Alfred Ellis was born in South Dedham in 1841. He was the eldest son of Alvin L. Ellis and Martha B. Dean Ellis who had married a year earlier. Alfred Ellis entered the Canton Theological School at St. Lawrence University in New York, at the age of 20, and graduated with honors 3 years later.
He spent 6 years in the ministry, primarily in the far West where he married.
He returned to his father’s house in South Dedham in April, 1870 as his health steadily declined. According to his obituary, published in the Universalist Companion, “He had been fully aware from the beginning of the nature of his disease, and entertained no hope of recovery.”
He spent his last months “with calmness, and cheerfulness, and patience.” His friends said that his character was one of “remarkable simplicity and purity,” and “without guile.” It was said that, “There was a gentle dignity about his nature which [all] remember and speak of as being very impressive.”
He died on October 10, 1870 of consumption at 29 years of age.