Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

J. L. B. Ellis

J. L. B. ELLIS. Among financial institutions of Western Kansas the Bank of Kiowa has almost a unique history. It has been in existence thirty-five years and has maintained its integrity unimpaired through all times, good and bad, which have prevailed in that section. But the most interesting fact in connection with its history is that the original officers of the bank, when it opened for business in 1884, are still serving. These officers are: Major Andrew Dunn of Kansas City, Missouri, president; O. P. T. Ewell, vice president; and J. L. B. Ellis, cashier. The bank has a capital of $30,000, surplus of $15,000, and at the close of 1918 its total resources were nearly $400,000, all of which indicates the power and prosperity of a bank established and conducted by practical men throughout its history.

Mr. Ellis was one of the pioneers of Barber County and comes from a prominent old family of Eastern Massachusetts. He was born in Medfield, Massachusetts, November 29, 1852. He and two of his brothers still own the old family homestead there. This farm has been under the direct ownership of the Ellis family for eight generations, no transfer of title having been recorded against it. There are a number of branches of the Ellis family still living around Medfield and Dedham, where it was founded as early as 1640. There were at least three brothers who located there at that time: John, Lieutenant Thomas and Richard Ellis.

The grandfather of J. L. B. Ellis was John Ellis, who spent his life at Medfield, where he died in 1880, at the age of ninety years. As a young man he drove a stage from Dedham to Boston, but most of his life was spent as a farmer. Samuel Ellis, father of J. L. B. Ellis, was born at Medfield in 1818, spent his life as a farmer on the old homestead, and died there in 1882. He was a man of strong character and enjoyed many local honors. He filled several offices, was a republican in politics, and an active supporter of the Unitarian Church for over fifty years. He belonged to the organization of the State Guards known as the Old Putnam Grays.

Samuel Ellis married Martha Ellis, who was born at Medfield, Massachusetts, and died there in 1890. A brief record of their children is as follows: Emily E., who never married and died at Medfield; George H., a printer and publisher at Boston whose home is at West Newton, Massachusetts, where he conducts a large dairy farm with several hundred choice dairy cows, and supplies milk to the Boston market; Edwin H., a farmer at Medfield; J. L. B. Ellis; and Mary Ann, who died at the age of fifteen.

Jesse L. B. Ellis attended the public schools of Medfield and at the age of seventeen went to work in the printing office of his brother George. He spent seven years with that establishment at Boston, and then sought the larger life and open country of the West, coming to Barber County, Kansas, in 1878. He found that an almost uncharted wilderness, and like most of the early settlers entered the cattle industry. For five years he was a practical cowboy and has even since maintained a large interest in the cattle industry. He owns two fine ranches in Barber County and also much property at Kiowa. He has lived at Kiowa since 1884, when he built his first home there, and in 1918 he erected his large modern residence. On removing to Kiowa he organized the bank and has given it the benefit of his personal services ever since. In politics he is a republican.

In 1884, at Harper, Kansas, he married Ella Edmiston, daughter of David and Sarah Edmiston. Her mother lives with Mr. and Mrs. Ellis. David Edmiston was captain of a company in the Union army during the Civil war, but after the war followed educational work in Illinois. About 1884 he moved to Kansas, was an early settler at Harper, where he died, and taught school there for a number of years.

Pages 2342-2343.