Skip to Content

Explore the Constellation

Ellis Family Bible

Slavery

The Ellis family Bible was passed down through the generations and has been a valuable tool for reconstructing the Ellis’ family history. The Ellis family Bible began as the Bible of Squire May, an enslaved man at Montpelier, the home of President James Madison. When Squire May gained his freedom, he purchased land near Montpelier in Orange County, Virginia, to create a home for his family. His daughter Polly married Frank Ellis and the couple created a homestead on that land. Their granddaughter, Clara Bailey Ellis Payne, preserved this Bible and several other items from that homestead.