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Ringgold County Biographical Sketches

Biographical and Historical Record of Ringgold and Decatur Counties, Iowa
Lewis Publishing Company, 1887.


Francis ELLIS, proprietor of the Ellis House and livery stable in Mt Ayr, is a native of Virginia, born March 31, 1832, a son of Francis ELLIS. His parents were natives of Ireland, immigrating to America about 1825, when they located in Virginia, where the father followed mercantile pursuits. When our subject was two years old his parents removed from Norfolk, Virginia, to Coshocton County, Ohio, where the father followed farming till his death. The mother also died in that county, at the advanced age of ninety-three years. They were the parents of ten children, of whom four are yet living. Francis ELLIS, the subject of this sketch, passed his youth in Coshocton County, receiving his education in the district schools. At the age of nineteen years he went to Davis County, Iowa, with a 160 acre land warrant his oldest brother gave his life in the city of Mexico. In 1854 he was married to Miss Sussanah W. YOAST, a native of Ohio, but at the time of her marriage living in Davis County, Iowa, with her father and mother, and teaching district school. They have two children-Truman C. and Mary OLIVER, wife of W. A REGER, Turman B. graduated from the Medical College at Iowa City, and is now a practicing physician at Bethany, Missouri. Mr. and Mrs. ELLIS have lost three children by death. After his marriage Mr. ELLIS settled on a farm in Davis County, where he followed farming until 1859, when he engaged in the hotel business, and also bought a steam saw-mill, which he operated a year. In 1860 he went to Pike's Peak, Colorado, where he engaged in mining, but did not meet with much success. He returned to Davis County,and from there went to Wayne County, Iowa, where he followed agricultural pursuits until 1865, when he came with his family to Mr. Ayr, and gain engaged in the hotel business, keeping the Mt Ayr House, commencing on but $400 capital and from this small beginning he built up a large business, and after running the hotel for nine years he retired with $28,000. He then purchased 1,010 acres of land, and engaged in general farming and stock-raising, but instead of making money in this enterprise he lost, owing to the prices of stock going down as well as all farm products. He soon abandoned farming and returned to Mt Ayr, purchasing the present hotel, which is the leading house in the city. It contains forty-five rooms, which are all well-furnished and fitted up for the comfort of all his patrons, all the accommodations being first-class, and in connection with his hotel he runs a livery well supplied with good horses and vehicles of different kinds, and is well prepared to accommodate the traveling public, and by his genial and accommodating manners he has made a success of his hotel, and gained the respect of all who know him.






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