Wells Family Genealogy

The study of my Family Tree

18 Oct 2014: Randall Wells’ Grist Mill on the Ashwog River October 18, 2014

Here is a land transaction I transcribed from photos I took at the Hopkinton Town Clerks office of the sale of a piece of land Randall Wells sold to Theodoty Popple for $225 dollars. The location of the land was somewhere on the “Ashwog River” (Now called the Ashaway River) is about all I know. Somehow I doubt the same White Oak, Black Oak, Red Oak, Maple Tree and pile of stones that marked the other boundaries still stand today for us to reference.

Besides containing a portion of the river, it was also very close to the highway as it ran through Hopkinton back in 1772. It says “bounded as followeth Beginning at a White oak tree standing on the West bank of Ashwog River and from thence running Near South to a Stake + stones by the bank of said river four rods south of the Highway”.  A rod is 16.5 feet, so if the point they are measuring is “four rods south of the Highway” it is only 66 feet from the highway.

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Hopkinton Land Evidence Book #2, Page 357

To all people to whom these servants shall come greeting know ye that I Randall Wells of Hopkinton in Kings County yeoman for and in consideration of the sum of two hundred and twenty five good dollars to me in hand will and truly paid by Theodoty Popple of the same town County and Colony aforesaid yeoman the receipt where of I do hereby acknowledge myself there with fully satisfied contended and paid and have given granted and doby (?) these presents freely fully and absolutely given grant + bargain sell alien convey and confirm until him the said Theodoty Popple his heirs executors administrators + assigns forever a certain lot of land situate lying and being in Hopkinton aforesaid containing by estimation half an acre by the same more or less butted and bounded as followeth Beginning at a White oak tree standing on the West bank of Ashwog River and from thence running Near South to a Stake + stones by the bank of said river four rods south of the Highway from thence running Easterly Across said river to a Maple tree standing on the East bank of said river about five rods South of the afore said highway thence Near Southeast about five rods to a White Oak tree marked thence Near Northeast to the afore said Highway thence running across said highway to a stake + stones thence north about four rods to a Black oak tree with the top cut of thence near Northeast about five rods to a white oak tree from thence running near Northwest to a Red oak tree and from thence across said river to the first mentioned bound TO HAVE AND TO HOLD this said granted bargained premises with the Grist Mill + Dam + shop thereon standing + all other privileges and apparted xxxx to the same belonging on in any wise appertaining unto him the said Theodoty Popple his heirs and assigns forever except a highway that runs through said lot furthermore the said Randall Wells for my self my heirs Executors and administrators do covenant promise and grant to and with said Theodoty Popple his heirs and that before and until the ensealing here of I am the true sole and lawful owner of the before granted and bargained premises and am lawfully seized and possessed of the same in my own right as a good perfect and absolute estate of inheritance in xxx simple and have in my self good right full power and lawful authority to grant bargain sell + convey the same afore said and that the bargained premises and every part of the same is free and clear from all manner of incumbrances of what name or nature forever that might in any nature or degree make void this perfect deed — furthermore I the said Randall Wells for myself my heirs executors and administrators do here by covenant and engage all the before bargained premises unto him the said Theodoty Popple his heirs and assigns against the lawful claims or demands of any person or persons whatsoever forever hereafter to warrant secure and defend by the presents and Lois Wells wife to the said Randall Wells both for the consideration afore said giving xxx up and surrender her right of dower and power of thirds as in and unto the before granted and bargained premises unto him the said Theodoty Popple his heirs and assigns forever In witness whereof we have hereunto set out hands and seals the 31st day of March in the twelfth year of his Majesties reign George the Third King of Great Britain 1772.

Signed Sealed and Delivered.

Randall Wells (seal)     Lois Wells (seal)

In the presence of

John Lewis Jur      John Maxson Jur

Kings County xx personally appeared the subscriber Randall Wells in Hopkinton on the day and date above written and acknowledged the above and foregoing xxxx to be his voluntary act and xxx hand and seal thereto affixed before me.

John Maxson Jur Justice of the Peace

The above is a true coppy of the original deed and entered on record the 15th day of June 1772 by John Maxson jur Town Clerk.

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I though t this a curious statement:

“Lois Wells wife to the said Randall Wells both for the consideration afore said giving xxx up and surrender her right of dower and power of thirds as in and unto the before granted and bargained premises”

I did a little goggling and found this:  dower n. an old English common law right of a widow to one-third of her late husband’s estate, which is still the law in a few states. In those states the surviving wife can choose either the dower rights or, if more generous, accept the terms of her husband’s will in what is called a widow’s election.

This would seem to be the reason Lois signs this document. It is because with her signature she is relinquishing and future claim she might have on the land after Randall’s death.

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book #2, Page 357

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book #2, Page 357

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book #2

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book #2

 

 

 

17 Oct 2014: Randall Wells’ good will and natural affection October 17, 2014

While on my road trip, I stopped in the Hopkinton, RI Town Clerks office and was allowed to look at some documents in the Land Evidence Books.  Here is the transcription of one of Randall Wells’ land transactions, giving a piece of land to his son Russell.  Randall is my 4th great-grandfather and Russell is my third great-grandfather.  X’s denote words I wasn’t able to make out.

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Town of Hopkinton, RI: Land Evidence Book, Volume 6: 1803-1815

To all People to whom these presents shall come greeting. Know ye that I Randall Wells of Hopkinton in Washington County in the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantation Yeoman for and in consideration of the love and good will and natural affection I have and do XXX my son Russell Wells of Hopkinton in the Town, County & State aforesaid Yeoman Have given and by these presents do give and convey unto him tho said Russell Wells and to his Heirs and assigns forever, a certain tract of land situated in said Hopkinton, Containing fifteen acres butted and bounded as follows. Northerly Easterly and Southerly by land belonging to Peleg Carr, Westerly by the Grantors Land – TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said granted xxx is with all the privileges and Appurtenances belonging thereto to him and his heirs forever to his and them only benefit and use forever. And I the said Randall Wells of Hopkinton, do give and grant the above named premises clear of all incumberances whatsoever and do warrant and secure the afore granted premises unto him the said Russell forever. In witness whereof I have set my hand and seal this third day of December AD 1811

William Tanner                                 Randall Wells (Seal)

Job B. Clarke

Washington Se. At Hopkinton the day and date above written Personally appeared the within named Randall Wells and acknowledged the written instrument to be his voluntary Net & Deed hand & Seal before me —   Job B. Clarke Just Peace

The preceding is a true copy of the original deed and entered on record the 3rd day of December AD 1811 by Caleb Potter, Town Clerk.

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book

 

 

15 Oct 2014: Hopkinton, RI Taxes for 1902 October 15, 2014

I was lucky enough to get a copy of the Hopkinton Tax Book and Town Treasurer’s Report for 1902.

Hopkinton Tax Book 1902

Hopkinton Tax Book 1902

Hopkinton Tax Book 1902

Hopkinton Tax Book 1902

Here’s what it had to say about the Wells family:

Hopkinton Tax Book 1902

Hopkinton Tax Book 1902

Williams R. Wells is listed with his mother Martha Ann (Rogers) Wells with holding of real estate valued $4500 for which he paid $36 in taxes.  Martha Ann is also listed separately with real estate valued at $3100 for which she paid $24.80 in taxes.  In 1902, the real estate Williams would have owned (although it might not have been the only real estate) would have been his house that was located in what is now called Crandall Field in Ashaway.

Wells House, Ashaway, RI

Wells House, Ashaway, RI

 

 

13 Oct 2014: The Mystery Cemetery ….. October 13, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 7:07 am
Tags: , , ,

While on my vacation up in Hopkinton, my host and I came across this old negative of an unknown cemetery.  It’s a very old large format negative that I brought home with me to scan on my scanner.  Yes, I bought my scanner because it was the only one I could find that scanned old large format negatives.  Sometimes I think I should have ‘genealogy geek’ stamped on my forehead.

Since we’re unable to identify the cemetery, I thought I’d toss it out into the wide world of the internet to see if anyone can help identify it.  Here it is:

Unknown Cemetery Negative

Unknown Cemetery Negative

All I know is that it is somehow connected with Hopkinton.  It may either be in Hopkinton or connected with a Hopkinton Family.  There are a few clues to go by.  There are hills in the distance.  It has telephone/power poles that run along side it.  They may indicate the presence of a road or possibly railroad tracks.

If anyone has any ideas, let me know.  Keep in mind that this is an old negative and there may be more burials since it was taken so that grassy area may now be filled with other stones.

-Jennifer

 

12 Oct 2014: The Thompson Wells Lot #44 in Hopkinton, RI October 12, 2014

Filed under: Wells Family — jgeoghan @ 10:29 am
Tags: , , , ,

One of the cemeteries I visited on my vacation was the Thompson Wells Lot, Hopkinton Historical Cemetery #44. I have to say, if my friend Lauri hadn’t of taken me back there, I’d never have found it myself. It’s pretty far back into the woods off of Route 3 in Hopkinton. You also have to go in sort of a round about to get to it as there is a big gully behind it where they dug out gravel to make Route 3 an actual road way back when.

Although there are many burial markers in the Thompson Wells lot (approximately 19), the only ones with names are Thompson Wells (1746-1811) and his wife Elizabeth Palmer (abt 1749-1791). Thompson was the son of Thomas Wells 4th and Sarah Thompson and would have been my second cousin 5 times removed.   His great-grandfather was Thomas Wells Jr. who along with his father, Thomas Sr., was the first Wells to come to Rhode Island from Massachusetts.  (I’ll also note that I mentioned Thompson yesterday’s post about the voting of the Constitution.)

Here are some pictures I took of the cemetery:

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Front view of Thompson and Elizabeth's stones

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Front view of Thompson and Elizabeth’s stones

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Thompson's stone

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Thompson’s stone

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Elizabeth's headstone

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Elizabeth’s headstone

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Thompson's footstone

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Thompson’s footstone

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Elizabeth's footstone

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Elizabeth’s footstone

Thompson Wells Lot #44

Thompson Wells Lot #44

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Panoramic View

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Panoramic View

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Side view with field stones

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Side view with field stones

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Field Stones

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Field Stones

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Headstones up from, footstones behind

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Headstones up from, footstones behind

Thompson Wells Lot #44:  Me and Thompson

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Me and Thompson

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Side view with fieldstones in foreground

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Side view with fieldstones in foreground

Don’t mind my orange hat.  Apparently it’s hunting season in October and you have to wear orange to not be shot by hunters.  Lauri insinuated that many of the hunters have been drinking and judging by the amount of small empty plastic liquor bottles we saw on the ground as we hiked back here, I’d say she might be right.

So who else is buried here?  Well, since all the other stones are field stones, they’re most likely older burials than Thompson and Elizabeth’s.  Either that or they were too poor to be able to afford stones like they were.  If they were other Wells family members, his parents might be there as we don’t know where they are buried.  Unfortunately, we’ll never know.

 

 

11 Oct 2014: Road Trip Discovery. Wells family split over the Constitution October 11, 2014

Filed under: Wells Family — jgeoghan @ 10:25 am
Tags: , , , ,

While on my road trip last week, I stopped in the Hopkinton, RI Town Clerks office and noticed this framed piece hanging on the wall. On closer inspection I spotted my fourth great-grandfather, Randall Wells, on it.

Hopkinton Votes on the Constitution March 1788

Hopkinton Votes on the Constitution March 1788

Hopkinton Votes on the Constitution March 1788

Hopkinton Votes on the Constitution March 1788

Hopkinton Votes on the Constitution March 1788

Hopkinton Votes on the Constitution March 1788

Here is a transcription of the document:

At a Town Meeting in March xx 1788. A List of Voters with their Yeas & Nays Respecting the late proposed Constitution.

At a Town Meeting held in Hopkinton, in the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, on the XX Day of March AD 1788 – By Order of the Hon. – the Gen. Assembly of the State at their Sepion (?) held at Providence in February last. ———– (viz)——

The following are the names of the Freeman + Freeholders and inhabitants of Hopkinton aforesaid who voted that the late proposed Constitution for the United States be Adopted.——

Yeas —-

Joshua Clarke Elder

Xxxx Palmer

Francis West

William West

Thomas West

Thompson Wells

Elnathan Wells

Thomas Wells Jr.

Samuel Wells

Amos Wells

Henry Wells

Jonathan Wells

Hezekiah Babcock

David Coon

Joshua Coon

Joshua Coon Jr.

Abram Coon

Oliver White

The following are the names of the Freemen + Freeholders and inhabitants of Hopkinton aforesaid who voted that the late proposed Constitution for the United States be Negatived —-

Nays —-

Grideon Allen

Lawton Palmer

John Palmer

Lawton Palmer Jr.

Edward Wells

Thomas Wells 2nd

Matthew Wells

Randall Wells

Clarke Wells

Edward S. Wells

Hezekiah Carpenter

Daniel Carpenter

Joseph Larkin

Aaron Davis

Zephaniah Brown

John Brown

Christopher Brown

William Coon

Samuel Coon

Elias Coon

Thomas Coon

Benjamin Coon

Daniel White

Thomas Barber

Joseph Barber

Moses Barber

John Coon

Samuel Maxson

Samuel Maxson Jr.

*******************************

Here are my best guesses as to who the Wells’ above are:

Yeahs:

Thomas Wells Jr. (Probably Thomas Wells 4th (1723-1795) son of Thomas Wells 3rd/Phebe Greene)

Thompson Wells (1746-1811: Son of Thomas Wells 4th/Sarah Thompson)

Amos Wells (1760-1819: Son of Thomas Wells 4th/Sarah Thompson)

Henry Wells (1753-1825: Son of Thomas Wells 4th/Sarah Thompson)

Elnathan Wells (1737-1804: Son of Jonathan Sr/Elizabeth Maxson)

Jonathan Wells (1735-1807: Son of Jonathan Sr/Elizabeth Maxson)

Samuel Wells (1758-1809: Son of Ensign Joseph Wells/Thankful Theft)

Nays

Edward Wells (Probably Captain Edward Wells Jr. 1726/7-1798: Son of Edward Wells/Elizabeth Randall)

Randall Wells (1747-1821: Son of Edward Wells/Elizabeth Randall)

Matthew Wells (Either Matthew Sr 1735/6-1818 son of Edward Wells/Elizabeth Randall or his son Matthew Jr 1765-1852 son of Matthew Sr/Bridget Burdick)

Clarke Wells (1762-1796: Son of Thomas Wells/Sarah Clarke… Also Randall aboves brother-in-law as they both married daughters of John Maxson/Sarah Burdick)

Edward S. Wells (Edward Sheffield Wells 1765-1806: Son of Edward Wells Jr/Elizabeth Sheffield)

Thomas Wells 2nd (Probably Thomas Wells 5th 1755-1829 son of Thomas Wells 4th/Sarah Thompson)

For the most part, the branches of the family seem to stick together on their opinions. All except Thomas Wells 5th who votes Nay where his father and brothers vote Yeah.

You can see by the tally that the town of Hopkinton voted not to approve the Constitution. Don’t hold it against them, when I did a little research I found that the entire state voted it down, so Hopkinton seems representative of the State at large. According to Wikipedia, by 1789, Rhode Island still hadn’t approved the Constitution.  On April 6, 1788 George Washington was unanimously elected to be the nation’s first President and John Adams is elected its first Vice President, receiving 34 of 69 votes cast. Only ten of the thirteen states cast electoral votes in this election. Rhode Island was one of them as they were ineligible to participate as they had not yet ratified the Constitution May 29, 1790, when they became the thirteenth and final state to ratify the Constitution (34–32). In addition to ratifying the constitution, Rhode Island requests that twenty-one alterations be made to it.

So why would they oppose the Constitution? Here are some reasons my research came up with:

The Country Party, Rhode Island’s anti-federalist political party, controlled the Rhode Island General Assembly from 1786 to 1790 and opposed the Federalist Party, which supported the U.S. Constitution. The Federalists were largely from the “town,” Providence, Rhode Island, while the Country Party members were from the surrounding rural areas. The rural Country Party which opposed the Constitution was suspicious of the power and the cost of a government too far removed from the grass-roots level. Among those in Rhode Island who opposed the Constitution were Quakers, who were opposed to the Constitution largely because of its sanctioning of slavery, and Baptists, one of the largest denominations in Rhode Island, who had historically been persecuted by various governments. Many were also concerned about the government created by the Constitution would violate natural rights and wanted a Bill of Rights to protect individual liberties. In the rural areas of Rhode Island, citizens wanted to ensure that their paper currency was redeemable as legal tender in the future.

 

10 Sep 2014 …. It’s genealogy road trip time again!! September 10, 2014

Yep, it’s time to hit the road again for more genealogy fun.  Every other year I drive up north from Sunny, hot and uber humid Orlando to enjoy the cooler fall weather of Connecticut and Rhode Island.

So what’s on the agenda this year?  Well, I thought I’d through out a few sites I’m planning on visiting and see if anyone has any suggestions of Wells, Rogers, Crandall, Stillman, etc, family sites to see.

In Rhode Island:

Visit Oak Grove Cemetery in Ashaway.  Time to do my check on the Wells family plot.  I’m pretty sure my grandparents stones are in need of a cleaning.

Visit the Thompson Wells Lot in Hopkinton.  Believe it or not, there are no photos on findagrave.com of this small cemetery, so I’ll stop by and snap a few pics of all the stones.  It’s small so shouldn’t take long.

Head through the woods to the Wells Lot where Randall Wells and Lois Maxson are buried.  It’s a fun hike through some treacherous underbrush, but I have a strong connection to those two grandparents seeing as they’re characters in my novels.  Besides, I heard the land the cem is on has changed hands.  Need to make sure the bulldozers aren’t on stand by …

I’m also planning on doing some hiking in Hopkinton on the Nature Conservancy trails up to Long Pond.  Absolutely beautiful trails to the most scenic spot in Hopkinton.   I’m thinking about going to Newport and wandering around as well.  I’ve driven through but have never really walked the town.

In Connecticut:

Visit the New London County Historical Society Library to see what goodies I can find.  Found tons of great stuff on the Rogers family last time.

Visit Cedar Grove Cemetery.  I got a message through findagrave.com that my entry for Moses Rogers was in error and he isn’t buried there.  thought I might go take me a looksy and see what Rogers are there.

Visit the Brown-Randall Cemetery in North Stonington.  Again, no photos on findagrave.com.  Lots of really old Randall stones.

Revisit the Burdick-Culver Cemetery in the Barn Island sanctuary over in Stonington.   Was a fun and easy hike to a lovely cemetery.  If I have time, I’ll squeeze it in.

There’s a Rogers Burying Ground in Salem I’d like to see.  No photos or map on Findagrave.com  All it says is it’s off of 82 about 1500 feet.  Gee, what a help…  Anyone know where it is?

I may also stop by the Rogers Cemetery at Mamacock Farm down on the grounds of Connecticut College.

I’ll also be doing a lot of wandering around Mystic and of course Stonington.  Since my third novel, the one about the Rogers family, mostly takes place in Stonington, I’m excited to revisit the town that inspired my writing journey.

So far, that’s all I’ve got.

So, got any suggestions.

 

 
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