An American Family History

Ellis Family

Berks County, Pennsylvania was formed on March 11, 1752 from parts of Chester County, Lancaster County, and Philadelphia County. Northwestern parts of the county became Northumberland County in 1772 and Schuylkill County in 1811.

Thomas Ellis was born in Wales in 1683.

He married Jane Hughes (Hugh) in 1712 at the Gwynedd Meeting House in Montgomery (was Philadelphia) County, Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of John Hughes and Martha Caimot.

Thomas and Jane were Quakers.

Thomas and Jane's children included:

Jonathan Ellis (1713),
Morris Ellis (1714, died as an infant),
Morris Ellis (1715, married Sarah Coulston),
Eleanor Ellis Lee (1717, married Thomas Lee),
Rowland Ellis (1718, married Sarah Stover),
Thomas Ellis (1721, married Magdaline Carlen),
Mordecai Ellis (1723, married Mary Hutton),
Enos Ellis (1725, married Elizabeth Coulston), and
Elizabeth Ellis (1727, died as an infant).

They owned 175 acres in Berks County, Pennsylvania.

The Society of Friends (Quakers) began in England in the 1650s, when they broke away from the Puritans. Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn, as a safe place for Friends to live and practice their faith.




"Rememb'ring Our Time and Work is the Lords:" The Experiences of Quakers on the Eighteenth-Century Pennsylvania Frontier by Karen Guenther

The four surviving sons of Thomas Ellis, one of the first overseers of Exeter Preparative Meeting demonstrated the tendency of Berks County Quakers to resettle among familiar faces. After Their father's death in 1760, the families of Enos, Thomas, Morris and Mordecai Ellis moved to Virginia. Enos Ellis, the youngest son, departed for Hopewell Montly Meeting in mid-1763, accompanied by his wife Elizabeth and seven children. . . Ellis Ellis, the second eldest son of Enos Ellis and nephew of Mordecai, also became an overseer for Middle Creek Preparative Meeting in the 1780s.


The town clerk was one of the first offices in colonial America. The clerk recorded births, marriages, and deaths.

from Exeter Monthly Meeting Minutes

Thomas Ellis of Exeter meeting was born in or near Merionethshire in the north of Wales in the year 1683 and came to Pennsylvania about the 24th year of his age, and soon after was Convinced of the Truth, married Jane Hughes, of, Gwynedd meeting in the year 1712.

He was a hearty lover of Friends and an Elder upwards of thirty years; spent some time in hearing traveling friends company to visit Friends in the back parts of Virginia; was of an innocent life and conversation, a diligent attendent of our meetings both for worship and Discipline, whilst of ability of Body, and Exemplery in Humble Waiting therein.

Although towards the latter part of His Time he was pretty much deprived of His natural Faculties and became like unto a child yet in the main quiet and Still to the end of His time here, which was 11th of the 6 mo, 1760 aged about 77 years.

Signed on behalf of Exeter meeting held at Maiden Creek
July 29, 1762
Benj. Lightfoot, clerk.

Gwynedd Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania was founded in 1698 by Welsh Quakers. The township split into Lower and Upper Gwynedd in 1891.