The Wells Family
of Johnstown

      


 

David Akin Wells,
see (VIII/IX) below

 

WELLS.

The Wells family of Johnstown descend from Hugh Wells, of Connecticut.  The name is an old and honored one in England, where it dates from 1120 in Cumberland and Norfolk.  Adam Welles was summoned  to parliament February 6, 1299, as first Baron Welles.  He was constable of Rockingham Castle and warden of the forest.  There are only four English peerages older than this now in existence.  In New England the family is an early and prominent one.  In the early history of Johnstown and Fulton county the family appear as first settlers, manufacturers, business and professional men, and has been closely identified with the development and progress of that locality.

(I)  Hugh Wells, born in Essex county, England, 1590, died in Wethersfield, Connecticut, about 1645.  He came to America in 1635; probably the ship, "Globe".  He was of Hartford, 1636, and appears in Wethersfield records 1645, where he is supposed to have died about the same time.  He married, in England, Frances _______, who survives him, and married (second) Thomas Coleman, of Hartford, Connecticut.  She died in 1678.  Four Children:  Thomas, b about 1620; Ensign Hugh, born about 1625, married Mary Roscoe; Mary, married Jonathan Gilbert, of Hartford, Connecticut, an innkeeper, who died in 1682, and she continued the inn until her death, July 3, 1700; John, born about 1628, was of Stratford and Hadley, Massachusetts.

(II)  Thomas, son of Hugh and Frances Wells, was born in Colchester, England about 1620, died between September 30 and December 14, 1676.  He was one of the first "engagers" or settlers of Hadley, Massachusetts, where he went from Wethersfield in 1659, after having been a house and land owner there nine years.  He was a surveyor and farmer.  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 of Thomas 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.  He married Sarah, daughter of Nathaniel Clark of Northampton, December 11, 1682.  One Child:  Samuel (2).  Sarah Clark was a granddaughter of Lieutenant William Clark, born in Dorsetshire, England, 1609, settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts, before 1640.  In 1659 he was of Northampton, where in 1661 he organized the train band of sixty men and commanded them in King Philip's and other Indian wars.  He was an incorporator of Northampton, and for twenty years selectman and judge of county court.  He married (first) in England, Sarah ________,  (second) Sarah Cooper, 1676.  He died July 18, 1690.  His son, Nathaniel Clark, was baptized in Dorchester, "11 month 1640".  He married May 8, 1663, Mary Meakins.  Sarah, daughter of Nathaniel and Mary Meakins Clark, married Samuel Wells (below).

(IV) Samuel (2), only child of Samuel and Sarah (Clark) Wells, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, July 7, 1688.  He settled in the town of Farmington, just over the line.  He married May 26, 1709, Rachel Caldwell, great-granddaughter of Deacon Edward Stebbins, an original proprietor of Hartford, and deputy to the general court several sessions, from 1639 to 1656.  He had a home lot in Hartford, extending from the meeting house square to Front street.  He married and had a daughter Elizabeth.  Thomas Caldwell married, in 1658, Elizabeth Stebbins, widow of Robert Wilson.  Edward  Caldwell, son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Stebbins) Caldwell, was born November 1, 1660, and married Elizabeth _______.  Their daughter, 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, died January 28, 1795.  He settled in West Hartford, where he was a member of the church.  He married (first) Jemima Smith, June 13, 1731; (second) Sarah Saylord, December 23, 1735; (third) Hannah Baker, July 20, 1738.  He had fifteen children by his three wives.  Hannah Baker,  third wife of John Wells, was the great-granddaughter of John Baysey, an original proprietor of 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 John and 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 he belong 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, of Farmington, Connecticut.  Children:  1.  Lindy, died at age three years.  2.  Rhoda, married John Herring, of Auburn, New York.  3.  John, died in infancy.  4.  John, married and died at Kaskaskia, Illinois.  5.  Lindy (2), married ______ Rood.  6.  Lucy, twin of Lindy, married Charles Easton, of Utica and New York City.  7.  Eleazer  8.  Clarissa, married M. Mason of Kingsboro, New York.  9.  Nathan Perkins, born 1786, in Johnstown; was many 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. Nathan Perkins, pastor of the church to which his parents belonged, and who baptized all his brothers and sisters except Nathaniel P., his namesake.  He died November 26, 1860, at Johnstown, New York.  He was an infant of two years when his parents removed to Johnstown, where he was educated and ever after ward lived.  He engaged in milling and farming, owning a great deal of real estate in the county, including the historic farm and residence of Sir William Johnson, known for a century and a half as "Johnson Hall".  He resided at the "Hall", where he was married and his children were born.  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.  George W., July 15, 1811; married Helen Yard.  3.  Almira W., March 30, 1813; married Hiram Yauney.  4.  Eleazer H., March 27, 1815; died and buried in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, aged twenty-one years, unmarried.  5.  Ann Sarah, 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.  Nathan Perkins, 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 of Eleazer and Amy (Akin) Wells, was born at "Johnson Hall", near Johnstown, Fulton county, New York, May 17, 1828; died November 29, 1903.  He was educated in the public schools and at Johnstown Academy.  He worked on the farm, with his father until 1845, when he became a clerk in the dry goods store of Yauney & Edwards, and later was clerk in the store of Burton & Gross, Johnstown.  In 1848 Mr. Gross retired and Mr. Wells was admitted a partner, continuing until 1851, when he disposed of his interest to his brother, Edward A. Wells.  David A. then formed a partnership with Marcellus Gilbert, as Gilbert & Wells, and began the manufacture of gloves.  They continued in successful operation for eighteen years until 1869, when the senior partner died.  Mr. Wells carried on the business alone for a year or two, when his factory burned, entailing a heavy loss.  Close attention to business had undermined his health, and he now enjoyed a period of complete rest for several years.  He was then chosen vice-president of the Fonda, Johnstown & Gloversville Railroad Company, just inaugurated, and entered actively into the building and equipment of the road.  He was active in its management after the road was opened for business in 1870, and may justly be given a large share of credit for its successful career.   He was a director of the People's Bank of Johnstown; president of the Savings Bank since organization; president Gloversville Foundry and Machine company; president of the Opera House Company since organization.  He was actively interested in many other business enterprises of the city, giving to all not only his financial support but the benefit of his mature judgment and long business experience.  He was always an active Republican, and while never aspiring to office held several public positions of trust and honor.  In 1860 he was elected treasurer of Fulton county.  In 1880 and 1881 he was chosen to represent his district in the state legislature, and has served as trustee and president of the village corporation.  He married, April 10, 11850, Alida G. Johnson, born May 17, 1832, daughter of George and Frances Johnson.  Children:  1.  A babe, dying at birth  2.  Marcellus Gilbert, died February 16, 1869.  3.  Eleazer Merrill, see forward, 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 Plow Company 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 died March 20, 1909.  He married, July 3, 1872, Elsina F. Mills, born in Gloversville, New York, August 6, 1851.  Child:  John E.

(IX) David Akin (2), youngest son and fourth child of David Akin (I) and Alida G. (Johnson) Wells, was born in Johnstown, December 21, 1858.  He was educated in the public schools.  After finishing his studies he entered the superintendent's office of the Fonda, Johnstown & Gloversville railroad, and remained there several years.  He then formed a connection with the Coal Company of Fulton county, , which existed for twenty-eight years, when Mr. Wells retired from active business life.  He resides in Johnstown, where he lives the retired life of a gentleman of culture and 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, married William Mathis.

(VIII)  Edward Akin, thirteenth child and sixth son of Eleazer and Amy (Akin) Wells, was born in "Johnson Hall", Johnstown, Fulton county, New York, October 6, 1830.  He was educated in the public schools and under private tutors, graduating Professor Bannister at Johnstown.  He was connected with the dry goods business of his brother, David Akin Wells, in Johnstown, and later purchased the business, which he conducted successfully for many years.  He was at the same time deeply interested in other business enterprises to which he gave personal attention and direction.  He superintends the cultivation of the home farm and estate, "Johnson Hall", containing between 500 and 600 acres, and operated the grist mill belonging to the estate.  This active business life included glove manufacture, and throughout many active years until failing health compelled his retirement.  His business responsibilities precluded all participation in public official life, and he took no active part in politics, although he had always given hearty allegiance to the Republican party.  He was a member of the Presbyterian church.  He died June 19, 1910, in Johnstown, New York, conscious of having been borne well his part in the growth and development of the 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 six years.  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 aged twelve years.  7.  Elias Burton, see forward.  8.  Charles, died in infancy.

(IX) Elias Burton, fifth son and seventh child of Edward Akin and Ann Elizabeth (Hogan) Wells, was born in Johnstown, New York, October 28, 1869.  He was educated in the public school and at Johnstown Academy.  In 1888 he began business, dealing in real estate and insurance, operating in these lines ten years until 1898.  In that year he established his present business, the manufacture and preparation of of dye stuffs and chemicals used in dressing skins used in glove manufacture.  In 1910 he added to his other lines a leather department and business.  Among the many compounds and preparations which he manufactures for tanners and curriers is a process for making washable leather, invented by himself, that has proved very valuable to the glove makers, being especially adapted to gloves and mittens worn by persons exposed to wet weather.  He is a most capable, successful business man, and is one of the substantial men of his city.  He is a Republican in politics.  He married, October 12, 1892, Jennie Holmes, born April 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 and Family Memoirs", Vol. II (New York:  Lewis Historical Publishing Co.)1911, pages 121-124.

 

   


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