This page, in its entirety, was submitted by William Grant
Ellis and is dedicated to the memory of his Great, Great, Grandfather and his
contributions to the City of Amesbury.
The Ellis Car Company 1889 - 1894
Taken from: "A Forgotten Industry" Newburyport and Amesbury Streetcar Builders
By Gerald F. Cunningham and O. R. Cummings
William G. Ellis
Founder of the Ellis Carriage and Trolley Car Co
The town of Amesbury was famous for many years for its extensive carriage building
industry. Among the prominent manufacturers was William G. Ellis, who established a
factory on Friend Street, near Whitehall Road, in 1875. His enterprise prospered and in
1888 two of his sons, David and William, joined the firm, which became known as W. G.
Ellis & Sons. By this time, the father had become interested in the production of
streetcars and organized the Ellis Car Company, which began production in a newly built
plant on Oak Street, near the tracks of the Amesbury branch of the Boston & Maine
Railroad, on January 1, 1889.
Reporting the advent of the Ellis Car Company, the June 1889 Street Railway Journal
said it had erected a three-story wood frame building, 60 by 175 feet in area, which was
divided into setting up rooms, a paint shop and a storage area and had an outside elevator
for the transfer of the car bodies from one floor to an another. A machine shop was
situated on the rented ground floor of a nearby brick building; the second and third
stories of which then were occupied by Wells & Spofford, carriage body and gear
manufacturers. Also in the vicinity was the generating station of
the Amesbury Electric Light & Power Company.
According to the Journal, the company planned to erect a second building during
the summer of 1889 and this one-story wood frame affair, used for car storage, was about
50 by 150 feet in size. There originally were 19 employees but by December 1891 no fewer
than 80 "first class mechanics," all experienced carriage builders, were on the
payroll. A railroad siding made it possible for cars to be shipped directly from the
factory to destination. Apparently the first cars produced by Ellis were built on
speculation but these soon were sold and the company began to receive orders from several
sources. Completed in the late summer and early fall were the first electric cars of the
Newburyport and Amesbury Horse Railroad, which was electrifying a branch built the
previous year from Amesbury to Merrimac port and Merrimac. The cars, Nos. 32 and 34, were
of the 16-foot closed type and were equipped with Thomson-Houston trucks, motors and
Trolley service over the branch commenced October 15, 1889 and the Street Railway
Journal of January 1890 described Nos. 32 and 34 as having been solidly and
substantially built and elegantly painted, each car having several landscape views of some
of the points of interest in the area which the Newburyport and Amesbury served. The Amesbury
& Salisbury Villager, a weekly newspaper, of July 25, 1892 said a closed car for
Toledo and six open cars for Newport were ready to be shipped and declared the former, the
first of its type to be produced by Ellis, was "the finest streetcar, without
exception, ever seen around here. The outside colors are blue and white, artistically and
harmoniously decorated. Inside the whole finish is solid mahogany with panels of birds eye
maple. The upholstering and decorations are the finest...and the workmanship is of the
The plants capacity was reported as one car per day and the Street Railway
Journal said George Ellis, another son of W. G. Ellis, was running the business.
William G. Ellis was among the incorporators of the Haverhill to Amesbury, chartered May
9, 1892 to build a 10-mile electric line from Haverhill to Amesbury via Merrimac. The
promoter of the company was E. P. Shaw but because of the involvement of Mr. Ellis, the
H&A ordered its first rolling stock from the Amesbury firm.
A feature article in the Amesbury Daily News of September 21, 1892 had this to
say about the Ellis Car Company: "The Ellis Car Company has received a hurried order
for twelve box cars for the Savannah, Ga. street railroad...The agent was here last week
and wanted the cars by the first of November. An order was also received yesterday from
the Haverhill & Amesbury road for two 18-foot boxcars. These are all set up and have
received their prime coat. Painters were put to work on them this morning and they hope to
have them out in two weeks. These hurried orders make a large demand for painters and
every painter that applies is put right to work. They also want ornamental painters who
they find are a little hard to secure."
The article also mentions: "Work on the lengthening of three West End cars
progresses well. It is a job almost equal to building a new car. They were originally
16-foot horse cars and are being made into 20-foot electrics. The car is cut in the
middle, the old bottom is taken out and an entire new one put in and the body of the car
is spliced in the middle. One new large window and two smaller ones are put in the new
part. About all that remains of the old car are the hoods and ends. The old paint is burnt
off and the whole car painted over new."
A surviving invoice shows that Ellis sold one shear and one nose plow to the Patterson
(N. J.) Railway in November 1893. An advertisement for the plows in the American Street
Railway Investments manual of 1894 shows they were four-wheel affairs with a center
cab and open end platforms and that they were available in both the nose and shear
varieties. Motors were situated inside the cab and were connected to the axles by sprocket
wheels and chains.
All streetcar production by Ellis ended abruptly on April 28, 1894 when its main
building on Oak Street was destroyed by a fire, which erupted in the paint shop at 9:40
p.m. and spread so rapidly that the plant was leveled in an hours time. The damages
equaled $40,000 plus! Also consumed by the flames were all of the companys
blueprints and car plans. Firefighters managed to prevent the spread of the fire to the
nearby storage building, inside which were "several" cars awaiting sale or
Shortly after the fire W. G. Ellis announced that the destroyed building would not be
reconstructed; that the Ellis Car Company would give up streetcar production and that
light and heavy business wagons and street railway snow plows would be built at the 99
Friend Street factory of W. G. Ellis & Sons.
Whether any snow plows were turned out is doubtful as by 1895 the Taunton (Mass.)
Locomotive Manufacturing Company was producing plows in large numbers and effectively
dominated the New England market for such equipment. Mr. Ellis died Nov. 3, 1896 at the
age of 64 and by June 1899 the wagon factory had been closed and R. G. Ellis maintained a
carriage repair, painting and varnishing shop in a nearby building. (R. G. later removed
this business to Saugus, Mass in 1904 for a short time.) The last Ellis-built open car
owned by the Massachusetts Northeastern Street Railway, successor to the Haverhill &
Amesbury Street Railway was junked in 1923. No known Ellis cars are in existence today.
Copyright, 1995. Harold E. Fox 80 Virginia Terrace Forty Fort, Pa. 18704
Ellis Trolley Car Fire
The Haverhill Evening Gazette
The Flames Destroy the Ellis Car Works in Amesbury,
Loss at Amesbury is
On Saturday evening at 9:30 a
bright blaze was seen to ignite out of the center of the Ellis Car Companys building
situated on Oak Street, Amesbury. The building is a long wooden structure, built some six
years ago, and was two stories in height.
It was occupied by W. G.
Ellis, in which he carried on streetcar building and large express wagon construction. The
fire is supposed to have originated in the paint shop connected with the plant, and was no
doubt caused by spontaneous combustion. The building contained 25 finished cars and over
20 finished express wagons, among other vehicles and valuable property.
April 30th, 1894 page 8
There was only a light wind from the west blowing at the time but the
fire made such headway that the immense building and its contents was reduced to ashes in
30 minutes. The loss on the wagons will be fully $10,000 and on the cars and other
contents of the building it is estimated at $50,000 by Mr. Ellis on which he has only
The fire has destroyed the largest of the two car factories, and is a
very disastrous blow to the town. Immediately surrounding the burned building is located
the mill connected with the plant, built of brick; the electric light plant; Brown McClire
& Co.s store and a wooden storehouse directly in the rear of and within 20 feet
of the burned building. This building was also occupied by Mr. Ellis and contained four
unfinished cars and a large assortment of lumber. All these buildings were saved.
At one time the firemen were packed in between this building and the car
shop when the walls of the latter gave way suddenly, they instantly darted in under the
wall and allowed it to pass over them and all escaped without injury, yet they had a hot
time of it doing so and narrowly escaped death.
William Ellis and Sons Carriage Shop, 99 Friend St
A short history
The following letter which was hand written came
into my fathers (Robert Grant Ellis, 9-12-1930) possession by his sister Norma. It
is signed by a one, Alexander George Ellis and dated March of 1896, which makes this
letter 104 years old as of 2000
Compiled, copied and written by
William Grant Ellis
"My father speaks of the Ellises coming over to Ireland in the English Army, about
the year 1600, and traveling towards the North of that country. Two brothers afterwards
crossed over to Scotland. One of them, James, settled near Elgin, the other in Stotfield,
north of Elgin. James was twice married. His second wifes name was Janet Murdoch. He
died about 1800 and was buried in the churchyard in Urquahart; a large flat stone with his
name marks the spot, at the east end of the church, near the boundary wall. He left two
sons and three daughters. His second son, William was born Oct 15, 1772, and married June
Laing, daughter of George Laing, January 10, 1801. He (William) died about April 19, 1819.
She died April 12, 1845; they had four sons, & three daughters.
1st: William, born August 22, 1802, married (Margaret or Jane) Grant and died in
Edinburgh Aug. 11, 1857 leaving, one son, *W. G. Ellis*, and one daughter.
2nd: James, born May 29, 1804, and married Jane Leslie, in Alford, he died April 12,
1865, and left three sons and one daughter.
3rd: Alexander, born October 17, 1805, left Scotland in 1831, and married Mary Ann
Egan, daughter of Francis Boacious Egan, land surveyor, August 14, 1834. He died in
Kingstins Co., Dublin, Ireland October 11, 1885. She died November 14, 1894. They had six
daughters, and two sons.
4th: George, born June 10, 1808, settled and married in Aberdeen, and died January 18,
1862, and left three daughters.
5th: Jane, born June 10, 1808, married Wm. Wiseman, died May 29, 1842. They had two
sons & one daughter.
6th: Anne, born July 22, 1811, married David McIntosh in Brechin in -?
7th: Janet, born April 6, 1816, and died young.
The names of William, James and Alexander are registered in the Parish of St Andrew,
Long Bride, near Elgin. George, Jane and Anne in the Parish of Raffan Banffshire."
Copied by Alexander George Ellis, second son of the above 1896.
Alexander Ellis, born May 9, 1851, and married Harriette Matilda Strick, second
daughter of Captain David Strick, Portsea, Hants, on Aug 17, 1873 in Monkstinn Parish,
Dublin, who left Ireland for Montreal on St Patricks Day, March 17, 1886. Had seven
sons and three daughters.
Amesbury Daily News
Tuesday, November 3, 1896 W. G. ELLIS DEAD. Passed Away at 7.40,
He Was Born in Elgin, Scotland, May 30, 1832. A Sketch of His Active Business Life. One
of our most prominent and influential citizens, William G. Ellis after a long and
lingering illness died this morning at his home on Friend Street at 7:40 at the age of 64
years 5 months 3 days.
Among the many young men who left their native land in old Scotia, to seek their
fortune in other climes, few labored more persistently to win the smiles of the goddess of
fortune than William G. Ellis. He was born in Elgin, Scotland, May 30, 1832.
When the gold discoveries in Australia were made known he went to that country. There
he labored for seven years, and during his residence in the land of gold never slept under
a roof, or upon a bed, except one made of pine boughs. In one claim he worked seven weeks,
and took out two hundred and forty five pounds of solid gold. After enduring all the
hardships incident to a "gold-digger," he came to America.
A little incident directed his attention to Amesbury. Before leaving Scotland in
wandering one day up the mountain steeps, he seated himself on a grassy slope to rest. His
attention was directed to a torn newspaper near by, and taking it in hand, he read the
account of a fair held in No. 8 Mill, by the ladies of the town of Amesbury, in aid of the
soldiers. The paper proved to be a copy of the Villager, which some one in Amesbury had
sent to friends in Scotland.
Mr. Ellis came to this country in 1863, worked as a common laborer; at whatever he
could find to do, notwithstanding he brought with him $2500 in gold. At that time, gold
was at its highest premium. He sold it in the markets, doubled his money, and invested the
same in government bonds. Some of his friends advised him not to invest his money in
government bonds, but with a firm belief in the perpetuity of the Union, he informed them
that if the government did not stand, all value would be destroyed. The love of his
adopted country found frequent expression, and while he had all the veneration of a
Scotchman for the land of his birth, America was his home, for in this land he resided
more years, and won an honorable name in the ranks of businessmen.
Toiling for a few weeks in the carriage shop of James Hume, perhaps with a critical eye
studying the business, he resolved to engage in the manufacture of carriages. Accordingly
he formed a co-partnership with A. M. Huntington, Esq., and the firm continued to do
business for eight years,when it dissolved. Mr. Ellis in 1875 commenced business on his
own account, and erected an extensive plant on Friend Street, near his present residence.
In 1888, he took his two sons, David and William into the firm. At the
death of William, James entered the firm in 1890, and the carriage business was mainly
given up to their management. After retiring from the carriage manufactory, Mr. Ellis gave
his attention to the streetcar business. He visited the largest establishments in the
country, getting such information as he could respecting the same. With his usual keen
insight, he believed the field a promising one. A location for a plant was secured on the
line of the railroad, and capital was at hand to establish necessary buildings. There he
leased, and Jan. 1, 1889, commenced work in this new branch of business, employing
nineteen mechanics. Slow, but sure, was the progress of the enterprise.
There was much to be learned, but he started in with the motto, that his
work should recommend itself. His cars were in demand by the largest firms in the United
States: The West End Co., Boston; Valley City and Cable Car Co., Grand Rapids, Mich.;
Thomson-Houston Electric Co., Boston; Union Electric Car Co., Boston, and various other
lines being among the customers. Associated with him in the car business were his two
sons, George and Robert. On the night of April 28, 1893, a disastrous fire destroyed the
plant entailing a loss of $46,000. All of the patterns and machinery used in the business
being destroyed, it was decided not to rebuild and the Company removed their business to
the factory of Mr. Ellis on Friend St.
Here they gave up the car-building branch of their business devoting their time to the
construction of light and heavy business wagons. Mr. Ellis was President of the Amesbury
National Bank and has been one of the stockholders and directors since it was organized.
He was a prominent member of Clan Frazer O S C. He was a large real estate owner and
always interested in the prosperity of the town. Mr. Ellis was one of the promoters of the
Haverhill and Amesbury Railroad and a large stockholder. He was largely instrumental in
the organization of the Electric Light Heat & Power Company and at the time of his
death was its President and Treasurer.
No man in Amesbury has done anymore to advance its interests than did Wm. G. Ellis
during the 34 years of his life here and in his death the town loses a most valuable
citizen. A widow and five sons Arthur, Robert, George, James and David survive him.
Haverhill Evening Gazette
November 4th, 1896.
A Loss to Amesbury. Death Yesterday Morning of William G. Ellis. A well-known investor
and carriage manufacturer. Amesbury, Nov.4, ---Hon. William G. Ellis, president of
Amesbury National Bank, Amesbury Electric Light Company and one of Amesburys
foremost citizens, died yesterday morning after a long illness of a complication of
As head for years of the Ellis Car Company he was one of the best-known car builders in
the United States. He was born in Elgin, Scotland, May 30, 1832. When gold discoveries in
Australia were made known, he went to that country. There he labored for seven years, and
during his residence in the land of gold never slept under a roof or upon a bed, except
one of pine boughs. In one claim he worked seven weeks and took 245 pounds of solid gold.
After enduring all the hardships incident to the life of a "gold digger" he came
A little incident directed his attention to Amesbury. Before leaving Scotland, while
wandering one day up the mountain steeps, he settled himself on a grassy slope to rest.
His attention was directed to a torn newspaper near at hand. He read the account of a fair
held in No.8 Mill in 1863, by the ladies of the town of Amesbury, in aid of the soldiers.
The paper proved to be a copy of the Villager, which someone in Amesbury had sent to
friends in Scotland. Mr. Ellis came to this country in 1863, worked as a laborer at
whatever he could do, notwithstanding that he brought with him $2500 in gold.
At that time gold was at its highest premium. He sold it in the markets, doubled his
money and invested the same in government bonds. Some of his friends advised him not to
invest his money in government bonds, but with a firm belief in the perpetuity of the
Union he informed them that if the government did not stand all value would be destroyed.
The love of his adopted country found frequent expression, and while he had all the
veneration of a Scotchman for the land of his birth. America was his home, for in this
land he won an honorable name in the ranks of businessmen.
As a carriage manufacturer he toiled for a few weeks in the shop of James Hume, perhaps
with a critical eye studying the business, and resolved to engage in the manufacture of
carriages. Accordingly he formed a co-partnership with A. M. Huntington in 1867, and the
firm continued to do business for eight years, when it dissolved. Mr. Ellis in 1875
commenced business on his own account, and erected an extensive plant on Friend Street,
near his present fine residence. In 1888 he took his two sons, David and William, into the
firm. At the death of William, James entered the firm in 1890, and the carriage business
was mainly given up to their management.
After retiring from the carriage manufactory, Mr. Ellis gave his attention to the
streetcar business. He visited the largest establishments in the country getting
information respecting the same. A location for a plant was secured on the line of the
railroad and capital was at hand to establish necessary buildings. These he leased, and
Jan. 1, 1889 commenced work in this new branch of business, employing 19 mechanics. In
1892, 80 first-class mechanics were employed, and cars were in demand by the largest firms
in the United States.
From the Haverhill Public Library: History of Amesbury by Joseph Merrill
Copyright 1880-page 404. STATISTICS OF THE CARRIAGE BUSINESS IN AMESBURY AND SALISBURY
MILLS FOR 1880: Name: William G. Ellis Amount of business: $63,000 Number of carriages
manufactured: 600 Number of persons employed: 23 When business commenced: 1875
From the Haverhill Public Library: History of Amesbury Mass. by Sara
Locke Redford Copyright 1968-page 104 of the chapter entitled, Amesbury Carriage Industry.
"Alexander Huntington and William G. Ellis were in partnership for some time in the
old J. R. Huntington shop. Later Ellis rented the Briggs shop on Friend Street where he
carried on his own business. Huntington kept the other shop."
Resolutions of Respect Adopted on the Death of W.
G. Ellis by Electric Co. Wm. G. Ellis President of the Amesbury Electric Light, Heat and
Power Company, died Nov. 3, 1896.
November 23rd, 1896
The directors of the Amesbury Electric Light, Heat and Power Company, deeply conscious
of the great loss which has come to them as individuals, as well as of that which has come
to the Company in the death of its president, Wm. G. Ellis, desire in this
testimonial to give expressions to their sorrow, and also to pay a tribute of respect to
the name and memory of the departed. Mr. Ellis was, as we knew him, a man of most
excellent sense to discern, and good judgment to apply the principals which underwrite all
true prosperity, and it seems fitting that an expression be made of our feeling that in
managing the affair of this Company, as they were entrusted to him, he sought to conduct
them with the same care he would have shown had they been his own.
We learned to respect him as a friend, and to trust him as a counselor,
and ever found that in so doing we were doing well. We would extend our sympathy to the
family of the departed in the prayer that they may find comfort in the thought that he
whom they mourn, so lived that they may bear a tribute to his memory from those who knew
him in the business associations of life, as here he sought to live above reproach.
"An honest man is the noblest work of God."
As we adopt the above testimonial, be it resolved, 1st, That a copy be
forwarded to the family of the departed as a token of our regard for them in their sorrow,
and 2nd, That a copy be spread upon the records of the company. Done at the meeting of the
Directors held this 23rd day of November 1896. James Hume, President B H Young, Secretary
John A. Douglas J. F. Spaulding James Bakie Jr. John A Lane
Amesbury Daily News
William H. Ellis Buried
William H. Ellis was buried from his fathers house on Friend
Street yesterday afternoon at 2 oclock, Rev. George L. Richmond of Main Street
Congregational Church officiating. Music was furnished by the Market Street Baptist Church
Choir, L. F. Currier, leader. The house and grounds were filled with people, who came to
show their last tribute of esteem to one whom they loved and respected; among those
present being delegates from the Board of Trade and Scottish Club. The floral offerings
were numerous, the room being literally filled with them, and as the cortege moved to the
cemetery a good-sized wagonload of flowers followed the procession. Mr. Ellis was a young
man, respected and beloved by all, a member of the firm of W. G. Ellis & Sons. He had
the respect of his business associates and of the help employed in the factory, and the
love and esteem of a large circle of friends who sympathize with the bereaved parents and
relatives. (William was known as "Willie" to his family.)
Robert G. Ellis
Robert G. Ellis
1871 - 1952
Carriage and Streetcar Manufacturer
This is an interesting newspaper clipping that I found at the Amesbury
Public Library taken from the Amesbury Daily News: R. G. Ellis Saugus
Well Known Artistic Sign and Carriage Painter. 75 Main Street. R. G.
Ellis, at No. 75 Main street, Saugus, is recognized as an accomplished artist in the line
of sign and vehicle painting, and has a reputation for unsurpassed skill in that line of
industry, although he has been only a short time in the business in that town, having been
established there in February of the current year.(1904) His shop is commodious in its
proportions, being 25 by 60 feet in dimensions, and is filled with a varied stock of
paints, oils and varnishes for his own use.
Mr. Ellis makes a specialty of painting signs, carriages, wagons and
automobiles and also furnishes estimates on carriage woodwork. All of Mr. Ellis work
is done in the most thorough and artistic manner and is fully guaranteed to be the best
which can be produced. Mr. Ellis is assisted by a force of skilled painters, their number
varying somewhat according to the importance of the contracts on hand. Mr. Ellis is a
native of Amesbury, this State, in which he received his school education, and here, for
several years, he followed the trade of carriage building, later becoming connected, as
Assistant Superintendent, with the firm of A. G. Ellis & Sons, carriage
manufacturers.(should say W. G. Ellis & Sons) Afterwards he was one of the members of
the Ellis Car Co. of Amesbury, builders of electric cars and heavy wagons, but in 1894 the
plant was destroyed by fire, after which Mr. Ellis embarked in the business on his own
account as a carriage builder and repairer, continuing until 1904, when he removed to
Saugus and entered the service of the General Electric Co., later deciding to enter the
business that he now so successfully manages at 75 Main Street. (Robert G. Ellis at the
time of this newspaper account was thirty-three years old.
Robert is my great grandfather.)---William G. Ellis
Two newspaper-clipping accounts of the 50th wedding anniversary of Robert and Lenora
Ellis. Both accounts are from the Amesbury Daily News. 7/25/44:
Robert G. Ellises to Mark Golden Wedding Amesbury-Open house will be in
order at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Robert G. Ellis, 54 Whitehall Road, Tuesday, August
1, when the couple will mark their golden wedding anniversary. The hours when visitors
will be received are 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. The Ellises were married in this town
August 1, 1894 by Rev. George Christie, then pastor of the Union Congregational Church.
Mrs. Ellis, who was Miss Lenora A. Fitzgerald before her marriage, came here 58 years ago
from her native city of Lynn. Mr. Ellis, son of the late W. G. Ellis, was born in this
town and has been a lifelong resident. He was associated with his father and his brothers
in the Ellis Car Company, which produced electric car bodies a half century ago here.
Other brothers were associated with the father in a carriage building enterprise, known as
W. G. Ellis & Sons. Mr. Ellis has one brother, James, now living and the two brothers
are the last remaining members of their branch of the Ellis family. There were originally
six brothers. The Robert Ellises have two grandchildren, Norma and Robert Ellis of
Hampton. The former is a member of the High School senior class in that town. Both Mr. and
Mrs. Ellis are 73 and in good health. The former is employed by the Henschel Corporation,
14 Cedar Street, a war plant.
Couple To Mark Gold Milestone Amesbury- Mr. and Mrs. Robert G. Ellis; 54
Whitehall Rd., will observe their 50th wedding anniversary tomorrow. They will welcome
their friends and neighbors during an open house from 3 to 5 in the afternoon and 7 to 9
in the evening. The couple were married Aug. 1, 1894, by the Rev. George Christie, then
pastor of the Union Congregational Church here.
Mrs. Ellis was the former Miss Lenora A. Fitzgerald, native of Lynn. She
has been a resident of this town for the past 58 years. Mr. Ellis is a native of Amesbury
and a life-long resident in this town. (Robert ran a business in Saugus for a short while
in 1904 when he was 33, 40 years prior to this account.) He was associated with his
father, the late W. G. Ellis, and a brother, in the former Ellis Car Co., which
manufactured electric car bodies here many years ago. Other brothers were later associated
with the father in the firm of W. G. Ellis & Sons, carriage builders.
Mr. Ellis and a brother, James, are the only members of the family,
which included six brothers at one time, now living. The couple have two grandchildren,
Norma and Robert Ellis, Hampton, N. H. The girl is a member of the Hampton High School
senior class. Both Mr. and Mrs. Ellis are 73 and in good health. Mr. Ellis is now employed
by the Henschel Corp., a war plant.
Amesbury Daily News
January 22, 1952.
Death This A.M. Robert G. Ellis Former Manufacturer Passed Away At His
Home Robert G. Ellis, 80, of 54 Whitehall Road, associated for a number of years in the
carriage building trade, died this morning at his home following a long period of failing
health. Although not in the best of health for some months, he was able to be about and
yesterday morning made his usual visit to the shopping district.
He was born in Amesbury, the son of William G. and Euphemia (Dowie)
Ellis on March 13, 1871, and had lived all of his life in this community. As a young man,
he learned the trade of the wood-worker, and came to be recognized as one of the most
skilled artisans during a period when Amesbury enjoyed a wide reputation for the
proficiency of its craftsmen. He was associated with the Hollander-Morrill Carriage
Company, the Judkins Body Company in Merrimac, and became a partner in the Ellis Car
Factory, which maintained an establishment on Friend Street.
During the last World War he was associated with the Henschel
Corporation. A man of genial personality, he enjoyed a wide circle of friends among his
contemporaries, and his passing will be a source of deep regret to so many. He was a
member of the Main Street Congregational Church and active in its affairs during his
younger days. One of the happiest pleasures of his life has been his long companionship
with his wife and helpmate. Together these two last August quietly observed their 57th
wedding anniversary. Besides his wife, Lenora, he leaves one grand-daughter, Mrs. Richard
Bernier (Norma) of Hampton, New Hampshire, a grandson, Robert G. Ellis of Hampton Beach
and two great grandchildren. (Michael and Doreen Bernier) A daughter-in-law, Mrs. Richard
Bragg (Doris) of Hampton, New Hampshire, and two nieces, Mrs. Leonard Brown (Adelaide) of
Amesbury, and Mrs. Forrest Leighton (Florence) of Portland, Maine, are other survivors.
The funeral service will be held from the Pillsbury and Gale Funeral
Home on Thursday afternoon at 2 oclock. Interment will take place in Union Cemetery.
Friends may call at the funeral home on Wednesday evening from 7 to 9 oclock. Robert
G. Ellis was born March 13, 1871 and died January 22, 1952 only 2 years before I was born.
This would have made him 80 years old at the time of his death.
During the later years of his life a very strange thing happened to him.
A group of swindlers from Spain tried to dupe him out of some of his money by claiming to
be Ellises. They had quite an elaborate set up with bogus documents that looked authentic.
Robert was no fool and instead of sending money to them, wrote to the U. S. Government to
have the swindlers claims investigated. The Government sent back a reply stating
that it all was a fraud, and that these thieves had been under investigation in Spain for
sometime. They had pulled this stunt more than once with other unsuspecting people of
reputation. It wasnt long after this fiasco that the Spanish Police arrested the
Roberts wife Lenora was born in 1871 and died in 1956, making her
85 years old at the time of her death. I was 2 years old at the time. Before she died, I
was taken to meet her by my parents. Robert and Lenora had a first child named Marion who
died as a baby at 1 years old. She was born Feb. 7, 1895, and died March 8, 1896. Why
there is no mention of this is unknown to me, but she is buried beside her younger
brother, the son of Robert and Lenora, William G. Ellis, whom they called,
This William G. Ellis is my father Roberts father, and my
grandfather whom I never knew. He was born January 5, 1898, and died January 22, 1933 at
the young age of 35. My father was only 3 years old at the time.
William G. Ellis
William was a carefree soul who did what he pleased. He was educated in
Amesbury and once did a report paper on the First Thanksgiving and another on Abraham
Lincoln. He had a best friend named, "Ollie," of whom he said they would be
"Pals forever." William also enjoyed fishing. He was an electrician by trade.
William was married to Doris May Rowell, the daughter of Benjamin Rowell of Groveland.
William and Doris gave birth to my aunt Norma Jean, on April 23, 1928. My father Robert G.
Ellis was born on September 12, 1930
This is a memorial card reading from my grandfathers funeral and
given to me by my Aunt Norma:.
In Cherished Remembrance of William G. Ellis;
Passed to eternal rest January 22, 1933.
"May his soul rest in peace" I cannot say, and I will not say
That he is dead...he is just away!
With a cheery smile and a wave of the hand
He has wandered into an unknown land.
And left us dreaming how very fair
It needs must be since he lingers there.
And you, oh you, who the wildest yearn,
For the old-time step and the glad return.
Think of him faring on, as dear
In the love of There, as the love of Here.
Think of him as the time I say,
He is not dead...he is just away.
By James Whitcomb Riley
Robert G. Ellis
September 12, 1930 -- April 11, 2008
Beloved Father, Grand Father, and Great-Grandfather
Robert G. Ellis of Haverhill Mass went home to be with the Lord after a
long illness on Friday, April 11th, 2008 at Penacook Place Nursing Home in
Haverhill. He was 77.
Robert was born in Bangor, Maine on September 12th,
1930 and as a youth lived in the Hampton/Seabrook NH area, and later moved to Haverhill
where he made his home. Robert was a direct descendent of the historical carriage and
streetcar maker, W.G. Ellis of Amesbury MA.
His trade was as a heavy equipment operator. He also enjoyed reading his Bible and
listening to music.
Mr. Ellis was also a professional Santa Claus and made Christmas a wonderful time for
He worked for the Boston Celtics Christmas Party as their Santa for several
He attended the First Baptist Church of Salem NH and was especially fond of the
Mens Group Bible Study.
Robert was married twice and leaves behind sons and daughters. They are Mr. William G.
Ellis and his wife Joan of Haverhill, Darlene Karkonan of Methuen MA, Robert G. Ellis and
his wife Terry of Orange MA, Sheryl Rooney of Salisbury MA, Alicia Rogers of Haverhill,
Michael G. Ellis of Haverhill, and Rebecca Ellis of Haverhill.
Mr. Ellis was a beloved grandfather as well as a great-grandfather and had many
grandchildren whom he loved dearly.
He is survived by a brother, Clayton Bragg of NH.
He will be greatly missed by all who loved and knew him.
A memorial service will be held in his honor at the First Baptist Church of Salem NH,
101 School Street on Saturday, April 26th, at 12 noon.
Norma Jean Barth
April 23, 1928 -- Jan. 8, 2008
HAMPTON, N.H. - Norma Jean (Ellis) Barth, a longtime resident of
Hampton and foster mother, died Jan. 8, 2008 at the Haven Health Center at Seacoast. She
was 79. Born in Amesbury, Mass., she moved to Hampton during her childhood and graduated
from Hampton Academy. She worked at Cablevision, now Comcast, for 10 years before her
retirement. She also served as a foster mother for children in temporary placement.She was
a communicant of First Baptist Church of Hampton. She also enjoyed shopping at yard sales
and spending time at the ocean.She leaves two sons, Michael Bernier of Fremont and Daniel
of Nashua; two brothers, Robert Ellis of Haverhill, Mass. and Clayton Bragg of Seabrook;
seven grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
A funeral will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday in First Baptist Church of Hampton. Burial
will be private.
The Memorial At The Union Cemetery In Amesbury, Massachusetts. Just
about in the center of the Union Cemetery off of route 110 in Amesbury, Massachusetts, at
lot 619, is a large, granite memorial. It stands about 8 feet tall and marks the burial
site containing the graves of the Ellis family. The chalice-shaped piece that sat on top
of the memorial is broken off and missing, but there is no mistaking by the splendor of
this monument, that a family of significance is buried here. As you walk up the stone
stairs to the gravesites, surrounded by beautiful granite curbing, you will notice along
the front of the curbing, the graves of W. G. Ellis and his family. Along the right side
of the site, lies the family of Robert G. Ellis. The memorial itself, and the gravestones
are marked as follows: William G. Ellis (Father) May 30, 1832-Nov. 3, 1896 Euphemia Dowie
(Mother) Nov. 14, 1834-Mar. 31, 1914 William H. Ellis (Willie) 1864-1889 James C. Ellis
1867-1950 George 1869-1910 Arthur E. Ellis 1877-1918 Robert G. Ellis 1871-1952 Lenora A.
1871-1956 Wm. G. Ellis (Will) 1898-1933 Marion Feb. 7, 1895 Died March 8, 1896 Immediately
to the left of the W. G. Ellis family are the graves of David Ellis and his wife Charlotte
D. Ellis There are no headstones or markings on the memorial for David and Charlotte.
Their gravesites are on the deed, which is owned by my father, Robert G.Ellis.
Epitaphs on the Ellis Memorial:
He Giveth His Beloved Sleep
Asleep In Jesus, Peaceful Rest
He Doeth All Things Well
Thy Will Be Done
I have located lot 231 and found the grave of the Hume
Interesting Ellis / Whittier
This poem was written by poet Lucy Larcom in honor of Carrie (Cammett)
Ellis, wife of James Ellis of W. G. Ellis and Sons Carriage Manufacturers. Carrie was the
great granddaughter of Mary Hussey who was John Greenleaf Whittiers aunt (his
mothers sister). Whittier nicknamed Carrie, "Queen Maude" when she was a
little girl. It was on the occasion when Lucy Larcom and Whittier shared Carries
birthday tea party from her gift tea set that this poem was written about.
She wears no crown
|| Carrie (Cammett) M. Ellis, Wife of James G. Ellis
Save her own flossy curls,
Of pet baby-girls;
Blue-eyed and dimpled
And dignified she,
Pouring out for us
Little Queen Maude.
And saucer and spoon:
Baby, your banquet
Has ended too soon.
Fancy's full cupboard
Unlocks to your hand;
We, your true subjects,
Await your command,
Little Queen Maude
Six Generations of the Ellis Famiy
Please take a few minutes to view a terrific slide show of rare
images of Ellis carriages, street cars, and related memoriabilia.
William Grant Ellis appreciates
your time in reading about his family and its contributions to Amesbury. He would
appreciate any additional information and material about WIlliam G. Ellis' Carriage and
Trolley car manfacturing businees in Amesbury. He can be reached at