Eugene Porter Ellis

Eugene Porter Ellis was born 1841 in Boston, Erie County, New York, the son of Amos P. (b. 1815) and Elizabeth (b. 1840)

New York-born Amos and Elizabeth were probably married in New York sometime before 1831 and by 1840 Amos was reportedly living in Concord, Erie County, New York. By 1850 Eugene was attending school with his siblings and living on the family farm in Concord, New York. By 1860 Amos was still attending school with his siblings and living with his family in Concord.

Eugene stood 5’7” with gray eyes, auburn hair and a light complexion, and was a 20-year-old farmer who had probably just arrived in Lansing from New York when he enlisted with the consent of the Justice of the Peace in Company G on May 10, 1861; he may have been related to George Ellis. (Company G, formerly the “Williams’ Rifles”, was made up predominantly of men from the Lansing area.)

In any case, Eugene was discharged for polyps in the left ear which had caused deafness, on August 30, 1861, at Arlington, Virginia, although Eugene had in fact already left the regiment by the first of August. Frank Siverd of Company G, wrote on August 7 that Ellis had been discharged and sent home.

Eugene returned to Michigan and lived variously in Manistee County and other parts of the state, working as a carpenter.

He was married to Michigan native Myra Conover (b. 1850), probably in Manistee, and they had at least one child: Arthur (b. 1865).

By 1870 Eugene was working as a carpenter and living with his wife and son in Lyon, Oakland County, Michigan. Eugene returned to New York and by April of 1876 was living in Dayton, Cattaraugus County, New York, and it appears he and Myra were divorced. (By 1880 there was Myra was listed as divorced and living with her father Samuel Conover in Manistee, Manistee County.)

Curiously there was an Arthur W. Ellis, born in 1865 in Michigan, living with the Hiram Curran family in Concord, New York in 1880. Amos, Eugene’s father was still living in Concord in 1880 as well. By 1880 Eugene and Myra were back together and living as husband and wife on Merchant Street south in Emporia, Lyon County, Kansas.

In April of 1876 Eugene applied for a pension (no. 217746) but it was rejected in 1884 “in view of the fact that the records show that his entire military service was but 49 days and that for thirty days prior to his discharge he is shown to have been unfit for military duty.” The application was eventually abandoned since Eugene was already dead by the time it was rejected.

Eugene was struck and killed by a train near St. Louis, Missouri, on April 1, 1881. According to the coroner’s report,

He was found in the tunnel about half a block beyond the entrance, was identified by Daniel Evan, for whom he worked, as carpenter at Crystal City from where he left the day previous at 11:30 a.m., arriving at Union depot about 2 p.m. He arrived safely, but how he got back in the tunnel is a mystery; that he was very hard of hearing, and had about $4.00 in money on his person, was buried at potter’s field.

According to his obituary,

The terribly mangled and lifeless body of a man was found in the tunnel this morning. It evidently had been run over by two or three trains, as the remains were scattered along the track for some distance. From papers found on the body the man’s name is supposed to be Eugene P. Ellis, a carpenter whose family resides at Emporia, Kansas. The writer called at the rooms of Mrs. Ellis in the new Thomas block, on Commercial Street, this morning, and in an interview with that lady learned that her husband, who was interested in an invention for which he expected a patent in a few weeks, had gone to Silver City some six weeks ago, where she supposed he still was until informed of the terrible intelligence contain in the Commonwealth of yesterday morning. She subsequently learned, however, that James Conwell, of this city, who was interested with Mr. Ellis in his patent had recently received a note from the latter announcing his intention to go to St. Louis, this confirming the report of his shocking death. The deceased was about thirty-eight years of age and somewhat deaf, which may account for the fact of his being overtaken by the train, which killed him. He was a most excellent citizen, and the news of his tragic taking off has cast a gloom over the community where he was so well and favorably known. As his wife, who comprises his family has received no intelligence aside from what the public prints contain, it is not known whether his body has been forwarded to Emporia or buried at St. Louis. It was the desire of Mrs. Ellis that Mr. Conwell should go on and look after the body, but he is absent from the city and at this writing had not returned.

It is not known what became of his widow.