SAMUEL E. ELLIS, a citizen of Littleton township, is so closely identified with the history of Schuyler county that this volume would not be complete were an outline of his career omitted from its pages. He was born in Oakland township, Schuyler county, Illinois, April 30, 1846, a son of James and Nancy (Harmon) Ellis.
James Ellis was a native of Mason county, Kentucky, a son of Elijah and Phoebe (Payton) Ellis, natives of Virginia; his parents emigrated to Kentucky at an early day and engaged in agricultural pursuits; later they came to Illinois, where they passed the remainder of their days; both lived to be eighty-four years of age. Their son, James, was reared to the occupation of a farmer, and in 1844 he came to Illinois and settled on the land where Samuel E. was born; he purchased a quarter section for $1,200, and undertook the task of placing it under cultivation; there were few improvements, and the dwelling was a small log cabin; this furnished them shelter four years, when a frame building was erected, in which Mr. Ellis lived until he passed from this life at the age of seventy-seven years. Politically he supported the Republican party, and took an active part in local affairs; he was Assessor and Collector, and a member of the School Board for many years. He was one of the leading members of the Christian Church, and did the work of a pioneer in the cause of Christianity. He and Simon Doyle were Trustees of the society. Mr. Ellis was twice married; his first wife, Nancy Harmon, bore him seven children, of whom Samuel E. is the youngest; she was born in Bracken county, Kentucky, and died in Schuyler county, Illinois, at the age of thirty-four years. Her parents, Samuel and Elizabeth Harmon, were natives of Kentucky, and passed their lives in the Blue-grass State. The Harmon, family is of German descent, and the Ellis family is of Scotch lineage.
Samuel E. Ellis had superior educational advantages in his youth, and made the most of his opportunities; he attended the district school, and was a student at Abingdon College, Knox county, Illinois, after which he entered the teacher's profession, which he followed for more than twenty years. He was united in marriage to one of his pupils, March 12, 1874; her maiden name was Julia E. Jones, a native of this county and a daughter of James W. and Harriet E. Jones; her parents removed from Ohio to Illinois in 1854, and settled in Schuyler county at Pleasant View; the father died at the age of fifty-nine years; but the mother still survives; they had born to them a family of ten children, only three of whom are living. The father and a son, George W., were soldiers in the late war, and died of disease contracted while in the service.
Mr. Ellis enlisted in Company K, One Hundred and Thirty-seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, in 1864, and re-enlisted in February, 1865, in Company I, One Hundred and Fifty-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Although the period of his service was comparatively short he was in many important engagements, and at Memphis lost an ear; he receives a small pension, which is totally inadequate, in consideration of the injury received.
The family of Mr. and Mrs. Ellis consists of eight children: Jessie H., Lulu M., Laura G., Emma Z., Fannie L., Anna Belle, Ida M. and Carrie B.; Virgil died in infancy. The parents are members of the Christian Church, and since 1867 Mr. Ellis has been an Elder of the same; for twelve years he has been superintendent of the Sabbath-school. He and Simon Doyle were the principals and furnished most of the money to build the Christian Church in 1871-‘72. He is a member of Colonel Horney Post, G.A.R., and has been an active worker in the organization for years; he belongs to Lodge No. 24, I.O.O.F. Politically he adheres to the principles of the Republican party, and cast his first vote for General Grant's first term. He was once elected Justice of the Peace, but did not serve.
In 1888 he purchased the farm on which he now lives with his family; the tract contains over 200 acres, and is one of the most desirable in the township. Of late years Mr. Ellis has abandoned the profession of teaching, having made an admirable record as an educator. He now devotes his time to agricultural pursuits, and is meeting with gratifying success.