The following information was written by my grandfather in 1940:
THE ELLISORS AND TURNIPSEED CONNECTION IN ALABAMA
About the year 1774, two young Hollanders by the name of Repsoma (could be spelled Ruebsamen) conceived the idea and nurtured the desire to come to the new world. They were brothers. In debating the matter in their minds, this fear was born: “Since it is not our country, we may be counted as intruders and deported.” While they yet debated the matter, the year 1775 came marching down the corridors of time, bringing with it the effort of the colonies to gain their independence, and the result was the Revolutionary War. When the war broke out, the Repsomas took new heart and said, “Now we have a chance. We will go over and help fight for the colonies; help them gain their independence; and then, it will be our country.”
They came over and enlisted in the Army of The Colonies and were put in different companies. One of them, a captain, translated his name into English. His name translated was Turnipseed. It is supposed that the other Repsoma was killed in battle. There is no further record of him. Captain Turnipseed settled in South Carolina when the war was over. He married and raised a family there.
His son, Samuel Turnipseed, married and raised a family of four sons and three daughters: Mary, William, Thomas, Eliza, David, George, and Susan. When Mary, the oldest child, was about fifteen years old, Samuel Turnipseed gathered together enough supplies to last until a crop could be grown and took his family in a covered wagon to Alabama, below Montgomery. They settled on the Catoma Creek, grubbing up reeds and planting a crop. Year by year, Samuel grew plenty for his family.
While they were living here an incident occurred which is worth remembering because it shows character. During their early days in this area near the Catoma Creek, Samuel Turnipseed’s wife stuck a needle in her heel. There were no doctors or drug stores near. The few neighbors living within reach came and did what they could to help; but in spite of all their ministries, it suppurated, blood poison set in, and she died. During her mother’s illness, Mary had to go alone one quarter of a mile through a swamp to the spring to get water at all hours of day and night. Wolves were howling on every side and there were other noises and dangers, but she had to go, and she went.
One night just before her mother’s death, Mary came into the house pale and trembling and asked if anyone present could tell her about a Daniel in the lion’s den. Someone told her the Bible story of Daniel. After the story was told Mary said, “Well, I have heard God talk. I was on my way home, coming through the swamp. The wolves were close enough that I could hear them popping their teeth, and I was sure that they would devour me. Just then, I heard a voice...one that I shall never forget. It came to me out of the darkness serenely saying, ‘Did I not take care of Daniel in the lion’s den, then why can’t I take care of you?’” The writer often heard her say that she had heard God talk and could never forget His voice.
A few years after this, four young Hollanders, Malachi, Jacob, David, and Adam Ellisor, came to the new world and landed in South Carolina. Their name, Ellisor, was never translated from the Dutch. In English, it means Sheriff or Officer of the Law. After spending some time in South Carolina, they decided to move further west, and they set out on their journey with no definite place of settlement in mind. Jacob, David, and Adam stopped in what is now Alabama, but Malachi, a Methodist local preacher, went on to Texas. We have heard very little of him since then and have met very few of his descendants. Davis died without marrying. Jacob married and left one child, Mattie. She married Rev. Axford, a Methodist Protestant minister of Alabama, and has descendants living in Selma.
Adam Ellisor went up on the Catoma Creek and got Mary Turnipseed for his wife. They were this writer’s paternal grandparents. They settled in the southern part of Montgomery County, Alabama, near Pine Level. They owned their home, farmed their land and fared very well. Adam died comparatively young, leaving his widow and their four children: Daniel, David, William (this writer’s father), and Elizabeth. Daniel died at the age of seventeen. David married Emily Corbett and had four children: Mattie, Charlie, Eliza, and Fannie. Along with William, David answered his state’s call of patriotism and joined the ranks of the Confederacy. He gave his best to the southern cause until he met with accidental death while at home on Furlough.
Eliza Ellisor married Josh Copeland and moved to Texas. Charlie married Cassie Barnes. Mattie and Fannie never married. Elizabeth Ellisor married Benjamin Barnes and left four children: Mary, John, Cassie and Benjamin (Ben Green). Mary married Buck Pugh; John married Savannah (Sweet) Windham; Cassie married first Charlie Ellisor and after his death, she married G. D. Griswold. Ben married Ella Ozier.
William Ellisor spent four years in Wheeler’s Cavalry in the Civil War. Someone said of him, “He is the only man I know who entered the war and went through the war and came out of it as good as he went in.” I want to record an incident here because it illustrates the Providence of God. When I was a little boy, I often heard my father tell of a yankee on horseback running him across a cornfield. When the “yankee” was within a few steps of him, he stopped, turned half around, took deliberate aim and fired his pistol. When my father did not drop, the enemy fled quickly. Father said, “I did not even hear the bullet. God turned it to keep it from killing me.” I thought that my father had a beautiful faith here, but I also thought that the enemy was just scared and did not shoot.
In later years I read the story of Shimei and David in the Old Testament. Shimei was of the house of Saul and did not care for David and cursed him to his face. Everyone urged David to arrange to have Shimei killed, but David did not do so. David could not explain why he did not have him killed. There was an inward urge, a quiet voice, which he obeyed. When Shemei was old and had raised his family, Soloman had him slain, but his children were carried with the Isrealites into bondage. Among them were Mordecai and Queen Esther, and they delivered Isreal.
If God had allowed Shimei killed by David, it would have cut off the deliverance of Isreal in the coming years, for Mordecai and Esther were in his loins that day he cursed David. After reading this inspiring story, then I believed that my father was correct. God had turned the bullet, for he knew that there were seven preachers and two preacher’s wives in my father’s loins that would be cut off if he allowed him killed. And there were to be plenty of others to follow. One of my father’s favorite verses was Psalm 37:5: “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.”
When he returned home from the war, he found his mother hopelessly in debt. She told him that if he would assume and pay the indebtedness, she would give him the farm and home. He accepted the proposition, and she deeded the property to him.
Going back a few generations, a family of Youngs came over to the new world from England and settled in South Carolina. One of their sons, Granville Grant Young, came down into Alabama and married Patience Ann Ozier. They settled not very far from the Ellisor place in the southern part of Montgomery County and raised a family. In that family was a girl of outstanding Christian character. She was Sarah Catherine Young. William Ellisor met her and fell in love with her. William married this girl and to this union were born eleven children. One son was born dead. The others were W. T. Ellisor, Carrie Elizabeth Ellisor, David Francis Ellisor, Mary Anne (Mollie) Ellisor, A. G. G. Ellisor, B. S. Ellisor, J. O. Ellisor, C. W. Ellisor, Sara Luella Ellisor, and Julian G. Ellisor.
W. T. Ellisor married Maude Solomon first and after her death, he married Lovie Stewart. There were no children. Carrie Ellisor chose single blessedness. David Francis Ellisor married Fidelia Hood, who died leaving one little girl, Mattie Catherine. After Fidelia’s death he married Sue Ethel McConnell and by this wedlock had two more children: Ethel Agnes and Thomas McConnell Ellisor. Mollie Ellisor married Charlie Flournoy and died leaving no children. A. G. Ellisor maried Ida Weathers and they have nine children. Ben S. Ellisor married Catherine Williams, and they have four children living and two dead. John O. Ellisor married Ethel Dillard and they have six children. All four of their boys are in the ministry: Thaddeus, Cecil, John Oscar, and Jimmy. The oldest daughter, Evelyn, married a minister, Rev. O. M. Sell. Cecil has one son who is in the ministry, Walter Ellisor. Charles married Emma Anderson and they have two children. Sarah Luella Ellisor married Rev. M. D. Taylor, and they have two children. Julian married Jessie McCoy, who died leaving him with four children. After her death, he married Mildred Holly and they have one child.
There are living today (July 1940) fifty seven direct descendents of William and Sarah Ellisor and eighteen in-laws. Of these, nine are Methodist ministers, and, going back to their original colonization in America, we know of fifteen Methodist ministers, three of whom are in-laws. The list begins with Davie Derrick, who came from Holland as a Methodist minister. He found it very difficult to master the English language, so he was sent as a missionary to the Dutch in America. His success in this capacity was most outstanding. The list of ministers continues with Malachi Ellisor, R. B. Turnipseed, his brother who had his name changed by legislative act and is unknown, S. U. Turnipseed, Andrew S. Turnipseed, W. T. Ellisor, D. F. Ellisor, A. G. Ellisor, B. S. Ellisor, C. W. Ellisor, J. T. Ellisor, C. M. Ellisor; the in-laws are O. M. Sell, M. D. Taylor, and J. C. Stewart, the latter of Goose Creek, Texas, who married a descendent of Malachi Ellisor.
On my mother’s side I am not able to tell how many became ministers. There are seventeen ministers by the name of Young in the former Methodist Episcopal Church South. Doubtless, they are all related in some degree, but we are not able to trace the relationships. Some years ago, this writer (Rev. D. F. Ellisor) counted six hundred relatives and not one of blood kin who was not a Methodist, and not one who had attained the age of twenty years who was out of the church. We are praying that the circle be unbroken yonder in the sky some sweet day.
D. F. Ellisor
July 4, 1940