Thomas Ellis and Sarah Mcginley

Taken from Chaps and Chinooks
Provided by the Edge Family (Edith Edge Hanna)

Thomas and Sarah Ellis
Thomas & Sarah (Mcginley)

Our Grandparents, Thomas and Sarah (Mcginley) Ellis left Pakenham, Lank County, Ontario in April 1886 to come west. They brought their family of six sons, Robert, Thomas Jr., Oliver, Jack, Edward (Ned) and William, and three daughters, Sarah Jr., Mary, and Martha. It was difficult to buy land in Ontario for so many sons, so the decision was made to go west where they might file on homesteads.

Though the CPR tracks were laid through to the West Coast, the passenger trains did not travel beyond Calgary at that point. There the family stayed while grandfather and his older sons scouted the surrounding districts for land, finally deciding on the Jumping Pound area where the trees provided logs for their homes and barns and the river was a good source of water for their livestock.

Grandfather filed on SW 20-24-4-W5. While Grandfather and his sons built a log house and barn and put up fences, Grandmother and the younger children remained in Calgary renting a house from Mr. Costello, whose youngest son Michael became the Mayor of Calgary (1914-18). Before winter, the family was settled on the homestead. My mother, Sarah Jr., told us that she, Bill and Ned walked most of the way out from Calgary, while grandmother and grandfather followed with horse and wagon only passing one home on the way (belonged to John Barnes of the Springbank Area). The women folk had not seen another white woman in a whole year.

Grandfather bought a few milk cows, but his main stock was sheep, purchased from the British American Ranch, owned by Senator Cochrane on the north side of the Bow River.

The Indians from Morley came by often, offering beaded moccasins and deer skin coats for sale. They were quite friendly. The men would come in the house and visit and have a cup of tea but the women and children were shy and would remain outside, sometimes peeking in the windows. One elder taught the Ellis boys many words of the native language.

The Ellis sons, Robert, Thomas, Oliver, Jack, Bill and Ned all filed on homesteads with the usual quarter section preempted alongside. Grandfather was able to hold homesteads for the younger sons until they came of age, Bill and Ned being only 14 and 12 when the family came west.

When the first post office was established on the Jumping pound in 1892, it was suggested that it be called Ellisville, but grandfather objected by saying that in time there might be no one living there by that name, which was proven true, and was luckily given the more romantic name of Jumping Pound.

Martha Mcginley and Alexander McLellan
Martha Ellis (daughter of Thomas
and Sarah) with her husband,
Alexander McLellan

In 1894, our grandparents, with sons Robert and Thomas Jr., daughters Mary and Martha, moved to Nanaimo BC. Martha married Alexander McLellan of Nanaimo. After the death of Thomas and Sarah Ellis in 1916, Mary returned to Jumping Pound and kept house for her brother Oliver until his death in 1940. She returned to Nanaimo and passed away in 1954. Martha Ellis McLellan also died in 1954 in Vancouver.

The homestead house of logs was sold to Billy Bradley and was moved to the NW 34. The Bradley family lived there until 1908 or 1909. The Pepper and then the Norman family lived there until the house was burnt down.

Ned Ellis filed and proved up a homestead in the Jumping Pound area, but ranching did not appeal to him so he sold his land and built the Cochrane Hotel and managed it for a few years. While there he met and married Mary Carter in Calgary Oct. 15. 1900. They moved to Wainwright, Alberta where he was in charge of the Buffalo Park. Finally, he went to Banff where he drove tourists with a team and surrey before cars were allowed in the park. He sold his team of Bryno and Queenie to his brother Bill. They were then sold to Clem Gardner who used them as leads on his chuckwagon races at the early stampedes. Ned was a keen curler and won may trophies. Ned passed away in November of 1937 and is buried in Banff next to Mary.

Ned and Mary had one daughter, Edna Muriel Ellis, born May 27th, 1903 Banff, Alberta. Edna married Edward William Higgett, and they had three children, Donald, Mervyn and Merla (Nov. 26, 1939. Merla married Archibald Marcus MacIntyre Aug. 2, 1964 and had two children. Marcus Scott Dec 22, 1964, and David Murray (June 15, 1970.) The family spent many winters in Victoria BC.

Marc MacIntyre provided the information for this Profile. For more information about the Grandparents Thomas and Sarah and their children, please refer to Chaps and Chinooks - A History West Of Calgary, published by the Foothills Historical Society, 1976. Corrections provided by Brock Alexander McLellan, 2021.