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Warren Ellison's Early Life

1886-1921

Warren & Marion Ellison

                Click on photos to enlarge

 WFE

Warren F Ellison, age 19, 1905

   Warren Franklin Ellison was named after his grandfather, John Franklin Warren. The tradition was strong for family names in this family, as an uncle was named Franklin Warren Ellison!

This page is devoted to some of the experiences, Warren had before he was married in 1921. Text in quotes is from Marion Ellison's autobiography or the biography she wrote for Warren.

      • The Day the Dewey Cannon Roared                          
      • College at Michigan State University
      • Fun with Friends
      • Working at Hudson Lake
      • Working at Ellison Garage
      • Meeting Marion Hix
      • Going to France after World War I

1900 Dewey Cannon

The six sided enclosure around the cannon was designed by Warren's father, A D Ellison.

Dewey Cannon

From Wikipedia
This cannon, captured in the Spanish-American War by Admiral Dewey, was presented to Three Oaks when its citizens raised $1,400 for a memorial to the men of the battleship Maine. This was the largest contribution, per capita, of any community in the nation. "Three Oaks Against the World", a local paper proudly boasted. This park was dedicated October 17, 1899, by President William McKinley and others. Presentation of the cannon took place on June 28, 1900. Guest of honor was Helen Miller Gould, called the Spanish-American War's "Florence Nightingale".

The Dewey Cannon Story

Why all the Fuss over a Cannon?

It's Three Oaks' Claim to Fame

  In 1900, the Dewey Cannon was installed in a park at Three Oaks. Warren's father, Albert helped design the structure which unveiled it at the dedication ceremony.

Warren was 14 at the time and remembered, with great humor, the occasion and what I call the "Dewey Cannon Incident" in a 1963 letter sent to the editor of the Three Oaks paper.

His letter was read at a council meeting and everyone just roared with laughter.    Sue Langley

The whole story...

The Day the Dewey Cannon Roared

 Dewey Cannon

1899 Cartoon

1906 Warren Ellison-Baseball in Three OaksWFE

1906 Warren Ellison-Baseball in Three Oaks

Baseball & Basketball Teams
in Three Oaks

1903 & '04 Three Oaks High Basketball Team

1903 & '04 Three Oaks High Basketball Team, reprinted 1963

Cyanotypes
From Christopher James' book "The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes"

The cyanotype was the first simple, fully realized, and practical non-silver iron process. Discovered by Sir John Herschel (1792-1871) in 1842, a mere three years after the "official" announcement of the discovery of photography, the cyanotype provided permanent images in an elegant assortment of blue values. Herschel is the same gentleman who coined the words "positive and negative", "photograph" and "snapshot".

Cyanotype paper was what was called 'printing out paper'. Unlike the more popular photographic papers at the turn of th century, cyanotype paper had to be exposed to bright sunlight to bring out the image, you didn't need a darkroom  knowledge of chemistry. Because of this they were a natural for amateurs who wished to print their own photos.

1885 Ad for Cyanotype paper

  1903 Kodak 3A Pocket Camera

1903 Kodak 3A Pocket Camera, 1904 Cyanotype Printing Kit

1904 Cyanotype Printing Kit

 

About 1905, Warren started taking photographs with a camera

like this:

 1905 Kodak # 1A Pocet CameraWFE

This Model 1903 Kodak 3A Pocket Camera

cost then $75.00

His photos are captioned 'WFE' on this site. 

The Kodak Girl  
by William T. Cramer, ?1902
The popularity of the Kodak camera was great during the early 20th century, and music was one way of expressing excitement about this new technology. Music also helped advertise the product and bring the Kodak name together with the camera.

Here ia a "Kodak" tune from around the turn of the century, performed by Jeff Barnhart.

MP3

 Unknown girl and Leota EllisonWFE

 Unknown girl and Leota Ellison

Cyanotypes

Warren and two girlsWFE

Warren and two girls

Warren and GirlWFE

Warren and Girl

 Michigan State University

Michigan State University

 The way  the date for this photo was found-->
is unusual. The photo was scanned, enlarged until the pattern of the days on the calendar were faintly visible. Then that pattern was compared with 1900's calendar, until a matching pattern was found...in 1908!                                               
Sue Langley

 

1908 Warren at Michigan State UniversityWFE

1908 Warren joking at Michigan State University

Another college dorm photo

FriendsWFE

Fun with Friends

Marion writes:

"Warren received his schooling in Three Oaks, later attending Michigan State University for two and a half years.  He financed this by playing the drums in the school band and for private parties at a lake resort during the summer."

Friends, boatingWFE

Warren, 'dressed' upWFE

1905 Hudson Lake Resort

1905 Hudson Lake Resort Postcard

 

 FriendsWFE

June 1907 Bound for Idyl-casaWFE

" Bound for 'Idyl-casa' June 1907"

1907 HayrideWFE

1907 HayrideWFE

1907 SailingWFE

1908 Hudson LakeWFE

1908 Warren & friend at Hudson Lake

  1916 Warren played drums in Marion's play

1916 Warren played drums in Marion's play

Marion on a first date  WarrenWFE

First Date with Marion Hix

"An orchestra of town people was formed in Marengo and Warren was the drummer with them for a number of years, giving band concerts on Main Street every week through the summers."

 Working and Playing in Marengo

"It was about this time that I met Warren while pinch-hitting for the pianist in the town orchestra.  This group played many band concerts on the main street and they rented a reed organ so I could play with them.  He was playing the drums and sitting near me, so when I hit a wrong note, I would look over at him and make a face.  It wasn't long after that he asked me to go for a ride in his cut down Overland two-seater. "

"While at college the family moved back to Marengo, and at the request of his father, Warren gave up school to go into the plumbing and heating business with him.  Their firm was called The Ellison Machine Co. where they also sold cars and farm machinery."

 

1910 Ellison Machine Co.WFE

1910 Ellison Machine Company

Albert & Warren at the garage

 Warren in old 1913 Overland 'Speedster'WFE

Warren in old 1913 Overland 'Speedster'

YMCA orders

National War Work Council orders- Warren volunteers to work in France for the YMCA war work in the Motor Transport Department.

Voluteering for the YMCA AEF,  Verdun, France

"In 1918, just before the Armistice was signed, Warren signed up for duty with the YMCA.  He had enlisted, but had not been called to serve in World War I as he was over the age limit.  He spent a year in France, servicing cars and living in very poor quarters with a buddy from Marengo.  He received high commendations from the YMCA for his services." Marion H Ellison

What the Y did in the War

The YMCA conducted its war work with soldiers in training camps and troop trains in the United States as well as in Europe, providing recreation, library services, bible study, and religious services. In France the YMCA agreed to run the Post Exchange for the army, and thus sold candy, cigarettes, and other personal items to the soldiers.          special.lib.umn.edu

Background

The United States entered World War I on 6 April 1917. On that same day, John Mott, General Secretary of the International Committee of North American YMCAs, informed President Wilson that the YMCA would help provide services for the military forces. Less than a week later, the International Committee appointed the National War Work Council to coordinate this work. William S. Sloane, a New York furniture merchant and for sixteen years chairman of the YMCA's Army and Navy Committee, was designated as the new organization's chairman. A specific military function was assigned to the YMCA.         special.lib.umn.edu

Warren Ellison, being a mechanic, was assigned to work in the Motor Transport Department in Verdun, France, arriving by ship.

 The working conditions were chaotic and their duties went from fixing a ragtag variety of cars and trucks with an extremely limited supply of parts, to driving trucks for transporting supplies and giving soldiers on leave tours of the cities!

Here is a list he made of his buddies:

HEADQUARTERS

THE NOTORIOUS VERDUN GARAGE GANG

A conglomerate mob of reformed(?) crooks and cutthroats

Transcript

 

1919 Plan de Paris

Map of Paris, close to where the YMCA was where Warren first reported.

 Marion & Warren F EllisonWFE

1921 Warren & Marion Ellison

 "Warren and I were at odds during this time(1920) and were not dating.  However, he influenced a friend of mine in Marengo to invite me for the weekend and he was there too.  He finally proposed and I accepted."

Warren Franklin Ellison Biography

by Marion Ellison

 Warren & MarionWFE

Warren & Marion 1921

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