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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



The staple productions of the Sacramento valley are of a nature so diversified and an aggregate so enormous that to properly handle and ship the output demands freight facilities the equal of those furnished by the railroads to any other portion of the great west. No less is it incumbent upon railroad officials to place the management of the work in this section with an agent thoroughly familiar with every detail. The appointment of Charles J. Ellis as freight agent at Sacramento was, therefore, a recognition of his abilities on the part of officials of the Southern Pacific Railroad, with which he had been long and honorably associated in other capacities. Natural ability supplemented by fine educational advantages, qualifies him for important responsibilities and enables him to protect the interests of the shippers, while at the same time advancing the general business of the railroad.

Into the home of Charles and Emma Ellis at Burlington, Iowa, Charles J. Ellis was born in May of 1850. His early recollections cluster around Burlington, then an important river town with large shipping interests. After he had received his primary schooling there he was sent to England in 1862 and entered the Mechanics' Institute at Leeds, where he carried on the regular course of study for two years. Later he was a student in a business college at Leeds for six months. Upon his return to America he secured a clerkship in the office of an architect at Burlington and there he continued for six years, meanwhile mastering the details of architecture and 'fitting himself for the profession. However, the work was not wholly to his liking and he did not select it as a permanent occupation in life. After a year as a clerk in the office of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad he spent a similar period as cashier for the Empire fast freight line.

Upon coming to California in 1874 and identifying himself with the interests of the state Mr. Ellis secured employment as draftsman in the office of an architect in San Francisco, but six months later he resigned the position in order to enter upon railroad activities with the Southern Pacific Company. Indicative of his fitness for such work is the fact that he was retained as cashier for eleven years and then, in recognition of his able service in the interests of the railroad, was in 1889 promoted to be freight agent at Sacramento, a position that he has since filled with tact, discretion and intelligence. In the midst of his diversified duties as agent he has found leisure for active co-operation with the blue lodge of Masonry and for participation in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, as well as for association with the genial membership of the Sutter Club. The Republican party has received his earnest support in all elections and he has kept well-posted concerning movements affecting the national prosperity. After he came to the west he was married at San Francisco in May of 1881 to Miss Mary Bradford, by whom he is the father of two sons. The elder, Charles C, holds a clerkship in the California National Bank; and the younger son, Chester Bradford, is a student in the University of California. 

History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011