Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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ELLIS, Powhatan, jurist and politician, born in Virginia about 1794; died in Richmond, Virginia, about 1844. He was graduated at William and Mary in 1813, settled in Mississippi while it was a territory, gained a high reputation as a lawyer, and in 1818 was elevated to the supreme bench of the state, being one of the first judges of that court. He remained in office till 1825, when He was appointed by the governor to serve out the unexpired term of David Holmes in the U. S. Senate. The legislature elected Thomas B. Reed for the place, who displaced Mr. Ellis after he had served three months. At the next election, however, the latter was chosen senator for the'full term, but served only from 3 Dec.. 1827, till 1832, when he resigned to take his seat on the bench as U. S. judge for the district of Mississippi. While in the senate he joined Thomas H. Benton and William Smith in opposing the ratification of the treaty of 1828 with Mexico, which established a boundary line intersecting the Red and Arkansas rivers, thus leaving only Florida and Arkansas for the expansion of slavery. While on the bench he delivered more opinions than any contemporary judge. On 5 January 1836, he was appointed by President Jackson charge d'affaires in Mexico, and on 28 Dec. He closed the American legation. President Van Buren appointed him minister to Mexico on 15 February 1839, in which post Waddy Thompson superseded him on 21 April 1842. After his return he resided in Virginia.
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