Richard Ely

Richard Ely was from Plymouth, Devonshire County, England. His wife was Joane Phipps. They had four children, including the eldest, William, and Richard II. Joane died on January 7, 1660, and Richard Ely came to America that same year. He lived first in Boston and later settled on three thousand acres, including what is now called Ely's Ferry, in Lyme, Connecticut. He remarried to Elizabeth Cullick, widow of Captain Cullick. She was the sister of Colonel Fenwick, a member of Parliament.

Richard's sons, William and Richard II purchased thirteen hundred acres adjoining their father's land for three hundred pounds from the town of Lyme. In total, the Elys owned more than four thousand acres which became known as the "Great Meadows" or "Ely Meadows."

A tankard belonging to Richard Ely bears a crest with fleur-de-lis.

This hand-carved Oak chest with ebony ornaments was brought from England by Richard Ely in 1660.

Judge William Ely

William Ely was born in 1647 in Plymouth, Devonshire County, England, the eldest child of Richard Ely and Joane Phipps. He came to America in 1660 with his father and three younger siblings, soon after the death of his mother. They living first in Boston before settling in Lyme, Connecticut. William became a Judge and married Elizabeth Smith (1662-1717). Judge William Ely died in 1715.

Captain Richard Ely

Captain Richard Ely was born in 1690, son of Judge William Ely and Elizabeth Smith. In 173 he married Margaret Olcott, who was born April 12, 1705, daughter of Thomas Olcott and Sarah Foote. Captain Richard Ely died in 1767.

Adriel Ely I

Adriel Ely born in 1744 in Lyme, Connecticut. He served twenty-nine days as Sergeant in the company of his town during the time of the Lexington Alarm in 1775; and was Second Lieutenant in Captain Martin Kirtland's company of Colonel Erastus Wolcott's regiment, stationed by Washington before Boston in January, 1776.

He had a claim against the U.S. Government regarding the loss of the schooner "William" and cargo - Sylvester Pratt, master. The petition of George Ely to the "Honorable Judges of the Court of Claims" shows that this schooner was a duly registered vessel of the United States, Adriel Ely and Amos White being joint owners of ship and cargo. It sailed from Middletown, Connecticut, October 1, 1798, for Demerara, British Guiana, laden with live stock and merchandise products of the United States. On said voyage she was captured by a French armed vessel, acting under the authority of the French Republic, and was condemned, confiscated, and sold for the benefit of her captors. This capture was in violation of the law of nations and treaties between the United States and France. That the owners had a valid and admitted claim upon the French Republic is clearly shown by the ratification between these two countries exchanged July 1, 1801. The amount of the indemnity petitioned for by the heirs of Adriel Ely was $6575, being one-half of the total claim. George Ely, as administrator of Adriel Ely, made an affidavit in the county of New London (probably in Lyme), before James Griswold, Notary Public, January 17, 1887. George G. Sill of Hartford signed as attorney. The latter said that he represented more than $200,000 of similar Spoliation Claims. Up to this time [1912] the money claimed has not been recovered.

Adriel Ely I was tall, with a forceful character, and was held in high esteem in his community.

He married Sarah Stow, born 1754 in Saybrook, Connecticut, daughter of Jabez Stow and Annah Lord. Sarah died in Lyme, Connecticut, February 17, 1796. His second marriage to Hepzibah Turner was said to be unhappy. She was not fond of his children.

Adriel Ely died in 1829 and was buried in the Ely Burying Ground in Lyme Connecticut.

Adriel Ely II

Adriel Ely

Evalina Foster

Adriel Ely was born in Lyme, Connecticut, February 9, 1791, the youngest child of Adriel Ely (1744-1829) and Sarah Stow (1754-1796). His mother died when he was five years old and his father remarried unhappily. He went to Watertown, New York in1814 , at age 23. He became a clerk at the store of Jabez Foster, where he worked until opening his own store with Orville Hungerford as partner. He was a potash manufacturer, as well, with an ashery on Factory Street, Watertown. Additionally, he was an attorney (self taught) for soldiers who served in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Mexican War, prosecuting their claims for pensions from the Government.

He was involved in public affairs, being instrumental in the erection of a new county house and, the county jail.

He was a Knight Templar "Eminent Commander" 1829-1831, but felt that he could better serve the Presbyterian Church if not a mason.

Publicly, he appeared reserved and sometimes stern, but always calm.

Adriel married Evelina Foster on December 28, 1826. She was the second daughter of Jabez Foster and Hannah Hungerford.

She was lively, bright, and had many friends. Before marriage, she had many suitors. She was fifteen years younger than Adriel, and just a child when he came to work in her father's store.

Ariel Ely brought his bride home to a stone house on Washington Street, Watertown, he had built 1826.

Originally, the house was three rooms deep, besides a hall and a bedroom at the end. Soon after, a kitchen was added, with a brick oven for baking and a fireplace with andirons and a crane for hanging kettles. In 1843, a wing was added to the house, and in 1853 the dining-room was enlarged, upper rooms built and gas introduced.

There was much to be done in the kitchen, since Evalina was an ambitious and energetic cook. Not only did they feed their own family, but they were generous hosts and were rarely without extra mouths to feed.

The beef was corned to be packed in barrels; hams (which they raised and slaughtered) were cured and prepared for the smoke-house, where also hung the dried beef. Sausages, souse, mince-meat, and head-cheese were made; pork was salted; apples prepared for drying; and fruit preserves made. Tallow was poured into moulds for candles, and lard was made ready for making doughnuts. Sugar came in loaves which had to be cut, pounded, and prepared. Spices had ground with a mortar and pestle.Coffee came green and had to be roasted before brewing.

In the winter, meat was packed in snow. In summer they raised vegetables, currants, raspberries, strawberries, and grapes. There were also apple, plum and pear trees that supplied them with fruit..

Guests were also served baskets of fruitcake, baked twice a year, pound-cake and spongecake, and wine.

Thanksgiving Day featured two traditional turkeys - one roasted and the other stuffed with oysters and boiled; a goose and several ducks; a chicken pie; vegetables; pickles; and chicken salad. For dessert there was mince pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, rice pudding, Indian pudding, cake, preserves, apples, nuts, and raisins.

Adriel Ely enjoyed his wife's good cooking, sharing the bounty with friends, and playing cards and chess.

Adriel and Evelina had seven children:

Ariel took in two nephews: Theodore and Newel Ely. Theodore was the son of his brother, Dr. Sumner Ely. Newel was the son of William, another brother. They both clerked in Ariel's store. Newel also worked at the bank. Neither of them ever married.

Ariel was a strong man until he participated in quenching a fire at the cotton mills on Beebee's Island, July 7, 1833. Due to fatigue, exposure, or the inhalation of smoke, he developed a cough and was never well since. He also suffered from painful neuralgiar.

Ariel Ely died April 20, 1859, aged sixty-eight years. He was buried on Friday, April 22, in Brookside Cemetery, Watertown, New York. Four years after the death of her husband, Evalina died August 14, 1863, at the age of fifty-seven years.

Evalina Foster Ely

Evelina, second daughter of Adriel and Evelina F. Ely, was born November 25,1829. She was a talented musician that played piano and sang alto. She was tall with light hair, a clear complexion, and reserved demeanor. In the fall of 1845 she went to Michigan, to visit an aunt. She came home in the spring with a fever and died April 27, 1846, at age16.

Elvira, at age two, had light curly hair and was taught to sing. She died of small-pox.

Foster Ely

FrederickGustavus Ely

Gertrude Sumner Ely
with Theodore and Evalina

  • Theodore Newel Ely

  • Harriette Foster Ely

    Harriette Foster Ely was the eldest daughter of Adriel Ely and Evalina Foster of Watertown, New York. On February 10, 1853, she married Charles Richardson, a widower of Auburn, New York. She became the stepmother of Cornelia, whose mother, Cornelia A. Hogan, had died in 1849.

    • Cornelia "Cora" Richardson, born July 15, 1845, at "The Locusts,"Auburn, New York. Cornelia died in Renovo, Pennsylvania on December 10, 1890, age 46, and was buried in the family lot in Fort Hill Cemetery, Auburn, New York.

    Her youngest brother, Theodore Newel Ely described the wedding of Harriette to Charles Richardson:

    "I was six years old and Harriette was twenty-five.

    "Elaborate preparations were made for the wedding feast. A long table was set in the dining-room and another in the wing, beneath which were good hiding-places for one of my size. The luxurious settings of these tables seemed to have furnished good opportunity for an appetite of six.

    "I remember that among other things there were high pyramids of macaroons festooned with spun sugar, fruits, and candies. All of these were fashioned by Ragg, the confectioner. This man locked himself up in the kitchen pantry so that no one could learn his methods of working. This much do I remember in regard to the wedding."

    Her sister Gertrude described the wedding as follows:

    "Her bridesmaids were her cousin Harriette Smith (Story) and Kate Lansing (Boyd), and the ceremony was performed by the Reverend Isaac Brayton, who, for 27 years, was pastor of the First Church.

    "The wedding cake was a wonderful creation - about thirty inches in diameter. It was baked in four sections, in specially constructed tins, as it was too large to be baked whole in any existing oven. Mother mixed the cake, but it was sent to a confectioner to be baked. He then joined these four parts and covered it all with frosting. In the centre was a marvelous structure that resembled a temple, and something like a fence around the whole cake, and various ornaments everywhere. It was this same confectioner, Mr. Ragg, who, upon the day of the wedding, shut himself up in our kitchen pantry and spun the sugar over the pyramids mentioned. We did so want to see how he did it, but our thirst for knowledge was not gratified, and to this day the process is unknown to me."

    The following account of the event is from a letter by Mrs. Robert Lansing:

    "The wedding passed off very pleasantly, quite to the satisfaction of all. Bride and bridesmaids looked well - Harriette, never so well before. It was a perfect jam! Mr. Brayton performed the ceremony beautifully. The tables were loaded - ten turkeys, ducks, chickens, oysters enough for another party; the oysters the finest, and the pickled ones brought already prepared from New York.

    "Two tables, one in the wing and one in the dining-room - a centre pyramid on each of macaroons with spun sugar over them - it looked like spun glass. Hattie had many handsome gifts - a splendid pearl bracelet from the groom, entirely of pearls strung on hair, several rosettes of them, with a light clasp of gold. She had a magnificent fan, costing eighteen dollars. The wedding party was very expensive, at least two hundred dollars."

    Harriette and Charles had two children:

    • Evalina Ely Richardson, born May 18, 1862. She was a teacher and lived with her brother Joseph in Atlanta, Georgia, where she died December 27, 1956, and was buried at East Lake Cemetery in Atlanta.
    • Joseph Lane Richardson, born February 28,1864, died September 3,1916.

    Joseph and Evalina Richardson
    with step-sister, Cora Richards

    Charles Richardson died May 5, 1890.

    Source: Recollections of Adrian Ely and Evalina Foster Ely, His Wife, by Gertrude Sumner Ely Knowlton, 1912

    © research and design by Katharine Moore, 2005