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  • My grandfather Wilder P. Ellis was a Presbyterian Medical Missionary who, accompanied by his strong willed wife, Jessie Lee Ellis, practiced in Iran (Persia), from around 1917 to 1930.
  • My great grandfather Edwin M. Ellis, was known as Montana's Bicycling Minister, where he practiced from 1884 to 1913.
  • My great grandfather Theodore Lee, (Jessie's father), was a Presbyterian Minister in Springville, and subsequently Spanish Fork, Utah. Family lore holds that he had progressive idea, including reservations about the virgin birth. His views resulted in complaints in the community, possibly by women, and Mormons in particular. It appears that his superiors bowed to the pressure, and that resulted in his being defrocked, and forced to leave his ministry.This resulted in the loss of a reasoned voice. He then became a bee keeper in Spanish Fork.
Dr. Wilder P. Ellis, and Jessie, preformed many wonderful services during their time in Persia. Building hospitals, teaching nurses, teaching languages, and trying to protect countless refugees, both in their compound, and in the area. The kidnapping and rape of women seemed to be an ongoing common situation they were witness to, and attempted to prevent. Jessie wrote an account of their experiences from a dangerous and horrific period, probably in early 1919. This was subsequently published in the September, 1919 issue of The Atlantic Monthly.

Below is a photo of Dr. Ellis in Persia with the Kurdish warlord Simko Shikak. Wilder and Dr. Shedd successfully treated one of Simko's wives.

"The Simko Shikak revolt refers to an armed Ottoman-backed tribal Kurdish uprising against the Qajar dynasty of Iran from 1918 to 1922. It was led by Kurdish chieftain Simko Shikak from the Shekak tribe."

Left  Dr. Wilder P. Ellis  - Center is Simko - Right is a French Priest later killed by Simko  


Montana's Bicycling Minister - by Nina Ellis Dosker.
Published by the Montana Historical Society in 1980.

   Reverend Edwin M. Ellis     
               Edwin's Columbia Chainless bicycle
               On display at the Montana Historical Museum