Robert E. Ellis was born January 2, 1868. Then, 20 years later, Fannie Thomas was born at the home of her parents, Mr. & Mrs. John Kinchole Thomas. Robert and Fannie had met at a candy breaking party (taffy pulling) in Van Zandt County. Fannie was 12 and Robert was 32. They knew each other for another two years before Robert asked for Fannie’s hand in marriage. Even though there was a big age difference, there was never any doubt of the love they shared.
It was a rainy day on Thursday, July 10, 1902 that they wed. They then moved into a tent at Fruitville, Texas where they lived for seven months. The floor was sand with boards placed under the bed legs to prevent it form sinking into the sand. There was no cook stove and Fannie cooked outside over an open fire. She had a deep cast iron skillet with a lid that she used for making pies, biscuits and cornbread. She washed clothes with a rub board in a big black iron kettle and she used that same kettle to cook meat grease with ashes and lye to make lye soap.
They began building a home while living in the tent. Their first child, Ira Kinchole Ellis, was born on April 28, 1905. He lived only four hours. Work was scarce in that part of the country and that fall they went to Princeton to pick cotton for an uncle, John Ellis.
Soon they moved to Dallas County and lived with Fannie’s parents. According to Sams Street 1900 Map, their residence would have been located near Liberty Grove & Elm Grove Rd. Her parents were also instrumental in founding the Antioch Baptist Church which was located near the Pleasant Valley Cemetery at Sachse, Texas.
In 1906 they found a house at Liberty Grove. Their daughter, Mary Elizabeth Ellis was born in this house on May 30, 1906. She died January 28, 1913. Note: I was helping clean up the Cottonwood Cemetery sometime around 2008 when my sister, Darla Clemmons, removed some bush. There was a small marker under the bush with the inscription, “Mary E. Ellis”. I called a family member and they told me that they had been to the cemetery and spent most of a day searching for that marker. I ask what the little girl had died from and was told she died from membrane croup.
Robert and Fannie continued to move from place and three more children were born. They were Lula Bell, April 6, 1908; Melvin Levi, July 22, 1910 and Robert Eldin Ellis, Jr., November 19, 1920.
In 1920 the family moved into Wylie and Robert became very ill by the 1930s. Fannie got a job with the WPA. during the Great Depression. She worked in the sewing room making overalls where she earned $9 per week.
Hard times never diminished their spirit. They always found strength in each other and in God. Robert died at Wylie, Texas on Christmas Eve in 1950. Fannie continued to live at Wylie until her death.