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Nellie was born November 17, 1888, on the family homestead near Wilmore, Kansas. Her parents were early Kansas pioneers: Alcana and Loren Ferrin. Nellie was one of five children and her early day memories were of the many good times she had with her own brothers & sisters, as well as her cousins; Arthur Ferrin's children, who lived across Spring Creek. The boys helped with teh farming and cattle and the girls helped with the kitchen duties, learned to sew, garden, etc. Nellie rode her horse to attend school at the Ridge Summit School near Wilmore. At the age of 17, she became the teacher at this school for the next three years. She often told the story about the boys who were so much bigger than she was and the problems at discipline. During these later years, Nellie was courted by the debonnaire real estate man from Coldwater: James Ely. He used to ride his buggy to the farm from Coldwater on the weekends. Nellie and James were married in 1909.

Nellie then continued her education at Kansas State Agricultural College in Manhattan, Kansas, and graduated in 1914. She studied at The Bethany College of Music during the years 1915 and 1916. From there, she went to Columbia University in New York City and obtained her Master's degree. After graduation from Columbia, she taught psychology and nutrition at Michigan State University.

In the early twenties, Nellie and James moved to Garden City, Kansas. Nellie collaborated with her husband on his religious books and publications. She also mailed these books to missionaries around the world and answered all correspondence.

On September 9, 1928, their only child was born, Bonnie. Nellie and Bonnie lived in Pasadena, Calif., for a year close to Jim's sisters Tressa and Effie. They lived in Wilmore a short while and moved to Bethany, Okla., in 1934.

Nellie was an accomplished pianist and soloist. She was an artist, working with pastels in her early years, and becoming very prolific with oils in her later years. She was also a poet.

Nellie was a Bible teacher for over 50 years and considered this her greatest accomplishment. She devoted her life to the service of God and was an active member of the Trinity Baptist Church in Oklahoma City until a few years before her death.

From the age of 72, she took her first trip around the world and continued her travels for the next 12 years.

She died in Houston, Texas, in 1975, ans is buried, as she wished, "up on the hill in Wilmore". Although she lived other places and traveled extensively, Wilmore was always HOME to Nellie Ely.

She was survived by her daughter, Bonnie (Ely) Hibbert, two grandsons and a grand-daughter.

--by Bonnie (Ely) Hibbert, Comanche County History, page 362, published 1981.


Nellie Ferrin Ely was born November 17, 1888, on the family farm near Wilmore, Kansas, and passed away on February 13, 1975, in Houston, Texas, at the age of 86. In 1909 Nellie Ferrin was united in marriage to James Edmond Ely and to this union one daughter was born, Bonnie Ely Hibbert of Houston, Texas.

Nellie Ferrin taught school at the Ridge Summit School near Wilmore as a young girl. She graduated from Kansas State University in 1914 and, after receiving her Master's degree from Columbia University in 1920, taught at Michigan State University.

For many years Mrs. Ely collaborated with Mr. Ely on his religious books and publications while living in Garden City, Kansas. She devoted her life to the service of God, exemplified by her generosity and untiring efforts in the church for more than 50 years. Until her illness, she was an active member of Trinity Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.

Nellie Ferrin was one of five children born to Alcana and Loren Ferrin, early pioneers of Comanche county, Kansas. One brother survives, Walter Ferrin, of Coldwater, Kansas. She is also survived by her daughter, Mrs. Bonnie Hibbert; three grandchildren, James Ely Hibbert, Holly Lynn Hibbert and Todd Clarkson Hibbert, all of Houstion, Texas.

Memorials services will be held Monday, February 17, at 1:30 p.m. at the Hatfield Funeral Home in Coldwater, Kansas, with internment in the family plot at Wilmore Cemetery.

(Obituary from a newspaper clipping, source unknown.)

Gravestone of Nellie (Ferrin) Ely, daughter of Loren & Alcana (Wagner) Ferrin, Wilmore Cemetery, Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas. Photo by John Edward (Ed) Schrock, used with permission of Janet Schrock Hubbard.

ELY, Nellie Ferrin : November 17, 1888 - February 13, 1975 : 'In Loving Memory'
Note: Nellie Mabel Ferrin was the youngest daughter of Loren and Alcana (Wagner) Ferrin. She married James Edmond Ely and they had one child: Bonnie June (Ely) Hibbert.
Comanche County History, p. 362
Comanche County in Pictures, pp. 50, 51, 67
Lot #64, Powell Township Cemetery, Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas.

There is great rejoicing in heaven today, for another wanderer is Home.
The long, dusty trail and the wind-swept paths
And the rough, hard places are aftermaths,
For it's Home, Sweet Home at last.
A pilgrim on earth and a stranger here awaiting a glorious day,
When the viel is lifted and heavenly things
Rejoice and commune and in fellowship
Sing of the Word, the Truth, the Way.
So, it's Home at last at the end of the road,
The road that has just begun.
It was a golden sunset along life's way,
Brought great rejoicing in Heaven today,
As the Master said, "Well Done".

-- by Nellie Ferrin Ely.

(This poem was published with the obituary of Nellie's sister, Maude Mae (Ferrin) Watkins.)

News item from The Western Star, June 29, 1906: Among those granted certificates at the recent teacher's examination were: for the First grade, Grace Trummel and John Botts; Second grade: Minnie Boswell; Third grade: Iris Bird, Sadie Marley and Grace Boswell. Those who made the required grade for a third grade certificate but are under 18 years of age are Cora and Nellie Ferrin, Maria Martin and Frona Seyfrit.

The Wilmore News, February 12, 1920.


The State Normal Bulletin of February 4th, a student publication published by the State Normal at Emporia announces that Miss Nellie Ferrin is a new instructor in the home economics department of the Normal. Miss Ferrin goes there to teach from Teachers College of Columbia University. She will have charge of the sanitation classes in the Normal and will have work in the senior high school and the training school. Miss Ferrin is a Wilmore girl and was one of the first teachers in the Wilmore Rural High School.

The Wilmore News, November 11, 1932.


Sunday, November 6, being the birthday of Mrs. Loren Ferrin, her children gathered in to help her celebrate with a big dinner. Each of the families brought well filled baskets and as they all filed in at dinner time Mrs. Ferrin was happily surprised. They all enjoyed the good dinner together.

The birthday cake was decorated with candy flowers and a candle for each ten years that has passed. Mrs. Ferrin is now 72 years of age and is enjoying reasonably good health.

Those present were Ernest Ferrin and family, Esther Bigbee and family, Walter Ferrin and family and Nelly Ely and family. This is all of the children except Maude, who now lives in Ohio.

Loren & Alcana (Wagner) Ferrin with their children: from left, Nellie, Maude and Ernest. Loren holds Walter. West Powell Township, Comanche County, Ks, circa 1895.

At left: Loren & Alcana (Wagner) Ferrin with their first four children: from left, Nellie, Maude and Ernest. Loren holds Walter. West Powell Township, Comanche County, Ks, circa 1895.

Nellie Mabel Ferrin was born 17 November 1888 to Loren and Alcana (Wagner) Ferrin at the Ferrin homestead in West Powell Township five miles northeast of Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas, the third of their five children.

Children of Loren & Alcana (Wagner) Ferrin:
Maude Mae (Ferrin) Watkins   (19 Sept 1884 - 9 Dec 1961)
Ernest Leroy Ferrin   (8 Feb 1886 - 13 May 1974)
Nellie Mabel (Ferrin) Ely   (17 Nov 1888 - 13 Feb 1975)
Walter William Ferrin (6 Dec 1895 - 26 August 1975)
Esther Irene (Ferrin) Bigbee   (30 Dec 1903 - 14 Nov 1942)

Also see:

James Edmond ELY

Loren & Alcana (Wagner) Ferrin   Parents of Nellie Ferrin.

Alcana Ferrin   Mother of Nellie Ferrin.

Arthur & Alice (Eyerly) Ferrin   Uncle and Aunt of Nellie Ferrin.

Reuben & Hannah Philura (Murch) Ferrin   Grandparents of Nellie Ferrin.

How Loren & Arthur Ferrin Came to Comanche County, Kansas

Mary A. (Horner) Wagner   Maternal Grandmother of Nellie Ferrin.

A Brief History of Newton, New Hampshire (A New Chronology of the Life & Times of Jonathan Farren)
Esther Irene Ferrin was an 7th generation descendant of Capt. Jonathan Farren of Amesbury, MA, & Newton, NH, as follows: Esther Ferrin 7, Loren Ferrin 6, Reuben Ferrin 5, Zebulon Ferrin 4, Zebulon Ferrin 3, Zebulon Farren 2, Jonathan Farren 1.

Ferrin Gravestones in the North Jay Cemetery, Essex County, New York.

Red Cross Fund Oversubscribed, The Wilmore News, 28 June 1917.

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This page was last updated 4 Oct 2004.