Henry Ellis (governor)

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Henry Ellis
6th colonial governors of Georgia
In office
17 May 1758 – November 1760
Lieutenant Jonathan Belcher
Preceded by John Reynolds
Succeeded by James Wright
Governor of Nova Scotia
In office
Preceded by Charles Lawrence
Succeeded by Montague Wilmot
Personal details
Born 1721
County Monaghan, Ireland
Died January 21, 1806
Naples, Italy
Profession explorer, author, and governor

Henry Ellis (1721 – January 21, 1806) was an explorer, author, and a colonial governor of U.S. state of Georgia and Nova Scotia.


Ellis was born in County Monaghan, Ireland. He was educated in law at the Temple Church in London. In May 1746, he went out as agent of a company for the discovery of the Northwest Passage. After extinguishing with difficulty a fire in his ship, he sailed to Greenland, where he exchanged commodities with the Inuit peoples on 8 July. He then proceeded to Fort Nelson, and wintered in Hayes River. He renewed his efforts in June 1747, without success, and returned to England; where he arrived on 14 October. He published an accounts of his explorations in 1748, entitled "Voyage made to Hudson's Bay in 1746, by the Dobbs Galley and The California, to discover a Northwest Passage[1]" and in 1750 published "Considerations on the Great Advantages which would Arise from the Discovery of the North West Passage".[2] After publishing these accounts, Ellis was inducted into the Royal Society.

From 1750 to 1755, Ellis worked as a slave trader, purchasing slaves from Africa and shipping them to Jamaica.

Lord Halifax, President of the Board of Trade named Ellis lieutenant governor of Georgia, 15 August 1756. Ellis arrived at Savannah, Georgia on 16 February 1757, and on 17 May 1758, was made royal governor. His administration of the colony was highly esteemed. Recognizing the danger posed to the colony by hostile neighbors, he established a treaty with the Creeks.[3][4] He published "Heat of the Weather in Georgia" in Philosophical trans of the Royal Society in 1758.[5] The subtropical climate took its toll on his health, and he had to be removed from governor then left Georgia on 2 November 1760, and stopping in New York to request military assistance to the southern colonies.

After his return to England his knowledge of American affairs were called into requisition for developing the plan for taxing the colonies, and in return for this service he was rewarded with sinecure offices. From 1761 to 1763 he held the commission of governor of Nova Scotia, though he did not enter on the duties of his office.[6] He afterward resided in Italy, principally occupied in scientific researches.

He died on January 21, 1806(1806-01-21) (aged 84–85) in Naples, Italy.


Ellis left his name to Fort Ellis (Nova Scotia), and incidentally to Fort Ellis Road.