Monday, July 11, 2016

The Wells Spinsters

Amy Florence and Carrie E. Wells were the third and fourth children of Alexander and Eliza (Fooshee) Wells. They were born in Illinois in 1867 and 1869, respectively. As small girls they lived in Morgan County, Illinois, where their father managed a store and farmed.

In the early 1880s Amy and Carrie's parents moved the family to Nebraska City, Nebraska. Their older siblings married in Nebraska and started families. By 1894 the Alexander, Eliza and their younger children moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where they lived at 1613 Vine Street. Alexander died in 1898 and his widow, and unmarried daughters daughters remained in Kansas City until their deaths.

In 1900 the younger boys, Henry and Frank had not yet married. Everyone lived at 414 East 31st Street. During the first decade of the 20th century, Amy, Carrie and their mother lived in a succession of rented homes at 209 Woodworth Street, which no longer exists, 4417 Forest Avenue, and finally to 4921 Park Avenue, which Eliza (Fooshee) Wells owned free and clear with no mortgage. None of the women worked, except Carrie who was occasionally listed on census forms and in city directories as a dressmaker.

4921 Park Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri; courtesy Google Maps

Amy and Carrie's mother died on 12 June 1915 of acute nephritis, which are severely inflamed kidneys. If untreated the kidneys stop functioning. The unmarried daughters remained in the house on Park Avenue for the rest of their lives.

Carrie E. Wells died on 1 March 1939 at the Kansas City General Hospital of hypertension, arthritis and cancer. Her older sister, Amy Florence Wells, died on 16 December 1956 at the same hospital of generalized arteriosclerosis. The sisters, along with their mother, are buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Kansas City with their father.

In the decades in which Amy and Carrie lived in Kansas City, they saw many changes. The sisters lived through the Prohibition era. Kansas City may have been the only city in the U.S. that never charged anyone with a felony related to the ban on alcohol.  I wonder what Wells sisters thought about it all and what they type of personalities they had.

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