Adrian John Ebell (September 20, 1840-April 10, 1877), was born in Jaffnapatam on the Island of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), the son of Henry T. and Mary (Palm) Ebell, of English and Dutch ancestry. When about ten years of age, he was sent to the United States with an older sister to be educated. After preparatory school he entered Yale University in 1858. He then taught music in New Haven, Connecticut, and in Chicago, and then moved to Saint Paul, Minnesota, and took some noted photographs. He served for a short time in the Indian war in Minnesota with the rank of 1st Lieutenant. He wrote an article in June 1863 in Harper's Magazine titled "The Indian Massacres and War of 1862", which included the famous photograph "People escaping from the Indian massacre of 1862 in Minnesota, at dinner on a prairie". He then returned to Yale and graduated at the Scientific School in 1866 with a PhD.
He afterwards studied medicine at the Albany Medical College, graduating M.D. in 1869. In the meantime he had begun to lecture before schools and lyceums on natural science. In 1871 he established himself in New York City as director of The International Academy of Natural Science, which comprised a plan of travel and study in Europe for annually organized classes of young ladies. He was married in September, 1874, to Oriana L., daughter of Dr. A.J. Steele, of New York. He embarked on the steamship Frisia from New York, on one of these study tours, late in March, 1877 and died en route near Hamburg at age 37.
He made a visit to California in 1876, and while here he organized a class in Oakland. After his death the name "Ebell" was taken by the Oakland chapter or "Club". Other chapters, including Ebell of Los Angeles and Ebell Club of Santa Paula, founded later used the same Ebell name.
This article incorporates public domain material from the Yale Obituary Record.