Skip to content ↓

View entry

Back to search results

Name: ELLIS, George (Sergeant, RE)

Nationality: British

First Date: 1895

Last Date: 1898

Profession: One of Capt. Sclater's team employed to make the road from Kibwezi through Nairobi to the Highlands of EA, Ellis is said to have been the first man to live in what is now Nairobi City. He established a Transport Depot in Nairobi in 1896 (see Brodie)

Area: Nairobi, Sergeant Ellis Road, Nairobi, was named after him

Book Reference: Gillett, Best, Flashlight, Hut, North, Chandler

War Service: 'D' Company Royal Engineers

General Information:

Best - Took over the transport depot in what is now Westlands from Corporal Brodie in May 1897 - he was to supervise the training of mules and draught oxen for most of the next eleven months, until he left Nairobi for England in April 1898
North - Member of the Capt. B.L. Sclater road building crew, Kedong to Kibwezi, arr. EA May 1895; Camp Taro 27/7/1895; Kedong Sept 1896; Sgt. in charge of military depot at Nairobi 1896; Nairobi July 1898; Member of the Maj. A.H. Coles Column to Konamga 24/10/1898
Chandler - Corporal Ellis worked on Capt. Bertram Sclater's road-building team in 1895. Later he manned the British bullock depot near the stream called Nairobi, with a small force of askaris under his command. He is considered by many to have been the first European to live inside the boundaries of what is now Nairobi. In January 1897 he was visited by the hunter Carl Schillings. Ellis warned the German to beware of the lion swarming the area. Attracted by the oxen and not used to firearms, the local lion were a particularly aggressive breed. Ellis himself had killed a big lioness near the corral the night before. Schillings admitted later that he was a "little skeptical" - lonely soldiers had a tendency to exaggerate the dangers of their post. Schillings's skepticism soon disappeared, however; on his very first walk around the camp he ran into 2 lion. He wound up shooting 4 of the animals on his first day there and several more the following week.
Mills Railway - In February 1897 Corporal Brodie was given charge of the depot where he remined until May and thereby established his claim to be the second European resident {of Nairobi} .….…. When Brodie left the Westlands depot, he was succeeded by another of Sclater's team, Corporal Ellis. Ellis, who was promoted Sergeant at about this time, remained in charge until April 1898 and it was probably the length of his stay that gave rise to the legend that he was the first European resident of Nairobi.
This tradition became so firmly established that a road in the city centre was named Sergeant Ellis Avenue. It is now known as City Hall Way, an accurate description, because it runs past the front of the town hall, built in the 1930s. When Ellis left the depot, he probably accompanied a transport caravan, bound for railhead at Tsavo, to pick up supplies for Uganda and was given a ride on a construction train returning to Kilindini. As he sailed from Mombasa on 8 June, he could have had no inkling that his name would endure so long and with so little justification.EAS - 29/1/1903 - Nairobi Races -  We hope to see Capt. Salkeld and Mr G. Ellis riding again as the sporting spirit is in them and they are good jocks.
Medals - East Africa Road Corps - George J. Ellis, No. 187, Private

Back to search results