Updated: Aug 22, 2021
Caleb Ellis was born in South Dedham on February 8, 1818. His parents were Richard and Abigail Ellis. On November 30, 1854, he married Emily A. Fuller, who was born on March 1, 1828 in Francestown, New Hampshire, a town very familiar to South Dedham village. So many residents of Tiot had migrated to Francestown at the beginning of the 19thcentury that it seemed to be almost an outpost of South Dedham.
The couple’s home, which stood on Washington Street at the juncture of Everett Street, was sold to Peter Fisher in 1891. Fisher ran a wholesale/retail florist business there. Eventually the house was remodeled and subsequent Fisher generations added heated greenhouses which stood until 1986, when condominiums were built on the site.
In the 1860 U. S. Census, Caleb Ellis’s occupation was identified as civil engineer. For a time, Ellis was a grain dealer but he was especially active in town government. He held many positions including inspector, surveyor, registrar and superintendent of streets. When Norwood was incorporated, he was one of the first three Town Assessors, along with Tyler Thayer and George H. Morse.
In 1890, Ellis surveyed the Old Cemetery. It was Caleb Ellis’s map (above) that the town utilized for more than a century until the Old Parish Preservation Volunteers took on the task of researching the site and John Anderson, a volunteer from Walpole, updated the map (below).
Caleb and Emily Ellis had no children. They retired to Boston where they lived at 192 Dartmouth Street. Caleb Ellis died of meningitis on July 12, 1898 at the age of 80. More than a decade later, on October 26, 1911, Emily Ellis died tragically at their home in Boston of carbon monoxide poisoning. It was considered likely that Emily, who was suffering from senility, may have accidentally caused her own death through the mishandling of a gas light fixture. She was 83.