Joseph Buell Ely, a son of Henry Wilson and Sarah Naomi (Buell) Ely, was born in Westfield, Massachusetts, on February 22, 1881. After receiving an excellent preparatory education in the Westfield public schools, he completed his college course at Williams College, whence he was graduated with the class of 1902, receiving the degree of Bachelor of Arts. His degree of Bachelor of Laws he received from the Harvard Law School of Harvard University in 1905, and in that same year was admitted to practice before the bar of the State of Massachusetts. He at once embarked upon his professional career by associating himself in practice with his honored father in Westfield and Springfield, and this happy association has continued throughout two decades, the firm of Ely & Ely now including another son, Charles F. Ely, and this well-known firm has steadily advanced in public favor. In 1915 Joseph Buell Ely was appointed district attorney by Governor Walsh, and again in 1916 he was elected for a three-year term. In 1919 he served as district attorney for the counties of Hampden and Berkshire, where he proved himself an admirable prosecutor and a worthy son of a brilliant father. He and his father are both members of the local and State Bar associations, while the junior Mr. Ely also holds membership with the Nayasset Club of Springfield, and the Park Club of Pittsfield. Both father and son are active in civic welfare circles, and no worthy movement which has as its design the advancement or improvement of Westfield, its environs, and its institutions ever meets with a refusal of their help to cooperate both with their time and their means.
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Joseph Buell Ely was married in Westfield, Massachusetts, on May 1, 1906, to Zelda Dyson, a daughter of Thomas and Emily Jane (Bush) Dyson, well known and highly respected residents of Westfield. Thomas Dyson was born in Windsor, England, on December 14, 1844, a son of James and Ann (Milne) Dyson, and a grandson of James Dyson, who was a native of Manchester, England. Thomas Dyson came to the United States in the year 1849, and served with distinction in the Union Army during the Civil War. Joseph Buell and Zelda (Dyson) Ely are the parents of one son, Richard Ely, born on July 15, 1907, and a representative of the tenth generation of the Ely family in America.