Paris Tilghman Ellis, of Pittsburg, dealer in insurance, real estate, loans and rentals, is a native Kansan, and since entering business for himself had enjoyed a satisfactory success and at the same time had proved his worth and public spirit as a citizen.
Mr. Ellis was born on a farm in Montgomery County, Kansas, June 17, 1878, a son of C. R. and Martha A. (Ferguson) Ellis. In early Colonial days three sailor brothers left England and immigrated to America, locating in the colony of Virginia. From there the family went across the mountains into Kentucky. Mr. Ellis’ grandfather, R. R. Ellis, was born in Kentucky in 1807, and later went as a pioneer into Crawford County, Indiana. There be cleared a farm from the wilderness, engaged in agricultural pursuits, and spent the rest of his life as a farmer. He was one of his community’s most highly respected citizens when he died in 1884 at Hardinsburg.
C. R. Ellis was born in 1854, in Crawford County, Indiana, was educated there in the public schools and was reared on his father’s farm. Not long after his marriage he left his native community to seek the greater opportunities of the open West. Thus in 1875 he arrived in Montgomery County, Kansas, and was identified with the early settlement and development of that section. From farming he finally turned his attention to railroad work as a construction hand. At that time the Santa Fe was building its lines through Montgomery County, and C. R. Ellis after the construction work was completed continued with the railroad company for many years. He was promoted from time to time, and in 1906 was made road master for the Joplin & Pittsburg Railroad. He was active in the duties of that position until the time of his death March 12, 1916, at Pittsburg. Among his associates he was known as a steady, reliable workman, and at the same time won and retained the confidence of his employers. He was a life long democrat in his political views, and fraternally was identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. While he held no positions in public affairs, he rendered service to his community as a supporter of good men and beneficial measures. C. R. Ellis married Miss Martha A. Ferguson. She was born in Crawford County, Indiana, in 1854, and is now living at Pittsburg. They were the parents of four children: Paris Tilghman; B. F., a locomotive engineer living at Monette, Missouri; Emma, wife of Thomas Mawson, Jr., a machinist at Pittsburg, Kansas; and R. H., a machinist at Monette, Missouri.
Paris Tilghman Ellis was educated in the public schools of Pittsburg, graduating from high school in 1900, and in the following year was a student in Baker University. While a student in the high school he assisted in organizing the first inter high school athletic association in Southeastern Kansas; was a leader in athletics, carrying off first honors, and his work as an organizer, debater and orator also won many honors for the school. His last good work while in school was to promote and edit the High School Purple and White Journal, which is still the chief paper read and kept by all students. He left college because of failure of his eyes from over-study and entered the ranks of wage earners, being employed by Wells Fargo & Company’s Express. He traveled through various points in Kansas, and for a few years was located at Topeka.
In this work he gained business experience and also saw the opportunity which in 1908 caused him to resign from the express company and engage in the insurance, real estate, loan and rental business at Pittsburg. He is associated with Mr. O. L. Stamm under the firm name of Ellis & Stamm. Through energy, industry and business ability Mr. Ellis had made himself a factor in the business life of this city and had contracted some of the large insurance and realty deals. With a fine knowledge of land values, he is regarded as one of the best qualified men in his line in Crawford County.
His interest had always been keen in the welfare of his home city, participating enthusiastically in all public matters. A republican in politics, he acted for several years as city auditor, was appointed city treasurer, and is now filling that office. He is also treasurer of the school board, had been treasurer of the Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the official board of the latter organization and now its president. He is also president of the Federated Council of Churches and member of the board of directors of the Young Men’s Christian Association. Besides his home at 512 West Second Street, Mr. Ellis owned several residences in Pittsburg, and is secretary and treasurer of the Mutual Investment Company of that city. He is affiliated with Pittsburg Lodge No. 196, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and with Smelter Camp No. 691, Modern Woodmen of America and Pittsburg Lodge 187, Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons. With the members of his family he belongs to the United Presbyterian Church, is chairman of its board of trustees, and had been superintendent of its Sabbath School for about seven years. Mr. Ellis was married at Pittsburg in 1906, to Miss Vernia A. Ralston. Her parents, J. H. and Susan (Onstadt) Ralston, are retired residents of Pittsburg. Mr. and Mrs. Ellis have one son, Paul Thomas, born July 27, 1913.