Nannie Catherine (McDaniel) Ellis

MRS. NANNIE C. ELLIS. A member of a prominent old family of Butler County, Mrs. Ellis, who now lives in El Dorado, was left a widow more than thirty years ago and since then has not only reared and carefully trained her children but has successfully managed her business affairs. Mrs. Ellis owns a fine farm in the vicinity of Chelsea, Butler County, and is a type of the courageous and independent spirited Kansas woman.

Nannie Catherine McDaniel was born five miles south of Decatur, Illinois, on a farm, June 1, 1864. Her McDaniel ancestors came across the Atlantic Ocean and landed at Savannah, Georgia, about 1771 and were early colonists in the South. Her grandfather was named Edwin Eldridge McDaniel, his mother's maiden name having been Eldridge. He was born in Tennessee. When a boy of fifteen he ran away from home and joined a party of "squirrel hunters" to serve under the indomitable General Jackson in the War of 1812. He enlisted for that service under the name of Edwin Eldridge, and was present at the Battle of New Orleans. His home when he went to the war was in Eastern Tennessee. A few years after his marriage he removed to the vicinity of Decatur, Illinois, where he homesteaded a farm and where he spent the rest of his life. He was in Illinois before the Indians were removed.

Joseph McDaniel, father of Mrs. Ellis, was born June 25, 1821, probably in Tennessee, but close to the border between that state and Kentucky. He was a child when his parents removed to Illinois, and he grew up on a place five miles south of Decatur. He lived there, married, and took up a homestead. He developed a high class farm and eventually owned 200 acres. His estate still has forty acres of this land. In 1880 Joseph McDaniel came out to Kansas and located at El Dorado. Having a considerable income from his farms in Illinois he made no attempt the first two years to acquire property or engage in business. In 1882 he bought a farm and moved to Chelsea, Kansas, where he continued his active life until 1912. In the fall of that year he came to El Dorado and lived retired until his death on May 27, 1915. Joseph McDaniel was remarkable for his strength and vitality and rugged vigor, and retained his memory of early times to a wonderful degree. At the age of ninety-two he suffered a severe illness, and after that was disabled for further active pursuits. In matters of politics he was a democrat and was a consistent Christian and a regular supporter of the Presbyterian Church.

Joseph McDaniel married Kitty Keys Wilson. She was born in Kentucky January 1, 1837, and died at Chelsea, Kansas, in the fall of 1884. Joseph McDaniel and wife were the parents of five children, of whom Mrs. Ellis was the youngest. Margaret Jane, the oldest, married Robert B. Wilson, and she is now a widow living at Moweaqua, Illinois. Her husband was a veteran of the Civil war, and was always referred to as Captain Wilson. When a young man he taught school, but later engaged as a carpenter and in other pursuits. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson had five children: Bertha, Oscar, Urban, Kit and Max. David S. McDaniel, the second child, died near Casner, Illinois, in April, 1915, having followed farming during his active career, His widow, Mary (Adams) McDaniel, still lives at Casner. Their children were Ed, Steve, Alva, Lena, Earl, Ralph and Maud. Enoch McDaniel, who was a blacksmith by trade, died near Decatur, Illinois, in February, 1915. He married Ann Hammers, who lives at Champaign, Illinois. Their two children are Fannie and Lillie, both of whom have for a number of years been teachers in the public schools of Champaign. Mary Eliza, the next child older than Mrs. Ellis, is the wife of John L. Smith, and they reside on a farm seven miles north of El Dorado. Their children are Maud, Lulu, Charles and Hershel.

Nannie Catherine McDaniel grew up in Illinois until she was sixteen years of age, attended the public schools there and also the high school at El Dorado where she nearly completed the senior year. In 1882 she became a teacher, taught one year north of Chelsea, and in 1883 in a school north of El Dorado.

In March 1884, at Chelsea, Miss McDaniel was united in marriage with Frank H. Ellis. Mr. Ellis was born in Butler County, Kansas, June 11, 1862, a son of Archibald Ellis, and a brother of John Ellis, one of the most prominent citizens of Butler County, in whose career will be found the details of the Ellis family history in Kansas. Mr. Frank H. Ellis grew up in Butler County, attended the high school at El Dorado, took a business course in the Lawrence Business College, and was a young and progressive farmer, rapidly making his mark in the world, when he was taken away in death December 2, 1886. He died at the old farm at Chelsea, Kansas.

Mrs. Ellis is an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church at El Dorado. She also belongs to the Domestic Science Club, which has membership in the Federation of Women's Clubs. Mrs. Ellis has two daughters. Pearl M., the older, was born April 8, 1885, was graduated from the El Dorado High School in 1904 and received her degree of Bachelor of Music at the University of Kansas in 1911. She is now the wife of Leslie Cahill, and they reside at Butte, Montana. Mr. Cahill is manager of the advertising department of the Butte Daily Post, and is a graduate of the University of Kansas with the class of 1910. Mr. and Mrs. Cahill have two daughters, Kathleen Frances, who was born May 8, 1915, and Doris Jane, born May 26, 1917. Mrs, Ellis' younger daughter, Frances Maud, was born June 7, 1887. She was graduated from the El Dorado High School in 1906, and later received the degree of Bachelor of Arts from the University of Kansas.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by students from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, March 15, 1999.

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