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                                        JOEL ELLIS
                                    Cook County, Illinois


Information contributed for use in Cook County ILGenWeb by
        Sherri Hessick, added May 2001.


Source: Album of Genealogy and Biography, Cook County,
Illinois with Portraits 3rd ed. revised and extended
(Chicago: Calumet Book & Engraving Co., 1895), pp. 31-32

JOEL ELLIS, for nearly fifty years an active citizen and
useful business man of Chicago, was descended from the old
Puritan stock which has done so much in developing the
mental, moral and material interests of the United States.
The energy, fortitude and stern moral character which
characterized the founders of the New England colonies is
still observed in many of their descendants, and these
attributes were possessed by Joel Ellis in a marked degree.

His first ancestor of whom any record is now to be found was
Barzillai Ellis, born June 9, 1747, presumably in
Massachusetts, and of English blood.  March 6, 1773, he
married Sarah Tobey, who was born June 5, 1755, no doubt in
the same state and of similar ancestry.  They resided in
Conway, Franklin County, Massachusetts, whence they moved,
about the close of the last century, to Chautauqua County,
New York.  Here Barzillai Ellis died in 1827.  His youngest
son, Samuel Ellis, died in Chicago in 1856.  The other
children were Barzillai, Asa, Freeman, Benjamin, Joel and

The children of Benjamin Ellis were Parmelia, Eleanor, Jane,
Stephen, Mason, Datus, Joel (the subject of this sketch) and
Ensign.  His wife was Sophia Birch, a native of Connecticut.
Benjamin Ellis died in Fredonia, New York, in 1855.  He was
a farmer, and cleared up land in the primeval forest, which
consumed the best years of his life and required the
assistance of his children, who had little opportunity to
attend school.

Joel Ellis was born in Fredonia, Chautauqua County, New
York, May 25, 1818.  As above indicated, his early years
were devoted to the toil which usually befell farmers’ sons
in those days, and he attended school but very little.
Schools were far apart and held sessions of only three
months per year, in winter, when attendance on the part of
many children was almost impossible. However, Joel Ellis was
blessed by nature with a sound mind and body, and his clear
judgment and active industry made him a successful business
man and good citizen.

When, in 1838, he set out for the West, whither an uncle
(Samuel Ellis, before mentioned) had preceded him, he was an
energetic and self-reliant young man of twenty years, full
of courage and hopefulness and the ardor and ambition of a
strong nature.  Arriving in the autumn, he found the young
city of Chicago suffering from the commercial and industrial
stagnation which followed the financial panic of 1837, and
his search for employment was a vain one.  The only offer
which he received was from his uncle, who was engaged in
farming some miles from the then city, but on ground now
built up with thousands of the finest homes in Chicago,
along Ellis, Greenwood and other avenues of the South Side.
He continued in farm labor with his uncle for two years,
much of which time was occupied in chopping wood from the
timber which then covered this region, and which must be
cleared away to make room for a tillable farm.

From 1840 to 1858 he was associated with Archibald Clybourn,
an active business man of Chicago (see biography elsewhere
in this work), and became thoroughly conversant with the
meat business, which was one of Mr. Clybourn’s chief
enterprises.  It was at the house of Mr. Clybourn that he
met the lady who became his wife in 1844.  This was Miss
Susan Galloway, a sister of Mrs. Clybourn and daughter of
James and Sally (McClenthan) Galloway, of Pennsylvania birth
and Scotch ancestry.  Her grandfather, Samuel Galloway, was
a native of Scotland, whose wife was of Pennsylvania-German
descent.  They were among the earliest settlers on the
Susquehanna River, and Samuel Galloway was a soldier in the
Revolutionary Army.  Mrs. Ellis was taken by her parents,
when a small child, to Sandusky, Ohio, and thence the family
came to Chicago, arriving on the 9th of November, 1826.

They left Sandusky on the 1st of October, in a
sailing-vessel, and were wrecked south of Mackinaw, but were
rescued by another vessel, which brought them to Chicago.
James Galloway had visited Illinois in the fall of 1824, and
was very much charmed with the country about the Grand
Rapids of the Illinois River (now known as Marseilles),
where he bought a claim.  He spent the winter of 1826-27 in
Chicago with his family, and settled on this claim in the
following spring, and continued to reside there the balance
of his life.  His wife died in 1830, and he subsequently
married Matilda Stipes, of Virginia.  In character Mr.
Galloway was a fit representative of his sturdy Scotch
ancestry, and was well fitted for pioneering in those early
days, when means of travel and communication were difficult,
and the dwellers in the wilderness were compelled to forego
many comforts and social advantages, besides braving the
enmity of their savage neighbors.

Of the five children of James and Sally Galloway, Mrs.
Clybourn is the eldest. The second, Jane, wife of Washington
Holloway, died in 1894.  John died in Missouri.  Susan is
Mrs. Ellis.  George, born April 12, 1828, at Marseilles, is
now deceased.  Of the second marriage, Archibald and
Marshall are the only surviving offspring.  The former now
shares a part of the original farm at Marseilles with George
’s widow.  The latter resides in Chicago.

On leaving the employ of Mr. Clybourn, Mr. Ellis engaged in
the retail meat business on his own account, and furnished
supplies to many of the leading hotels and to vessels
entering Chicago Harbor.  In 1865 he formed a partnership
with Thomas Armour and began an extensive whole-sale
business in meats and provisions, which grew beyond his
fondest dreams of success.  In fifteen years he amassed a
comfortable fortune, which was largely invested in improved
real estate in the city.  As the care of his property
absorbed much of his time, he decided to retire from active
business, and, in the spring of 1871, he purchased twenty
acres in the town of Jefferson (now a part of the city of
Chicago), on which he built a handsome suburban home, in
which he hoped to pass the balance of his days in
well-earned rest from the arduous labors which had occupied
his earlier years.  Scarcely was he settled in his new home
when the great fire of October, 1871, robbed him of all his
buildings save the home at Jefferson, just completed.
Without any repining, he set to work at once to repair his
losses.  It was his custom to rise at two o’clock in the
morning and drive into the city to begin business.  There
were no rapid-transit systems then to move suburban
residents quickly from and to their homes, and he took means
which would appall any but such stout natures as his to
rebuild his fortunes.  In this he was moderately successful,
and when a cancer caused his death at his home in Jefferson,
October 29, 1886, he left his family comfortably provided

A quiet, unassuming man, he gave little attention to public
affairs, though he took the interest in local and national
progress which every true American must feel, and discharged
his duty as it appeared to him by supporting the republican
party after it came into existence, having formerly
affiliated with the Whigs.  He was a member of the Masonic
fraternity, and was an active supporter of the Universalist
Church, being among the organizers of St. Paul’s
congregation, whose pastor, Rev. W. E. Manly, performed the
ceremony which made him the head of a family.  Besides his
widow, he left three children, namely: Lucretia, now the
widow of George W. Pinney, residing in Chicago; Winfield, of
Highland Park, Illinois; and Mary Josephine, Mrs. Algernon
S. Osgood, of Chicago.

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