William Ellis, American Patriot

Published 1:25 pm Wednesday, January 30, 2019

William Ellis, who was born ca. 1752, was a soldier in the American Revolution, first as a member of the Continental Army serving at Valley Forge, and later as a member of a Virginia militia unit that performed valiantly against Cornwallis at Guilford Court House (North Carolina) in March 1781, in the final year of the American Revolution that ended in October. By that time, William Ellis was living in Lunenburg County.

Ellis and his wife made their home approximately 5 miles from Tussekiah Baptist Church, which had been founded in 1776, the year of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. When Thomas Crymes, the church’s first pastor died, William Ellis was called by the congregation to serve as Crymes’ successor, a position that he held for 20 years until his retirement in 1810. During that time, Tussekiah grew from about 25 members to 87. The church that Ellis served continues to thrive in Lunenburg County today.

William Ellis died in 1829. His proud great-granddaughters concluded that during his lifetime, he had “helped to establish a nation independent of Britain and a church independent of state.”