William Turner Ellis, Jr., (1866-1955) was the mayor of Marysville in 1894-1898, when he was ages 28-32. He is considered the father of Marysville's Levee System. Ellis Lake in Marysville and Ellis Road in District 10 are named for him. His autobiography, Memories: My Seventy-Two Years in the Romantic County of Yuba, California, published in 1938, provides a remarkable record of Marysville's early history that is now freely available online in its entirety.

Ellis began his political career by being elected to the Yuba County Board of Supervisors in 1888, at age 22. He wrote of this experience in his autobiography:

When I was a candidate for this office, there were three other candidates in the field besides myself. One ran as a Democrat, one as a Republican, one as a Prohibitionist, while I ran as an Independent; and, very much to my surprise, I was elected. For two or three years previous, I had been taking an active interest in the hydraulic fight, making several trips to the mountains as a "watchman," gathering information about mines which were operating and doing damage, etc., all for a "little excitement," as I took no pay for my services. Presumably, that was the reason for my election. . . .
The financing of the litigation in the hydraulic mining issue was paid for jointly by Sutter and Yuba Counties. In Sutter County, the vote for such appropriations was always unanimous but in Yuba County, two of the members of the Board were always from the mountain district and quite naturally were favorable to hydraulic mining, so the vote of our Board was always three "for" and two "against" such appropriations. One of the members of our Board was James Malaley; sometimes he would attend meetings a little "lit up." On one of these occasions, when one of these claims came up for payment, for a joke, I got him to vote "aye," he not knowing just what he was doing. When the published proceedings came out in the newspaper, having him on record as so voting, he had a lot of explaining to do to his constituents in the hills. At the next Board meeting, in very "choice" language, he told me what he thought of my jokes.

Ellis lived for a time in the house known as The Castle, which is still a private residence that can be seen at 220 5th Street, Marysville. He died in 1955 at the age of 89 and was buried in the Marysville City Cemetery.

Also see W. T. Ellis, Sr., and Yuen Yeck Bow.


Memories: My Seventy-Two Years in the Romantic County of Yuba, California, by W. T. Ellis (Jr.)

A monument next to the Marysville Levee Commission building in downtown Marysville is engraved with this admonition from W. T. Ellis, Jr., referring to the Yuba River's propensity to severe flooding as a result of the mine tailings dumped into it by gold mining companies upstream. Photo by queerbychoice. Digitally enhanced to be readable; the lettering on the actual monument has decayed significantly more than is shown.