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Powhatan Ellis (January 17, 1790 – March 18, 1863) was a United States Senator from Mississippimarker and a United States federal judge.

Born at "Red Hill" in Amherst County, Virginiamarker, he graduated from Washington Academy (now Washington and Lee Universitymarker) in 1809, attended Dickinson Collegemarker in Carlisle, Pennsylvaniamarker in 1809 and 1810, receiving an A.B., and studied law at William and Mary Collegemarker in 1813 and 1814. He was a Lieutenant in the Prevost Guards of Virginia in 1814. He was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Lynchburg, Virginiamarker; he moved to Natchez, Mississippimarker in 1816, and to Winchester, Mississippi later that year, continuing the practice of law in both places.

Ellis was a judge of the Mississippi Supreme Court from 1823 to 1825, and was appointed to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of David Holmes, and served from September 28, 1825, to January 28, 1826, when a successor was elected and qualified; he was an unsuccessful candidate for election to fill the vacancy. He was elected to the Senate and served from March 4, 1827, to July 16, 1832, when he resigned to accept a judicial position.

On July 13, 1832, President Andrew Jackson nominated Ellis to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Mississippi vacated by Peter Randolph. Ellis was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 14, 1832, and received his commission the same day. Ellis resigned on January 5, 1836, and was appointed by President Andrew Jackson as Charge d'Affaires of the United States to Mexico. He served in that capacity from January to December 1836, when he closed the legation. He was appointed by President Martin Van Buren as United States Minister Plenipotentiary to Mexico, holding that office from 1839 to 1842. He then engaged in the private practice of law in Natchez, Mississippimarker until at some point he moved to Richmond, Virginiamarker. He continued in private practice there until his death in 1863; interment was at Shockoe Hill Cemetery. The city of Ellisville, Mississippimarker is named in its memory.


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