James Ellison, Sr

James Ellison, Sr.

Mary Stewart


James Ellison, Sr.

Born: 25 December 1776 in County Tyrone, Omagh or Armagh, Northern Ireland.  (A.W. Ellison states county to be “Amank” or “Aramauk” – misspelling of Armagh?). 

Died: 5 September 1865 in Adams County, Ohio, and reported buried in the “old” cemetery at West Union, Ohio. 

Married to Mary Stewart in possibly Omaf (more likely Omagh County), Ireland about 1807.

Parents:  Andrew Ellison + Mary Clark (wife's name from Mary Schmertz).

Immigration date: 2 September 1820.  James Ellison family on 1820 U.S. Census.

Military:  King of England Guards, not yet researched


Mary Stewart

Born:  12 November 1788 in England

Died:  after 1870, probably in Adams County, Ohio

Parents:  Thaman/Thomas Stewart + ?     

Twin sister: Myra Stewart. 


            J.R. Murphy, www.planetmurphy.org - revised 1 January 2005a


            The following was found my visit to Adams County about 1962 searching for James Ellison.  This visit happened one summer day while in graduate school at the University of Michigan.  Communications between Ellison descendents had long ceased and there was little information about Adams County.  After reviewing an Adams County history book, it was apparent that there was another Ellison clan, probably related, but not of interest at this time.  James Ellison and his family were my targets.  I drove east of Dunkinsville searching for a minor cemetery which might have our own Ellisons.  At approximately the reported cemetery location, there seemed to be nothing.  So I stopped the car at an 1802 farm house and knocked on the door.  When the door opened, an elderly lady greeted me, and I asked, "I'm looking for a cemetery with Ellisons and am a descendant of Stewart Ellison."  She replied, "Come on in, I know who Stewart Ellison is and I have all the records."  This was Mrs. Harriet Ellison Osman who lived five miles due east of Dunkinsville. 


            James Ellison was a member of the royal body-guard of the King of England for 16 years.  After having his fifth child he decided to sail to America in 1820, leaving his family until he could raise sufficient money to send for them.  On the way to America he was ship-wrecked, losing everything he owned except his bible.  The bible was in the possession of Mrs. Osman in 1962.  She was a descendant of Andrew Ellison (1811).  The bible still showed the water-marks from the ship-wreck.  In her possession were the immigration papers of James Ellison, which stated he was from Omaf, Ireland and the name of his father, Andrew Ellison, and his wife’s father, Thaman Stewart.  He entered through the Department of Immigration on 2 September 1820.  Osman thought that James Ellison lived on Wheat Ridge in the vicinity of Dunkinsville or West Union.  


            Mrs. Osman reported children and early descendants were buried in the "private" Ellison cemetery next to her 1802 farmhouse. 


            Mrs. Osman also added that Mary Stewart was also from Omaf, Ireland and had a twin sister, Myra Stewart, who married William McNeilan. So far, "Omaf" cannot be located.  Shirley Graham reported on ancestry.com that Myra's husband was actually Thomas McNeilan, and that one son, William McNeilan (1 May 1808 County Tyrone, Ireland), and a sister, Jane McNeilan, (1817) did immigrate to Adams County Ohio (about 1846-1850 for William).   In 1850, William McNeilan was adjacent to Andrew Ellison on the census.


            Comment:  My biggest regret with this meeting is that an exact handwritten copy wasn't made of the immigration paper to be sure there can be no other interpretation.  Should it again surface (i.e. at the Adams County Library or in someone's possession), this should be done.  Mary Schmertz (descendant of John Ellison + Margaret Thompson) echoed this sentiment:  "There are several things that make finding the truth about the Ellisons difficult.  ...Most of the family history comes from Hattie (Harriet Ellison Osman), who was apparently a stubborn woman who wouldn't accept even solid evidence that (some of) her information was incorrect (e-mail of 16 October 2004)."  


            Mary added that she is convinced that the father of Mary and Mira Stewart is incorrectly spelled as "Thaman" when it should be "Thomas" Stewart.  Thaman does not seem to exist elsewhere as a name and Thomas was a popular Ellison name (e-mail of 23 October 2004).  By changing to first "a" in Thaman to "o" which a common handwriting problem, Thaman becomes Thoman, and that's almost Thomas. 


            A book written by F. Vernon Ellison on the descendants of Arthur Ellison in the 1970's was reported to name Thomas Ellison rather than Thaman Ellison.   Mary adds that the "f" in the location of "Omaf" in old documents should be read as "gh,' making it to be "Omagh."  Omagh is a county in Northern Ireland (e-mail 23 October 2004, courtesy of Mary Schmertz).



            Extract from a Letter by Arthur B. Ellison of Ashland, Oregon to William P. Eckart, March 1952.   Some names are added in parentheses "( )" to sort out confusion (hopefully).  In his letter, Art stated he would be 76 years of age on 21 April 1952.    


Dear Cousin Will:


            “...Now I will try to give you as much of the Ellison history as I know.  (My Great) Grandfather (James) Ellison was born in County Amank (or Aramauk) in Ireland not far from Belfast.  (Great) Grandmother (Mary Stewart Ellison) was born in England, of Scotch Parents.  They date back to Mary, Queen of Scots.  Your Grandmother Sue (Ellison Eckart) had a silver sugar bowl and cream pitcher of that date.  I don’t know what became of them.  The Ellison’s in Ireland were freeholders there, that is they had a lease on land they farmed for 99 years which was about the same as owning it.  Your great-great grandfather (the same James Ellison) was an Orangeman there and a leader – the same as President Andrew Jackson’s father.  Jackson and your G.G. grandfather were raised on freeholds side by side in Ireland.  Jackson and him were both leaders there and the Catholics offered 100 pounds for their heads, dead or alive. They were afraid that their own followers would give them away so they came to America and, and I will give you his name - James Ellison.   And your great Grandfather was Stewart Ellison.  There were 9 boys and no girls in James Ellison family....

            “Your Great Grandfather (James) Ellison and President Andrew Buchanan were first cousins.  (My) father (Thomas B. Ellison) was in the Kansas Legislature from 1874 to 1876.  Was there when I was born.  Vera (Eckart Eutsler) had a history of the Ellison Family down to us children of Father (Thomas B. Ellison) and Aunt Sue (Ellison Eckart) and Vick (Eckart) and Ray (Eckart).  Maybe Vera’s girl (Hope Eutsler McFarland) has it yet.  Bessie (born 1890), my youngest sister, saw it when she was back there.  I would like to get hold of it.”


             “I was about 7 or 8 years old when Grandfather died but he told me lots about the folks and Ireland.  After coming from Ireland, they settled on the Ohio River about 100 miles above Cincinnati at a place close to Ironington.  ...Anyway, James Ellison ran a tavern on the Ohio River.  That was a place to stop and stay (not a Kansas Beer Joint) and Andrew Jackson always stopped there when he went up to Washington, D.C.  When he went up the first time for his Inauguration, he stopped there and James Ellison was quite old and feeble; at that time about 98 or 99.  Jackson was out walking around and cut a hickory stick, came into the kitchen and steamed it over the teakettle and bent a handle on it.  And gave it to James.  I have the cane here now, for grandfather used it, also father.  I suppose I will use it when I get old.  But not for a while anyway.”


            “Grandfather (Stewart) Ellison was born close to Londonderry, (Northern) Ireland.  Look on the map and you can find it.  He died at 86 years of age, and (his wife) at 92.  James Ellison died at 102 and his wife at 103. 


            Now, Will, if there is anything you want to know I have not told, let me know and if I can I will tell you.  And if you have never visited the coast, come out....  The Indians are all peaceful now.  And we have patent toilets.  And all speak fair U.S.  But come out and see this mountain country.  If I have any luck this summer I am coming back to Minneapolis to see the old place.  I would not live there if they would deed me Ottawa County.  Seen all the hot winds I wanted to when I was there.


Write as always,


Art. B. Ellison

(The complete letter exists in "Family Histories of Murphy, Eckart, Scidmore," by J. R. Murphy, typescript, undated but about early 1964.  Some Stewart Ellison details are not included here.)   



            Comment:  Obvious errors and sorting out whom he is writing about are problems in this letter, but this is what we have for a family history.  Reported ages are incorrect.  Andrew Buchanan should be James Buchanan.   


            What information might support his assertions?  In fact, Adams County did have a major frontier road through its borders called "Zane's Trace," from 1798 to Civil War days.  Zane's Trace ran through Zanesville, Chillicothe, Adams County to Kentucky on the Ohio River.  On the trace near West Union in Adams County was the Wickerham Inn, built in 1800/01 and still in use as a private residence.  Runaway slaves were hidden in the inn in an "Underground Railroad."  The Confederate General, John Hunt Morgan, stopped here on 15 July 1863 as his raiders passed through Ohio. 


            The family of James Ellison was reported to be a close relationship to another Ellison family who emigrated from Tyrone County, Ireland in 1785, finally settling in Adams County, Ohio after 1790.  The immigrants of this other Ellison family include John Ellison (~1730 – 1806) and his son Andrew Ellison (1755 - >1820) with Andrew’s wife Mary McFarland (1755 – 1830).  Numerous descendants of this other Ellison family are mentioned in the “History of Adams County.”  This first clan originally settled near Dunkinsville, Ohio. 


            Others have proposed this Andrew Ellison to be the father of James Ellison, but James is thought to be a nephew with the common ancestor being the unnamed father of John Ellison ((~1730). "History of Adams County, Ohio," by E.B. Stivers (1900), reported Andrew's children to be (1) Margaret Ellison who married Adam McCormack, (2) Isabel Ellison who married Rev. Dyer Burgess, (3) Mary Ellison who married Thomas Houston, (4) Andrew Ellison, an iron master, (5) John Ellison, who married Anna Barr. 


            Reader beware that there are 3 James Ellisons and 4 Andrew Ellisons, head of household, on the 1820 U.S. Census of Adams County!   It is very easy to become confused.


            Children of James Ellison, Sr. and Mary Stewart.  Names and most dates were furnished by Harriet Ellison Osman.  Major errors may exist.


            The first five sons were born in Ireland and the last two in Adams County, Ohio.


            (I). Stewart Ellison was born 1 May 1809 in Ireland and died 1888 at/near Minneapolis, Ottawa County, Kansas.  On 31 October 1832 at Lawrence County, Ohio, he married to Elizabeth Blake (1811-1889 Ottawa County, Kansas).  More is found in their write-ups on this website.


            One link between Stewart Ellison and the Adams County gang came from Hope McFarland (1905 to1968 - granddaughter of Stewart) when she wrote - undated, "I have the obituaries of Mary McNeiland, Mary E. Knox, Thomas B. Ellison, John Ellison, and Stewart Ellison."  Unfortunately, the only obits she passed along belonged to Stewart Ellison and Mary McNeilan.  McNeilan (1820-1898) married Thomas Ellison (1822-1868).  Knox (1853-1944) married Thomas B. Ellison (1842-1927), son of Stewart Ellison.  John Ellison is presumably the one who married Margaret Thompson, since there was no John Ellison in the Stewart Ellison line.


     (II). Andrew Ellison was born 17 March 1811 in Ireland and died 9 May 1894.  He married on 22 August 1832 to Harriet Collier (17 September 1815 to 24 March 1891).  They lived in Adams County, Ohio from 1840-1870+. 


            They had thirteen children with dates of death from Mary Schmertz: 

            (1) Catharine Ellison (9 February 1833 to 9 December 1860),

            (2) Isabella Ellison (27 July 1834 to 28 July 1873)

            (3) Elizabeth Ellison (22 November 1836 to 6 April 1910)

            (4) Mary Ellison (21 January 1839 to 10 January 1864)

            (5) Margaret Ellison (9 April 1841 to 10 April 1921) 

            (6). Andrew Ellison (23 May 1843 to 1914)

            (7). Harriet Ellison (30 June 1845 to 26 March 1909)   

            (8). Daniel Ellison (7 December 1847 to 15 December 1847)

            (9). James Ellison (20 January 1848 to 25 October 1922)

            (10). Sarah Alice Ellison (22 September 1856 to 6 May 1924)

            (11). Luther Ellison (18 May 1854 to 1917)

            (12). Ann Laura (2 March 1860 to 16 November 1931)

            (13). William Ellison (18 January 1863 to 6 August 1950).  William married and had one child Harriet Ellison, born 15 October 1892. 


    (III). John Ellison was born 2 May 1814 and died 10 march 1894, and reported buried at the I.O.O.F. cemetery in West Union, Ohio.  He married on 18 February 1841 to Margaret Thompson (3 December 1814).  In 1870, they were living in the P.O. Wheat Ridge, Oliver Township, Adams County, Ohio.  Children were  (dates courtesy of Mary Schmertz):

            (1). Catherine Ellison (8 December 1841 to 13 February 1916 at Union Township, Clinton County, Ohio).  Married a Larrick.

            (2). Mary Jane Ellison (12  September 1843) married in 1871 to John J. Higgins (1843/44)

            (3). James F. Ellison (6 August 1845 to 7 February 1914)

            (4). Angeline "Angie" Ellison Bryan (27 July 1850 to 23 November 1926)

            (5). Dr. Daniel Ellison (20 June 1854 to 11 November 1896 in Colorado) married on 25 August 1886 to Sarah Angeline McNeilan (1863 to June 1949)


     (IV). James Ellison, (Jr.), born 3 December 1816.  The 1840 Census suggests his name to be James T. Ellison. 


     (V). Arthur Ellison, born 20 May 1820 and reported died 24 January 1843, burial at Lick Fork Cemetery, Oliver Township, Adams County, Ohio.


     (VI). Thomas Ellison was born 18 April 1822 at Adams County and died 16 July 1868 and reported buried at West Union, Ohio.  Thomas married on 29 May 1843 at West Union, Ohio to Mary McNeilan (born in County Tyrone, Ireland on 6 March 1819 and died 1898).  Thomas later went with the 70th O.V.I. when the Civil War broke out.  He located in Tunica County, Mississippi afterwards where he engaged in cotton raising (information source unknown). 


            An 1898 West Union Newspaper obit reported (From Hope McFarland):  "Mary McNeiland was a daughter of Mrs. and Mrs. James McNeilan, and was born in County Tyrone, Ireland, 6 March 1819.  She emigrated to this country with her brother Thomas in 1837, locating in Philadelphia until 1840 when she removed to Adams County.  Mrs. Mary Ellison, the estimable mother of Supt. Ellison, of the Wilson's Children's Home died at that institution Friday night (1898).   Others have reported Mary McNeilan's parents to be Thomas McNeilan and Mira Stewart and that Mary's birthdate was 6 March 1820.


            Children are:


            (1) Arthur Stewart Ellison (6 April 1844 to 22 August 1867)

            (2) Sarah Jane "Jennie" Ellison (1846/47) who married Isaac Boatman of Gallia County, Ohio.

            (3) Elizabeth Ann "Annie" Ellison (1852/53) married H.R. Bradsbury of Gallipolis, Ohio

            (4) Thomas William Ellison (11 August 1859 at West Union, Ohio) and married Elizabeth Kirker in 1882.

            (5) Matilda Ellison (18 March 1862 to 24 September 1882)


     (VII). David Ellison was born 7 May 1826 and married on 14 October 1847  in Adams County to Rebecca Mahaffey.  Family records only mention David and his birth date, with no other information.  Other information is inferred from census records.


            They lived the following locations:


            1850-1870 P.O. West Union, Tiffin Township, Adams County, Ohio


            Children as per 1850, 1860 and 1870 census are:


            (1) Ann Ellison (1847/48)

            (2) Elizabeth Ellison (1851/52)

            (3) Mary Ellison (15 August 1853 to 19 October 1853 and buried at Lick Fork Cemetery, Adams County, Ohio), as reported by Mary Schmertz.

            (4) David Stewart Ellison (1854/55)

            (5) Joseph Whitmore Ellison (1855/56)

            (6) John S. Ellison (1858/59)

            (7) James W. Ellison (1860/61)

            (8) Thomas A. Ellison (1863/64)

            (9) Embury N. Ellison (1865/66)

            (10) Alexander F. Ellison (1867/68)


                        Census Records for the Ellisons


1820 U.S. Census of Tiffin Township, Adams County, Ohio.


            *Page 16 bottom line - James Ellison: 5 males 0-<10, 1 male + 1 female 26-<45, females not readable age 16-26.  


            Page 16 near top and widely separated - James Ellison, Sr: 1 male 0-<10; 3 females 10-<16, 1 male 16-18, 2 males 16-<26, 1 male and 1 female 45+ (females 16-<26 are not readable.


            Page 13 - Andrew Ellison, Sr.: 1 male and female 10-<16, 1 female 16-<26; 1 male + 1 female 26-<45, 1 male + 1 female 45+ (page 13).  Two entries above is Andrew Ellison, Jr.: 1 male 26-<45.    Please note that 1820 Adams County lists a total of four Andrew Ellisons. 


1820 U.S. Census of Monroe Township, Adams County, Ohio


            Page 26 – James Ellison: 1 male 0-<10; 1 female 16-<26, 1 male + 1 female 26-<45. 


1830 U.S. Census of Tiffin Township, Adams County, Ohio


            *Page 16 - James Ellison: 1 male 0-<5; 1 male 5-<10; 2 males 10-<15; 2 males 15-<20, 1 female 40-<50; 1 male 50-<60.  Four names earlier is the following interesting entry on the same page:


            Page 16 - Andrew Ellison: 1 male 10-<15; 1 female 40-<50; 1 male 70-<80!


1830 U.S. Census of Monroe Township, Adams County, Ohio


            Page 17 – James Ellison:  1 male + 1 female 0-<5; 1 male + 1 female 5-<10; 1 female 10-<15; 1 female 30-<40, 1 male 40-<50.


1840 U.S. Census for Tiffin Township, Adams County, Ohio, all on same page:


            Page 63A, line 1 – Andrew Ellison: 2 males + 1 female 10-<15; 2 males 15-<20; 1 male 20-<30; 1 male + 1 female 40-<50


            Page 63A, line 9 – George Ellison:  1 male 15-<20; 1 male + 1 female 50-<60.  The 1850 census shows George to be a recent immigrant. 


            Page 63A, line 11 – Stewart Ellison: 1 male 0-<5; 1 male 5-<10; 2 males + 1 female 10-<15; 1 male + 1 female 30-<40


            *Page 63A, line 17 – James Ellison: 1 male 10-<15; 1 male + 1 female  15-<20; 1 female 50-<60; 1 male 60-<70.


            Page 63A, 20 – James T. Ellison: 1 male 0-<5; 1 male 15-<20; 1 male + 1 female 20-<30.


1850 U.S. Census for Tiffin Township, Adams County, Ohio.


            Page 150: Andrew Ellison 39, farmer, Ireland; Hariett Ellison 34, Ohio; Catherine Ellison 19, Ohio; Isabel Ellison 16; Elizabeth Ellison 13, Ohio; Mary Ellison 12, Ohio; Margaret Ellison 9, Ohio; Andrew Ellison 7, Ohio; Harriett Ellison 5, Ohio; James Ellison 1, Ohio.  Next entry is:


            William McNelly (McNeilan) 42 Ireland; Sally McNelly 44 Ireland; Samuel McNelly 20 Ireland; James McNelly 17 Ireland; William McNelly 17 Ireland; John McNelly 14 Ireland; Jane McNelly 12 Ireland; Eliza McNelly 9 Ireland; Margaret McNelly 4 Ireland.  William McNeilan is the son of Mira Stewart, twin to Mary Stewart.


            Page 153/154: Stewart Ellison 41 Ohio; Elizabeth Ellison 40 Ohio; Mary J. Ellison 13, Ohio; Thomas Ellison 10, Ohio; Hannah Ellison 4 Ohio; Ann Ellison 3 Ohio.


            Page 154: James Ellison 66, farmer Ireland; Mary Ellison 63, Ireland.


            Page 154, next entry:  David Ellison 24 Ireland; Rebecca Ellison 20, Ohio; Ann Ellison 2, Ohio.


1850 U.S. Census for Jefferson Township, Adams County, Ohio


            Page 155:  Thomas Ellison 28, Lawyer, Ohio; Mary Ellison 28, Ohio; Arthur S. Ellison 6 Ohio; Jenni Ellison 3, Ohio; William Smith 29, lawyer, Ohio; John Campbell 19, labor, Ireland, Bartly Suttle 25, ox driver, Ohio.


1860 U.S. Census of P.O. West Union, Tiffin Township, Adams County, Ohio.


            Page 47: Thomas Ellison 38 Ohio, farmer; Mary Ellison 38 Ireland, Arthur Ellison 16 Ohio; June Ellison 13 Ohio; Eliz. Ann 7 Ohio, Thomas W. 4/12 Ohio. (taker 6 July 1860)


            Page 61: Andrew Ellison 49 Ireland; Harriet Ellison 44 Ohio; Catherine Ellison 27 Ohio; Isabel Ellison 26 Ohio; Margaret Ellison 19 Ohio; Harriet Ellison 15 Ohio; Sarah A. Ellison 3 Ohio; Ann A. Ellison 4/14 Ohio; Andrew Ellison 17 Ohio; James Ellison 11 Ohio; Thomas Ellison 9 Ohio; Luther Ellison 6 Ohio.


            Page 67: David Ellison 34 Ohio; Rebecca Ellison 29 Ohio; Ann Ellison 11 Ohio; Elizabeth Ellison 8 Ohio; David S. Ellison 5 Ohio; Joseph M. Ellison 4; John S. Ellison 1 Ohio.


1860 U.S. Census of P.O. Wheat Ridge, Oliver Township, Adams County, Ohio.


            Page 76:  Steward Ellison 51, farmer, Ireland; Elizabeth Ellison 49 Ohio; Mary J. Ellison 20 Ohio; Thomas B. Ellison 18 Ohio; Hannah Ellison 15 Ohio; Ann Ellison 12 Ohio; Susan Ellison 9 Ohio; William Ellison 15 farmer Labor.


1870 U.S. Census of P.O.West Union, Tiffin Township, Adams County, Ohio


            Page 227:  David Ellison 40 Ohio; Rebecca Ellison 38 Ohio; Ann Ellison 21 Ohio; David Ellison 15 Ohio; Joseph Ellison 14 Ohio; John S. Ellison 11 Ohio; James W. Ellison 9 Ohio; Thomas A. Ellison 6 Ohio; Embury N. Ellison 4 Ohio; Alex F. Ellison 2 Ohio.


            Page 230:  Andrew Ellison 59 Ireland; Harriet Ellison 54, Ohio; Isabella Ellison 36 Ohio; James Ellison 21 Ohio; Thomas Ellison 18 Ohio; Luther Ellison 16 Ohio; Sarah A. Ellison 13 Ohio; Annie L. Ellison 10 Ohio; William Ellison 10 Ohio; Andrew Hoop 10, Ohio; Charlie R. Hoop 8 Ohio.


1870 U.S. Census of P.O. Wheat Ridge, Oliver Township, Adams County.


            Page 161:  John Ellison 56 farmer, Ireland; Margaret Ellison 55, Ohio; Catherine Ellison 28 Ohio; Mary J. Ellison 26 Ohio; James Ellison 25 Ohio; Margaret Ellison 21 Ohio; Angeline Ellison 19 Ohio; Daniel Ellison 15 Ohio;


            Page 161 next entry to follow:  Elizabeth Smally 63 Ohio; Mary A. Smally 43 Ohio; Mary Ellison 84, Ireland.