Contra Costa County











     The kind of substantial business energy best appreciated in the west finds expression in the life of Harry Ells, superintendent of the California Cap Company, member of the state legislature, president of the Stege school board, and one of the most energetic, cautious and progressive men who have elected to profit by the resources of this growing community.  Mr. Ells was born in Canning, Nova Scotia, November 9, 1854, and is the fourth of the six sons and two daughters of William and Sarah (Newcomb) Ells, farmers in Nova Scotia, and the latter of whom still lives on the old homestead in the land of Evangeline.

     As a boy Mr. Ells found the Nova Scotia farm altogether too small to supply the needs of the large family, and accordingly he located on a farm near Winchester, Mass., in 1871, this slight progression opening up yet broader fields of activity, and placing him in touch with the far west, to which he came during the summer of 1874.  Locating at Dutch Flat he engaged in mining for himself and others, and after the incorporation of the Cedar Creek Mining Company, he became foreman under Colonel Ludman.  Coming to Stege as assistant superintendent of the California Cap Company, he was advanced to the position of superintendent in 1889, and since has creditably and even admirably assumed this important responsibility, the company being one of the oldest in Contra Costa county.  Mr. Ells has branched out into various activities in the county, is interested in real estate and insurance, and is a director in the Bank of Richmond.  An active and influential Republican, he has been postmaster of Stege since 1890, and for a number of years has been president of the board of school directors of the Stege district.  In 1902 he was elected to the state assembly by a large majority from the twenty-second district, serving on the committees on roads and highways, fish and game, and as chairman of the committees on manufacturing and internal improvements.  He was unanimously chosen as a candidate to succeed himself to the term of 1904, and the Democratic opponent seeing nothing but defeat before him, withdrew from the contest and Mr. Ells' election was assured.  His judgment in all matters pertaining to the well being of his district has been both sound and progressive, partaking of his broad-minded views in general, and influencing others because of his strength and practicality.

     From the standpoint of time the married life of Mr. Ells was a transient happening, for the wife whom he married in Dutch Flat in 1880, died in the same mining settlement a year later.  Mrs. Ells was formerly Katie Seltzer, and was born in Sacramento during the early days of the historical mining headquarters.  Mr. Ells is a social as well as business factor, and is fraternally connected with the McKinley Blue Lodge No. 347, F.&.A.M., of which he is master; the Siloam Chapter No. 37; the Commandery No. 11 of Oakland; and the Eastern Star.  Mr. Ells enjoys a wide acquaintance among the prominent business men of the state, is popular with all classes, and is generally regarded as representative of the virile, energetic and resourceful men of the west.





Transcribed 9-19-16  Marilyn R. Pankey.

ญญญญSource: History of the State of California & Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California by Prof. J. M. Guinn, A. M., Page 1327. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

2016  Marilyn R. Pankey.







Contra Costa County Biographies

Golden Nugget Library