Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biograpy of Isadora "Dora" Ellis, ca. 1857-1928

By Linda D. Wilson, Independent Historian

Ohio suffragist Isadora(e) "Dora" Ellis was born circa 1857. Her Quaker parents, Seth Hockett (1830-1904) and Rebecca Jane (Tressler) (1833-1908) Ellis, were married on August 21, 1851, in Warren County, Ohio. By 1870 the family was living in Clear Creek, Warren County, Ohio. Dora Ellis had at least six siblings. Her father was a teacher before he married. After his marriage, Seth Ellis was a farmer and one of the founders of the Ohio State Grange of Patrons of Husbandry.

Dora Ellis's childhood is obscure from extant records. However, as an adult, she was active in the women's suffrage movement. The first mention of her participation occurred in October 1911 when she attended a meeting of the Ohio Woman Suffrage Association. The Dayton Herald newspaper lists her as an attendee representing the Ohio Grange. The Ohio Woman Suffrage Association organized in 1885. Prior to working for women's suffrage, Ellis was a member of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) by May 1893, when she gave a response to Reverend Herr's welcome address at the annual convention. Ellis continued to be active in that organization until December 1907, when she entertained a group of WCTU women.

As early as 1885, Dora Ellis was a member of the Ohio grange and its education committee in December that year. She attended the state convention in December 1902, held in Defiance, Ohio, and was an officer of the flora department. In 1908, Ellis attended the State Grange meeting in Columbus, when she was elected to officer of pomona (relating to fruit trees). Significantly, Ellis associated with a national organization that advanced the legal status of women. Organized at the national level in 1867 in Washington, D.C., the grange supported women's rights as citizens.

As an unmarried woman she sought wage-earning work. According to the 1880 census, Dora Ellis was a teacher in Clear Creek, Ohio. In June 1908, Ellis was one of eight women appointed to inspect shops and factories in which women and children were employed. Extant records indicate she held the position of state inspector through 1909. In October 1910 she garnered an administrative job at the Experimental Station in Wooster, Ohio. She continued in this occupation at least through 1915.

Dora Ellis never married. She died on May 30, 1928, in Warren, Ohio. Ellis was buried in the Miami Cemetery, Corwin, Warren County, Ohio, where her parents are also buried.

Sources:

Allen County (Lima, Ohio) Republican-Gazette, July 19, 1904.

American Friend 11 (1904), 501, accessed through Ancestry.com on January 7, 2022.

Bucyrus (Ohio) Journal, June 12, 1908.

Daily Times (New Philadelphia, Ohio), June 12, 1909.

Dayton (Ohio) Herald, December 10, 1885, December 6, 1907, October 4, 1910, and October 13, 1911.

Eleanor Flexner and Ellen Fitzpatrick, Century of Struggle (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1996), 173.

Hamilton (Ohio) Evening Journal, May 26, 1893.

Marion (Ohio) Star, June 11, 1908.

Marysville (Ohio) Journal-Tribune, June 24, 1904.

Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station, Sixth Annual Report on Forestry Operations, Bulletin 276, June 1914 (Wooster, OH), accessed through Ancestry.com on January 7, 2022.

Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station, Summer Treatment of Green-House Soil, Bulletin 281, January 1915 (Wooster, OH), accessed through Ancestry.com on January 7, 2022.

Ohio, U.S., County Marriage Records, 1774-1993, accessed through Ancestry.com on January 7, 2022.

Ohio, U.S., Death Records, for Dora Ellis, 1908-1932, 1938-2018, accessed through Ancestry.com on December 15, 2021.

Stark County Democrat (Canton, Ohio), December 16, 1902, and December 17, 1908.

U.S. Census, 1850, Wayne, Warren County, Ohio.

U.S. Census, 1870 and 1880, Clear Creek, Warren County, Ohio.

U.S. Census, 1900 and 1910, Wayne, Warren County, Ohio.

U.S., Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Vol. 5, accessed through Ancestry.com on January 7, 2022.

U.S. Find a Grave, 1600s-Current, Dora Ellis, Seth Hockett Ellis, and Rebecca Jane Ellis, accessed through Ancestry.com on December 15, 2021.

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