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History of Benton County, Iowa
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1910; Luther B. Hill, Ed.

Page 422

W[illiam]. C. ELLIS is the successor of his father, the late Cornelius Ellis, in the promotion of the extensive business affairs which were found and developed for so many years by the great energy of the latter. Besides being at the head of the Ellis Lumber Company, with which he began when he was thirteen years old, he has become prominently identified with other business and financial enterprises of this vicinity.

He is vice president of the Farmers National Bank of Vinton and president of the Vinton Savings Bank. He is vice president of the Iowa Canning Company, the largest corn-canning establishment in the world. This company was organized in 1892, with a capital of $20,000, and the capital has since been increased to $200,000 and the business expanded accordingly. Four plants are now operated, at Vinton, LaPorte City, Garrison, Shellsburg. Their output varies from year to year, ten million cans being the highest amount, and the average is perhaps eight million cans. This immense food product is distributed through jobbers all over the Mississippi valley and the Pacific coast. The officers of this company are: C. C. Griffin, president; W. C. Ellis, vice president; F. G. Ray, secretary, and George Knox, treasurer.

Mr. Ellis was born near Indianapolis, Indiana, July 4, 1853, at three years of age came to Benton county, and grew up in Vinton and obtained his education in the town schools. He began working in the Ellis lumber yard when thirteen years old, and after the retirement of his uncle in 1876 the firm became C. Ellis & Son, the latter being W. C. Ellis. Since the incorporation of the business in 1898, one of Mr. Ellis' sons, Robert C., was secretary until his death in 1904, and A. H. Ellis, another son, now holds that position.

Mr. W. C. Ellis, as a Republican in national politics, has taken a somewhat active interest in local public affairs, having served as city treasurer and in other minor offices.

He married, in Vinton, in 1875, Miss Gitty H. Young. She was born in Big Grove township, and is a daughter of the Benton county pioneer, Robert N. Young (whose history is given below.) Mr. and Mrs. Ellis' children are: Robert C., who died in 1904, at the age of twenty-seven, leaving a wife and one son, who are now residents of Omaha; A. H., secretary of the Ellis Lumber Company, who is married; Mattie, wife of T. J. Bracken, assistant cashier of the First National Bank of Tama; Hazel, at home, a graduate of the State Teachers College at Cedar Falls; Lawrence W., in his senior year at Tilford Academy.

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