Matt E. Ellis
Contributed by June Ellis Carter


My grandfather was Matthew Edward (Matt E.) Ellis, born on September 13, 1848 in GA., (his tombstone gives his birth date as 1844 but his parents did not marry until 1848 so I figured that he gave an earlier birth date in order to be eligible to enlist).

Matt enlisted with his father, John W. Ellis at the same place and the same time. He died in the Atlanta Confederate Soldier's Home in Atlanta, GA., April 4, 1922. On his record at the Soldier's Home, he stated that he was wounded in his left leg and thigh on July 4, 1863 but did not give the name of the location where he was wounded (it could possibly be at Gettysburg as this is where history states that his Company was at that time).

Matt was also sent to the Armory in Macon, GA;, after he was wounded. He remained there until being discharged on May 27, 1865. Then he settled in Calhoun, GA., where he married Naoma Josephine (Josie) Phillips, daughter of Thomas Greene and Mary (Sessions) Phillips. She was born April 27, 1849 and died January 15, 1897. Matt and Josie are both buried in the Fain Cemetery in Gordon County, Calhoun, GA. Also buried along side of them are their children, Eddie L., Minnie Belle, Tommy G., Matt Reeve, and Rufe Malone. They had two sons who lived to adulthood, James Harry Ellis, who served in the Spanish American War and is buried in the Fort Gibson National Cemetery in Fort Gibson, OK., and Harlan Columbus Ellis (my father), who is buried in the Green Hill Cemetery, in Muskogee, OK.

Matt was one of the first six men in Calhoun, GA., to be awarded the Southern Cross of Honor by the Daughters of the Confederacy in the court house in Calhoun, Georgia in June of 1905. This has been verified by the Daughters of the Confederacy Reference Department in Richmond, VA. Matt wore the medal proudly and when he died the medal was given to his son, Harlan Columbus Ellis. When Harlan died, the medal was given to one of his daughters, but a fire which destroyed her home, also destroyed the medal.

In 1888 a cyclone hit Calhoun, Ga., and destroyed Matt's carriage and wagon shop and most of his home. It was stated that he incurred the biggest total loss of anyone in the county. In September of that year, Matt's house burned and among his losses were his most important papers, which probably included his discharge papers from the War between the States.

In July of 1888, Matt built a new blacksmith shop. In September of the same year, he held the position of Assistant Doorkeeper for the local Farmer's Alliance. The same year, on October 23rd, his shop burned, along with a large portion of Calhoun town. He had the mumps in January of 1889. He rebuilt and reopened his shop the following May of 1889.

In January, 1890, Matt was elected to the Calhoun Town Council and also in July of 1890 he participated in a reunion of the Coonfederate Veterans as part of the Eighth Georgia Battalion (this was the first mention of this unit designation - perhaps it was designated as such for postwar purposes). He was a trustee of the Fain Cemetery in Calhoun, GA., and was responsible for the care and improvements to the cemetery.

Some of the battles Matt listed on his records at the Atlanta Confederate Soldier's Home were: Seven Pines, First and Second Manassas, Malvern Hill, Wilderness, and others. He also stated that he was sent on Special Detail on several occasions around Richmond, VA. His commanding officers at the date of entering the service were Captain John Evans and Major A. R. Wright, and his commanding officers at the date of his discharge were Captain John Evans and Col. Claiborn Snead. His rank at the time of his discharge was Private.

He was a member in good standing with the Oothcaloga Lodge Free and Accepted Masons No. 154 from 1892 until his death. He served as Junior Deacon from 1893-1895 and was Secretary for many years. He became an Emeritus member in 1919 and died in good standing on April 4, 1922. His interment took place in the Fain cemetery with Masonic honors and Rev. C.S. Henderson conduted the services. His obituary was in the Calhoun Times on Thursday, April 6, 1922.


Civil War bullet"Return Fire" to 3rd GVI Veterans Page, 1/30/2004