Friday, January 22, 2016

An Ellis Family Story

As we know in Western Sussex County and Wicomico County some of the major surnames everyone seems to have in their family tree are Hearns, Ellis, Waller and Hastings.   There is a story concerning the Ellis family you may be interested in.  Joseph Ellis (1718-1785) lived in old Somerset county (Today Wicomico County) and he was married to Easter Culver.  Easter and Joseph produced at least eleven known children.  One of the children was Stephen Ellis who is the person most people around Delmar are descended from.  This however is not a story of Stephen.  This is about how after Joseph died in 1785 his wife Easter took the younger children and migrated to Georgia.  At this time there was a number of families from the Eastern Shore migrating to Georgia  and Creek Indian country. Easter and her family traveled with the Mattox family to Georgia.  At least one son, Levin, was already established in Hancock County Georgia.  Easter seem to have settled around Greene County as in 1787 her youngest daughter Temperance (Tempy 1783-1865) had gone to visit a neighbor’s family – James Scarlett.  While at the Scarletts, Creek Indians attacked the Scarlett farm taking Tempy captive, plus Elizabeth Scarlett (Wife of James) , James Hambrio and Harry a negro boy captive  and killing James Scarlett, and Stephen Scarlett.  Tempy was about 5 years old at the time.  She would be held by the Creek Indians as a slave until 1796 when she was about 14.
Tempy was freed from the Indians by Milly a person who ran a tavern and had a toll bridge on “Norcoce Chappo” creek which was on a trade route between Pensacola and Mt Pleasant, Alabama (today it called Milly Branch after Milly) .  Milly had heard rumors of the white child and went to see the Chief where she traded ten ponies and six head of cattle for her.  Eventually Tempy would make her way back to the home of James Seagrove, superintendent of Indian affairs at St. Mary Georgia. 

Tempy’s life would be haunted again by mishaps. After she married Thomas Frizzle (Frazell) around 1806 in Georgia.  They would move to Pike County Alabama and have at least six children.  Her husband would die in 1857 by poisoning from their cook, thirty other people would be sick and six would die (see Below writeup)
From the New York Times September 25, 1857, Page 2
The Late Poisoning Case in Alabama

From the Montgomery (Ala.) Mail
One of our subscribers, from Pike County, informed us yesterday of a most horrible and atrocious case of poisoning in that county, just below the line of Montgomery, and in the neighborhood of Bruceville. The annals of crime will hardly show a more extensive and diabolical piece of villainy.
It seems that a German, or Hungarian, whose name our informant had forgotten, was on intimate terms with a negro woman, the property of old Mr. Thomas Frazell, one of the earliest settlers of Pike, This man had once been in the employ of Mr. F, and was familiar With his premises. Some time since he had been detected in gambling with Mr. F.'s , negroes, and Mr. F. had instituted prosecution against him. On Saturday evening, 12 Inst., he was seen in conversation with the negro woman alluded to, at the well, although he had received orders from Mr. Frazell never to come about his premises.
On Sunday there were some 37 persons dining at Mr. Frazell's House, of whom about 30 were visitors from the neighborhood. All these became sick soon after eating, vomiting violently and the cook being arrested immediately, on a suspicion of poisoning at once proceeded to state as follows: She said that the white man above referred to, while at the well, had given her a vial containing arsenic, which he had instructed her to mingle with " the meal, the milk, the butter and the coffee". He was particularly desirous that it should go into every article of food because Mr. Frazell was in delicate health, and generally ate very sparingly. The Negro woman said she followed the instructions of her lover to the letter - who by the way, added to his instructions the remark "after the old man had taken that, he would hardly prosecute him in that case."
The poison was administered, as we have seen, but too successfully. The whole assemblage of persons were put under its influence: and at the last accounts six had died from Its effects.  Old Mr. Frazell died about sunset Sunday, the day of the poisoning. His overseer's wife and two children, Mrs. Cloud a widowed daughter of Mr. F., and Mr. F.'s grand-daughter died the next day. Several others were lying in a critical condition, and doubtless there will be more victims of this awfully fiendish crime.
Mr. Jack Frazell, son of the old man, happened to be out of meal, on the day of the poisoning, and sent to his father's and borrowed a bushel. All who partook of this, including a brother who had declined to eat at his father's, having come in after some of the company had got sick, were more or less affected.
After we had written the above, our informant, Mr. J. M. Johnson of Pike, called on us again, and gave us the name of the poisoner, which is Comiska.
Mr. J. further states that the infuriated people of the neighborhood have burnt the negro woman, and will perform the same service for Camiska on next Monday, In the meantime he is safely lodged in jail at Troy.  He neither denies nor admits anything.

Temperance Ellis Frizzle would die on August 22, 1865 at age 62.  At one time her story was taught in Alabama schools. 

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