The Strange Career of William Ellis

The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire

This website uses the amazing, true life story of a man known variously as Guillermo Eliseo, Guillermo Ellis, and William Ellis to cast a fresh light on the lost world of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands from the 1850s to the 1920s.  The materials on this site include images of Eliseo/Ellis, documents from his extraordinary life, and present-day recollections from his descendants in Mexico and the U.S. alike.  Together, these materials allow readers to glimpse how the borderline and the color line took shape in Mexico and the U.S. as these two nation’s histories became increasingly intertwined in the latter half of the nineteenth century. 

The companion volume to this website is available from W.W. Norton.

French edition of the book.

More about the author, Karl Jacoby.