The son of Onan and Mary Jane Huot Ellyson. In 1865 he became a partner in the "Richmond Daily Dispatch." He was a leading citizen of Richmond in business, civic and political life. He was a Deacon of Second Baptist Church and Secretary of the State Mission Board of Virginia. He published at his own expense the "Southern Baptist Missionary Journal." He was Sherrif of the City of Richmond from 1857 to 1865. He was Mayor of Richmond in 1870.