Biography of Jackson W. Ellis

Jackson W. Ellis was born in Sweet Town, Cherokee Nation, in 1859. In youth he attended the public schools, and as early as sixteen years of age went to work on a farm. Jackson was the only son of the late Edward Ellis, who, with his brother Samuel, was killed at Fort Gibson during the war while corralling the horses of their company. At the age of twenty-one he was appointed deputy sheriff of Tahlequah district, also sheriff of commissioner’s court; and later, in 1872, deputy warden of the national penitentiary, and in the same year commissioner of the quarantine district. In 1876 he went into the drug business until 1878, when he clerked for the two years following in a mercantile house. In 1885 he was appointed Deputy United States Marshal for Western District of Arkansas, and the same year was appointed on the Indian police force. He had not been employed in this capacity over six weeks, when in self-defense, he shot down Bud Trainer on the streets of Tahlequah. Jackson then moved to Fort Gibson, where he was appointed city marshal. Here he shot and killed Dick Van, who resisted arrest. Dick was the murderer of Captain Sixkiller, of the Indian police, and a noted desperado. From thence he went to Atoka, where he was appointed officer of the peace. During his four years here he shot and killed Harry Finn, a desperado who had killed his father in Missouri, and was following the business of whisky peddler. This was followed by the shooting and capture of Charley Carter, a desperado and murderer, whom the officer was tracing for some time. Jackson Ellis also shot and captured Watson and Whitrock, both whisky venders and desperate men. In all these instances Officer Ellis never out stepped the bounds of duty; such is the public verdict, and all law-abiding citizens feel themselves indebted to this fearless officer for clearing the country of so many “terrors to society.” In 1890 the subject of our sketch, in partnership with D. J. Folsom, commenced the practice of law in Atoka, but the former was soon after appointed constable for the second division United States court at South McAlester, under Judge Shackelford, which office he is now holding. Jackson Ellis married Miss Beatrice Becklehymer, by whom he had two children, neither of whom survived, their mother following them to the grave in 1883. In 1885 he married Miss Cordelia C. Smith, daughter of N. J. Smith, of Cherokee, principal chief of the eastern band of Cherokees. Mrs. Ellis is a young woman of great personal attractiveness, highly educated and possessing talents which, in the social scale, place her on a footing with the most accomplished of her sex. Jackson Ellis is fully six feet five inches in height, a fearless determined man and a fine specimen of his race.


Indian Territory,

O'Beirne, Harry F. and Edward S. The Indian Territory: Its Chiefs, Legislators, and Leading Men. St. Louis. 1898.

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