The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 22, Number 47, November 24, 2019, Article 10


John Lupia submitted the following information from the online draft of his book of numismatic biographies for this week's installment of his series. Thanks! As always, this is an excerpt with the full article and bibliography available online. This week's subject is Harriet Haines, cofounder and partner in St. Louis Stamp & Coin Company. -Editor

Harriet "Hattie" P. Ellis Haines (1825-1903), was born in November 1825 in New York, New York of parents who were natives of Connecticut, Daniel Corbin and Esther Copeland Corbin.

Harriet P. Haines, was an exceptional woman like many fine and noble women that love their children and develop their character caring for them lifelong. This particular unsung hero is the mother of famous stamp and coin dealer Frank Elmer Ellis of St. Louis Stamp & Coin. She founded St. Louis Stamp & Coin in order to help her insane son recover from his mental illness so that he could move on with his life and find happiness. A darling woman which American philatelic and numismatic history owes much gratitude for her resourcefulness as a model American woman and mother.

In 1849, she married John Ellis (1823-1881), at Adams, Jefferson County, New York, a huckster, i.e., door-to-door salesman. They had four children : Jerome H. Ellis (1849-), Marsha E. Ellis (1852-), Juliette E. O'Brien, nee Ellis (1855-), and her youngest child, future stamp and coin dealer Frank Elmer Ellis (1861-1937). The first two children were born in New York while the last two including Frank were born Pottstown, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

In 1870, they moved to Blairstown, Benton County, Iowa.

On November 2, 1882, 57 year old Harriet remarried to John Haines, a 65 year old farmer at Blairstown.

Her son Frank Elmer Ellis, seems to be the same as one Elmer Ellis who married Melinda M. Hemelright on October 2, 1884, at Philadelphia. In 1892, he worked as a telegraph operator in Plumerville, Arkansas, where he lost his mind. Plumerville was a stagecoach post established in 1858 in the Arkansas territory part of the old "Wild West". In 1873, it was a railway station for the Pacific Railroad carrying passengers, cargo and U. S. Mail service with a telegraph office at the station.

Gaz. 9_12_1892, 5 article News report of how Harriet Haines sent Rev. Bailey of Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Plummerville [Plumerville] to fetch him. Charles Harrison Mason (1866-1961), an African-American charismatic preacher was a fanatic, and suicidal while preaching and licensed as a minister at Mount Gale Missionary Baptist Church in Preston, Arkansas in 1891, and in the area about the very small train station town of Plumerville when Frank Ellis worked there at the telegraph office. Ellis may have been influenced by him or his followers since they manifested similar psychological aberrations of talking to divinities and excited emotional and pathological behavior. Moreover, the town of Plumerville was in the throes of political intrigue, the assassination of newly elected Congressman John Clayton in 1889 at the rooming house of Mary Ann McCraven in Plumerville, and great tensions and scandal at the very time Ellis was returned to Cedar Rapids. The Gazette, Monday, September 12, 1892, page 5

The 1895 Blairstown Census lists Harriet P. Haines living with 82 year old Joseph Haines on his farm.

ELLIS, F. E., VOL. 3, NO. 2, P. 10 2 ad She moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa sometime in 1896, with her son Frank.

In February 1897, Harriet and her son Frank began a stamp dealership in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Philatelic West, Vol. 3, No. 2, February (1897) : 10.

HAINES Harriet P St. Louis Stamp nd Coin In the 1900 U. S. Census Frank Elmer Ellis was living in his mother's home at 1125 North 16th Street. Ellis made his mother a partner in St. Louis Stamp & Coin Company, taking on the role of manager.

She died at her home 3125 Clifton Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri, on March 14, 1903.

On February 4, 1937, the 75-year old Frank E. Ellis was found shot to death in the bathtub with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest from a 32 caliber revolver found laying at his side. Police estimated he had been dead ten days, but the Coroner’s report of John O’Connell estimated his death about February 1st.

To read the complete article, see:

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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