He was born in 1867. His mother worked at the big house in Upper Warden and was seduced by the son of the house. The Smythe-Websters denied paternity, but later they helped young Ellis get work as a teacher.
He wrote a book, an old-fashioned socialist novel, which he called House of Satan because he saw the Smythe-Websters as completely corrupt. Eventually, descendents of the family took his book and made it into a cut-rate horror movie.