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The Wells Family, Johnstown

David Akin Wells,
see (VIII/IX) below


The Wells family of Johnstown descend from Hugh Wells, ofConnecticut. The name is an old and honored one in England, where it datesfrom 1120 in Cumberland and Norfolk. Adam Welles was summoned toparliament February 6, 1299, as first Baron Welles. He was constable ofRockingham Castle and warden of the forest. There are only four Englishpeerages older than this now in existence. In New England the family is anearly and prominent one. In the early history of Johnstown and Fultoncounty the family appear as first settlers, manufacturers, business andprofessional men, and has been closely identified with the development andprogress of that locality.

(I) Hugh Wells, born in Essex county, England,1590, died in Wethersfield, Connecticut, about 1645. He came to America in1635; probably the ship, "Globe". He was of Hartford, 1636, andappears in Wethersfield records 1645, where he is supposed to have died aboutthe same time. He married, in England, Frances _______, who survives him,and married (second) Thomas Coleman, of Hartford, Connecticut. She died in1678. Four Children: Thomas, b about 1620; Ensign Hugh, bornabout 1625, married Mary Roscoe; Mary, married Jonathan Gilbert, of Hartford,Connecticut, an innkeeper, who died in 1682, and she continued the inn until herdeath, July 3, 1700; John, born about 1628, was of Stratford and Hadley,Massachusetts.

(II) Thomas, son of Hugh and Frances Wells, wasborn in Colchester, England about 1620, died between September 30 and December14, 1676. He was one of the first "engagers" or settlers ofHadley, Massachusetts, where he went from Wethersfield in 1659, after havingbeen a house and land owner there nine years. He was a surveyor andfarmer. He owned lands in Connecticut and also property in England.He married, May 1651, Mary, daughter of William Beardsley, of Hartford.She survived him and married (second) Samuel Thomas. Fourteen children ofThomas and and Mary Wells: Lieutenant Thomas, born January 10, 1652; Mary;Sarah; John; Jonathan; John; Samuel, born 1622; Mary; Noah; Hannah;Ebenezer; Daniel; Ephraim; and Joshua. born April 1673.

(III) Samuel, seventh child of Thomas and Mary (Beardsley)Wells, was born at Hadley, Massachusetts, 1622, died August 9, 1690. Hemarried Sarah, daughter of Nathaniel Clark of Northampton, December 11,1682. One Child: Samuel (2). Sarah Clark was agranddaughter of Lieutenant William Clark, born in Dorsetshire, England, 1609,settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts, before 1640. In 1659 he was ofNorthampton, where in 1661 he organized the train band of sixty men andcommanded them in King Philip's and other Indian wars. He was anincorporator of Northampton, and for twenty years selectman and judge of countycourt. He married (first) in England, Sarah ________, (second) SarahCooper, 1676. He died July 18, 1690. His son, Nathaniel Clark, wasbaptized in Dorchester, "11 month 1640". He married May 8, 1663,Mary Meakins. Sarah, daughter of Nathaniel and Mary Meakins Clark, marriedSamuel Wells (below).

(IV) Samuel (2), only child of Samuel and Sarah(Clark) Wells, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, July 7, 1688. He settledin the town of Farmington, just over the line. He married May 26, 1709,Rachel Caldwell, great-granddaughter of Deacon Edward Stebbins, an originalproprietor of Hartford, and deputy to the general court several sessions, from1639 to 1656. He had a home lot in Hartford, extending from the meetinghouse square to Front street. He married and had a daughterElizabeth. Thomas Caldwell married, in 1658, Elizabeth Stebbins, widow ofRobert Wilson. Edward Caldwell, son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Stebbins)Caldwell, was born November 1, 1660, and married Elizabeth _______. Theirdaughter, Rachel Caldwell, married Samuel Wells (2).

(V) John (I), son of Samuel (2) and Rachel(Caldwell) Wells, was born in Farmington, Connecticut, October 8, 1710, diedJanuary 28, 1795. He settled in West Hartford, where he was a member ofthe church. He married (first) Jemima Smith, June 13, 1731; (second) SarahSaylord, December 23, 1735; (third) Hannah Baker, July 20, 1738. He hadfifteen children by his three wives. Hannah Baker, third wife ofJohn Wells, was the great-granddaughter of John Baysey, an original proprietorof Hartford, died August 1671, and his wife, Elizabeth, who died 1673.Lydia Baysey, died May 16, 1700, daughter of John and Elizabeth Baysey.She married John Baker. Baysey Baker died September 4, 1723, son of Johnand Lydia (Baysey) Baker. Baker, married, April 1, 1696, Hannah Willet,daughter of Nathaniel. Hannah Baker, daughter of Hannah (Willet) Baker,married John Wells (I) and was his third wife.

(VI) John (2), son of John (I) and Hannah(Baker) Wells, was born August 23, 1739, at West Hartford, Connecticut, where hebelong to the Ecclesiastical Society. About 1784 he removed to Johnstown,New York, where he resided until his death. He married Mrs. Lois Foote,daughter of Samuel and Lois (Loomis) Foote, and widow of Eleazer Merrill, ofFarmington, Connecticut. Children: 1. Lindy, died at age threeyears. 2. Rhoda, married John Herring, of Auburn, New York.3. John, died in infancy. 4. John, married and died atKaskaskia, Illinois. 5. Lindy (2), married ______ Rood.6. Lucy, twin of Lindy, married Charles Easton, of Utica and New YorkCity. 7. Eleazer 8. Clarissa, married M. Mason ofKingsboro, New York. 9. Nathan Perkins, born 1786, in Johnstown; wasmany years cashier of the Johnstown bank.

(VII) Eleazer, son John (2) and Lois (Foote)Wells, was baptized in West Hartford, Connecticut, 1782 by Rev. Dr. NathanPerkins, pastor of the church to which his parents belonged, and who baptizedall his brothers and sisters except Nathaniel P., his namesake. He diedNovember 26, 1860, at Johnstown, New York. He was an infant of two yearswhen his parents removed to Johnstown, where he was educated and ever after wardlived. He engaged in milling and farming, owning a great deal of realestate in the county, including the historic farm and residence of Sir WilliamJohnson, known for a century and a half as "Johnson Hall". Heresided at the "Hall", where he was married and his children wereborn. He was a prominent, influential man. He married June 15, 1809,Amy Akin, born May 6, 1788, died December 24, 1858. Children: 1.Sally Maria, born April 22, 1810, married Daniel Edward. 2. GeorgeW., July 15, 1811; married Helen Yard. 3. Almira W., March 30, 1813;married Hiram Yauney. 4. Eleazer H., March 27, 1815; died and buriedin Pine Bluff, Arkansas, aged twenty-one years, unmarried. 5. AnnSarah, born January 2, 1817; married Colonel Rodney Hall Johnson. 6.Elizabeth, December 6, 1818; married Jacob Burton. 7. Louisa,October 27, 1820; married McIntyre Fraser. 8. John E., August 7,1822; married (first) Sarah Steele; (second) Margaret Burton. 9.Rhoda, December 25, 1823; married Major John Henry Gross. 10.Catherine, March 20, 1825; married Judge John Stewart. 11. NathanPerkins, December 20, 1826, died 1853, unmarried. 12. David Akin,see forward. 13. Edward Akin, also see forward.

(VIII) David Akin, fifth son and twelfth child ofEleazer and Amy (Akin) Wells, was born at "Johnson Hall", nearJohnstown, Fulton county, New York, May 17, 1828; died November 29, 1903.He was educated in the public schools and at Johnstown Academy. He workedon the farm, with his father until 1845, when he became a clerk in the dry goodsstore of Yauney & Edwards, and later was clerk in the store of Burton &Gross, Johnstown. In 1848 Mr. Gross retired and Mr. Wells was admitted apartner, continuing until 1851, when he disposed of his interest to his brother,Edward A. Wells. David A. then formed a partnership with MarcellusGilbert, as Gilbert & Wells, and began the manufacture of gloves.They continued in successful operation for eighteen years until 1869, when thesenior partner died. Mr. Wells carried on the business alone for a year ortwo, when his factory burned, entailing a heavy loss. Close attention tobusiness had undermined his health, and he now enjoyed a period of complete restfor several years. He was then chosen vice-president of the Fonda,Johnstown & Gloversville Railroad Company, just inaugurated, and enteredactively into the building and equipment of the road. He was active in itsmanagement after the road was opened for business in 1870, and may justly begiven a large share of credit for its successful career. He was adirector of the People's Bank of Johnstown; president of the Savings Bank sinceorganization; president Gloversville Foundry and Machine company; president ofthe Opera House Company since organization. He was actively interested inmany other business enterprises of the city, giving to all not only hisfinancial support but the benefit of his mature judgment and long businessexperience. He was always an active Republican, and while never aspiringto office held several public positions of trust and honor. In 1860 he waselected treasurer of Fulton county. In 1880 and 1881 he was chosen torepresent his district in the state legislature, and has served as trustee andpresident of the village corporation. He married, April 10, 11850, AlidaG. Johnson, born May 17, 1832, daughter of George and Frances Johnson.Children: 1. A babe, dying at birth 2. MarcellusGilbert, died February 16, 1869. 3. Eleazer Merrill, seeforward, born February 1, 1853 4. Nathan Perkins, born July 23, 1855;associated in business with his father. 5. David Akin (2),born December 21, 1858, see forward. 6. Anna G., born May 7, 1862;married Joseph D. Oliver, one of the proprietors of the Oliver Chilled PlowCompany of South Bend, Indiana.

(IX) Eleazer Merrill, son of David and Alida G.(Johnson) Wells, was born in Johnstown, New York, February 1, 1853, and diedMarch 20, 1909. He married, July 3, 1872, Elsina F. Mills, born inGloversville, New York, August 6, 1851. Child: John E.

(IX) David Akin (2), youngest son and fourth child ofDavid Akin (I) and Alida G. (Johnson) Wells, was born in Johnstown, December 21,1858. He was educated in the public schools. After finishing hisstudies he entered the superintendent's office of the Fonda, Johnstown &Gloversville railroad, and remained there several years. He then formed aconnection with the Coal Company of Fulton county, , which existed fortwenty-eight years, when Mr. Wells retired from active business life. Heresides in Johnstown, where he lives the retired life of a gentleman of cultureand means. He married, December 16, 1909, in Johnstown, Katherine,daughter of John and Mary Hogan. They had other children: Austin;Walter; Agnes, married John Howell; Anna , married E. W. Shults; Jane, marriedWilliam Mathis.

(VIII) Edward Akin, thirteenth child and sixthson of Eleazer and Amy (Akin) Wells, was born in "Johnson Hall",Johnstown, Fulton county, New York, October 6, 1830. He was educated inthe public schools and under private tutors, graduating Professor Bannister atJohnstown. He was connected with the dry goods business of his brother,David Akin Wells, in Johnstown, and later purchased the business, which heconducted successfully for many years. He was at the same time deeplyinterested in other business enterprises to which he gave personal attention anddirection. He superintends the cultivation of the home farm and estate,"Johnson Hall", containing between 500 and 600 acres, and operated thegrist mill belonging to the estate. This active business life includedglove manufacture, and throughout many active years until failing healthcompelled his retirement. His business responsibilities precluded all participationin public official life, and he took no active part in politics, although he hadalways given hearty allegiance to the Republican party. He was a member ofthe Presbyterian church. He died June 19, 1910, in Johnstown, New York,conscious of having been borne well his part in the growth and development ofthe city in which his activities lay.
He married Ann Elizabeth Burton. Children: 1. Eleazer,died at age of nineteen years. 2. Elizabeth, died at age of sixyears. 3. Elias Burton, died at age of twelve years. 4.Edward Akin (2), now of Rochester, New York; married Bessie Parish.5. Jennie, married Edwin L. Fonda. 6. John E., died agedtwelve years. 7. Elias Burton, see forward. 8.Charles, died in infancy.

(IX) Elias Burton, fifth son and seventh child ofEdward Akin and Ann Elizabeth (Hogan) Wells, was born in Johnstown, New York,October 28, 1869. He was educated in the public school and at JohnstownAcademy. In 1888 he began business, dealing in real estate and insurance,operating in these lines ten years until 1898. In that year he establishedhis present business, the manufacture and preparation of of dye stuffs andchemicals used in dressing skins used in glove manufacture. In 1910 headded to his other lines a leather department and business. Among the manycompounds and preparations which he manufactures for tanners and curriers is aprocess for making washable leather, invented by himself, that has proved veryvaluable to the glove makers, being especially adapted to gloves and mittensworn by persons exposed to wet weather. He is a most capable, successfulbusiness man, and is one of the substantial men of his city. He is aRepublican in politics. He married, October 12, 1892, Jennie Holmes, bornApril 7, 1872, daughter of John Caitlin (born September 3, 1829, died July 21,1899) and Ellen E. (born October 9, 1840, died October 9, 1880) (Kirby)Holmes. Child: Elizabeth, born May 11, 1897.

Source: Cuyler Reynolds, "Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical andFamily Memoirs", Vol. II (New York: Lewis Historical PublishingCo.)1911, pages 121-124.

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