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J. P. Ellison
Born April 26, 1851


Prominent among the representatives of business life in Jones county is J. P. Ellison of Martelle, the owner of extensive farming interests and closely associated with financial and commercial enterprises in the village as the owner of the bank and also of a large double general store. He has made rapid and substantial progress in his business career as the result of his ready and intelligent appreciation for and utilization of opportunities that others pass by heedlessly. Energy and perseverance constitute the foundation upon which he has builded his business prosperity, and the reliability of his course furnishes an example well worthy of emulation. Mr. Ellison was born on a farm three miles north of Mount Vernon, Linn county, Iowa, April 26, 1851, and is a son of Samuel Ellison, who arrived in that county in 1840 and homesteaded the place upon which the subject of this review opened his eyes to the light of day eleven years later. Samuel Ellison had been married in 1848 to Miss Mary Scott, and they became the parents of the following named: William G., who resides on the old homestead; J. P., of this review; Mrs. Ruth A. Chamberlain, whose home, is north of Mount Vernon; Mrs. Mary M. Oxley, residing east of Marion, Iowa, and Mrs. Jane Platner, whose home is near Mechanicsville. The death of the husband and father occurred on the old homestead March 23, 1888, but Mrs. Ellison still survives and is now living in Mount Vernon. Samuel Ellison was of that type of pioneers who developed the rich resources of the state and profited by their labors, which were not only a source of individual success but also constituted a potent element in the development of the state.
J. P. Ellison was reared on the old homestead and assisted in the arduous task of developing a new farm, continuing his work in the fields as the years went by. His educational opportunities were those afforded by the common schools while his business training was of the practical character that comes with farm work.
On the 2d of January, 1884, Mr. Ellison was united in marriage to Miss Eva Newman, a daughter of Emanuel and Elizabeth (Spade) Newman, who were the parents of ten children, five sons and five daughters, all of whom are living in Greenfield township with the exception of Elmer, who resides in Lee county; Otis, whose home is in Linn county; and Mrs. E. E. Miller, who is living at Estherville, Iowa. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Ellison have been born two children, Samuel H. and Ethel G., both of whom are at home with their parents. After attending the public schools in Anamosa they became students in Drake University at Des Moines, from which institution the daughter was graduated in June, 1907. She afterward returned to Drake University where she studied music for a year. Both the son and daughter are now assisting their father in his banking and commercial enterprises.
Mr. Ellison is one of the extensive land owners of Jones county, owning a homestead property of six hundred and fifteen acres on section 4, Greenfield township. This is valuable property and the soil, naturally rich and productive, brings forth large crops- as the reward of the care and labor bestowed upon the fields. The farm is splendidly equipped with all modern accessories and conveniences and from his agricultural interests Mr. Ellison derives a substantial annual income. Seeing the necessity for a bank in Martelle he organized one, placed it upon a substantial basis and inaugurated a safe and conservative policy which has won for it substantial success. It has, moreover, proved a valuable adjunct to the business interests of the village, and that the townspeople are appreciative of the convenience which it affords is indicated in the liberal patronage accorded it. Mr. Ellison is also the owner of a large double store in Martelle in which he carries a complete line of hardware, dry goods, groceries and shoes. He also derives a gratifying income from numerous residence properties which he owns. In matters of business judgment he is seldom if ever at fault and be does not fear to venture where favoring opportunity leads the way. His judgment of men and circumstances is sound and his recognition of possibilities in the business world has led him into important relations whereby his own success has been greatly promoted while the welfare and progress of the town have likewise been augmented.
Mr. Ellison and his family are members of the church of Christ at Martelle, and the son belongs to White Rose lodge, No. 279, K. Although Mr. Ellison has never sought nor desired political preferment, his fellow townsmen, appreciative of his worth and ability, have several times called him to public office. He has served as township trustee for nine years and was a member of the school board of his district for about a quarter of a century. He has been called at two different times to serve on the United States grand jury and on numerous occasions has been on both the grand and petit juries of the county. He is a stanch advocate of democracy, believing firmly in its principles and therefore giving unfaltering support to its men and measures. Mr. Ellison, moreover, is a man of kindly and generous spirit, befriending all who come to him in need. He gives generous support to the church and to public projects, meets every obligation of life in an honorable method and has at all times the courage of his convictions. He and his family are prominent in the social life of the community and Mr. Ellison has for long years been recognized as an influential factor here, wielding a wide and beneficial influence.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 51.

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