Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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ELLIS, John Willis, governor of North Carolina, born in Rowan County, N. C., 25 November 1820; died in Raleigh, N. C., in 1861. He was graduated at the University of North Carolina in 1841, was admitted to the bar in 1842, and soon acquired a large practice. He was a member of the state House of Commons from 1844 till 1848, when he was elected a judge of the superior court of North Carolina. This office, in which he succeeded his former preceptor, Judge R. M. Pearson, who was elevated to the supreme bench, he held until 1858, when he was chosen governor of North Carolina. He was reelected in 1860, and died in office. On 2 January 1861, Governor Ellis took possession of Fort Macon, at Beaufort, the works at Wilmington, and the U. S. arsenal at Fayetteville, professedly on behalf of the state. On the 20th of April he ordered the seizure of the U. S. mint at Charlotte. He was active in promoting the passage of the secession ordinance in North Carolina.
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