Dr. James Thomas
Ellis, born 15 Jan 1815, Oglethorpe Co., GA, was the youngest son of William
Ellis, Jr. & Martha "Patsy" Echols. William was the Surveyor who surveyed the
34d District of Henry Co., GA in 1821 and was also the first surveyor of
Spalding Co., GA.
Dr. Ellis first
appears in 1834 at the age of 19 buying lot # 97 in the 3rd dist. of Henry Co.,
GA. In 1838, he was a Captain in the Florida Indian Wars, and he married Nancy
Jane Dunn of Pike County.
We know from account books that he ran a
commissary on the family plantation and practiced medicine. He was a prosperous
farmer and well respected in the area. He and his family were involved with
several of the Baptist Churches in the area, i.e., First Baptist Griffin,
Primitive Baptist, and McIntosh Baptist.
Dr. Ellis served in
the state House of Representatives from Spalding Co. in 1868, 1869, and 1870.
Some of the laws that he helped bring about were the 15th Amendment to the U. S.
Constitution and the relocation of the State Capitol to Atlanta from
Milledgeville. Some of the less notable were a dog tax, a leash law for dogs and
support for bastardly children as well as a law restricting the interest on
loans. Numerous other bills in this time period bear his name.
After his political service, Dr. Ellis returned to Griffin to raise his children
and grandchildren and rebuild after the ravages of war. Some of the early
doctors in Griffin were married into this family, i.e., Dr. Nicholas B. Drewry
and Dr. James A. Nunnally, and several descendants went into the practice of
medicine. His youngest son, Sam T. Ellis, had studied medicine, and another
son, James Rousseau Ellis, studied law. His older three sons – William Agustus,
Henry Erastus and Richard Alford – all served in the Civil War, fighting for
Georgia. Some of his sons were also involved in the building of the railroad in
James Thomas Ellis died at his home on Ellis Road 21 January 1888 and was buried
in the Ellis Family Cemetery at his home place. His wife, Nancy Jane Dunn Ellis,
died 5 July 1895 and was buried there also. Many of his descendants still live
in the area and some live on a portion of the old plantation.
Robert Alfred Ellis of
Great great grandson of Dr.
James T. Ellis
contributed by Bob Ellis, October 8, 2005