FRANK S. ELLIS. - Among real estate dealers and insurance men of Kansas City, Kansas, Frank S. Ellis, of the firm of Merriam, Ellis & Benton, holds high prestige, and maintaining, as he does, a representative position as identified with the business life of the city, it is manifestly consistent that his life history should come under review. This gentleman can claim as the place of his nativity the land which its loyal sons are pleased to believe "the most brilliant star upon the crest of time" - England, but this has by no means deterred him from becoming one of the most loyal and public spirited of Americans. He plays an admirable role in the many-sided life of the community and is widely known in business and social circles.
Mr. Ellis was born near London, England, June 18, 1866, and is the son of Lilley W. and Susan (Chambers) Ellis, and one of a family of twelve children, ten surviving. The father was born in England in 1829, and more of this prominent and benevolent gentleman will be given in succeeding paragraphs. His demise occurred December 7, 1910, but the mother, who is a native of Balfast, Ireland, is still living.
Mr. Ellis, the immediate subject of this record received his education in his native country and supplemented his preliminary studies with attendance at Liverpool College, the institution of learning which Sir William Ewart Gladstone attended. His first identification with the world of affairs was as an employe of the J. C. Houghton Importing Company of Liverpool, and he remained with this concern for three years previous to coming to this country, his migration occurring in the year 1885, some two years previous to the attainment of his majority. His first adventures in this country were as a rancher for the C. B. Gill Cattle Company, his location being in Davis county, Kansas, now Geary county, and for a year or more he knew the free life of the plains and prairies. In the fall of 1887, not being entirely satisfied with the business, Mr. Ellis sold out the interests he had acquired and made a radical change engaging in the packing business with General Fowler & Son in Kansas City. He remained in this association until 1899, when he engaged in the real estate and insurance business, his firm being known as Merriam, Ellis & Benton, and in the decade and more of its existence having become one of the best known in this part of the United States.
Mr. Ellis belongs to a number of important organizations, these being as follows: Wyandotte Lodge, No. 440, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; the Ancient Order of United Workmen; the Mercantile Club; the Real Estate Exchange of Kansas City, Missouri; and the Commercial Club.
On May 11, 1888, Mr. Ellis established an independent household by marriage, his chosen lady being Miss Alta Trickey, of Blanchester, Clinton county, Ohio, daughter of John and Mary Trickey. Mr. and Mrs. Ellis share their hospitable and cultured home with a son and a daughter - Maud M. and Donald F.
It can be only appropriate to add something of Mr. Ellis' father, who was one of the highly respected and useful citizens of Birkenhead, England, and as the essential data is contained in an article published in the Birkenhead News at the time of the much lamented demise of this gentleman, the same is incorporated in this review.
"A deep feeling of regret passed over the town on Wednesday morning when the news was circulated of the death of Mr. Lilley Ellis, of 9 Rock Park, Rock Ferry. There was probably no better known gentleman in the north of England in Masonic circles, for during the last forty years he has been a Free Mason. He was a native of Leek, Staffordshire and was born in 1831. He was originally a silk merchant in Leek, his firm being Messrs. Ellis, Russell & Clewes. In 1854 he came to Birkenhead and commenced the business of ship dyers, cleaners and furnishers in the present premises in Albion street, near the town hall. He took up his residence in Rock Ferry a year after he came to the town and has lived there ever since. Of recent months, unfortunately, Mr. Ellis has been far from well, and has been confined to his house. He died on Wednesday morning at about ten o'clock. He leaves six daughters and four sons."
Mr. Ellis, as has already been stated, was a Free Mason for over forty years and was a most highly respected brother. He was Past Grand Assistant Director of Ceremonies of the United Grand Lodge of England - the highest rank to which a Mason can aspire - Past Provincial Grand Warden for Cheshire and Past Deputy Grand Master of the Mark Degree in Cheshire. He was initiated in the Zetland Lodge No. 537 in October, 1871, afterwards joining the Rock Lodge, No. 1,289, Birkenhead, in 1874, and in 1885, for the second time, was installed Master of this Lodge. He has been connected with the formation of many lodges and has been instrumental in spreading the principles of Masonry, especially in the Province of Cheshire. During his progress through Masonry many honors have been conferred upon him, each succeeding honor bringing increased satisfaction to the brethren of Cheshire. In 1885, the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, Earl Egerton of Tatton, conferred upon him the rank and dignity of Provincial Senior Grand Deacon, and in 1892 he received the further honor of Provincial Senior Grand Warden. The rank of Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies of England was conferred in 1904 by the Most Worshipful Grand Master, his Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught, and in the same year he was appointed the Most Excellent First Grand Provincial Grand Standard Bearer of England. It was in 1907 that he received the signal honor of being appointed Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Cheshire by the Hon. Alan de Tatton Egerton.
He was looked upon as the father of the Lilley Ellis Lodge, No. 3,236, which was founded in May, 1907, to perpetuate his great work on behalf of the order and he was presented by an illuminated address by the founders of the lodge to commemorate its foundation.
Practically his whole life was wrapped up in furthering the welfare of the Masonic charities of Cheshire and London and he was Past Chairman of the Board of Benevolences, Cheshire Charities. His record in this respect was an excellent one and the charities had no worthier supporter. In addition to the great interest he had taken in Cheshire Charities, Mr. Ellis was a vice patron and a life governor of the Royal Masonic Institution for Girls and a Life Governor of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution for Aged Free Masons.
Mr. Ellis was of a jovial temperament and one of his favorite songs was "In The Days When We Were Gipsying." His brother Masons always spoke of him thus:
"He was one to whom the burdened heart could pour forth its sorrow; to whom the distressed could proffer its suit; whose hand was guided by justice and whose heart was expanded by benevolence." The support he gave to the Birkenhead Hot-pot Fund was considerable and this fund will feel his death greatly. Always fond of sport, he was a particularly keen bowler, and of recent years was a member of the Highfield Bowling Club, Rock Ferry. He was also well known as an angler and each summer he spent his holidays in the West of Ireland salmon fishing and during his holidays one year he caught an aggregate of one hundred and eighty-seven pounds.
Mr. Lilley Ellis was throughout his life a staunch Liberal and until the last took a keen interest in political affairs.
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