I got seven shillings a week from the office and he gave me ten or twelve shillings every time he settled up his contracts, which was every six weeks. It was all place work with him. I was doing better as far as wages were concerned than I would at a carpenter's shop. But after a while I found that I had learned all that I was going to at that job. He did all the fitting to the machines. He had a good paying job and he thought if I got so that I could do all the work he might get his prices dropped, so I concluded that I was not learning a trade, and I went back to my old shop and I got a better show, but not so much money. After I had been there a few weeks I was sent out into the country about seventeen miles to a pretty good job with a Scotsman--his name was John Whightman and he deserved the name. We had a very pleasant time that summer, but when November came it was goodbye to good times for me. It was in November 1845 that I got word from Manchester that if I wanted to see father alive I must go home at once, so I started off at once. It was nearly dark. I had to walk three miles across country to take a stage six miles to the railroad station. I remember when I got in the middle of those fields I came to a standstill. I raised my hands and prayed that father might live if he could only sit in the corner and give me instructions. But when I got home he was dead. During the night preceding the day that I got work to go, I had a strange dream. Whightman and I lodged in an upstairs room. It had one window, and I thought father came in thru that window and came to the bed and said to me, "You must not call me George Ellis any more. I am George Death." It was not the nightmare, but I felt as if I had the nightmare all the next day. He had belonged to the Odd Fellows a long time, but there had been a split in the order and he had been hesitating as to which party to go with, and by doing so "was lost" as far as getting any benefit was concerned. After the funeral we were left pretty bare. Elizabeth and George were too young to do anything, and we all had to subsist on my wages and pay rent. My wages were seven shillings a week now. I made a proposition to my boss to be bound to him for eight shillings a week for two years. I told him that I must have more wages or give up learning a trade. He told me if I could do better he would not blame me for leaving him. I think it was the next day I met John Whightman on the street. I told him my circumstances. He thought a minute, then says he, "John, you go over to McFee's shop and see if you can get on with him. If you can you will be all right." Now I had never known of that shop before and it was only about five minutes walk from the shop where I was. I went over to that shop but the young boss told me that his father was away from home, but he expected him home that day, and if I would call next morning I could see him. So next morning I went again and found him going in to breakfast.. Says he, "My son tells me that you have been after a job." I said, "Yes sir." He then asked me where I was working and how long I had been at the trade and I told him. "Well" sayd he, "I will endeavor to see Mr. Irland today, and you see me again." So along in the forenoon he came to the shop and Mr. Irland and he went out into the yard and had a long conflab. And when Mr. Irland came into the shop he looked very sarcastic at me and waited to draw in his horns. But I told him that he had said he would not blame me for leaving if I could do better, and I would not talk with him about it. So next morning I went again to see McFee. He says, "Well, have you made any further arrangements with Mr. Irland?" "No sir." "Well, he tells me he is only paying you seven shillings a week. I think a big boy like you ought to be worth more than that." This was Saturday morning. He told me to bring my tools Monday morning. I was satisfied about the wages without asking him what he would give. When I went on the Monday morning I saw the shop was full of first-class work. He would have nothing else, and it rather scared me. But I put in my best licks and gave satisfaction, and he gave me nine shillings a week to start with. I should have stated that a big strike was pending at this time, and when the strike was over he gave me ten shillings a week, and before I had been with him a year he gave me twelve shillings, and before another year was past he gave me sixteen shillings. But he never got any more important contracts, his business fell away. He took sick and died. His son sold out, but he got me on at another shop. I never saw him again. I have always had a great respect for that man. He was a friend in need. He would always vindicate me, whether I was right or wrong. A thought occurs to my mind: What am I writing all of this stuff for? And then, if I don't, what would there be to write?--for it is these small things that make up our lives. Well, I went to work for the firm of Neller and Greenhatch. They were pretty heavy contractors and kept a saw mill and lumber yard. I was put to work with their stair builder in a shop to ourselves and we got along very well together. But after I had been there a while I got struck with America and the desire to go to the States increased upon me up to the time that I left. In the first place, I was made acquainted with an emigration society. I became a member and paid into it for some time. The scheme was a very good one in theory, but like many more good schemes it lacked honesty to carry it out. They claimed to have taken up a tract of land in what was then the Territory of Wisconsin for colonization. And after a certain amount of money was subscribed they had a sort of lottery drawing for so many chances to emigrate. And the lucky ones had their expenses paid to go to Wisconsin to have forty acres of land and a log house and five years to pay for it. But I found out that things were not going straight so I quit it. But the desire to go to America still grew stronger. My shop-mate and I sometimes got to discussing religion and thought we ought to join some church. But I never could settle my mind on which church, being so many and all different, and my conclusions always came to the same point--"wait until I get to America and I may find a church there to suit and join it." So, in January 1851 I left England, intending to go to Wisconsin, by way of New Orleans, but I had not money enough to take me past St. Louis. And like many of the Mormons in those days I "stuck" there. We had a very bad voyage across the ocean, rough and tempestuous in the forepart, and fever raging in the later part. There were close on fifty dead thrown overboard, and but very few were aboard to land in New Orleans. I was affected by it, but not to get me down. I would go around, but I was as weak as water. I could not eat during the seven days we were on the river to St. Louis, and I could not eat for a week after I got there. I sometimes overheard some of the boarders say "that fellow will die," and I really felt that I would like to. I was almost consumed with thirst and very likely a little home-sickness mixed with it. It took most of the summer before I got my strength. I went to work for one dollar and twenty-five cents a day. A stranger did not have a very good show in those days to make acquaintances, being young and alone. I took a trip to Wisconsin the latter part of that summer to see the men that I knew when I was a boy. It was in harvest time. It was there that I first saw a cradle for cutting grain, and of course I had to try it. I worked away with it until they said I was pretty good with it. After a few days I went back to S. Louis. In August '52 I was working out in the country. I was taken sick with billious fever. It held me down two months. After that chill and fever got hold of me, consequently I got behind, and it was some time before I got straight again. In June 1853 I got married. Soon after that I got a job at the P.H.H. car shop, and had better luck, so far as steady work was concerned. But for years I never got thru August or September without a billious attack. On the last day of March our first baby was born. He was a fine big boy, but he only lived three months. We named him George Emmett. Some time in the winter of 54-55 we got word that your grandmother Emmett was dead, and that put me in a very peculiar frame of mind. I had not seen the Gospel yet, altho I read a good deal about it. I knew how your mother felt, as all her sisters and her brother were in Utah, except Ann, so I concluded in my own mind that we could go to Utah, just on her account, and if it was so that I could not stand it there I would go on to California. And in the meantime the eyes of my understanding began to open little by little until on a certain day in November '55 I felt that I was having a very interesting conversation with some person invisible to men but it showed to my satisfaction that Mormonism was true. And a few days after I went out and got baptized. We were living in the St. Louis Second Ward, and I went to the ward meeting, as I wished to learn all I could, and in a very few weeks the Bishop ordained me to the office of a teacher, and I was appointed to visit with the presiding teacher of the district that I lived in. We visited every Sunday morning thru that winter. About the close of the winter my companion was called to act as Bishop in another ward, and I was appointed to take his place as presiding teacher. The Bishop then gave me a certificate with instructions to present it to the Elders Quorum and there be ordained an Elder. In the spring we got word about the Hand Cart proposition, and I made up my mind to come that way for different reasons. One was I had learned how to handle a hand cart to perfection. Another was I had not the means to buy a team outfit, as I had in the fall previous sent fifty dollars home to England and sixty I paid to bring Ann from England to St. Louis. Another was that if I put it off to another season I might not be any better prepared, and I had seen so many Mormons who had been stranded in St. Louis and were year after year going to go to the valley in the spring, and some never got away, and that might have been my case, for I always had a sick spell in the hot weather. When I had found out about the time the steamboat would start up the river, I gave notice to the foreman that I would quit at the end of the month, because they paid every month, and our time was made up to the last of the month, and sometimes it would be the eighth of the next month before the paymaster got around to the shop, and the back time was not due until another month. Well, he did not seem to pay much attention when I gave him notice, but soon afterward he came to me and wanted to know what I was quitting for, and I told him I was going to Utah. He said, "If you want more wages you can have it." I told him I was satisfied in that respect. I told him I was not expecting to get another shop as good for some time. He asked me when I was going to start up the river. I told him I did not know the exact time. "Well," he said, "I would like you to work up to the last day that you can." I asked him what about the back time if I worked into the next month--the paymaster wouldn't be around soon enough for me. He said, "I will be responsible for that." And he kept on holding out every inducement within his power for me to stay. The last thing he told me was that he would rather any two men were leaving than me. And the Master Mechanic, Mr.Williams, would come sometimes and sit on my bench with his back against the wall and chat for an hour at a time. He had hardly ever recognized me before. Now what was all this worth? I believed they were sincere in it all. Now I believe they were inspired by a false spirit to turn me from going, and I know that they were only hired servants like myself that it would not do for me to tie to, and so it turned out, for I had not been here a year when I heard that the master mechanic had gone on to some other road and an entire change all around, and that there was only one man there who was there when I was, and he was a German who told me he would give me a barrel of flour if I would not go away. I think I was just about right in my conclusions. Early in June we went on the steamboat "Arabia," and in about seven days we arrived at Florence (Nebraska), the outfitting point for crossing the plains at that time. James McGaw was chief agent there for the Church. After we had been there for few days he called a meeting one night to organize the camp. After several captains had been appointed and voted in he nominated Elder John Ellis as president of all the hand cart companies. Now there were no hand cart companies there. There was only a score or two waiting to join the companies when they came along from Iowa City. We camped there nearly two months. We started with our carts on the 24th of July 1856 for "The Valley" and we arrived in Salt Lake City a little before sundown September 26th, 1856. We stayed in Salt Lake City three or four days and then came to Ogden. I went to work for Jonathan Browning for two dollars per day in any kind of pay. Flour was six cents a pound. I never got a hundred pounds at one time for several years. During the first winter the Nauvoo Legion was reorganized and from that time on we had lots of training and drilling. In fact, military was on top in those days. On the 24th of July, 1857 word came that an army was coming to Utah. Soon after martial law was proclaimed and then drilling, etc., was the chief business of the country. I did considerable work on the tabernacle. In the early fall we had to pick up our grub and shoulder our guns and march north, expecting to meet some of the enemy who had been reported as having started for that point. "We went thru Cache Valley and into Marsh Valley, and there we camped for some time. I don't remember how long. When we broke camp we crossed over the mountains from Marsh Valley into Malad Valley and back home. We were home about a week when the signal was raised to assemble and march to Echo Canyon. We camped there until nearly Christmas. We had to furnish our own rations and those who had the best fared the best. All that I could take was some home-made crackers and a few pounds of flour. Occasionally a beef was killed, but when divided up among so many it only raised a general smell thru the camp. When we came home my boots and shoes were worn out and I had nothing to buy any with. I had no socks. I had one pair of light shoes but the soles had parted from the uppers, and I had to cut them off and that let the soles of my bare feet come in contact with the ground when the ground was bare, but the ground about that time was covered with snow and sometimes with mud. I had taken a contract of John C. Thompson (Jack) to finish his adobe house, and after we came back from Echo I went to work on it. I cased the windows and put up the stairs and did some other work, and for pay I had agreed to take what he supposed was two acres of land a little south of where Pincocks now live. I rented the land early in the spring and he sowed it in wheat. He had only just got it in when orders came from Brigham Young to stop sowing and planting and all other improvements, and go to work and make wheat boxes and wagon boxes and move south and nobody knew where or how far. Well, I had no breadstuff on hand at the time, and I had no team to move with. But there was a great demand for boxes and wagon boxes that I could have gotten for lots of wheat. But Thompson had proposed that if I would work his lumber up into boxes he would call it square for the land. When men came to me to make boxes I told them that I was under obligation to Thompson to pay for the land. They thought I was very foolish to pay for land that I would never see again. However I thought it right to do so. In the meantime your Uncle Thomas had taken your mother and Mary Ann to Salt Lake City, and when he returned I had nearly a load of flour to take back. He got half of it for hauling. I had been detailed to stay in Ogden with orders to guard the place, or if it came to worst, to burn everything up. Well, the people had not been gone long before I had a very strong impression that they could return. I got Jack Thompson to plow the half acre lot that I owned and I planted it with potatoes, and persuaded several others to plant their lots, but while I was away south helping to get the folks back, the cattle got into my lot and destroyed the potatoes. Now I interested myself as much in getting other families back as I did my own--some never left Ogden to see after them. They stayed their crops and raised quite a lot of stuff--those I had persuaded to plant their lots, but we never got as much as a potato from any of them. However, I had 25 bushels of wheat for my share off the land I had rented and about two tons of fine clover hay that wintered poor old "Brack" when she was a two-year old. Well, it seems that a person cannot give a sketch of his own history without touching somebody else, even to the animals. Our lives are interwoven so much with others. In the fall of '57 I exchanged lots with Bishop Edward Bunker and bought an old log house off him and moved it onto the present lot. It was in this house that you and Lizzie were born. Later on in the same year the Sixtieth Quorum of Seventies was organized to take in a number of young men who had been organized in what was called a standing army, and filled up with members of the Elders Quorum, and I happened to be one of them. I think it was the next spring that I traded 10 acres for the five acre lot and after that we began to do a little better. During that summer we made the seats for the tabernacle. They were made of native lumber, and I had a big share in the planing mill. The pay was tithing and donation, a kind of pay that I always felt a satisfaction in so long as we had bread in the house. After a while Brack had a calf, and we got a few sheep, and we began to feel that we were living more substantially. Well, I don't know of any important event in the following year except your birth, for it seems like the nearer I come towards the present the less I can recollect. In the summer of 1861 your mother and I received our endowments in the old Endowment House in Salt Lake City, and Lizzie was born in August of the same year. Now I think you are sufficiently acquainted with my history since then, for it is not very interesting to me to write any more. But I trust that your own history will be very different from mine. You have had a much better start, and I hope and fully believe that you will continue. John Ellis

Life Timeline of John Ellis

1828
John Ellis was born on 5 Jan 1828
John Ellis was 4 years old when Charles Darwin embarks on his journey aboard HMS Beagle, during which he will begin to formulate his theory of evolution. Charles Robert Darwin, was an English naturalist, geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors and, in a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace, introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding.
1831
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John Ellis was 12 years old when Samuel Morse receives the patent for the telegraph. Samuel Finley Breese Morse was an American painter and inventor. After having established his reputation as a portrait painter, in his middle age Morse contributed to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs. He was a co-developer of the Morse code and helped to develop the commercial use of telegraphy.
1840
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John Ellis was 32 years old when Petroleum is discovered in Titusville, Pennsylvania leading to the world's first commercially successful oil well. Petroleum is a naturally occurring, yellow-to-black liquid found in geological formations beneath the Earth's surface. It is commonly refined into various types of fuels. Components of petroleum are separated using a technique called fractional distillation, i.e. separation of a liquid mixture into fractions differing in boiling point by means of distillation, typically using a fractionating column.
1859
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John Ellis was 35 years old when U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring the freedom of all slaves in Confederate territory by January 1, 1863. Abraham Lincoln was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States through the American Civil War—its bloodiest war and perhaps its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. In doing so, he preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the economy.
1862
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John Ellis was 50 years old when Thomas Edison announces his invention of the phonograph, a machine that can record and play sound. Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor and businessman, who has been described as America's greatest inventor. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and the long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. Dubbed "The Wizard of Menlo Park", he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production and large-scale teamwork to the process of invention, and is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.
1877
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John Ellis was 59 years old when Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show opens in London. William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody was an American scout, bison hunter, and showman. He was born in Le Claire, Iowa Territory, but he lived for several years in his father's hometown in Toronto Township, Ontario, Canada, before the family returned to the Midwest and settled in the Kansas Territory.
1887
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John Ellis was 67 years old when Mahatma Gandhi forms the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) in order to fight discrimination against Indian traders in Natal. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was an Indian activist who was the leader of the Indian independence movement against British rule. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. The honorific Mahātmā – applied to him first in 1914 in South Africa – is now used worldwide. In India, he is also called Bapu and Gandhi ji, and known as the Father of the Nation.
1894
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John Ellis died on 25 Sep 1901 at the age of 73
BillionGraves.com
Grave record for John Ellis (5 Jan 1828 - 25 Sep 1901), BillionGraves Record 1227523 Ogden, Weber, Utah, United States

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