For My Cousins
Photo of Joseph Ellis
This photo of Joseph S. Ellis is from Glenn Tagatz's collection.

Rev. Joseph Sterling Ellis

Home Page * What's New
Photo Index * Surname Links
My Ancestors
Misc. Ellis Records

Info Category Details
1811 or 1812; possibly Mar. 24, 1812
Joseph's obituary said he was born in the state of New York, and his family moved to Waterbury, Connecticut, when he was an infant. It said he died in his 31st year, which would make his year of birth 1811 or 1812. [SOURCE: Obituary printed in the Methodist Episcopal Church Annual Conference Minutes in 1843]

A descendant wrote that he thought Joseph's birthdate may be March 24, 1812, but I have not yet confirmed the source of this information.

Unproven; father is possibly Joshua Ellis
It is unclear who Joseph's parents were, but strong evidence to his brother Harmon has been established. In an 1880 census, it says that Harmon's father was born in New Hampshire, and his mother was born in Connecticut. Therefore, Joseph's parents were likely born in those states.

An LDS record posted online says that Harmon Ellis was born May 24, 1802 in Connecticut. It listed Harmon's (and therefore Joseph's) parents as Joshua Ellis and Sarah. It said Joshua was born Oct. 1767 in an unknown location in Connecticut (which would not match the expectation of a birth in New Hampshire mentioned in the 1880 census) and died Jan. 1838 in Middlebury, New Haven, Connecticut. This record was submitted by a member of the LDS Church after 1991 and has not been independently confirmed. More research is needed to fill in this lineage.

According to a private family tree on, Joshua Ellis and Sarah D. Morgan are listed as Joseph's and Harmon's parents. Joshua lived in Waterbury, New Haven, Connecticut in 1820 (according to the 1820 US Federal Census). I don't have hard evidence to prove the relationship but it seems very plausible to me. This same private family tree lists John Morgan as Sarah's father.

1820 Census: Because Rev. Harmon Ellis was born in Waterbury, CT, I searched this town's census records. The only Ellis surname found in the 1820 Waterbury, New Haven Co., CT census was Joshua Ellis who was "engaged in agriculture." Joshua may well be Joseph's father. His household in this census showed four males (one age 0-10 years old, one age 10-16, one age 16-26 and one age 45 or more) and three females (one age 0-10, one age 16-26 and one age 45 or more). Several people researching this line think that Joshua's children included Joseph S., William H., Harmon, Frederick Amos, Louisey and Susan, but I do not know the sources of their conclusion. Further research is needed.

1830 Census: The 1830 Federal Census in Waterbury Salem Society, New Haven Co., Connecticut shows Joshua Ellis' household with one male and one female, both age 60-69. They were living next door to Fredk. A. Ellis (Frederick). Frederick Ellis' household had one male age 20-29, one female under age 5 and one female age 20-29. Joshua could be Joseph's father, and Frederick might be Joseph's brother; however, neither is proven.

A Joshua Ellis was buried in the Hillside Cemetery (Salem Bridge Burials); he died Jan. 9, 1838 at the age of 79 years old, which means he was born about 1758 or 1759. [SOURCE: Transcribed from "Ancient Burying Grounds" of the Town of Waterbury, Connecticut, Vol. 2 - the Mattatuck Historical Society Pulication 1917, edited by Katherine A. Prichard -- posted on] although his age at death does not quite fit the above census information; this might not be the same Joshua. However, no other Joshua Ellis appears in Connecticut in a keyword search of the 1830 Federal Census posted on

Which Joshua Ellis in New Hampshire (if any) is Joseph's Father?

1790 Census: Two men named Joshua Ellis showing up as heads of household in the 1790 Federal Census in New Hampshire. One was found in Keene, Cheshire Co., NH. His household had 3 males 16 or older, 2 under age 16 and 7 females (ages not given). This census does not specify relationship (they could be relatives or boarders). The other Joshua was spelled Joshua Ellice in Rochester, Strafford Co., NY. There was also a Joshua Ellis in NC, but only these three appeared in the census (using a keyword search of 1790 census names in It is possible that an adult Joshua Ellis could be found living in any number of Ellis homes with a different head of household.

1800 Census: Two men named Joshua Ellis show up as heads of household in the 1800 Federal Census in New Hampshire. One is in Keene, Cheshire Co., NH with two males (one age 10-15 and one 45 or older) and two females (one age 10-15 and one 16-25 years old). The other one is in Rochester, Strafford Co., NH; this household has three males (one under age 10, one age 10-15 and one age 26-44) and three females (one under age 10, one age 10-15 and one age 26-44). Only three other Joshua Ellis names appear as heads of households in an 1800 census search (one in Maine and two in North Carolina).

1820 Census in New Hampshire: Although Joseph's moved to Connecticut soon after Joseph's birth, two Joshua Ellis names (one a junior) appear on the 1820 census in Keene, Cheshire Co., NH. Therefore, it makes it more difficult to determine if the Joshua Ellis that could be Joseph's father originally came from Keene. Note that there is no Joshua Ellis head of household in Strafford County, NH, in 1820. By 1820, Joseph's father had moved to Connecticut.

Evidence that Harmon and Joseph were Brothers:

I have not found definitive proof of who Joseph's parents were yet but it appears his brother was Rev. Harmon Ellis of Waterbury who married Julia Doolittle of Hamden, MA on Apr. 16, 1823. [SOURCE: Hamden CT Vital Records online, transcribed by Coralynn Brown] A memorial book for Henrietta in the Marquette County Historical Society's museum has an entry that says Rev. Harmon Ellis, North Haven Ch. was a Baptist minister and a brother to J.S. Ellis (dated Sept. 14, 1842).

A copy of letter written by Joseph in 1833 to Harmon Ellis was addressed to "Dear Brother". To see a copy of this letter and a transcription, go to Joseph's letter. This letter gives some insight into how both brothers think as Joseph addresses Harmon's earlier letter about unconditional versus conditional doctrine.

A newspaper clipping pasted into his daughter Angelina's 1875 diary said: "S.N. Hartwell, proprietor of the Hartwell House, Germania, with his wife [which would be Joseph Ellis' daughter Angelina's] and two children, Genie and Allie, took the train at Princeton on the morning of June 1st by the way of Fond du Lac and Jefferson Junction to Deerfield, Dane Co., to visit with the family of Rev. Harmon Ellis, an aged uncle of theirs." [SOURCE: The Marquette County Historical Society holds this diary in its museum in Westfield, WI]

Also Rev. Harmon Ellis named one of his children Joseph Sterling Ellis. It appears he shares the same full name as my ancestor (his uncle).

Joseph's Possible Siblings and Their Immediate Families

Harmon became a preacher in Amherst, Portage Co., WI, sustained by the Home Missionary Society of the Baptist Church. [SOURCE: Amherst in Auld Lang Syne, paper read by C.E. Webster at Reunion in 1908 -- posted online by the Portage County Historical Society]

A notice in the SPWJ said that Harmon Ellis died at the home of his daughter near Madison on Jan. 27 [1887] at "about 80 years old". He was a "former resident of this place" [Stevens Point, WI], a prominent minister in the Baptist church and "well known throughout the state." He once owned a "considerable part of the land on which our village is located." His grandson (Mr. Halverson) accompanied the remains "here." He was buried in the family lot in "the cemetery." The cemetery was not named in this notice. [SOURCE: SPWJ, Feb. 5, 1887, Stevens Point newspaper - copy from Univ. of Wisconsin archives]

One a copy of an envelope with a letter sent from Joseph Ellis to Harmon Ellis a handwritten note says that he lived near Medina in 1885. I assume that is Medina, Wisconsin. I don't know who wrote the note, but it would likely have been a family member. To see this note, go Joseph's letter.

The 1840 Federal Census in Waterbury, New Haven Co., Connecticut shows Frederick A. Ellis' household had three males (one under age 5, one age 5 to 9 and one age 30 to 40) plus five females (one under age 5, one age 5 to 9, one age 10 to 14, one age 20 to 29 and one age 30 to 39). Harmon Ellis lived next door, and Harmon's household had four males (one under age 5, one age 5-9, one age 10-14 and one age 30-39) plus six females (two under age 5, two age 5-9, one age 10-14 and one age 30-39). Harmon is most probably Joseph's brother, and Frederick may be too.

The 1850 Federal Census in Norfolk Township, Litchfield Co., Connecticut, shows Harmon Ellis (who is likely Joseph's brother):

  • Harmon Ellis (age 48, Bapt. clergyman, born in CT)
  • Julia (age 47, born in CT)
  • Amelia (age 23, born in CT)
  • Delia (age 18, born in Massachusetts)
  • Harmon (age 13, born in MA)
  • Mary (age 11, birthplace unclear)
  • Louisa (age 9, born in CT)
  • Maria (age 7, born CT)
  • Joseph (age 5, born in CT)
The 1860 Federal Census in Amherst, Portage Co., WI, shows:
  • Harmon Ellis (age 59, clergyman Babtist [misspelled Baptist], real estate value $1,100, personal estate value $500, born in Connecticut)
  • Julia (age 58, born in Conn.)
  • Amelia (age 35, born in Conn.)
  • Wilson (age 31, farmer, real estate value $500, personal estate value $80, born in Conn.)
  • Harmon (age 23, farmer, born in Mass.)
  • Louisa (age 19, teacher district schools, born in Conn.)
  • Maria (age 17, born in Conn.)
  • Joseph S. (age 15, born in Conn.)
The 1870 Federal Census in Amherst, Portage Co., WI, shows Harmon Ellis (likely Joseph's brother):
  • Harmon Ellis (age 68, farmer, real estate value $3,000, personal estate value $270, born in Connecticut)
  • Julia (age 67, born in CT)
  • Amelia (age 44, milliner, born in CT)
  • Maria (age 27, domestic servant, born in CT)
  • Eugene (age 6, born in Wis.)
  • Anson Rice (age 54, farm laborer, born in New York)
The 1880 Federal Census in Marion, Plymouth Co., Iowa, shows Harmon (likely Joseph's brother):
  • Joseph Ellis (age 35, farmer, born in Conn.)
  • wife [hard to read - could be Ermina ?] (age also hard to read, born in Michigan, father born in New York, mother born in Vermont)
  • son Millon (age 13, born in Wis.)
  • daughter Edith (age 12, born in Wis.)
  • daughter [name hard to read] (age 1, born in Iowa)
  • father Harmon Ellis (age 78, minister, born in Conn., father born in New Hampshire, mother born in Conn.)
  • sister Amelia (age 53, seamstress, born in Conn.)
The 1850 Federal Census in Naugatuck, New Haven Co., Connecticut, shows Frederick A. Ellis, who may well be Joseph's brother:
  • Frederick A. Ellis (age 42, born in Conn.)
  • Julia A. (age 41, born in Conn.)
  • John (age 19, laborer, born in Conn.)
  • Sarah (age 11, born in Conn.)
  • William H. (age 9, born in Conn.)
  • Julian (female, age 8, born in Conn.)
  • Henrietta (age 6, born in Conn.)
  • Frederick A. (age 4, born in Conn.)
  • Joseph J. (age 2, born in Conn.)
  • Nancy S., (age hard to read - may be a fraction, meaning less than one year old, born in Conn.)
  • Mary S. E. Ellis (age 20, born in Conn.)
Rev. Harmon Ellis' daughter Mariah, wife of Richard Melane, died on Feb. 24, 1880 at the age of 37. She left behind four living children and a husband. [SOURCE: Stevens Point Daily Journal, Feb. 28, 1880]

For additional Ellis surname records, go to Ellis web page.

Marriage 1:
Henrietta J. Jones on Apr. 18, 1836
Joseph's obituary said he married Henrietta Jones of Lunenburg, Worcester Co., MA, in 1836 [SOURCE: Obituary printed in the Methodist Episcopal Church Annual Conference Minutes in 1843]

An LDS record online says that Henrietta Jones married Rev. Joseph S. Ellis on April 18, 1836.

An entry in Henrietta's autograph/memorial book a few years before they married said: "Farewell dear Henrietta: Pray for the students of the Wesleyan Academy when you return home. [Signed] Joseph S. Ellis, Waterbury, CT, Feb. 3, 1833"

Child 1:
Angelina Maria Ellis
b. Sept. 18, 1837;
d. Dec. 5, 1901
For more information, go to Angelina's web site.
Child 2:
Henrietta "Hettie" E. Ellis
b. 1841;
d. Sept. 24, 1864
Family notes say Hettie was born 1841 and died Sept. 24, 1864 at the age of 23. She never married and was buried in the Germania Cemetery, Marquette Co., WI. She is on the 1850 and 1860 census forms living with her mother (see census entries on Henrietta's web site).
Joseph attended Wesleyan Academy at Wilbraham, MA, and received a license as a preacher at age 20. He was a preacher in Fitchburg, MA but was too sick for two years to continue preaching. He regained his strength and readmitted into the New England Conference in 1840, was ordained deacon and stationed in Sudbury, MA, and then Harvard, MA. His obituary said he was in his tenth ministry when he died. [SOURCE: Obituary printed in the Methodist Episcopal Church Annual Conference Minutes in 1843]

Rev. Joseph S. Ellis was appointed Pastor of the society in 1836, which was the year Fitchburg, Massachusetts, "became a Methodist Episcopal station." Due to lack of money, they didn't have a minister from 1837-1839. On Feb. 15, 1841 a conference with "brethren of Ashburnham and Lunenburg" was held. Fifteen people became responsible for a new meeting house (60'x42'). They were: Major Ephraim Jones, William S. Jones, James Gilcrest and Samuel Marsh all from Lunenburg. Eben Frost and Walter Russell from Ashburnham. James Puffer of Westminster. Elijah Brigham , Daniel Emory, Nahum Wetherby, Nathan Caswell, Roswell Graham, Ebenezer C. Hayden, Edward Aldrich and James Hartwell all from Fitchburg." [From Aldrich-NAA Mailing List - page 254-255 -- original source unknown and URL link no longer works]

Joseph Ellis sent a letter dated June 26, 1833 to Harmon Ellis, which gives some insight into his thoughts about religion. Go to Joseph's letter to see a copy and transcription of this letter.

Died: June 19, 1842 Joseph's daughter Angelina wrote in her 1895 journal that she visited the grave of her father Rev. Joseph S. Ellis in Massachusetts; she wrote that he died June 19, 1842, and his epitath reads: "Mark the perfect man and behold the upright for the end of that man is peace."

He died on June 19, 1842 in his 31st year and in his tenth ministry. He died of a "chronic affection of the lungs." [SOURCE: Obituary printed in the Methodist Episcopal Church Annual Conference Minutes in 1843]

According to the Connecticut, Deaths and Burials Index, 1650-1934, Joseph Sterling Ellis died in June 1842 at the age of 30. [Source: FHL Film Number: 3121; referenced in a private family tree on]

Home Page * What's New * Photo Index * Surname Links * My Ancestors

(c) 2006-2011 - All rights reserved; however, personal use of photos by family members is permitted
There may be transcription errors in this web site [especially when original documents are hard to read]. Check the originals to verify any information you need.

Last update to this page - Dec. 21, 2011
Validate Code