The Ellis Sanders House


The Ellis Sanders House was built in 1845 by William Mendenhall, a master brick mason, for Ellis Mendenhall Sanders and his wife, Rachel Broom Roberts. (Rachel’s great-grandfather was a signatory of the United States Constitution.) It is a Federalist style, three story red brick Home. Being one of the larger homes of the day, the House was a frequent site of Church meetings and gatherings.

The Sanders moved into the House on July 15, 1845 and lived there for only ten months before moving West with the Mormon Saints. The Sanders paid $2,500 to build their home, but upon departure from Nauvoo sold it to Lucy Field on May 6, 1845 for only $525.00.

In 1855 the home was sold to Amanda Morrill, one of Nauvoo's earliest settlers. Amanda's husband, Milton M. Morrill (whose ancestors came to America on the Mayflower) was prominent in the legal fraternity. A member of the Illinois State Constitutional Committee in 1870, and an Associate Justice of Hancock, Milton served as Mayor of Nauvoo for five terms of office. As author of the Morrill Land Grant Act, Milton M. Morrill laid the foundation for the great state universities in the Mid-West, as well as throughout the country. Milton and Amanda were the parents of seven children whom they raised in the “Ellis Sanders House,” and where Amanda lived well into her 90’s. The House then had a series of owners including Fredrick Hassel of Keokuk, Iowa; Fredrick Wolf, Sr., a native of Medard, Bavaria, Germany; and, in 1959, Harold E. McCormick who filled the House with wonderful antiques, returning it to some of its historical flavor.

Richard and Cheryl Shanks acquired the “Ellis Sanders House” in 1981 at public auction. Richard was a native to the area, Cheryl taught school locally and for 22 years they lived in the House, raising their two children. The Shanks then sold this historic home to its present owners, David and Diane Owen, who moved into the House in March 2003. The Owens share an interesting historical past with pervious owners: Diane’s ancestor, Captain William Bradford came to America on the Mayflower; and David’s relative, Stephen Hopkins was a signatory of the Declaration of Independence. Diane’s great-grandfather, Joshua Davis was also an early Mormon Saint who lived in Nauvoo from 1841-1846 and who, like Ellis Mendenhall Sanders, left Nauvoo and journeyed West.

The “Ellis Sanders House” was opened as a Bed and Breakfast on July 15, 2003, the anniversary date when Ellis Mendenhall Sanders and his family moved into the gracious brick home in 1845. The Owens have uncovered and restored many of the original appointments of the House and grounds. From living in England, and from their many travels, they have filled the House with antiques and furnishings reflecting the charm and beauty of its 19th - Century heritage.

Every effort has been made to ensure the above data is accurate. Due to the ongoing nature of genealogical research on the internet, all data must be considered a work in progress and as a secondary source of information. Additions and / or corrections are always appreciated.

Copyright 2007 Judi Gilker; all rights reserved.