Memorable Manitobans: Joseph Henry Ellis (1890-1973)
Born at Coventry, England on 11 February 1890, he came to Manitoba as a young man, receiving a BSA degree from the Manitoba Agricultural College (1918) and an MSc degree from the University of Minnesota. In 1918, he was appointed to the Field Husbandry Department of the Manitoba Agricultural College and became head of its Soils Department in 1927, serving until retirement in 1955. He began the soil survey of Manitoba, publishing The Soils of Manitoba in 1938. He also wrote The Land for Thine Inheritance (1941) and The Ministry of Agriculture, 1870 to 1970 (1971). Regarded as a dynamic teacher, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Manitoba (1969).
On 21 October 1918, he married Beatrice Catherine Carrothers (1887-1987) at Brandon and they subsequently had six children: Beatrice Jane Ellis (1920-?, wife of James M. MacTavish), Constance Maude “Connie” Ellis (1922-?, wife of Don MacDonald), Marjorie Josephine Ellis, James “Jim” Ellis, Hugh Ellis, and Elnora Marie Ellis (c1929-1954). The family lived at 952 North Drive, Fort Garry. He was a member of the Scientific Club of Winnipeg (1931-1960). In recognition of his community service, he was inducted into the Manitoba Order of the Crocus (1967), Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt (1971), and Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame (1980).
He died at Winnipeg on 6 December 1973 and was buried in the Brookside Cemetery. He is commemorated by the Ellis Building at the Fort Garry campus of the University of Manitoba. There are extensive research papers at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections.
Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Birth registration [Beatrice Jane Ellis], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Girl killed in Toronto,” Winnipeg Tribune, 25 February 1954, page 1.
“Ellis given top award,” Winnipeg Free Press, 23 June 1971.
“Prof compiles history of Manitoba agriculture,” Winnipeg Tribune, 23 June 1971.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 8 December 1973, page 44.
Obituary [Beatrice Ellis], Winnipeg Free Press, 26 May 1987, page 39.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 14 December 2022