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Kentucky Genealogy and Biography, Volume 8B – Battle – Perrin – Kniffin, 1886.
ROBERT L. ELLISON, of Murray, Calloway County, now arranging to reside at Fort Worth, Tex., was born in Boone County, Mo., November 19, 1831, and is a son of Thomas and Lucinda (Grisson) Ellison. Thomas Ellison was a Virginian by birth, and a tanner by occupation; his father, Lewis Ellison, was one of the pioneer preachers of Kentucky. He died in Murray at the advanced age of ninety years. Thomas Ellison came to Kentucky when a boy, with his father, and after marriage moved to Missouri, but returned to Christian County, this State, where he died; his family removed to Calloway County in 1838. Mrs. Ellison married a second husband, a Mr. Atkisson, and moved to Wadesborough, coming final to Murray in 1846. At sixteen years of age our subject began clerking for D. C. Carlton, receiving the first year his board and $16. He then served as deputy circuit and county clerk under his brother, for several years. In 1856 he defeated two opponents for the office of circuit clerk by handsome majorities, receiving more votes than both, and held the position until 1862. In the same year the Federal forces arrested him for running for office, took him to Paducah, but released him shortly after, and he returned to his home. At the close of the war, under the firm name of Ellison, Godwin & Co., he built two brick business houses and carried on a grocery in one and a dry goods store in the other. A branch store was established at Crossland, Ky., under the firm name of B. Harding & Co., and for some time a heavy business was done in each of these stores. That in Murray was sold in 1871, and continued at Crossland, and in 1877, Messrs. Ellison and N. Harding established a State bank at Paris, Tenn., with Mr. Ellison as president. There Mr. Ellison built a fine business house and engaged also in the mercantile trade, all of which interests he disposed of preparatory to his departure to Fort Worth, Tex., where, in 1883, he secured an interest in a banking institution, which has since been converted into a national bank. He is also extensively interested in a Texas cattle company. He is entirely a self-made man, having started in life without a cent of capital. He has always taken a deep interest in educational matters, and was prominent in the management of the Murray Institute for many years. He is a member of the Masonic order and has taken a deep interest in the orphan’s home under the auspices of that fraternity. August 7, 1853, he married Lucy B. Curd; she died May 1, 1861, leaving three children, Thomas B., Mary L., and Lucy J., now deceased. In 1862 Mr. Ellison wedded Miss Thankful Ryan, of Murray; they have three children, Alice R., Sula P. and Robert.