John Ellis, widely known as Captain John Ellis, was born in Devon in 1809. He joined the Royal Navy as a boy and made his first small fortune at a young age by buying and selling tobacco. As a founding family in Southland, John Ellis was an early pioneer of both Victoria and Southland. He was noted for his sound business qualities which have been inherited by his descendants that are still locals to this day. More progress in the early days of Southland are due to the enterprise of the Ellis family than any other in the province.