Biography of Erastus E. Eells
Columbiana County, OH Biographies

Erastus E. Eells, mortician, is among Lisbon's reliable and representative business men. He was born in Lisbon, March 24, 1879, and is the son of Leonard Hanna and Minerva J. (Chain) Eells. Leonard Hanna Eells was the son of Erastus E. and Mary Ann (Ramsey) Bells.

Erastus Eells, deceased, was a prominent pioneer of Columbiana County. He was born on Clapboard Hill, New Canaan, Fairfield County, Conn., Aug. 9, 1808. The first of the Eells to cross the ocean was John, who came over in 1628, and returned to England in 1640, taking his son Samuel Eells, who was the first Eells born in America, born in 1639. This son returned to America in 1661. He was a prominent lawyer, a major in King Phillips War, and died in Massachusetts in 1709. Erastus Eells was the son of Samuel Eells. Erastus Eells' great grandfather, Rev. John Eells, of Milford, Conn., was the first minister of New Canaan, having charge of the Congregational Church as early as 1733. Jeremiah B. Bells was also a native of New Canaan, Conn. The father of Erastus Eells was Nathaniel Eells. His wife was Elizabeth Hoyt, daughter of Justice Hoyt, a Baptist minister of New Canaan, Conn. The family came to Columbiana County as long ago as 1817, locating near New Lisbon, where Nathaniel Eells died in August, 1823. They had nine children: Eliza, Alvira, Polly, Nathaniel, Hannah, Emeline, Elections, Erastus and George. Erastus Bells remained on the home farm in Elk Run Township until 1824 when he came to New Lisbon and entered upon an apprenticeship to learn cabinet making with Joseph Ledlie, with whom he remained three years. After working as a journeyman one year he opened a shop of his own in 1828 and was perhaps one of the oldest cabinet makers and undertakers in the State of Ohio. Mr. Eells was one of the original abolitionists of Eastern Ohio and became one of the most active and trusted agents of "the underground railroad" 25 years before the war, and the freedom of many a slave was due to his courage and untiring efforts.

Erastus E. Eells, subject of this sketch, has spent his entire life in Columbiana County where he conducts the undertaking business which was established by his grandfather, Erastus E. Eells. His establishment at Lisbon is among the up to date and well appointed funeral homes off the state and is the 2nd oldest in the United States.

On Feb. 14, 1901, Mr. Eells was united in marriage with Miss Jane B. Rees, the daughter of Elias and Mary Rees, both deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Bells have three children: Myron Erastus, born Feb. 13, 1902, a graduate 61 Ohio State University, engaged in business with his father, married Miss Esther Steel of Lisbon, is a Mason and a member of Alpha Tau Omego Fraternity; Gerald V., born June 4, 1904, a graduate of Ohio State University is a Mason and member of Alpha Tau Omego Fraternity, and Roger G., born Sept. 7, 1908, attends Ohio State University.

Politically Mr. Eells is a Republican. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church. He is a 32nd degree Mason and a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Kiwanis Club and Knights of Pythias. He is a substantial and well known citizen and his family stands high in the community.

History of Columbiana County, Ohio
By: Harold B. Barth
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis 1926

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