Throughout Central California no man was better known or more highly esteemed than James H. Ellis, a successful dairy farmer, who became prominent as a substantial and well-to-do resident of Gilroy. He was the descendant of a prominent Virginia family and a native of the Old Dominion, born November 25, 1828. His parents moved to Illinois when he was but six years old; then re-moved to Montrose, Iowa, on the Mississippi River, and it was there he grew to manhood and acquired an education in the public schools. He was a member of a family of seven children, and after leaving school learned the bricklayer's trade and was thus engaged until he reached twenty-one, when he decided to remove to Califomia.

In 1849 he came across the plains with ox team and, locating in Colusa County, Cal., he engaged in mining for several years, and was quite successful at times, but he amassed no great wealth in this venture. About 1854 he spent a short time in Sacramento. Later, coming to the Santa Clara Valley, he located near Santa Clara, where he engaged in farming.
Mr. Ellis was married to Miss Harriet Zuck on November 25, 1855, his twenty-seventh birthday. Mrs. Ellis was the daughter of David and Maria Louisa (Linnton) Zuck, the former a native of Pennsylvania, and the latter of Ohio, and she was born in Marion County, Ohio, May 10, 1838. When a young man her father accompanied his parents to Ohio, locating first in Ross County and afterward in Marion County. In 1849 he came to California and engaged in mining, but in 1851 returned to Ohio. The following spring he again started west with his family, and after ajoumey of six months behind ox teams they reached their destination. The family first located in Marysville and Mr. Zuck followed mining until 1853, when he removed to Santa Clara County and purchased land near Gilroy, and it was upon this farm that both he and his wife passed their closing years.
Soon after marriage the young couple moved to the vicinity of Gilroy and it was there that Mr. Ellis rose to prominence as a dairy farmer, continuing for forty-six years. He had energy, was capable of hard work, and was ambitious, and these qualifications secured his advancement in the financial world.

 Retiring from active pursuits in 1891, he spent his remaining years in Gilroy, where his death occurred November 25, 1900. In national politics he was a supporter of the Republican party. He was one of the original stockholders of the old Bank of Gilroy and a director at the time of his death. With Jesse D. Carr he organized the Salinas City Bank of Salinas; also with Mr. Hawkins organized the first bank in Hollister and was a stockholder in the Commercial & Savings Bank of San Jose. Ater her husband's death, Mrs. Ellis continued to reside on the home place until she passed away in October, 1907. They were the parents of six children: Alvin L. died in May, 1919; Milton, deceased; Laura is Mrs. Frank Vetterline; Emma married George T. Dunlap and resides in Oakland; Dora married Edgar Hollaway and both are deceased; and Marion E. is deceased.

Transcribed by Carolyn Feroben from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page  792