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Powhatan Ellis

Powhatan Ellis
United States Senator
from Mississippi
In office
September 28, 1825 – January 28, 1826
Preceded by David Holmes
Succeeded by Thomas B. Reed
In office
March 4, 1827 – July 16, 1832
Preceded by Thomas B. Reed
Succeeded by John Black
Personal details
Born (1790-01-17)January 17, 1790
Amherst County, Virginia
Died March 18, 1863(1863-03-18) (aged 73)
Richmond, Virginia
Political party Jacksonian

Powhatan Ellis (January 17, 1790 – March 18, 1863) was a United States Senator from Mississippi and a United States federal judge.

Born at "Red Hill" in Amherst County, Virginia, he graduated from Washington Academy (now Washington and Lee University) in 1809, attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1809 and 1810, receiving an A.B., and studied law at William and Mary College in 1813 and 1814. He was a Lieutenant in the Prevost Guards of Virginia in 1814. He was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Lynchburg, Virginia; he moved to Natchez, Mississippi in 1816, and to Winchester, Mississippi later that year, continuing the practice of law in both places.

Ellis was a judge of the Mississippi Supreme Court from 1823 to 1825, and was appointed to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of David Holmes, and served from September 28, 1825, to January 28, 1826, when a successor was elected and qualified; he was an unsuccessful candidate for election to fill the vacancy. He was elected to the Senate and served from March 4, 1827, to July 16, 1832, when he resigned to accept a judicial position.

On July 13, 1832, President Andrew Jackson nominated Ellis to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Mississippi vacated by Peter Randolph. Ellis was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 14, 1832, and received his commission the same day. Ellis resigned on January 5, 1836, and was appointed by President Andrew Jackson as Chargé d'affaires of the United States to Mexico. He served in that capacity from January to December 1836, when he closed the legation. He was appointed by President Martin Van Buren as United States Minister Plenipotentiary to Mexico, holding that office from 1839 to 1842. He then engaged in the private practice of law in Natchez, Mississippi until at some point he moved to Richmond, Virginia. He continued in private practice there until his death in 1863; interment was at Shockoe Hill Cemetery. The city of Ellisville, Mississippi is named in his memory.[1]


  • Federal Judicial Center.
Preceded by
David Holmes
United States Senator (Class 1) from Mississippi
Served alongside: Thomas H. Williams
Succeeded by
Thomas B. Reed
Preceded by
Thomas B. Reed
United States Senator (Class 1) from Mississippi
Served alongside: Thomas H. Williams, Thomas B. Reed, Robert H. Adams, George Poindexter
Succeeded by
John Black

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