10 October 2016

Mary Ellis on the Midnight Train to (Savannah) Georgia

…Unfortunately, she didn't arrive before the death of her husband.

William Lee Ellis was born 19 November 1840 in Barnwell, South Carolina.

Well, maybe.  My source for that vital record information is from a passport application dated June of 1881.  Census records put his birth year between 1840 and 1844.  And the inscription on the vault front at his gravesite provides the birthdate of 9 November 1842.

William's marriage date is a bit more clear.  He married Mary Gazaline Lamar 16 March 1864 in Bibb County, Georgia.  She was a daughter of Henry Graybill Lamar (1798-1861) and Mary Ann Davis (1807-1882).  The couple had no children.

Savannah, Georgia Vital Records, 1803-1966William was the first of the couple to pass away.  He died in Savannah late in the spring of 1902.

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
27 May 1902 - pg. 5 [via GenealogyBank]


Was Suddenly Attacked While a Guest at Capt. Eberhardt's Last Night -- Messages Sent to Macon Alarming His Friends -- Elks Have Taken Charge of Remains -- He Was in Savannah Trying the Salt Air to Recover His Failing Health, and It Was Thought He Was Doing Well.

Public Works Commissioner William Lee Ellis of Macon died in Savannah last night of acute Bright's disease.

The news that he was in a dying condition was communicated to his friends here at about 10 o'clock, and Mrs. Ellis at once arranged to go to Savannah, leaving here on the midnight train.  She had been gone only a short time when The Telegraph received the following special from Savannah:

"SAVANNAH, Ga., May 26. -- Capt. W. L. Ellis of Macon died here at 12:15 o'clock this morning at the home of Capt. Gus Eberhardt, 39 Habersham street.  Capt. Ellis had been a guest of Capt. Eberhardt for the past week or ten days, and had made several trips on the pilot boat J. H. Estill.  He was taken suddenly very ill of acute Bright's disease at 5 o'clock this afternoon, and from that hour rapidly declined until the end came.  Several physicians were in attendance, but they could do nothing to save or even prolong his life.  From the first attack the end was certain.  Members of the local lodge of Elks, of which order Capt. Ellis was a member, were with him in his last hours, and have assumed charge of the remains.  They will care for the body until they receive instructions from the family."

Mr. Ellis left Macon several weeks ago to recuperate, and while at Indian Spring he met Capt. Eberhardt, who urged him to go to Savannah and spend some time yachting.  Mr. Ellis was quite fond of the sea, and he gladly accepted the invitation.  To his Macon friends he expressed confident hope that this would be the means of restoring him to his former good health and spirits.  To those who have known him for the past thirty or forty years of his residence in Macon it was difficult to understand how he could suffer from ill health, for it was always his boast that he was growing younger every day, and was the best man physically among all his companions.

It was believed while he was in Savannah that he was improving.

Mr. Ellis leaves no children, but his fondness for the children of his brothers was of a paternal nature, and he never tired of telling of their good traits and of their hopes and aspirations.  He was especially devoted to his nephew, Mr. Hayne Ellis, who is now in the United States navy.

His remains will probably be brought to Macon on the first train.

Rose Hill - Apr 2009 015Mary Lamar Ellis lived twenty more years, before joining Mr. Ellis at Rose Hill Cemetery.

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
28 June 1922 - pg. 9 [via Genealogybank]


Prominent Macon Woman Expires in Seventy-eighth Year.
Mrs. Gorzalene Lamar Ellis, widow of William Lee Ellis, died at her home, 208 College street, at 7:15 o'clock last night.  She was in her seventy-eighth year.

Mrs. Ellis was the daughter of the late Judge Henry Graybill Lamar and his wife, Mary Ann Davis.  The greater part of her life was spent in Macon.

Nearest surviving relatives are nephews and nieces, those in Macon being William Lee Ellis and Mrs. Giles Hardeman.

Capt. Hayne Ellis, naval aide to Secretary of the Navy Denby, was also a nephew.

Mrs. Ellis had long been a member of Christ Episcopal church and was prominent in charitable and patriotic work.  The funeral arrangements will be announced later.

Rose Hill - Apr 2009 015


  1. I love reading your blog. I imagine some of the people you honor were friends of my ancestors.


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