He was born in 1841 in Kentucky. After the Civil War, he decided to move to Texas for his health. He came to Texas around 1871 and found work farming.After a while, he began to study law again and got his license to practice after 8 months of study.
He started his law practice in January of 1872 and also formed a partnership for buying land with T. J. Duke. In 1876, Ewell formed a partnship with John P. Estes and later with B. M. Estes. In 1887, he hired R. C. Milliken and J. J. Hiner to work as students in his law practice.
He married Betty Black of Jefferson, TX. IN 1878, he was elected County Attorney of Hood County. He died in 1897.