Ellis County Extension Agents
Mark Arnold, Agriculture & Natural Resources
Rita Hodges, Family & Consumer Sciences
Megan Parr, 4-H & Youth Development
Ellis County was formed December 20, 1849 from Robertson and Navarro Counties. It was named for Richard Ellis, President of the March, 1836 Independence Convention at Washington on the Brazos, which declared the independence of Texas from Mexico. Waxahachie, the County Seat, is an Indian word meaning “cow or buffalo”.
The present Ellis County Courthouse designed by architect James Gordon, is the fourth structure to serve the citizens of the county. The style has been described as a mixture of “Romanesque and Victorian”. The 103 year old structure has been restored.
The historic building has been voted as the number one Courthouse in Texas due to the many architectural features. Best known are the ornate carvings that are found all over the courthouse exterior by three artisans from Europe. Legend has it that one of the three who worked on the carvings fell in love with Mabel Frame, the daughter of the proprietors of a local boarding house where the artisans roomed. Her classic features captured the imagination of the guest sculptor so much that he carved a likeness of her face into the sandstone blocks where it remains today in an arch of the east entrance. Although the sculptor had fallen in love with her, she was not in love with him. The rejected suitor began carving faces with vengeance. Contorted, grimacing and grotesque faces began to appear in the artwork.
The historic courthouse and surrounding square along with many other Ellis County sites, have become the background location for many movies, television programs and commercials.
Waxahachie has been designated the Crape Myrtle Capital of Texas and is also of interest to many tourist for the numerous Gingerbread homes located throughout the city. Other towns in the county are Ennis, who is designated as the Bluebonnet Capital of Texas, is home to the nationally recognized Polka Festival, Midlothian, Red Oak, Italy and numerous other smaller towns.