Copyright 2000 -2019 John N. Lupia, III

Harriet "Hattie" P. Ellis Haines (1825-1903), was born in November 1825 in New York, New York of parents who were natives of Connecticut, Daniel Corbin and Esther Copeland Corbin.

Harriet P. Haines, was an exceptional woman like many fine and noble women that love their children and develop their character caring for them lifelong. This particular unsung hero is the mother of famous stamp and coin dealer Frank Elmer Ellis of St. Louis Stamp & Coin. She founded St. Louis Stamp & Coin in order to help her insane son recover from his mental illness so that he could move on with his life and find happiness. A darling woman which American philatelic and numismatic history owes much gratitude for her resourcefulness as a model American woman and mother.

In 1849, she married John Ellis (1823-1881), at Adams, Jefferson County, New York, a huckster, i.e., door-to-door salesman. They had four children : Jerome H. Ellis (1849-), Marsha E. Ellis (1852-), Juliette E. O'Brien, nee Ellis (1855-), and her youngest child, future stamp and coin dealer Frank Elmer Ellis (1861-1937). The first two children were born in New York while the last two including Frank were born Pottstown, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

In 1870, they moved to Blairstown, Benton County, Iowa.

On November 2, 1882, 57 year old Harriet remarried to John Haines, a 65 year old farmer at Blairstown.

Her son Frank Elmer Ellis, seems to be the same as one Elmer Ellis who married Melinda M. Hemelright on October 2, 1884, at Philadelphia. In 1892, he worked as a telegraph operator in Plumerville, Arkansas, where he lost his mind. Plumerville was a stagecoach post established in 1858 in the Arkansas territory part of the old "Wild West". In 1873, it was a railway station for the Pacific Railroad carrying passengers, cargo and U. S. Mail service with a telegraph office at the station.

News report of how Harriet Haines sent Rev. Bailey of Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Plummerville [Plumerville] to fetch him. Charles Harrison Mason (1866-1961), an African-American charismatic preacher was a fanatic, and suicidal while preaching and licensed as a minister at Mount Gale Missionary Baptist Church in Preston, Arkansas in 1891, and in the area about the very small train station town of Plumerville when Frank Ellis worked there at the telegraph office. Ellis may have been influenced by him or his followers since they manifested similar psychological aberrations of talking to divinities and excited emotional and pathological behavior. Moreover, the town of Plumerville was in the throes of political intrigue, the assassination of newly elected Congressman John Clayton in 1889 at the rooming house of Mary Ann McCraven in Plumerville, and great tensions and scandal at the very time Ellis was returned to Cedar Rapids. The Gazette, Monday, September 12, 1892, page 5

Courtesy of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Central Arkansas Library System. "More closely associated with the Clayton assassination, George Earl Bentley of Morrilton (Conway County) was seen in the company of a Pinkerton private detective, Albert Wood, and was feared to be “turning” with regard to the stolen ballot box. The next day, November 27, 1888, Oliver T. Bentley, a deputy sheriff (and chief suspect in the ballot box theft), killed his brother George by “accidentally shooting him five times.” Federal, state, and local authorities investigated many murders like this one, but no charges were brought." (https://encyclopediaofarkansas.net/entries/plumerville-conflict-of-1886-1892-6859/)

The 1895 Blairstown Census lists Harriet P. Haines living with 82 year old Joseph Haines on his farm.

She moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa sometime in 1896, with her son Frank.

In February 1897, Harriet and her son Frank began a stamp dealership in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Philatelic West, Vol. 3, No. 2, February (1897) : 10. Courtesy

Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, formerly the Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Philatelic West.

Late 1897, they moved to St. Louis Missouri and established St. Louis Stamp & Coin Company in October.

St. Louis Stamp & Coin letterhead with the proprietor Mrs. H. P. Haines at top left of the company name. Courtesy Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, formerly the Lupia Numismatic Library

In the 1900 U. S. Census Frank Elmer Ellis was living in his mother's home at 1125 North 16th Street. Ellis made his mother a partner in St. Louis Stamp & Coin Company, taking on the role of manager.

She died at her home 3125 Clifton Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri, on March 14, 1903.

On February 4, 1937, the 75-year old Frank E. Ellis was found shot to death in the bathtub with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest from a 32 caliber revolver found laying at his side. Police estimated he had been dead ten days, but the Coroner’s report of John O’Connell estimated his death about February 1st.

Bibliography :

St. Louis Republic, Tuesday, March 17, 1903, page 12 - burial permit