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The Wells Family

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The Colonel James Wells Family

By Jane Anderson-Bradburn, 1953

The following is a document that was written in 1953 by Jane Anderson-Bradburn, my great-grandmother's sister. I assume this copy was either my great-grandmother's, Bonnie Fenstemaker, or my grandfather's, Stanley Fenstemaker. My grandmother gave it to me after my grandfather died in 1984. I have tried to type it word for word. It became rather difficult to understand the descendants of James and Polly Wells and I did make some minor changes in regards to numbering the generations. I am not absolutely positive that I interpreted it correctly. The copies I have were hard to read and the spellings are also probably in error. The original photo of the Wells Cathedral was barely visible and I have substituted a different photo. Also, I have found some errors in the information recorded here but I left it as is to keep the integrity of the document intact. It, in itself, errors and all, is truly a valuable piece of history. L. Humphrey, 1999.

 

Feb. 4, 1953

It took me longer than anticipated to do this work. As you can see I'm not a professional typist. At the beginning, I didn't contemplate making the work into booklets nor writing the Interlude. Neither did I know about the Cathedral information at the public library.

The girl, who typed the stencils and did the mimeographing, is a polio victim sufficiently recovered to attend Business College. Both of us have made mistakes. 

When this reaches you please write and let me know. It will be a great relief to me when I know they have been delivered. Orders were received for 53. 

Some of us have never met on earth, but what a joy it would be if we could assemble in heaven as an unbroken family. It is an individual matter with each of us whether we accept or reject the offer. Christ said, "I am the door. No man cometh to the Father but by me." 

Janie Anderson-Bradburn
Address Mrs. Jane Bradburn
5423 So. Cedar St.
Tacoma, Washington

 

Part I, Page I

 

WELLES

 

ENGLAND AND NORMANDY

 

From "Welles Family England and Normandy", by Albert Welles, published in New York: A.P.V.N.Y. Public Library, Genealogical Department.

The early names seem to have been changed from time to time by events and living in different places. De Montford was known as Evereaux in Normandy. The Welsborne Montfords of England returned to this identical name and are known in full recognition of their relationship to the first Simon of Montford, Earl of Leicester. They bore the same arms with slight variations that bears the same analogy to the discerning eye.

The name ramified in many directions as daughters married and among the different families are Vaux, Vallibus, Welles and Wells, Lee, Millburn, Molbeck, Mollineaux, (or Miller), D'Evereaux, Nassa, Washburn, (afterwards Washington) Burn, Butthburn, Reburn, Waterton, Watersbe, Beck, Euills and others. All have been historical.

Richard de Welles or Euille (or Evereaux, a spring of water) took the name Welles in England.

Early as 794 of the Christian Era, Vaux derived name from a district in Normandy. This early a branch of Vaux is found in Provence, and then allied to most of the Sovereigns of Europe. They are mentioned in the records of that and subsequent periods by the name of Beaux, Vaux and Beaux (B and V being used indiscriminately in the south of France); and the ancient possessions of the princes of Beaux in the country are still called "Les Tarros Baussengaes" comprising Aix, Marseilles, etc.

 Welles, England and Normandy 

In 1140 the Vauxes disputed the sovereignty of Provence with the house of Barcelona; and in 1173 they acquired the Principality of Orange by marriage with Tiburge, heiress of Orange. 

In 1214, William, Prince of Beaux and Orange, assumed the title of King of Arle and Vienne, which dignity was acknowledged and confirmed to him by Frederick the II. 

In 1393, Raymond (king of Arles, Prince of Baux and Orange) left by his first wife (Joane Countess of Geneva) an only daughter who married John de Chalons, Great Chamberlain of France and conveyed the title and possessions of the house of Baux into that family, from which by marriage with the heiress of Chalons, they came to the house of Nassear, in 1530. From the alliance the members of that house bore the title of Prince of Orange. 

Bertram, second son of William Prince of Baux and Orange, went with Phillip of Anjou into Italy when that Prince ascended the throne of Naples. A son of this Bertram, another Bertram de Vaux, was Count of Montescaziosi, etc. and married Beatrix, daughter of Charles II, King of Naples and Sicily. 

His son, Francis de Vaux, espoused Margaret de Anjou, widow of Edward Baloil, King of Scotland, and granddaughter of Philip of Anjou, Emperor of Constantinople etc. in right of his wife, the daughter of Baldwin, Earl of Flanders (Father- in-law of William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy) and Emperor of Constantinople. 

Upon this marriage, Francis de Vaux, was created Duke of Andres in the kingdom of Wellos, England and Normandy, Naples, etc. and his descendants enjoyed the highest offices, as the following inscription translated from the monument erected in 1615 in the Church of Saint Claire at Naples, Sicily, fully attests. 

"This monument is dedicated to the most illustrious family of Vaux, a potent race, decorated with the royal insignia in the Kingdom of Vienne and Arles, Prince of Orange, Count of Geneva, and great rulers within the sovereignty of Provence which they frequently subjugated to their dominion by force of arms.

 

Part I, Page 2

 

They were Emperors of Greece, Despots of Romania, Princes of Archaia, Premier of Dukes of the Kingdom of Naples, Princes of Tarento and Altemard, Dukes of Andrea, Uraino and Naro, Counts of Montescaziosi, Avallino, Saleto, Castro, Ugento, Nola, Aloxana, and Accerraro: Great Constables, High Chamberlains and Stewarts of the Papal armies. Hieronymus de Vaux has here deposited the bones of as many of his name and lineage as he has been able to collect, and out of piety to them has erected this monument to their memory." 

VIDELICETT TO THE MEMORY OF

Antonia de Vaux, Queen of Sicily.

Isabella de Vaux, Queen of Naples.

Cecilia de Vaux, Countess of Savoy.

Sibella de Vaux, Countess of Piedmont.

Maria de Vaux, Daupheness of Vienne.

Isabella de Vaux, Despotisses of Servia. 

 

Welles, England and Normandy

 

The Prince of Joinvills derived from Stephen de Vaux who married the heiress of the Count de Joigny in Champaigne and assumed the name of Joinville or Joignville. 

His successors bore for arms, "Au., a bend gu" (nearly same coat as the English Vauxes of Try er mayne); viz. "Ar., a bend chequey, or gu" of the house of Vaux of Champaigne.

Welles - English.

Arms - a lion rampant double queued sable.

Motto - Semper paratus (Always ready). 

 

Part II, Page 1 

WELLS FAMILY

IN ENGLAND 

The Wells or Welles family have been traced to Vaux family in Normandy-Norman-French val or vala, plurals vallor vaux from Latin vallis. Vallys (1220), Wellys (1475), Wyllys (1463), de Well (1461-89), de Wells, Welles (1298) and Wells. 

Vaux family in Provence as early as 794, and recognized as one of the most illustrious in history, having from that period held the highest rank in its own right, and by royal intermarriages. 

A Richard de Welles came to England in 1060, with William the Conqueror. 

Harold de Vaux, a near connection of William the Conqueror, founded the family in England, 1120. He was accompanied by his three sons, Baron Hubert, Baron Ranuoph, and Baron Robert, all surnamed de Vallibus. 

Robert de Welles, born about 1145, was the great-grandson of Robert de Vallibus. He held the manor of little Rayno, in Essex, England, and was the founder of the Welles family in that country. Numerous branches of the family founded in England were wealthy and powerful in their own right, made marriages with leading families of the realm. Among these, was that of Dymoke, in which is held the title of Hereditary, Champion of the King of England. 

Hugh de Welles, a descendant of Jocelyn de Welles, the Fleming, became one of the most important men in England. Advanced to the See of Lincoln as Archdeacon and Lord Chancellor of England, his power became very great. He was Chief of the Barons and was instrumental in obtaining from King John in 1215; the great Magna Charta prepared by the Barons and signed by John. Hugh de Wells appeared to have been in very close alliance with and in confidence with King John. 

Wells Cathedral in Somersetshire, in its present form was begun under the leadership of Bishop Jocelyn de Wells, brother of Bishop of Welles, before the middle of the 13th century. (see INTERLUDE Page D.) 

Recorded history and family traditions agree in stating that all of Welles and Wells who immigrated to the American colonies during the 17th century were from County Essex in England. 

Arms: a lion rampant, double queued sable. Crest: a demi-lion rampant, a double queued sable. 

Motto: Semper Paratus (always ready)

WELLS IN AMERICA 

James Wells, migrated from England to America (date unknown) and first settled in Maryland. He married Ann _____. 

Names of children as recorded in the record of Saint Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church, Baltimore, Md., Vol. I, page 56. 

James, son of James Wells and Ann his wife, born Mar. 18, 1720

Prudence, dau. of James Wells and Ann his wife, born Mar. 18, 1720

Richard I, son of James Wells and Ann his wife, born Mar. 15, 1722

Honour, dau. of James Wells and Ann his wife, born Oct. 1724

Alexander, son of James Wells and Ann his wife, born Mar. 12, 1727

Ann, dau. of James Wells and Ann his wife, born Feb. 17, 1729 

Richard I is also called Richard Senior. It is from him we begin to trace our family and also Revolutionary Record.

Before beginning this page of record, let me remind you there was no State of West Va. Until June 19, 1863. The Panhandle or Northwest section of Va. did not want to secede from Union. It was admitted as a state. 

 

Part II, Page 2 

Richard Wells I, or Sr., migrated from Maryland to Cumberland Co., Penn. As early as 1763. He owned 200 acres of land surveyed for him Aug. 1, 1766 (reference from archives). Later part of this County was called Bedford. (as Cumberland and Bedford Counties are miles apart, I imagine he moved to Bedford Co.) In 1771-72 Richard Wells Sr. lived and paid taxes in Brothers Valley Township, Bedford Co., Pennsylvania. 

Family tradition says that Richard Wells left Somerset County in 1774 with "eight sons old enough to bear arms" and went to the Panhandle Section of what is now West Va. (this is near Wheeling , WV and near Ohio.) On this trip the Indians stole all his horses. He and his sons trailed the thieves, killed two Indians and one horse and secured other horses. We don't know how they got the horses; hope they bought. 

NOTICE: Richard Wells I, fought in the Revolutionary War. He was a member of Captain Edmund Baxter's Co., Pa. (note that country was then part of Va.) Later he moved from Panhandle section to Bourbon Co., Ky., near Millersburg, and then to Ohio. He and his sons George and Joseph Wells, were early settlers of Licking Co., Ohio in 1801-1802. 

Richard Wells Sr. is buried in Licking Co., Ohio, in George's Chapel Cemetery near town of Luray. His headstone reads "Richard Wells, died Sept. 12, 1816." He was married twice. His first wife was Nancy Brown born in 1743, daughter of George Brown. Name of second wife is not known Richard Wells Sr. had 24 children, six sons and six daughters by each wife. 

Some of those by first wife were named George, Mary, James, Richard Jr. or II, Thomas, Patience, and John. (These have been located.) 

I, Janie Anderson-Bradburn, who was born and lived to the age of 15, in Pike Co., Ill. Saw Uncle John Wells and knew his grandson Wilson Wells. We used to visit them and they visited us. Richard Wells Jr. had a son Perry Wells, and daughter Patience McElfresh, who were near neighbors of ours. Uncle John, had a son named Joshua, who was a Christian preacher. He married my Father James W. Anderson, and was Mother Ruth Elizabeth (Betty) Wells. Wilson was Joshua's son. 

And now I'll resume record. 

Children of Richard Wells, sr. and his second wife are recorded only as Joseph and Elizabeth. Other children not certain to which wife they belonged, were Nicholas, Hugh, Joshua, Charles, Nancy, Ruth and Alexander. This leaves several unlocated and unaccounted for. 

And now, I, Jane Bradburn will add some more. 

Many of these Wells descendants gradually moved into the states of Ill., Mo., Wash., and Calif. Most of the older generations were farmers, but the younger ones are found in many occupations. 

A Mr. John Shively, of Coatesville, Mo., said: 'I have migrated from the eastern part of the U.S. to this location. On the way I stopped and settled in different localities for a few years. It seemed wherever I located, whether in Pa., Ohio, or here I found some of the Wells tribe. There were a few things characteristic of the family. Most of them were prosperous and were leaders in their communities. People respected them and sought their advice. They were clean moral men and took part in the civil and religious activities of the neighborhoods where they lived." This is a fine heritage; and I hope the coming and present generations will appreciate and follow their example. 

 

INTERLUDE

Page A

Jan. 10, 1953 

I, Jane Bradburn, 5423 So. Cedar Street, Tacoma, Wash. am 84 years old today. So far as I know my sister Bonnie Fenstemaker, my brother, James T. Anderson, and I are the only living grandchildren of the Colonel James Wells family. It is possible Frank or William Wells may be alive in Berkley or San Francisco, California, but if they are they must be in their nineties. They were sons of John. 

When James Wells, son of Richard Sr. was married he took for his wife, Mary (Polly) Wheldon or Weldon. They were married in Va. and her father must have been a man of means as he gave her five slaves as a wedding present. My Mother and other members of the relatives said, she was from Pa. And called the family "Pennsylvania Dutch" which means in reality, they were German. When I lived with Uncle Jim Wells he had an oak chest painted red. He said, "My grandfather, made this chest in Germany and brought his clothes to America in it. One of his neighbors said, "Mr. Wheldon, why don't you teach your children to speak German, so they will know two languages?" My great-grandfather replied, "I was reared in Germany; it was a despotic government, and the citizens have so little freedom. When I was a young man, I heard and read about this country, I studied about its form of government and admired it so much I resolved to leave my Fatherland and come to America, the United States.

I am a citizen now and I don't want my children to have any more ties than are necessary to link them to Germany. If I had wanted them to be German, I would have remained in that country. We speak the English language here and that is all I want them to know." 

I admire him for his loyalty, but I wish I could speak half a dozen languages instead of one; the ability to speak and write foreign languages, especially in this day, enables many persons to secure high priced jobs, as well as to be able to befriend foreign immigrants who like Mr. Wheldon, come here to become useful and loyal citizens. 

Some of the Wells relatives seemed to belong to the Episcopal or Presbyterian Churches. Many of them were Methodists; but Co. James Wells and his brother, John were deeply impressed by the preaching and teachings of Alexander Campbell, who founded the Christian or Disciples Church in 1811. They, at least, and I do not know whether any others of the family did or not, left the Methodist and united with the Christian. 

When they made their last move and settled at what is now Hilltown, Iowa, they helped establish the Christian Church, in that community. James and Polly Wells, were charter members no doubt, for he was one of the Elders, even if he did manufacture whiskey for a few years. Religious services were held in homes. His son, James W. Wells, was one of the leading men in subscribing the money to build the Hilltown Church in 1889. It is just beside the Cemetery where James and Polly Wells, their sons William and James and Margaret, the oldest daughter, are buried. A number of grandchildren are also resting there, as are great and great, great ones. 

When James and Polly left Va., they went to Ohio, but after two or three years the people said, "Mr. Wells, you are a good citizen, but you will have to give up your slaves if you remain in Ohio. It is a free state you know." So they moved to Pike County, Ill. Where they had so many relatives, but in a short time, not more than two or three years at the most, I suppose it was the same experience. Then they moved to St. Charles County, Mo. where slavery was legal. I do not know the dates of these migrations nor where all the children were born, but I heard Uncle James W. say he was born in St. Charles Co, Mo. They must have moved from there not long after, for Robert just two years younger, was born in Randolph County, Mo. in December, 1849. 

 

INTERLUDE

Page B 

Mrs. Catherine Wells-Donaven, a sister of Perry Wells in Pike County, Ill. and niece of my grandfather said to me, "Your Grandfather was the typical pioneer. He loved to go to new places, clear land, make a farm and let his livestock eat blue grass and his hogs fatten on the mast. (mast was acorns and nuts so abundant in the autumn in those early days. Even in my time they were plentiful till I was a young woman.) 

By the year 1840 or 41, grandfather and his wife's slaves had increased to 21, while they themselves had 9 children all living. The territory of Iowa was beginning to attract many settlers to other localities than the Catholic Missions along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Again, James and Polly decided to move, they didn't have the hardness of heart to sell human beings into slavery to some one who might mistreat them. They were noted for their kindness to their slaves. So, they gave the entire 21 their papers of Freedom. I have always been very proud of that fact, it showed sympathy and a Christian conscience. Grandfather said he never did feel exactly at ease owning another human being no matter what his color might be. 

I imagine they probably were in Ohio or Penn. when the Indians uprose and the Blackhawk War was fought in 1832, James Wells volunteered and was a Colonel. From that time on he was called Col. James Wells, to designate him from other relatives of the same name. At one period of the campaign, the man above him in authority chose four men and made him the spokesman and leader of the group. They crossed the Ohio River in a canoe, while hundreds of Indians were lined upon the opposite bank. But, the Indians fortunately, respected the flag of truce, and permitted them to come ashore and return in safety after the conference was over. 

It certainly speaks well of a man to be chose leader for such a dangerous mission and to win the confidence and respect of the Indians. For they had just cause for feel bitter toward the white man. Hitler and Mussolini and Stalin are not the only men who have driven people from their native lands and taken the best of them for themselves and their subjects. But I'm flying the track, and preaching. 

Back to my subject: 

James Wells went to Centerville, I suppose or wherever the land office was and entered land in the Southeast corner of Appanoose County, Iowa. He also got land for his niece, Polly Evans, a short distance away. The Evans schoolhouse is built on one corner of what was her home place. He chose for his own location a place about a half-mile above the Iowa-Missouri state line. He chose that spot for he wanted to build a dam across the Chariton River and put in a grist mill.  

He moved his family in the autumn of 1841, and in April his last and tenth child was born. She became my Mother. They named her Ruth Elizabeth and the whole family died thinking she was the first white child born in the county; for Col. James Wells and his family were the first white family in the county of Appanoose. 

A family named Montgomery, lived across the state line in Schuyler County, Mo. and one or two families lived about ten miles away in Putnam County, Mo. near where the little settlement called Omaha, sprang up later. Otherwise there were no white families for miles around.  

But, during the winter a family moved in West of Centerville. When a history of the county was written many years later, it was found they had a child born before Betty, the Wells baby was. Then next family to move to the Wells Mill locality was that of William Cooksey. Later, he was known as "Grand-daddy Cooksey". The Horn families were probably next, and Scurlocks came soon after. Thomas and Polly Evans soon came and built their home and so the settlers came. 

 

INTERLUDE

Page C 

The first thing after James Wells cut logs and built a home, was to put the dam across the Chariton River and make a water wheel furnish power for grinding. His was the only mill for many, many miles. People used to come as far as 50 miles and have to wait their turn. So the Wells home became almost a pioneer hotel. 

The sons had cleared land and raised their 0wn corn for the family use. Soon the tolls of one-eighth left quite a surplus of corn. It was then the miller put in a still and made whiskey . He could put a small quantity in a glass, stir in little sugar, fill it with water and have "the sweetened dram" so common in those days. He and his sons could take one, put the jug away and let it alone till the next bad cold or some other excuse caused them to repeat the act.  

Polly, the wife, never wanted it put in at all, and when customers would have to wait, some of them would buy and drink till they were really drunk and disgusting. He said if a man could not take a little whiskey and then go about his business without making a hog of himself, they would have to go somewhere else to get it. He was through with the business, so he tore out the still and quit making it. I'm proud of him for that reformation also. My Mother saw enough of the bad effects of liquor when she was a child, that she became a strong temperance advocate.  

Col. James Wells was one of the wealthiest of the early settlers; when news of the gold discovery in California in 1848, reached Iowa, three of the Wells sons John, Alec and Brown, decided to go. Their Father helped outfit them. Besides he helped to outfit three or four other men with the understanding they would give him half of their earnings. All traveled together across the plains and desert. None of the crowd became rich. Alec returned to his family and settled land in Schuyler County, Mo. The town of Coatesville is on one corner of the Alexander Wells home. (It cost $1.25 and acre to enter land. I think the limit was 320 acres. Not one of the four men who received help from Grandfather, ever paid him back a dollar. I don't know if the sons did or not. 

A few years after there came a long rainy spell or melting snow that sent Chariton River on the rampage, it can stage at times. The mill dam and mill were so badly torn down that he never rebuilt. All four of the oldest sons were gone from home, the Father was getting too old for strenuous work and his son, William, died leaving his wife Mahala Cooksey Wells, alone with 6 children. The family moved into one of the houses which William had built on his place. It is the place known as the "Andy Guinn" farm. 

John Wells, returned from California, sold his home and with his wife, Elizabeth Rose-Wells, and their children returned to California where he died about 1879.  

Brown remained in California, and made several thousand dollars; first at mining and later he bout or entered land, put up a house and went into the cattle business. He never married and died in 1899 or 1900. 

I hope this information pleases, instead of boring, the descendants who have so heartily responded to my offer to compile a record of our branch of the Wells family in America, to add to the official one on the first four pages. That ancient record came to me from a third cousin in California in October, 1952. I decided to add to it and pass it on. 

 

INTERLUDE

Page D

 

  

"Great Britain: England, Scotland, Wales"

"Somersetshire" - from Library Book, by Dore Ogrizek 

After describing the lowlands, he continues: 

"You may have had a surfeit of English Cathedrals, but if you are not taken unawares by the magnificence of tall west front of Wells Cathedral, or its inverted arches, you are a very unimpressionable person. Where one stands awestruck by the architectural masterpieces, a hundred stand open-mouthed for one of the most interesting clocks in the world to do its stuff. 

Wells Clock is 600 years old. It tells you the time, the phases of the moon, and the position of the planets; and when the hour strikes, a little wooden cavalier called Jack Blandifer, kicks out his leg and brings his head back against a ball eight times. 

Then out of a black above the dial come four knights on horseback; two of them gallop around to the right , two to the left, and each time they go around, they are knocked flat by the sword of their enemy. The tournament goes on till the hour is struck, and then the smiling crowd moves on to the Bishop's Palace to watch the swans as they most serenely and majestically ring the gatehouse bell for their ration of bread. Even the cygnets (young swans), learn to ring that bell; and the ducks when the swans will let them. 

Wells, is a medieval village that exists for, and on, its vast cream colored Church and those who serve it." 

We must not think the Wells family paid all the expense or did all the work of building this great Cathedral. It took 200 years or more to complete all the building. The Wells family was numerous and important enough in that particular locality to have the village Wells, named in their honor and Bishop Jacelyn de Wells, was the preacher under whose leadership the edifice was begun. 

 

Part III, Page 1 

Our Line of Wells Family in America 

One James Wells came to America, date unknown. Settled in Maryland; his son, Richard I, or Sr. born Mar. 17, 1722. Died Sept. 12, 1816. 

James, son of Richard I, born Apr. 20, 1791, in Va. Died Feb. 1, 1857, at Hilltown, Iowa. He is the one known as Colonel James Wells, the first white settler in Appanoose County, Iowa. 

Mary (Polly) Weldon, born Feb. 18, 1799, in PA Died Apr. 13, 1859 at Hilltown, Iowa. They were married in Va. Sept. 21, 1817. She is the one who received the 5 slaves as a wedding present.  

Children of James and Polly Wells: 

  1. John Weldon Wells, born Feb. 20, 1819, in Mo. Died June 16 1879, Cal.

Elizabeth A. Rose, born Aug. 27, 1827 in Mo. Died Aug. 21, 1902 in Cal.

They were married at Kirksville, Mo. January 17, 1847.

1a. Two children, Margaret and John died in childhood.

1b. Isaac W. born Aug. 28, 1855 near Hilltown, Iowa. Died in California, age 70. He had one daughter name unknown.

1c. Mary, born in Texas, Aug. 11, 1857. Died in California, 1918. She married George W. Gray. They had five boys and two girls.

1d. Zarilda Elizabeth, born in Texas, Apr. 20. 1859. Died in California. She married George E. Moulton, they had three children.

1e. Frank Perry, born in California, Nov. 17, 1862. No children.

1f. William Brown, born in California, June 17, 1866. Three children

Note: Isaac, who lost one leg in childhood, became a bookkeeper and office man. Frank and William were carpenters and architects. Their father, John Wells, was a fine cabinet maker and carpenter.

2. William Kerr Wells, born Nov. 10, 1820, probably in Mo. Died at his home near Hilltown, Iowa,

April 19, 1853. He married Mahala Cooksey, Apr. 18, 1844. Daughter of William Cooksey. Their children:

2a. Martha married William Comstock, and died leaving one child who passed away a year or so later. He left the country a little later.

2b. Luzetta, married Charles Skinner. They lived for a number of years in Iowa, then moved to central or southern Mo. Had two girls; the oldest died in her late teens.

2c. Two children, Joseph and Mary died in childhood, near Hilltown.

2d. Sarah married Marion Hays, a nephew of Dr. G. S. Stansberry. Children of Marion and Sarah Hays:

James never married (unless he has done so since 1950)

Jessie married George Wells (not a relative). They moved to South Dakota.

Carl married Bertha Adkins and went to Montana.

Emma married Leander (Lee) Sherer and also went to Highmore, South Dakota.

Homer married in Montana.

May married in Montana and died leaving three children, I think.

Benjamin also lived in Montana. Married.

Monnie married Glen Latimer in Putnam County, Mo. where the family lived before going to Montana. She moved to Corydon, Iowa.

Harley the youngest, also lives in Montana. Married.

2e. Ellen, the youngest child, married Robert Blue. They had four children. Theodocia, married Samuel Moore. Their three oldest children were Homer, Arthur and Dora. I think there were others.

After the death of Robert Blue, Ellen married James Van Dyke. Ellen and James had two sons; Joseph, called Pete, married Tillie Scurlock. They went to Illinois or Indiana and I know nothing of them except that Pete is dead. James Edward, (the only child I ever had the honor to name) married, but his family too, is unknown to me.

2f. Amos, married Elvira Ulrich. I never heard anything about their family, if they had one.

2g. Alfred married but I know nothing of his family. 

  1. Alexander Holmes Wells, born Nov. 24, 1822. Died May 22, 1879 at his home at Coatesville, Mo.

He in company with his brothers John and Brown made the trip overland to California probably in 1849 or 50. But he went back to the old home neighborhood and took land in the north part of Schuyler, Co. Coatesville was taken from his farm. He returned from California on boat going down around Cape Horn and up to New York City rather than endure the trip across the plains again. On the way a man became ill; as his sickness advanced a whale began following the ship. The man died, but the captain hoped they could reach a port they hoped to make in two or three days. But the whale approached nearer and began thrashing the water with its tail (of course, they didn't have the undertaking facilities we have in 1953). The captain said he would not risk the life of his passengers in such a small ship, against the anger of such a large whale. They dressed the man for burial, roped it to a wide plank, held religious rites and slid the body over the side. The whale no longer followed. He was married before that trip.

Alexander married Hannah Noggle near Pleasant Hill in Pike County, Illinois, Apr. 30, 1844. Their first child died at birth and is buried in Wells Cemetery near there. Then they went to Iowa, and his family.

3a. Mary Wells, birth _____, died in Clamath Falls, Ore. Aged 93. She married one of the John Horn men, so numerous among the family. Her oldest son, Little Alec, died at the age of 5. Minnie was born _____ and is living yet. Children of Jeff and Minnie Froman: Elsie married _____. She died leaving one daughter and one son. Eleanor married Dr. Ray Dickinson, a dentist. He has passed on. She lives at Portland, Oregon. No children. (Teddy) married, has two sons and is operating a nursing home at Ontario, Oregon. Grace married a Mr. Graims and lives at Portland, Oregon. John and Mary Herg {Can't read last name very well} had one son Charles. He is unmarried and in Oregon.

3b. Next child of Alec Wells was Julia Ann, born ______ at Coatesville, Mo. Died there in 1923. Julia married Wesley Dole (Dock) Trimble. He died _______. Their two first children were boys. Both died in infancy. Mary Nettie Trimble born Mar. 1884. Lives at Greeley, Colo. Nettie married Roy Elam. Effie Lethulia Trimble born May 1887, at Coatesville, Mo. She married Charles Moler. They bought the original Alec Wells home. Their children are Bernard, James, Rippey and Dorothy. Sons all married and Dorothy married _____ Stites. Nettie and Roy had two daughters, both married.

(I think Alec and Hannah had two children that died in infancy and are buried in Hilltown.)

3c. Their son, Alexander was born at Coatesville, Mo. Hannah, his mother died before he was an hour old. He went to the Philippines during the Spanish-American War in 1898. He had been in the West before that, he married in Colorado and had one girl named Mabel. Both he and his wife are dead.

After the death of his wife, Hannah, Alec married Celia Ann Wallace. They had one daughter named Cassie. She died at age of sixteen.

4. Richard Brown Wells, born Dec. 21, 1824. Died July 23, 1901. He went to California when his

brothers John and Alec did. He had a reasonable degree of success in mining and deposited a goodly sum in a San Francisco Bank. It failed and he lost, I think, $15,000. He kept on and invested his next earnings in land and cattle. He remained on his farm till he was too old to operate it. Then he went to Berkley and lived with his nephew, Isaac. He never married. Once the mine caved in and he suffered a broken jaw bone. He said if it had not been for the wife of his partner who cared for him, he would have starved to death. 

5. Margaret Jane Wells, was born Aug. 7, 1828. Died July 6, 1847. She married William McCollum,

Aug. 23, 1846. Her baby died when it was three or four months old and her husband went away;

Never returning. 

  1. Phoebe Ann Wells, born Dec. 7, 1831. Died Jan. 10, 1909 at Lawrence, Kansas. She married

William Mason, June 11, 1856, at Hilltown. Children of Phoebe and William Mason:

6a. James Wells Mason, married Sarah Jane Taylor near Moulton, Iowa, but moved to Kansas in 1884; their children were born in Kansas.

6b. Clara, married Frank Howar, Keswick, Iowa. Two girls, one boy. Clara was born on November 20, 1884.

6c. William Taylor Mason, born Dec. 22, 1887. Married and lives at Platterville, Colo. A daughter Wilma June, and son, Wm. T. Jr.

6d. Oscar Dice Mason married Stella ______. No children, they live at Des Moines, Iowa.

6e. Miles F. Mason, married _______. He is married and has three daughters; Lillian, Gladys, and Marian.

6f. Chester lives in Kansas City, Kansas.

  1. Mary Eleanor Wells, born Dec. 24, 1833. Died near Pleasant Hill, Illinois, January 5, 1868. She

Married William McLain on Mar. 21, 1867. She had no child but he had four girls by a former wife. They loved their stepmother who was said by her brothers and sisters to have a very sweet and loving disposition. After her death, her husband said, "I lived with her less than one year, but that was enough to lead me to Christ."

  1. James Washington Wells, born Dec. 10, 1836, in St. Charles County, Mo. Died May 23, 1890 at his home in Putnam County, Mo. about five miles west of Coatesville. He married Theressa Ann Davis, Nov. 27, 1860. Their first four children one girl and three boys, all died before they were five years old.

8a. Xenia Alzina (pronounced Zenia Alzina) born August 25, 1867. Died June 26, 1903. She married James William Sherer, Apr. 1, 1888. He died Dec. 24, 1898. Their first little girl died before she was two years old. Other children Harvey, Minnie and Ralph. Harvey married had one girl, but has been dead several years. He was born Aug. 1891. Minnie Sherer was born in March 1894. Still living in 1953. She married Gail Jacobs at Kirksville, Mo. They still live there. They have four children; two sons and two daughters. Ralph Sherer, was born in Jan. 1888; married, lives at Kirksville, Mo. and has two or three children.

8b. James W. Wells, so called second daughter was born Nov. 9, 1871. Her name is Luzetta

Alice. She married Nov. 9, 1890, Americus (Todge) Stevens whose birthday was also Nov.

9th. They could celebrate 3 in one day. They had nine children. Nellie the second, died when she was about 2. Flora, born Aug. 1891, married a man named See. 5 or 6 boys. Other children, Ray married Ruby Dwyer, two sons, one daughter. Lois married a Dwyer brother of Ruby, they have one girl, two boys (?). Lillie married L.V. Brown, has two or three sons. Mable married Firm McHenry. Daisy married a Nalley. Two youngest sons, Charles and Thomas both married. Zetta Stevens, died in Putnam County, Mo., Dec. 19, 1940, not quite six weeks after celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary. Her husband, Todge, died a few years later on a visit to his son Ray in Washington. They took him back to Mo. for burial.

8c. Charles Stewart Wells, only son of James W. and Ann was born Feb. 2, 1874, in Putnam County, Mo., where his sisters were. He married Rosa Locker, daughter of Joseph Locker, near Coatesville, Mo., Feb. 2nd or 3rd, 1894. The James Wells home was about two miles south of Hilltown. Charles died Nov. 1935. Rosa died____. Their home for the last several years of their lives was at Keokuk, Iowa. Their children: Lloyd, born ____, married; one son, Robert, lives in ______. Stewart, married and lives in Keokuk, two daughters. Ruth, married and lives also in Keokuk. She married Dr. Laverne Kingsbury; two daughters. Her husband is dead. Charles, the youngest child is married and lives at Keokuk. 

  1. Robert McLain Wells, son of Col. James, born Dec. 27, 1836, in Randolph County, Mo., near

Moberly. Died July 31, 1901, at Topeka, Kansas. He was noted in his young years for his unusual memory when 21, he was thrown from a horse and struck his head on a tree. For two months he suffered from headaches then began having spasms. They continued at intervals as long as he lived. At times he would be irresponsible for awhile then be normal again. He never married, and for 30 years lived with his brother, James W., after Jim's death, Robert went to live with his sister Phoebe. While the family lived in Randolph County, Mo., their Dr. was a Dr. Still, father of A. T. Still the man that invented the modern system of Osteopathy, if it can be called an invention. The elder Dr. Still removed a skin cancer from the arm of Phoebe Ann when she was a little girl. He did it, mostly with sheep sorrel poultices.

  1. Ruth Elizabeth, baby of the James and Polly family was born in Appanoose County, territory of

Iowa, Apr. 18, 1842. Died in Illinois in April 7, 1884. Before she was six months old she began having severe spells of asthma and it finally impaired her lungs. She married James Washington Anderson, a childhood friend and schoolmate. Thought they had lived in Iowa when they married they settled in Pike County, Illinois and all of their children were born there not far from Pleasant Hill. James died Apr. 14, 1881; both buried at Wells Cemetery.

10a. Miriam Elizabeth Ann Anderson, born Apr. 23, 1865, died Sept. 9, 1890. She was always called Mina. She married William Henry Zumwalt, Jan. 8, 1884. He lived to be more than 80, and married again after 19 years. James Elmer Zumwalt, born Apr. 6, 1885. He taught, then took up carpentry and woodwork. Lives at Grinnell, Iowa and has one daughter. Claude Francis, born Feb. 5th or 6th, 1887. Married and had four boys and one girl. Became an auto mechanic and lives in Illinois across from St. Louis. Clara Catherine, born Jan. 18, 1890. She married Carl Clymer and lives in Loveland, Colorado. They have one daughter and three sons, all married. When Mina died Clara was only 8 months old, her grandmother raised her and the little boys lived for several years with their father and his bachelor brother, John Zumwalt on a farm.

10b. Mary Eleanor Naomi was born Oct. 17, 1866. Died Feb. 20, 1940 at her home in Sandstone, Minn. She was always called Mollie; was a born student and considered the beauty of the family (also, of the neighborhoods in which she lived). Mollie married George B. Sherera, brother of Jim who married Zenia Wells, Lee who married Emma Hays, Alec who married Edna Horn, and Laura who married Eston Stites. Mollie and Xenia were first cousins. Emma was second cousin to both of them on the Wells side of her family and also second cousin to Edna Horn on the Cooksey side. Besides Eston Stites was nephew to Alec's wife and third cousin to Lee's wife. This is getting away from formal statistics, but if you want a problem some of you who receive this may have fun in trying to figure out what relation you are to each other. (Now back to Anderson). Mollie and Mack had eight children. Little James the baby died of infantile paralysis during the great epidemic of the disease in Minn. In 1909. He was not quite two years old. The other children older. Hallie married Willis Logren. He passed away in 1941. She was born on the old Stites farm about one mile from Dean, Iowa, June 14, 1890. George was born at the same place, Nov. 10, 1891. Then Mack and Mollie moved a few miles from Unionville, Mo. and Ruth Elizabeth, Hyla Pauline, Paul Leslie, and Mary Eleanor were all born there between Nov. 1892 and Aug. 1901. In the year of 1902, they moved to Sandstone, Minn. Grace Miriam and James Wells Sherer were born at Sandstone. All of the girls became teachers for a few years then took up office work with the exception of Ruth. Ruth married Arthur B. Belzer; they live in Beverly Hills, Calif. Hyla married Louis Fleischman, lives at White Bear Lake, Minn. George married ______. He lived at Hibbing, Minn., had one girl, Susanne, the only grandchild in the family. He is dead. Mary never married and is now in California with Grace. Paul, also, is unmarried and lives in Seattle, Washington. Grace married Hugh Thomas Owen. He passed away in 1952 in California. Mary and Grace are in San Diego. Hallie in Minneapolis, Minn.

10c. Phoebe Jane Arretta Anderson, (Known as Janie), born Jan. 10, 1869. I am the writer of this document. Married John Wesley Bradburn who was widower with one daughter, Maude. She had two children, and died June 25, 1952. I taught school 16 years in Mo. and Iowa and 11 in Washington. My husband died in 1922. I now live in Tacoma, Washington by myself.

10d. Ruth Araminta Myrtle Anderson, known as Ruth, in the family but also took the name of Minta to many of her schoolmates and friends. Born Aug. 17, 1871. Died at my home near Oak Harbor on Whidby Island, Jan. 31, 1927 and buried beside my husband. She taught school, in Iowa, Mo. and Wyoming. She took a homestead in Wyoming in 1909 and lived there alone a number of years.

10e. Bonnie May was born Oct. 17, 1874. She too, taught school. She was married to Theodore Stanley Fenstemaker in 1903 and lives at Lawrence, Kansas. Both are still living. Their children:

Frances married George Dulin. Three sons living, one married. They live at Bethel just outside of Kansas City, Kansas.

Edwin married and had one son. Edwin is dead. His wife was Mary Dye.

Stanley is married and lives near Lawrence. He had two or three boys.

Frank is married and lives at Hutchinson, Kansas. Had two sons, one is married and at present in military service. So is Charles Dulin.

Ethel married Ray Janaway who is making quite a record as public Librarian in a university at Lubbock, Texas. They have a boy living but their little girl died at age five.

10f. And now comes James Theophilus, the only son of Jim and Betty Anderson. He was born Dec. 4, 1877 and is still living, Jan. 1953. He married Hattie Cline in Dec. 1907.

Their children:

Veneta married Ralph Bysom. They live in Denver, Colorado and have a son and daughter, Bobby and Beverly.

Dorrall married Lena Lang? and has two girls, Darlene and Bonnie.

Lorraine, married Cene Haas. He was killed by a German sniper in World War II. They lived in Hollywood and he was a prominent guitar player in an orchestra there. She still lives in Calif. and is married again. Name not known.

James and Ruth were twins. Both are married and live in Denver. Ruth's name is Newell, husband Clyde. She has two girls and one boy; Lorraine, Danny and Jill.

James is married and has at least two children. His wife's first name is Marian.

Harriet is older than the twins and should have been recorded before them. Her name is Wanamaker and she has one or two children. At present they are in Utah.

Clayburn is married and has two children, I believe. Has lived both in California and Colorado.

Robert is married and lives in Denver. He has a little girl and a boy. His wife's first name is Janey. 

I left Mo. in March 1904, and from Des Moines, Iowa, came to Seattle, Washington in 1906. There are some blanks for names or dates that I can not supply. If each of you will send me the ones from your particular family, I will send to each of the 53 subscribers for this record, the information and you can record it in ink by hand. Much of this material is not genealogy proper, but I thought it would interest some of you just as it did me.


Part III Page 6 

Before closing I want to pay a tribute to my Uncle James W. Wells, who gave a home to his niece Ellen before she married and also to my sister Mollie and me after we were left orphans. He and his three children treated us as members of the family. Besides giving a home to us, and his brother Bob, he brought from Texas a mulatto boy, Frank, who followed him and his herd of ponies, three days before he overtook them. Frank said, "I've watched you and listened to you talk there in Austin. I like you and want to go home with you and live." 

It was a strange situation but finally Uncle Jim let him come. He became an honorable man and lived there till James Wells died. I could go on indefinitely but with a tribute to Aunt Phoebe Mason who took Bonnie and Jimmy into her home and to our Cousin Julia Trimble where Ruth lived this must come to a close. No, not yet! 

Among the scores and hundreds of Wells relatives there was one of Col. James Wells' nephews in Pike County, Illinois, named Perry Wells whose kindness, and sympathy and generosity to friends and relatives in trouble could not be surpassed.

Back to the Wells Family Page

 

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