Saturday, March 5, 2011


I just want to show how great Google is in helping you find more information on your ancestors.  I was curious about Ellis S Church, second son of Elias B Church and Mary Ann Doyle.  I didn’t know much about him and so I typed in his name and the state Idaho.  I automatically got a hit from the Idaho Free Press, which is the newspaper from Grangeville, Idaho!  You can only imagine my squeal of joy in finding this sweet treasure. 

After reading this article, I felt I knew Ellis a lot better and I felt sorry for Ellis.  He was alone on Christmas, wanted to close the saloon early and had these guys come by and harass him because they were desperate to get some booze.  It sounds like he acted in self defense.  I went to the Idaho Historical Library located in Boise, Idaho to see if I could find more information.  I searched newspapers on microfilm to try to find the outcome of a trial or an arrest, but I came up empty handed. 

I learned several things about Ellis from reading this article.  The first was that he has some type of disability.  I looked back at the documentation that I had and found that on the 1880 census, it also noted that he was crippled.  In 1880, he is living in Columbia County, in the state of Washington and he was a sheep herder for a Mr. Frank Ping.  He is the first of his family to move west to Washington.  They join him by 1885 (Washington State Census, Columbia county).  The second thing I find out is that he hangs out at saloons and likes to play music for others.  The article mentions Lewiston but I have no documentation placing him there. 

Here is a rough sketch of Ellis S. Church life:
He was born September 1856 in Illinois (1900 Federal Census, Warrens, Idaho, Idaho).  Sometime before 1860 the family moves to Richmond Township in Kansas territory.  We know that Elias, Ellis father, serves in the Civil War for three years and we find everyone living together in Lancaster, Atchison, Kansas in 1865 on the state census.  The family consists of his father and mother, Elias and Mary Ann, and his older brother, John, and younger sister, Julia are all living with Mary Ann’s parent, John and Sarah Doyle. John and Sarah also have a daughter, Emma, age 12, living at home still.  In 1870, Ellis, age 14, and his sister, Julia, age 9, are listed twice on this census.  They are listed with their grandparents and also with their parents, both living in Lancaster, Kansas.  Here’s a map to give you an idea where Lancaster is located.
In 1875, Ellis is still in Lancaster helping out on the farm.  By 1880 he has gone to Washington by himself.  We see him on the 1885 State census in Columbia county living with his parents and helping out on the farm (I love that Washington had so many state censuses).  By 1900 he ends up in Warrens, Idaho and he is a saloon proprietor.   Ellis mother, Mary Ann died in 1899 and then his father died in 1904.  I have obtained records from probate court in regards to Elias estate and there it mentioned that Ellis was living in Lewiston at that time.  Maybe he went back to playing his music!
As far as I can tell, Ellis never married.  He is buried by his parents in the Dayton City Cemetery in Dayton, WA.  He doesn’t get a grand gravestone like his parents but still it is a very nice and loving gesture.  I’m guessing one of his sisters made the arrangements for that.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to the Geneablogging community. I wish I had gotten the chance to go to Roots Tech. I am planning on attending the NGS conference in Charleston in May though - and I'm SO excited!!!