History of the Restoration Movement

Gilbert James Ellis


[need photo]

The Life of Gilbert J. Ellis

Gilbert James Ellis was born April 5, 1849 in Howard, Knox County, Ohio. He was the son of Albert Ellis (1826 - ????) and Sarah H. Encell (1830-1900). He was the oldest of four children born to them. Later his father remarried and had some half-siblings.

In 1882, he was married to Mary Jennie Harris, (1856-1943) of Cayuga, N.Y. Together the couple had two daughters, Jean Encell Ellis (1883-1886) and Esther Ellis (1891-1976).

In the 1870 U.S. Census, Gilbert is listed as a day laborer. By the 1900 Census he is listed as a minister.

After attending Bethany College in West Virginia, he began preaching in Portsmouth, Ohio in the early 1880s. In the mid 1880s he moved to Davenport, Iowa where he preached at Christian Chapel. Sometime in early March, 1889 he moved to Knoxville, Tennessee where he preached for the church of Christ on Park Street. In May of that year he preached the Baccalaureate sermon at Milligan College. He served the church there for about five months. Then, in September it was announced that he had gone to Galesburg, Indiana, to preach. In 1894, he moved to work with the (Church of Christ/Christian church on the corner of Nelson and Farmington Avenues, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The following year he moved to Galesburg, Illinois to preach. In 1899 he moved to preach for the church in Adel, Iowa. In 1904 he preached in Athens, Illinois. Then, in 1906 he moved to Payson, Illinois and preached for the First Christian Church in that city, and made a trip back to Davenport, Iowa where he had preached before. In 1908 the family moved to work with the church in Carrollton, Illinois. By 1910 the Ellis family had moved back to Knoxville where he preached for the Lonsdale Christian Church. In 1915 he preached for the Anderson Avenue Christian Church in Knoxville.

In 1896, Gilbert Ellis and James Henry Fillmore produced a church hymnal called, The Praise Hymnal, a Collection of Hymns and Tunes. It was produced by the Fillmore Brothers Publishers in Cincinnati, Ohio. The book contained 554 hymns and gospel songs on 512 pages. It was later revised in 1906, and used many years among Christian Churches.

While in Knoxville the family lived on Woodlawn Pike. Brother Ellis passed away on February 28, 1915, and burial followed in the Woodlawn Cemetery.

-Scott Harp, 05.14.2022

Sources: Gleanings from Newspapers.com; The Christian-Evangelist; among others.

Involvement With A Benevolent Society

The Christian Evangelist
October 10, 1901, p.1296

Article Against Sunday Baseball Games

Davenport Weekly Republican, Davenport, Iowa
Saturday April 28, 1888, p.2
(tap article to read)

Report on a Move to Illinois

The Evening Sentinel, Knoxville, Tennessee
Thursday, September 12, 1889, p.1

Advertisement Of Song Book By Gilbert J. Ellis

The American Home Missionary, p.290

Christian Leader Advertisment

Christian Leader
October 9, 1900

Knoxville_Sentinel, Knoxville, Tennessee
Thursday, March 1, 1917, p.12

Directions To Grave

The Ellis family are buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in South Knoxville. From the interstate take US-441S, cross the Tennessee River and continue south. Turn left on Woodlawn Pike and main entrance of the cemetery will be you your right. Travel up the hill from the entrance past the offices on up the hill until the there is an obvious bearing to the right and just a little up the hill on the left you will easily spot the Ellis plot fairly near the road. See GPS below for actual location of the grave, and the photos below can assist.

GPS Location
35°55'55.9"N 83°53'54.8"W
or D.d. 35.932185,-83.898549

Woodlawn Cemetery, Knoxville, Tennessee

Emma Harris Case
July 9, 1870
January 9, 1979

Esther Ellis
Teacher of Youth
March 13, 1891
January 16, 1976

Jenny Harris Ellis
A Friend Of Everyone
June 2, 1856
December 28, 1943

Gilbert J. Ellis
A Preacher Of The Word
September 5, 1849
February 28, 1917

Photos Taken 04.19.2021
Webpage produced 05.14.2021
Courtesy Of Scott Harp

Special Recognition: Thanks to C. Wayne Kilpatrick and Tom L. Childers for assisting me in the location of the graves on this page. We were together at the Southeast Institute Of Biblical Studies Bible Lectureship in 2021 at the Karns church of Christ in Knoxville, Tennessee. We had a wonderful day traveling to Elizabethton and Johnson City locating graves of gospel preachers of yesteryear.


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