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Ellmaker family papers

Identifier: A 032

Scope and Contents

The Ellmaker family papers collection contains material that documents the life of Oregon Trail pioneer Enos Ellmaker and the lives of his decedents in Lane County, Oregon. This collection also contains some 18th century documents related to the Ellmakers of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Material includes personal papers of members of the Ellmaker family; maps, drawings, and photographs; artifacts; books and periodicals; and genealogical research and resources.

The personal papers series contains a variety of written and graphic materials created by Enos Ellmaker, his son Amos, Ulysses Ellmaker and his wife Ruth La Van Ellmaker, as well as Elaine Ellmaker Clark and her husband Gordon. A small number of documents attributed to other members of the Ellmaker family have been described in this series as other family papers.

The maps, drawings, and photographs series contains maps and surveys of the Ellmaker ranch and the Lane County area; 19th and early 20th century family and class portraits; 20th century family photo albums; as well as architectural plans and drawings of Ellmaker family properties.The artifacts series contains sentimental items collected by members of the Ellmaker family including common household and personal items, such as spoons and shaving razors, homespun samples, and keepsake locks of hair.

The books and periodicals series consists of works published in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Publications include religious writings, children’s textbooks, novels, poetry compilations, and works focused on Oregon and the Pacific Coast. The genealogical research and resources series contains materials used and generated by Michael Ellmaker while writing his family history, The Ellmaker Chronicles. Items include photocopies and transcripts of primary sources, published memoirs and family histories, and correspondence.


  • 1768-2005


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

The Ellmakers are a prominent pioneer family who first settled in Lane County, Oregon in the 1850s following their journey across the United States on the Oregon Trail.

Originally from Rhine-Neckar region of Germany, the Leonard and Anna Ellmaker settled in the colony of Pennsylvania in 1726. The family flourished in Lancaster County, and three Ellmaker sons fought as part of the county militia in the Revolutionary War. Many of the Ellmaker's were involved in Pennsylvania and national politics, but were, primarily, farmers.

Enos Ellmaker, was born on May 15, 1807 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania to Adam Ellmaker and his first wife, Magdalena. Enos and his siblings, Ruben and Eliza, migrated from Pennsylvania to Iowa in 1837. Enos, a farmer and blacksmith, married Elizabeth Fisher Ellmaker in 1840, and together they had six children: Byron, Alice Ann, Melinda, Mary Jane, Amos Fisher, and Levi Robb. In March of 1853, Enos and Elizabeth left Iowa and began their journey west on the Oregon Trail. Upon reaching Oregon, the Ellmakers established a homestead on a donation claim of 320 acres on the Long Tom River in what would become Lane County, Oregon.

Amos Fisher and Levi Robb both continued to farm in Lane County. Amos died unmarried with no children, while Levi Robb married Frances Almeda Baker in 1881. They had three children, Reuel, Jewel Miriam, and Ulysses. Ulysses married Ruth Le Van in 1915, and had one daughter Elaine. Elaine, a school teacher and award winning nature photographer, graduated from the University of Oregon in 1938 after marrying her husband, Gordon Clark, in June of 1937.

The Clark’s collection of Oregon nature photographs were also donated to the University of Oregon’s Special Collections and University Archives along with the Ellmaker family papers.


25.6 linear feet (15 containers )

Language of Materials



The Ellmakers are a prominent pioneer family who first settled in Lane County, Oregon in the 1850s following their journey across the United States on the Oregon Trail. The Ellmaker family papers include personal papers of members of the Ellmaker family; maps, drawings, and photographs; artifacts; books and periodicals; and genealogical research and resources.


The Ellmaker family papers are arranged in five series: I. Personal papers, 1768-1991 II. Maps, drawings, and photographs, circa 1890s-1966 III. Artifacts, circa 1853-1940s IV. Books and periodicals, 1807-1909 V. Genealogical research and resources, 1965-2005

Series I., personal papers, is arranged in five subseries: A. Enos Ellmaker papers, 1832-1911, 1937, 1942 B. Amos Ellmaker papers, 1875-1944 C. Ulysses and Ruth Le Van Ellmaker papers, 1891-1979, 1991 D. Elaine Ellmaker and Gordon Clark papers, circa 1929-1980s E. Other family papers, 1768-1963

Material within this collection is minimally arranged. Any arrangement is either derived from the records' creators or custodians or from staff at the time of initial processing. It may be necessary to look in multiple places for the same types of materials.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Elaine Ellmaker Clark, Keith L. Clark, Megan Jean Clark, Jennifer Jacobus-Buell, and Bruce H. Clark in 2004-2005.

Related Materials

Other collections relating to the Ellmaker family at Special Collections and University Archives include: the Gordon and Elaine Clark photographs, PH284.

Physical Description

10 record center cartons, 2 oversize boxes, 1 rolled storage tube, and 1 oversize flat file

Processing Information

Collection processed by Alexandra M. Bisio, 2017.

Guide to the Ellmaker Family Papers
Revise Description
University of Oregon Libraries, Archivists' Toolkit Project Team. Additional description completed by Alexandra M. Bisio in 2017.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA