Early Ellisville History
Ellisville was settled by Captain James Harvey Ferris of Kentucky before 1837. He brought slaves with him when he settled his property south of Manchester and west of Kiefer Creek Road, and it was here that the house that became known as the Ellis House was constructed. The bricks used for construction of the house were handmade by the slaves, and it was also called the Brick Place for this reason.
Captain Ferris sold the house to Vespasian Ellis, a newspaper editor in St. Louis. The Old School Democrat, the Native American Bulletin, the Washington Temperance Paper, and the Native American were publications edited by Ellis. In 1842, Ellis became the United States consul to Venezuela. He ran several ads in the Native American Bulletin in an effort to sell his Ellisville farm. As a result, it was sold to William A. Hereford in 1842 or 1843. Hereford was a Virginian and is credited with the naming of Ellisville after his former post office in Ellisville, Virginia. Hereford opened the 1st post office here on May 2, 1843. Some believe that the Ellis House itself actually served as the post office for a time. All historical accounts of the area give the same history, but none state clearly whether the town was named for Vespasian Ellis or by William Hereford for his Virginian post office.
Hereford sold to Samuel Wilson, and he sold to Major Clarkson of Kentucky, for whom Clarkson Road is named. Major Clarkson sold to Captain Benjamin F. Hutchinson of Kentucky, a steamboat captain and the owner of at least 3 steamboats. Captain Hutchinson raised fine horses and planted extensive orchards, greatly improving the surrounding countryside. In 1868, Captain Hutchison subdivided his farm into small lots.
Adam Doering then purchased the brick house and a considerable portion of the land. John Henry William Rasch purchased the house around 1896 from the Doerings. The Ellisville House stood until 1969 when it was razed.
The incorporation of Ellisville occurred in 1932 to create a public school district for Ellisville children. There were 3 schools in the area that had been organized by the early settlers:
- Oak Ridge School was organized sometime in the 1830s. It was used for church services as well as for school and other social events. Oak Ridge has been enlarged, moved, was closed during the Civil War, and then reorganized after the war ended. In 1909, a larger building was constructed. The school is now a private residence on Valley Road.
- Alt School was built on land given to St. John's Lutheran Church by William Hutchison. This 1-room schoolhouse still stands on Reinke road. In 1910, Alt School was designated as District 54 by the State of Missouri.
- The 3rd school was Ruwwe School located on Old State Road. Originally, the school was known as Sappington School, named for the Sappington Estate, but later renamed Ruwwe School for Judge Francis Ruwwe. In 1910, Ruwwe School was designated as District 55 by the State of Missouri. Today the school is a private residence.
All 3 of these schools were operating in the 1930s, but there were many people who wanted to create a public school district for Ellisville. To form a school district, they learned that they must first incorporate into a village. The election was held in May, 1932 and voters approved the proposition by the required 2/3 majority. Village trustees were Lester J. Gieselelr, William S. Shotwell, Wilfred Arft, Henry F. Reinke, and Earnest Karl.
On June 14, 1932, the Ellisville Village School District was formed. Classes were held in a 1-room brick school building, which still stands on Weis Avenue. In 1938, Ellisville Elementary School was opened on Marsh Avenue.
In 1949, there was a statewide reorganization of school districts. The Ellisville Village School District became part of the Reorganized District R-6 of St. Louis County, later called Rockwood School District.
Ellisville remained a village until 1957. On November 12, 1957, the voters approved a proposition for the village to become a 4th class city.
If you would like to read more about Ellisville and her history, 2 books, Ellisville Horizons and Golden Anniversary of Ellisville, Missouri 1932-1982, are available at the Daniel Boone Branch of the St. Louis County Library.