Crawford County, Iowa, IAGenWeb


Benjamin F. Ells

Among the respective citizens of Crawford county none is more deserving of mention in this volume than Benjamin F. Ells, postmaster of Ells and a well known business man and farmer.

He was born in Nova Scotia, June 30, 1846 a son of Benjamin and Eliza (Eaton) Ells. The father moved with his family to Wisconsin in 1850 and located upon a farm, where he and his wife continued during the remainder of their lives. There were eight children in their family, six of whom are now living.

Benjamin F. Ells came with his parents to this country in his infancy and received his early education in the district schools of Wisconsin, later attending college. He assisted his father upon the home farm as he grew up but at fifteen years of age began working as a farm hand and so continued for twelve years, gaining a thorough knowledge of the various details of agriculture and stockraising. In 1873, having by diligence and economy acquired a moderate capital, be purchased eighty acres in Stockholm township, Crawford county, and five years later took up his residence upon his land, which he proceeded to develop according to the best methods. He first located where the Illinois Central depot now stands.

As years passed he acquired more land and is now the owner of one hundred and twenty acres, all of which is well improved. He also conducts a general store at Ells and owns the store building. He was appointed postmaster by President McKinley, also serving under Presidents Roosevelt and Taft and conducting the affairs of the office in such a way as to meet the general approval of the community.

In 1878 Mr. Ells was united in marriage in Wisconsin to Miss Julia A. Knilans, who was born in Wisconsin, and seven children blessed this union, namely: Adelbert, now living in Crawford county; Caroline, wife of Gust Carlson, of Denison; Ida G., now Mrs. J. E. Woolley, of Crawford county; Laura, deceased; Anna M., at home; Iris, also deceased; and Prudence, at home.

The record of Mr. Ells reflects great credit upon him, as he started from a humble position empty-handed and by close application and great self-denial acquired the capital necessary as a foundation for his present condition of comparative financial independence. He has received constant encouragement from his estimable wife, who has been an invaluable assistant and as a mother has reared a large family to become useful and progressive members of the conununity. He and his wife are connected with the Methodist church and active workers in its behalf. Politically, he gives his allegiance to the republican party and the confidence in which he is held by his neighbors and friends is shown in his election as justice of the peace, in which office he served with marked ability for twelve years.

Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.