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Goodspeed's History of Southeast Missouri
Biographies of Scott County, 1888


Nelson O. Ellis

Nelson O. Ellis, a prosperous farmer of Commerce Township, Scott Co., Mo., was born June 1, 1838. He is a son of Edward Ellis, a native of Maryland, who married Harriet R. Nelson, in Virginia, of which State she was a native. After their union they removed to Kentucky, and located in Washington County, were they remained about four years, and then came to Southeast Missouri. Locating near the present town of Benton, they soon after removed to a place on the Mississippi River, now know as Gray's Point. There Mr. Ellis built a large frame grist and sawmill, the first one in Scott County. He afterward sold his mill, and removed back, near Benton, but later removed to the farm now occupied by Miss Emily Ellis. He and wife reared a large family of children. Those living are Emily, Susan (Mrs. B.B. Gaither), Eliza (Mrs. Daniel H. Leedy) and Nelson O. Those dead are Jackson, Benjamin, Edward, William, Nancy, Sarah, Mary, Elizabeth and Harriet. Nelson O. lived at home until the death of his parents, which happened about the commencement of the Civil War. He then enlisted in the Confederate army, under Col. Alexander Waugh, and after the war came home, and engaged in dealing in horses and mules. On September 19, 1865, he married Martha Jane Ancell, a daughter of Pascal E. and Martha (Whitelaw) Ancell. Pascal E. Ancell was married three times, Martha Whitelaw being his first wife. The latter died when Martha Jane, her child, was three months old. Pascal E. Ancell died in 1883. Mrs. Ellis' was reared by her grandmother, Nancy Ancell, who lived to be very old at the home of the former's father. Mr. and Mrs. Ellis' union has been blessed by the birth of five children: Fannie, Earlie P., Joseph F., Theodore F. and Eliza A. Mrs. Ellis is an earnest member of the Missionary Baptist Church. He has a nice farm of 360 acres, and resides in a brick house that was built about 1859 by Henry Ancell. On March 20, 1866, it was destroyed by a cyclone and rebuilt in 1867.

James F. Evins

James F. Evins, postmaster of Blodgett, Mo., and a member of the firm Evins & Marshall, general merchants, was born in Lyon County, Ky., January 20, 1854, and is the only child of William S. and Elizabeth (Withrow) Evins, both natives of Kentucky, the latter of German descent. The grandfather, Louis Evins, was also a native of Kentucky. He died in Scott County, Mo., in March 1884. William S. Evins was reared in his native State, and immigrated to Missouri in 1856. He purchased a farm from A. Hunter, about one and a half miles south of Blodgett, upon which he resided until his death in 1884. He served in the Civil War, and being a carpenter by trade, much of his time was devoted to building flat-boats for the service. However, he was in several skirmishes, and was twice wounded by gunshots. Upon the death of Mrs. Evins, in 1856, James F. was sent back to Kentucky, where he remained with his aunt until 1869. He then returned to Missouri, and located on the old homestead, and remained until March, 1872, when he went to Dardanelle, Ark., and attended school about three years. Returning home he assisted his father on the farm two years, after which he went to Fort Smith, Ark., and served for a time as captain and pilot of a steam ferry boat. He was then successively engaged in running on a steamboat, clerking in a store and working in a chair-factory, etc. Returning home again he speculated for a time in stock and watermelons, after which he was employed as clerk in a government snag-boat, running between Wichita, Kas., and Little Rock, Ark. In 1884 he removed to Blodgett, and was engaged as clerk in A.J. Pigg's store until February, 1885, when he engaged in the mercantile business for himself, but in 1887 he sold out, and soon after built a grist-mill, which he still manages in connection with his mercantile business. On June 12, 1883, he was united in marriage with Elizabeth J. Pigg. They have had three children, two of whom are living. Mr. Evins is an intelligent and enterprising gentleman, and is possessed of good business qualifications.