Henry Ellis (governor)

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Henry Ellis
6th colonial governors of Georgia
In office
17 May 1758 – November 1760
LieutenantJonathan Belcher
Preceded byJohn Reynolds
Succeeded byJames Wright
Governor of Nova Scotia
In office
Preceded byCharles Lawrence
Succeeded byMontague Wilmot
Personal details
County Monaghan, Ireland
DiedJanuary 21, 1806
Naples, Italy
Professionexplorer, author, and governor

Henry Ellis (August 29, 1721 – January 21, 1806) was an explorer, author, and a colonial governor of U.S. state of Georgia and Nova Scotia.


Early years[edit]

Ellis was born August 29, 1721 in County Monaghan, Ireland, the son of Francis and Joan (nee Maxwell) Ellis[1]. He studied law at the Middle Temple in London[1]. 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[2]" and in 1750 published "Considerations on the Great Advantages which would Arise from the Discovery of the North West Passage".[3] 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.

Governor of Georgia[edit]

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.[4][5] He published "Heat of the Weather in Georgia" in Philosophical Trans actions of the Royal Society in 1758.[6] 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.

Later years[edit]

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.[7] He afterward resided in Italy, principally occupied in scientific researches.Before he died he had a friendship with the creek leader.


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.


  1. ^ a b Who was who in America. Marquis-Who's Who. 1963.
  2. ^ Ellis, Henry. "A voyage to Hudson's-Bay by the "Dobbs Galley" and "California" in the years 1746 and 1747 for discovering a North West Passage". archive.org. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  3. ^ Ellis, Henry (1750). Considerations on the Great Advantages which would Arise from the Discovery of the North West Passage. London. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  4. ^ Ellis, Henry. "[Letter], 1760 Feb. 9, to the king's beloved men and head warriors of the upper and lower Creek Nations". Southeastern Native American Documents, 1730-1842. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  5. ^ Ellis, Henry. "[Letter] 1760 May 26, Savannah, Georgia to the Mico's Head-Men [i.e. Micco's headmen] and warriors of the Creek Nation". Southeastern Native American Documents, 1730-1842. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  6. ^ Ellis, Henry (1757). "An Account of the Heat of the Weather in Georgia". Philosophical Transactions. 50: 754. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  7. ^ http://faculty.marianopolis.edu/c.belanger/quebechistory/encyclopedia/HenryEllis.htm