Biography of Washington L. Ellis

Washington L. Ellis, contractor, etc., for the Pratt Gin company, was born near Prattville, Alabama, October 22. 1834, the son of Elisha and Mary (Blackwell) Ellis, born, respectively, in North Carolina in 1803 and in South Carolina in 1812. Elisha Ellis came to Alabama in 1827, a single man, the Blackwell family having preceded him by many years. Mrs. Mary Ellis was a Methodist in her religious belief, and died in 1885. Elisha Ellis still survives, is a Baptist, and was a farmer until after the close of the late war. Barney Ellis, a brother of Elisha, died in Autauga county about 1845, and another brother, James Edward, joined a company of soldiers that went to Texas in the early struggle for the independence of that state, and was massacred. Grandfather Blackwell was a pioneer of Autauga county, was a farmer, reared a large family and died many years ago. Washington L. Ellis was the third born in a family of four sons and five daughters, viz.: Jacob, of Texas, who served in the civil war as a member of an Alabama company; James, who died young; Abraham, a soldier of the First Alabama regiment in the Civil war; Elizabeth, deceased; Washington L.; Anna, deceased: Mary J., widow of J. R. Carroll, and two that died in infancy.

Washington L. Ellis lived on the home farm until fifteen years of age, and when eighteen entered the Prattville cotton factory as an operative for a few years; later he worked at carpentering for some time, and then learned gin making, and has since been connected with the Pratt Gin company in different capacities. Early in 1862 he joined company K, First Alabama infantry, and was sent to Island No. 10, but escaped capture at its surrender, returned home, and was for a short time in the recruiting service; he then rejoined his command at Fort Pillow, ran the blockade with others, who reorganized and went to Port Hudson, was captured and paroled, and after a few months at home was exchanged. He then rejoined the command at New Hope Church and fought on to Atlanta and Jonesborough and back with Hood to Franklin, Tenn., where he was again captured and confined at Camp Douglas, Chicago, until July, 1865, when he was discharged and reached home July 22.

In 1867 and 1868, he had charge of the weaving department of the cotton factory at Prattville, after which he returned to the gin factory, and was for many years contractor for the construction of the wood work for the gins and is now receiver of lumber, etc. He is well acquainted with all the details of gin making and has passed thirty-five years in this factory. He is also a director in the Prattville Cotton Mill & Banking company. Mr. Ellis was married in March, 1859, to Miss Rebecca J. Hughes, who died in 1873, the mother of four children. In 1874, he married Miss Pallie E., daughter of J. B. Odon, a farmer and trader, who served as a cavalryman in the Confederate army, and who died in Talladega county. Mrs. Ellis was born near Selma, Autauga county, and educated in Summerfield and is now the mother of four children. W. E. Ellis is a member of Prattville lodge, No. 89, F. & A. M., and filled all the offices to W. M.; he is also a member of Daniel Pratt chapter 96. Mrs. Ellis is a devout Presbyterian.


Memorial record of Alabama : a concise account of the state’s political, military, professional and industrial progress, together with the personal memoirs of many of its people.. Madison, Wis.: Brant & Fuller, 1893.

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