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Powhatan Ellis (January 17, 1790 – March 18, 1863) was a United States Senator from Mississippi and a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Mississippi.

Powhatan Ellis
Powhatan Ellis.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Mississippi
In office
July 14, 1832 – January 5, 1836
Appointed byAndrew Jackson
Preceded byPeter Randolph
Succeeded byGeorge Adams
United States Senator
from Mississippi
In office
March 4, 1827 – July 16, 1832
Preceded byThomas Buck Reed
Succeeded byJohn Black
In office
September 28, 1825 – January 28, 1826
Preceded byDavid Holmes
Succeeded byThomas Buck Reed
Personal details
Powhatan Ellis

(1790-01-17)January 17, 1790
Amherst County, Virginia
DiedMarch 18, 1863(1863-03-18) (aged 73)
Richmond, Virginia
Resting placeShockoe Hill Cemetery
Richmond, Virginia
Political partyJacksonian Democrat
EducationWashington and Lee University
Dickinson College (A.B.)
College of William & Mary

Education and careerEdit

Born on January 17, 1790, at Red Hill Farm in Amherst County, Virginia,[1] Ellis graduated from Washington Academy (now Washington and Lee University) in 1809, received an Artium Baccalaureus degree in 1810 from Dickinson College and graduated from the College of William & Mary in 1814, where he studied law.[1] He was admitted to the bar and entered private practice in Lynchburg, Virginia from 1813 to 1814, and from 1815 to 1816.[1] He was a lieutenant in the Prevost Guards of Virginia in 1814.[1] He resumed private practice in Natchez, Mississippi Territory in 1816.[1] He continued private practice in Winchester, Mississippi Territory (State of Mississippi from December 10, 1817) from 1816 to 1817.[1] He was a Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court from 1817 to 1818, and from 1818 to 1825.[1]

Congressional serviceEdit

Ellis was appointed as a Jacksonian Democrat to the United States Senate from Mississippi to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of United States Senator David Holmes and served from September 28, 1825, to January 28, 1826, when a successor was elected and qualified.[2] He was an unsuccessful candidate for election to fill the vacancy.[2] He was elected as a Jacksonian Democrat to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1827, to July 16, 1832, resigning to accept a judicial position.[2]

Federal judicial serviceEdit

Ellis was nominated by President Andrew Jackson on July 13, 1832, to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Mississippi vacated by Judge Peter Randolph.[1] He was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 14, 1832, and received his commission the same day.[1] His service terminated on January 5, 1836, due to his resignation.[1]

Later career and deathEdit

Ellis was appointed charge d'affaires to Mexico for the United States Department of State by President Jackson, serving from January 1836, to December 1836, when he closed the legation.[1] He was appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Mexico for the United States Department of State by President Martin Van Buren, serving from 1837 to 1842.[1] He resumed private practice in Natchez starting in 1842, and continued private practice in Richmond, Virginia until 1863.[1] He died on March 18, 1863, in Richmond.[1] He was interred in Shockoe Hill Cemetery in Richmond.[2]

Heritage and familyEdit

Some accounts deemed Ellis to be a descendant of Pocahontas.[3] In 1833, he married Eliza Rebecca Winn (died spring 1835).[4]


The city of Ellisville, Mississippi is named in Ellis's memory.[5][6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Powhatan Ellis at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  2. ^ a b c d United States Congress. "Powhatan Ellis (id: E000136)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  3. ^ Thomas H. Somorville, "A Sketch of the Supreme Court of Mississippi", in Horace W. Fuller, ed.,The Green Bag, Vol. XI (1899), p. 504.
  4. ^ The Southern Literary Messenger: Devoted to Every Department ..., Volumes 35-36 April 1863 p.250
  5. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963.
  6. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 117.