The Ellis family of Jefferson, Texas has had a presence on White Oak Road for decades. Marie Ellis's father built their home here in 1934. As the family grew, they built around it. Even the church at the end of the road, constructed in 1801, was filled with Ellises every Sunday. Now it's gone, destroyed by the fire that ravaged this rural area.
Today the Ellises are trying to rebuild. Marie Ellis's grandson, Admiral Smith, is leading the way. He's set up a fund to collect money for the family, and he's trying to collect home ware and other items to fill it.
"Some day soon we will rebuild our homes and church and return to family reunions, barbecues, birthday parties and bible studies. We will rebuild Grandma’s house, and the Lord willing, re-establish our family core by moving Grandma into the new house," he says. Marie Ellis is going through rehabilitation therapy after suffering a stroke a month ago. Her family says it's a blessing she knows nothing about the fire.
More than anything, though, Diana Ellis Carr says the family is just grateful to be together...and alive. "My heart is happy but my mind is sad, because of everyone that lost their homes, but this is material stuff. We'll get it back one way or another."
The Ellis family has an account set up at Citizens National Bank in order to receive donations to help their community rebuild. For more information on how you can help, contact the bank. You can reach Penny Moore at (903) 665-3244 or Debra Sims at (903) 665-3995.