Who was Magnolia Ellis?
To begin with, “The Magnificent Magnolia Ellis” was my great grandmother! I am very proud to carry the passion for helping others that flowed heavily though Magnolia’s veins.
The following text is reprinted from a small brochure written by my grand mother, Mavis Martin. It was published sometime around January, 1957.
The Magnificent Magnolia
In the beginning, I wish to say that Magnolia is my mother which is the first reason that I think she’s really a magnificent person. I will endeavor in the pages following to explain the kind of person she is two other people, as well as my own personal feeling. Magnolia Ellen Yoakum was born in a small village in Hill County, Texas. Her mother was 54 years of age at the time Magnolia was born. This was a seven months baby and weighed 1 1/4 pounds at birth. There was no doctor available, only a midwife. This woman’s name was Ellen Pickett and the baby was named for her. Since there were no facilities at all to care for a premature child, it was taken for granted that it was impossible for such a tiny life to exist, and so it went on record that the baby was stillborn. Mrs. Pickett wrapped the baby in cotton, put it in a shoe box and placed it in the warming oven of the family cook stove. The baby was fed with an eyedropper and was under Mrs. Pickett’s care as well as a mother for several weeks. Magnolia’s survival then was just as amazing as her endurance and competence are today. She was very small for her age until she reached her teens, at the age of eight years she only weighed 48 pounds although she was quite healthy. This little girl was the youngest of eight children, four girls and the same number of boys. All the family and friends of the family noticed what an unusual child Magnolia was even when she was very young. She had an almost uncanny ability to foresee what would happen in the future. Things would happen exactly as she would say they would. It was a general believe that the child was too intelligent and that she would not live to reach maturity. Today she is five feet eight inches tall and weighs 148 pounds.
Life on a backwoods farm does not offer many advantages to any one of eight children, consequently my mother’s childhood was to say the least, very ordinary. The older children were married and had families of their own by the time Magnolia was old enough to be of much help on the farm. She always excepted her share of the work with never a complaint, and was very dependable no matter how hard the job might be. My grandfather has told me many times that she was always of more help to him than any boy he had, whether it was field work or otherwise. He also said that Magnolia was very devoted to my grandmother, who for several years before her death was bedfast most of the time. She was of a happy nature even as a child and had quite a sense of humor. On one occasion when she was about six years old she expressed her opinion of a person in this manner. There was a fellow who paid court to a sister just older than Magnolia, he had a beautiful span of horses he always curried to the point of perfection. One evening, to discourage his calling, little Magnolia trimmed the tail of his favorite horse.
When she was old enough to go to school, it was an adventure to look forward to, and she was at the head of her class all through school. In those days it was considered a real opportunity to be able to attend school enough to make a grade every year. At the age of 16 she was asked to become postmistress there in the community where she was living. Her father vetoed this as he wanted her to be a teacher; he also thought she was too young for this sort of position.
This was the same year the Yoakum family moved westward to Kent County, Texas, the town was Jayton. They were not in very good circumstances financially at this time, and Magnolia felt it her duty to contribute help to her family. She took the state teachers examination in order to start teaching school. An examination was all that was required at that time, and she passed with flying colors. She accepted a position and did a worthy job of teaching. When school vacation time came she went to visit an older sister who lived on the plains in a town called a Estacado. It was here she met the man she married a short time later. His name was see C. P. Ellis. He was quite a few older is that you’re older than Magnolia and their ideas and opinions were in complete discord. However, Magnolia was determined that her marriage would be a success if at all all possible.
During the second year of this marriage I was born. When I was just a baby I had double pneumonia and also a very weak heart. My mother took me to every doctor she even thought could help me; however, nothing gave me the relief she did when she placed her hands on my back and chest. Now I wish to say that I do not try to create the impression that Magnolia is a person of the supernatural, but I do truthfully believe that she is gifted with a magnetic power that only God could give her. At the same time I think that even with this gift it would be impossible for her to do the things she does for humanity without other things, such as education, the study of human nature, an intense desire to help people, and a very strong willpower.
Knowledge that she could help people and after several years of coping with a gradually disintegrating marriage, Magnolia was in a quandary as to what to do with her future. After careful consideration for everyone involved, she decided to obtain a divorce and devote her time to helping others, and that is exactly what she has done. This was not any easy decision to make, but having at last made up her mind, she started at once preparing herself for her work. She realized that more education would be necessary to reach the goal she desired. She enrolled in college at Lubbock Texas. This broader education was even more of a trial to her because of the fact she had a child to support and care for, as well as the attention of her studies required. She worked in a boarding house at night and during hours she had no classes to pay for our room and board. On Saturdays she worked in a department store to buy clothes, etc.. I realize now that life during that period of time must have been very hard for Magnolia, but not one time do I recall her ever complaining or feeling sorry for herself. One of the courses she studied was the nervous system of the human body, how the nerves in certain parts of the body are affected by certain diseases and the control of these things. At this time I want to say that this explains and simplifies to me to a great extent the success she has with her treatments. She also took two years of pre-med work along with different courses of psychology and education. She taught school some of the time as soon as she has enough hours to qualify for teaching, in order to finish the last part of her college work, as it took more money all the time for living expenses.
Many people believe that this treatment is a faith treatment. This is not true. Faith is a thing that is something for a person to have in anything he undertakes. Magnolia has faith in her ability to believe that she can, and she does help many people who have come to the conclusion that nothing will help them.
It has been almost 19 years since Magnolia located in New Mexico. The name of the town is Truth or Consequences at the present time. When she came it was known as Hot Springs, New Mexico. There are hot mineral springs in this town which are used to take hot bath by those who desire them. This town is located 150 miles south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The climate is very mild as a rule during the cold months of the year, this is conducive to pleasant living for people who are not well. The population is around 6000. Stores, bath houses, apartments and hotels are conveniently located for those who are without transportation. The building which belongs to Magnolia is at a central location here. She has her living quarters in one wing of the building and uses the other wing for her office and waiting room. There is a large parking lot in front of her building that accommodates a large number of cars. The waiting room will seat about 75 people and there’s always a full house. At times there is not even standing room inside, and some wait in their cars and sit on benches which are out in front of her office. There are no appointments made, as she has several hundred people visit her each day. People draw numbers as they come in which number 1-100. Magnolia sees each one when his number is called. People who are on crutches, in wheel chairs, or those who are in great deal of pain are taken in at once and are not asked to draw number. There are six booths with tables and them. When one’s number is called he is shown to a booth and lies down on a table. Magnolia moves quietly from one booth to the next and passes her hands over the person’s body. The treatment she gives is very short, she uses no mechanical devices of any kind, only her hands. She is quite honest in her opinion and while she is in the booth, is she feels she can be of no help to them, she says so immediately. If she believe a person requires medical attention or surgery she refers them to a medical doctor at once.
Magnolia is of a cheerfull heart and a sparkling personality and she is a completely kind individual to everyone she meets. There seems to be no limit to her endurance and she is grateful to God to have the strength to work the hours she does and stay well herself most of the time.
It is not my intention to imply that Magnolias without faults, no one in this world is perfect, however, hundreds and hundreds of people agree that she is far above average. Her work has not always been easy for her. There are always those kind of people who are jealous and prejudiced against a person in her position. She has been accused, by insidious persons, of practicing everything from hypnotism to witchcraft, and just for money alone. All of this sort of thing she ignores and continues to do what she thinks is best for everyone. A great number of those who visit her are charity cases and many bring her handiwork and things of this sort if they did not have the money. This is a help to lots of people and also agreeable with Magnolia. She has had visitors from every state in the United States come to her for help and several from abroad.
Today she is recognized by some of the most notable doctors in the nation and held in their highest esteem. She is up to date on world situations and affairs. Just recently she was appointed, by the Governor of New Mexico, Colonel as an aid-de-camp on the Governor’s staff. This is the first time this position has ever been held by a woman, and a position she is grateful for. Magnolia donates to different charities and organizations. She has sent two boys through high school because their immediate families when unable to financially do so. She definitely believes in a good education. At the present time her oldest grandson is attending the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has an 11-year-old grandson who attends school and Kansas, then there is little Magnolia, who is her grandmother’s namesake, who will start school next year.
Occasionally some person will ask Magnolia if she ever tires her work, and when she expects to retire. She will answer “I’ll never get too old or too tired to work as long as I feel that I am able to help humanity”. Sometimes she will laugh and tell someone that when she gets too old to work she’ll turn into an old gray mule and keep on.
I hope that I have made it clear as I write that I mean none of what I have written as any sort of advertisement. Heaven knows she needs none. As I said in the beginning, I only want to describe the kind of person she is, as I have had so many people ask me to. Following are just two of the testimonials people have written. I am printing two in order for you to know that I’m not alone in believing that Magnolia is truly magnificent.
To whom it may concern,
This is to state that I will be 78 years old the ninth day of August, 1957 and I wish to tell whoever may be interested of the help that I received from Magnolia Ellis. I first heard her through a friend of mine who, so far as I know, was the first man from Dallam County, Texas, to ever take treatment from her. At the time I made light of this “lady doctor” and he told me that if more people went to Magnolia there would be less graves in our cemeteries today. Now, after eight years I know he was right. At that time I had back trouble, and every doctor I had consulted told me that surgery was my only solution. I’ve not been able to lie on my back for over 18 years. I went to Magnolia and took 21 treatments and have slept on my back if I wish ever sense. One month later I was in a car accident and my neck broken. I was informed by some of the best doctors in their field that I would have to wear a brace for at least two years and possibly the rest of my life. They also told me that I would never regain the use of arms which seemed to be paralyzed. Again I went to Magnolia and took treatments. I took the brace off when I arrived home have never worn it since; also I was able to feed myself, a thing my wife had done for me for 73 days. Last year I developed an allergy from milk which left me with an infection in my prostate gland. Magnolia told me she thought I was should see a medical doctor to see if I need surgery. I took a few treatments before I did this so I would be in shape for it if it were done. I was operated on in Albuquerque, New Mexico, December 26, 1955, which was on Monday. On following Saturday I drove to my home which is an Dalhart, Texas. I’ve been to Magnolia since my operations take treatments for my leg which I had a little trouble using. As usual, I feel fine.
October 9, 1956
I believe you know how grateful I am, as well as all my family, for what you have done for me. Polio when I was a baby, both in my legs and the rest of my body, a blood clot and nervous condition surely gave you a big job — but you did it. My leg became warm and looked alive almost from the first treatment. I was facing amputation or lifelong electric treatments, and now I have my own business and work long hours. The leg which doctors told my family had no live muscles in it when I was a child is alive now. Muscles are coming alive now that I can hardly believe possible. I have no physical problems you have not helped. Then last winter I was called home because our mother was dying. Three doctors told her she could not live. My brother told me to call Magnolia. I wonder how you can help us so far away. I still marvel you told us what to do and she was all right? How can we ever repay you? Our mother was well almost before we knew it because we did as you, who had never seen or heard of her before, told us to do although you were many miles away. I could write you all day of the ones I know of you have helped – but you are too busy still helping others. Now many of my family and friends have been treated and helped by you and all like myself praise God that he directed us to you. I pray we have you many, many years to come. Four generations of the Toles family can tell of the wonderful Magnolia. We all love you very much, my dear.
Ollie Winters Pico,