Friday, July 8, 2016

New Wells Family Tree Branch

The recently discovered probate records for my three times great grandfather, James M. Wells, revealed two children I hadn't known about before and confirmed the seven people in his household when the 1860 census was enumerated were the children of James M. and Mary (Hearelson) Wells. The two new children were Alexander born in 1834 in Tennessee and Caroline Wells. I have made no progress learning more about Caroline yet, but have learned quite about about Alexander Wells -- a new branch on my tree.

Snippet from James Wells' probate record with his 9 children listed; courtesy

The birthplace of Alexander Wells confirms that like my Riggin ancestors, the Wells family migrated first to Tennessee from either Virginia or North Carolina before eventually settling southern Illinois. Alexander married Eliza Fooshee on 16 October 1856 in Scott County, Illinois. She was the daughter of John Augustus Fooshee and Melinda Cooper. In 1860 the couple boarded with Louis and Lena Shepman in Edwardsville, Illinois, which was not too far from Alexander's parents. He worked as a machinist and valued his personal property at $100.

In 1863 Alexander's name appeared on a list of Scott County men subject to military duty, and several men named Alexander Wells served with various Illinois infantry units, but I have not yet narrowed down which, if any, was "my" Alexander.

During the next decade the couple had four of their six known children:
  • Charles Louis Wells, born in October 1860 in Illinois
  • Mary Laura Wells, born about 1865 in Illinois
  • Amy Florence Wells, born on 24 April 1867 in Galesburg, Illinois
  • Carrie E. Wells, born on 9 June 1869 in Illinois
In 1870 Alexander worked in a retail shop and lived in Jacksonville, Illinois. He owned no real estate. Two more children were born between 1870 and 1880:
  • Henry Lorin Wells, born on 2 December 1874 in Waverly, Illinois
  • Francis "Frank" E. Wells, born 24 February 1879 in Illinois
In 1880 the family was still in Waverly, Illinois, where Alexander worked as a farmer. His eldest son, Charles, helped out on the family farm. I thought perhaps the family had settled on the farm, but that was not the case. In 1885 Alexander and his family lived in Nebraska City, Nebraska, where he worked as a tinner, which is a catch-all phrase for anyone working in the tin trade. Alexander could have mined tin, extracted it in an above-ground operation using the power of water, or worked in a refinery.

Son, Charles, also lived in Nebraska City but had married Mary Ann Emerick on 17 October 1883 and Charles worked as a farmer. By 1885 Charles and Mary Ann had an 8-month son named Clyde Emerick Wells. Daughter, Mary Laura, attended college. The nearest school operating at the time was the Nebraska State Normal School in Peru, which is now Peru State College. It primarily trained men and women who planned to teach. Daughters, Amy, Carrie, and son, Lorin, attended school. Also, living with them was Alexander's brother, Robert Wells[1], 35, who worked as a laborer, and their youngest son, Frank. Since Robert was not listed as one of James Wells' children in his probate records, I am currently clueless about his identity unless he is a brother of Eliza (Fooshee) Wells -- something I have yet to investigate.

By 1894 the family had moved once more to Kansas City, Missouri. Alexander Wells died in 1898 and was interred in Forest Hill Cemetery in Kansas City.  His wife, Eliza (Fooshee) Wells remained in Kansas City until she died on 12 June 1915. She was interred with her husband.

Headstone of Alexander and Eliza (Fooshee) Wells; courtesy of Find
A Grave volunteer Steve McCray

Charles Louis Wells and his his family moved from Nebraska City to Mason County, Washington, where they remained.

Mary Laura Wells disappeared from the records after 1885.

Amy Florence and Carrie E. Wells never married and lived together until their deaths in Kansas City.

Henry Lorin Wells married sometime after 1900 and moved to Los Angeles County, California, where he died in 1952.

Francis "Frank" E. Wells married in Missouri and moved to Seattle by 1920. In 1929 he was in Los Angeles County and married again. He died in 1972 in Ventura County, California.

[1]Robert Wells was not listed in his father's will or in any census record I have found which included the parents. So he is still a mystery.

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