Wells Family Genealogy

The study of my Family Tree

7 Oct 2012 – Road Trip Report: The Thurston – Wells House of Hopkinton October 7, 2012

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One of my stops on my trip was a stop in to visit the Thurston-Wells House built about 1848 on Main Street in Hopkinton, RI.  Built by Benjamin Thurston, he sold the house to Augustus L. Wells in 1864.  Augustus was the son of Edward Sheffield Wels Jr. and Deborah Hoxsie Lewis and my 3rd cousin 5 times removed.    I have to admit that I nicknamed him “Unlucky Gus” sometime back when I found the following articles about him:

Providence Evening Journal (Providence, RI)25 Feb 1863:  Accident in Hopkinton – Augustus L. Wells in going out of his barn on Tuesday evening of last week, stumbled and fell, striking his head on a stone with as much force as to render him insensible until the next morning.  He was recovering at last accounts. – Westerly Weekly.

Providence Evening Journal (Providence, RI)11 Nov 1863, Page 3:  Hopkinton.  Mr. A.L.Wells of Hopkinton, met with a serious accident on the 31st ult.  He had placed in his pantaloons pocket a paper containing about half a pound of powder.  Having occasion to try a fuse he lit a match, the fire from which, by some means, communicated with the powder in his pocket,and he was badly though it is hoped not dangerously burned.

The Thurston – Wells house is currently for sale.  Here is a link to the website with the listing.  http://www.historical-home.com/2012/05/historic-hopkinton-ri-home.html 

In the 1950’s and 60’s the house had fallen into a deplorable state and certainly would have eventually been demolished if it weren’t for the efforts of a buyers who spent a lot of time and money of many years to get the house back into the lovely condition that it now enjoys.  When they actually started renovating the house, the tore down about 5 rooms off to what in the photo below would have been to your right.  You can kind of see this in the old black and white photo of the house if you scroll down

Here is a photo of the house from Page 70 of Images of America: Hopkinton by Kirk W. House.  If you aren’t aware of the Images of America books you should check them out.

Here is a picture of Augustus L. Wells:

From: History of Washington and Kent Counties, Rhode Island by  J.R. Cole.  Published in 1889

“Augustus L. Wells was born November 7th, 1820, in Charlestown, where he resided with his parents until the age of twelve years, when his sight became so much impaired as to preclude study.  At the age of sixteen, having to some extent recovered from his malady, he began farming, and continued this occupation until 1851.  He then, in company with his brother, Edward S., under the firm name of A.L. Wells & Co., established a carriage manufactory at Hopkinton City.  They grew from small beginnings to large proportions, until in the excellence of its work and its capacity, the establishment, with steam power and all the modern improvements for expediting labor, was second to none in the state.  On the 21st of April, 1888, this factory was consumed by fire, much valuable property destroyed, and the structure has never been rebuilt.  Mr. Wells and his partner are at present engaged in closing the business thus suddenly arrested in its successful progress”   (This was published in 1889, shortly after the fire)  Mr. Wells and his brother, Edward S., now reside together in Hopkinton.”

Here is a close up of the front door.  The side panels on either side of the door are made of beautiful cranberry glass.  The next photo shows them from the inside where you can see the light shining through.

Here is a side view and a view from the rear of the house.

At the back of the house still stands the original outhouse.  The outhouse was a six seater, spots for 3 adults and 3 children!

Here is a view from the out house to the carriage house out behind the main house.

Here is the carriage house.

Here are a few pictures I took under the carriage house where you can see the support structure of the building.  While out and about in the area, I saw several large stones like the one that is holding up the building below with the notched groves in it about ever 5 or so inches.  I saw them used laying on their side a few times as steps.  Anyone familiar with what they may be??

Here is what is inside the carriage house.  I took this photo at night with no lights so the only in the picture is from my flash.  Not the best picture in the world.  The owner who game me the tour said this was a Spicer Carriage.

At this point, I’ll mention that the present owners where in the process of packing so their home was in something of an understandable state of disarray so please forgive their clutter in the following photos.

This blue room is the front room of the house and if you were standing where I was when I took this picture the front of the house would be to your left.

behind to the blue front sitting room is a dining room that is separated from the front blue room by a pair of sliding pocket door. 

Behind the dining room is a more newly renovated a modernized kitchen.  However it still is in character with the house.

Here is the main staircase leading from right behind the front door up to the second floor.

The second floor was bedrooms and bathrooms and a staircase leading up to the Belvedere or Cupola up top.

Here is the Hopkinton 1850 Census showing Augustus L Wells living with George Thurston when they lived in the house together.

Here is the 1860 census for Hopkinton showing Augustus and family living in the house.

Here is a copy of an advertisement for the A.L. Wells & Co., Carriage Manufactory that I bought on EBAY. 

From:  Narragansett Weekly, 26 April 1888.   FIRE AT HOPKINTON: A disastrous fire broke out in Hopkinton City shortly after 10 o’clock Saturday evening, April 21st, which quickly destroyed the carriage shop of A.L. Wells & Co., the “Jerry Thurston” house, the “Spicer Tavern,” and two barns.  Smoke was seen coming from the carriage shop by both E. Sterry Holdredge and Nathan Holloway at about the same time, and immediately an alarm was given.  The fire must have been under strong headway when discovered, as it quickly broke through the roof, and, fanned by a northwest wind, swept over the carriage shop and the other doomed buildings quickly.  The carriage shop was filled with carriages, old and new, and a large amount of material was at hand.  Efforts were made to get the completed work out , but they were only partially successful, more than seventy carriages, including the best, being destroyed.  There was nothing with which to fight the fire except by carrying water in pails, and it was quickly seen that such protection could not save the Thurston nor the Spicer houses.  Accordingly an attempt was made to remove the furniture of Mr George K. Thayer, who owned and occupied the former, Mr. E. Sterry Holdridge and Rev. L. F. Randolph, who occupied the latter, Mr Holdredge being the owner,  Mr. Thayer and Mr. Randolph each secured about one half of their goods, but Mr. Holdredge saved very little, his wife having hardly any time to dress her small children.  In Mr. Thayer’s house was stored the household goods of Mrs. Adeline Wilbur, and they were burned.  Across the street from the Thurston House is the residence and store of Mr. E.R. Allen, and as it  thought that was also sure to go, all of the furniture and goods were taken out, but by hanging carpets over the building, and keeping them fairly drenched with water the house was saved. The same method was successfully used to prevent the firing of Mr. John Wells’ house, which stood next to Spicer Tavern.  By 3 o’clock Sunday morning the fire was out, though smouldering, and hardly a trace of the building which had stood there so short a time before was to be found.


5 Oct 2012 – Road Trip Report: Mills of Ashaway / Westerly RI October 5, 2012

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Located at approximately 58 High Street in Ashaway, I discovered the location of Williams Rogers Wells’ mill.   I did a post about it a while back.  Here is the link to it: http://wellsgenealogy.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/jan-6-2010/

Here is what the mill used to look like:


And here is the site today:  I suspect the above photos were taken from about 20 feet or so into the paved area in front of me in the photo below.

While out driving around Hopkinton/Westerly with my friend I spotted the old burned out mill in the photos below.  The photos were taken in Ashaway/Hopkinton from the corner of Laurel Street and Maxson Street looking across the river.    The mill was on the other side of the river putting it in Westerly right as Potter Hill Road goes over the bridge.  Does anyone know what mill this was.  I would have loved to have investigated it further but the padlocked fence kept me out with the limited amount of time I had.



29 Sep 2012 – Road Trip Report: Comstock Cemetery in Uncasville September 29, 2012

So, one stop I really wanted to make on my trip was in Comstock Cemetery in Uncasville/Montville in New London County.  It wasn’t that I didn’t have photos of the stones but that the “person” who posted the pictures on findagrave.com is – how to I put this politely – an unrealistic fool.   I posted some of the pictures in conjunction with a post on the Newbury family there and he/she had wordpress yank them off my blog post because I didn’t have express  permission to use them.   I’m sorry folks, but if you upload a photo to the internet, don’t get upset when it makes its way across cyberspace uncontrollably.  That’s just how it is.  Whats funny is that it wasn’t that long after I posted that they got yanked so this person must be searching for other people posting them which leads me to believe that he/she obviously has issues to work out.  

While on my little rant, please feel free to use any of my photos to your heart’s content, really, I mean it.  I’m here to help you and share what I have.   So…. here are the photos I PERSONALLY TOOK A COUPLE OF WEEKS ago in Comstock Cemetery of the Newbury Family.

Captain Davis Newbury ( 4 Oct 1762 to 13 Aug 1822) my 4th Great Grandfather.  Davis is the son of Tyral or Trial Newbury (sometimes Newberry) and Anna Davis.

History of Montville,CT, by Henry A. Baker, page 472 …. Davis (17), b. 4 Oct., 1762, son of Trial Newbury and ____ Davis; married Lydia Williams. He was a resident of Montville. Several children died here of a contagious disease.

Lydia (Williams) Newbury (1763 to 19 Jan 1819) wife of Capt Davis Newbury and my 4th Great Grandmother.  I don’t know who Lydia’s parents are so if you know, boy do I want to hear from you.  While on the way to the cemetery, I passed Union Cemetery in Uncasville/Montville and stopped in to see my 3rd Great Grandmother, their daughter Sarah “Sally” Newbury who Married Daniel Rogers.  While parked at the back of Union Cemetery, I noticed another cemetery down the street, the Williams and Friends Cemetery.  I popped in and it didn’t have many surviving stones but it made me wonder if Lydia’s family was in there.  The Williams name did carry on in our family.  My Great Great Grandmother Martha Ann Rogers (Daughter of Sarah Newbury and Daniel Rogers mentioned above) Had a twin brother names Williams Newbury Rogers.  Williams for Lydia and Newbury for Davis, his grandparents on his mothers side.  Martha Ann Rogers married Jonathan Russell Wells and had a son (My Great Grandfather) Williams Rogers Wells.  Over time people just called him William and his gravestone says William (no “s”) but his name was Williams after his Great Grandmother and Uncle.  Confusing, No?

Connecticut Deaths & Burials, 1772 – 1934 (From Family History Center Records www.familysearch.org) … Name: Lydia Newbury … Birth Date: 1763 .. Age: 56 … Death Date: 19 Jan 1819 … Death Place: Montville, Connecticut … Marital Status: Married … Spouse’s Name: Davis Newbury … Indexing Batch #: B03523-4, System Origin: Connecticut-EASy, Source Film #: 3174 (B03743-3/Connecticut-EASy/3347/#29)

Betsey Newbury (12 Oct 1787 to 11 Aug 1822) daughter of Davis and Lydia Newbury, my 3rd Great Grand Aunt

Eunice Newbury (7 Mar 1802 to 9 Aug 1822) daughter of Davis and Lydia Newbury, my 3rd Great Grand Aunt.

Here is a newspaper mention of the deaths of the two daughters from the Connecticut Gazette from 14 Aug 1822:

Connecticut Gazette – 14 Aug 1822 – Eunice and Betsy Newbury Obits

And here are all four stones together:


27 Sep 2012 – Road Trip Report: More from the Westerly Library September 27, 2012

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So while in the Westerly Library, I spent time going through the microfilm of the Westerly Sun and Narragansett Weekly for any tidbits on the family.  Here are some items I came across:

From the front page of the Narragansett Weekly 19 May 1859.   It reads: Wells Carriage Factory.  The above is a ver correct view of the Carriage Factory of Messrs. A.L. Wells & Co., at Hopkinton CIty, R.I.  The main building is 112 by 23 feet, two stories high.  The wing is 35 by 19 feet, also two stories.  The sales rooms in the upper story of the main building is 86 by 23 feet and is kept stocked with every kind of wheel vehicle from a democrat wagon to a Prince Albert Rockaway.  The present proprietors have carried on their business in this place since 1850.  They employ generally about a dozen hands.  Their carriages are mostly sold in the vicinity, where a ready market is found.

Here is a death notice from my grandfather Elliot Ellsworth Wells from the Westerly Sun 24 Sep 1951.  It reads: Wells – In Hope Valley, RI September 24, 1951.  Elliot Ellsworth Wells, husband of Florence J. Weber Wells, aged 51.  Funeral service will be held at the Harvey W. Buckler Funeral Home 121 Main Street, Wednesday Sept. 26, at 2:00pm.  Interment in Oak Grove Cemetery, Ashaway.  Relatives and friends invited.  Friends may call at the Funeral Home at their convenience.

Here is my Great Great Grandfather Charles August Erbig’s Death notice from the Westerly Sun on 4 Nov 1951.  It reads: Erbig – In Ashaway, RI, November 3, 1951.  Charles A. Erbig, husband of the late Catherine (Green) Erbig.  Funeral services will be held at the Harvey W. Buckler Funeral Home, 121 Main Street, Tuesday, November 6, at 2pm.  Internment in Oak Grove Cemetery.  Relatives and friends invited.  Friends may calla t their convenience.

Here is the  death notice from Charles’ wife Catherine Green Erbig, my Great Great Grandmother from the Westerly Sun 2 August 1936.  It reads: ERBIG – In Westerly, RI at 178 Hugh Street, August 1, Mrs Catherine (Green) Erbig, wife of Charles A. Erbig.  Funeral from Buckler Funeral Home, 2 Friendship Street, Tuesday August 4, at 2pm.  internment at Oak Grove Cemetery.  Relatives and friends invited.

Here are two articles from the Westerly Sun about Charles A Erbig, son of William Edward Erbig and grandson of Charles August Erbig and Catherine Green mentioned above.  I always knew that he was buried in the American Cemetery in Manilla in the Philippines and that he died in WWII but these articles say that he died in a Japanese POW camp of Malaria.   Very sad.  The first article is from when he went missing and was published 26 Oct 1942 and the second article is from when the family got the news from the war department that he had died and is dated 19 Sept 1945

Here is a death notice from the Westerly Sun for my Great Grandmother Julia (Erbig) Weber Handy dated 3 Jan 1954.  It reads: Handy – In Westerly, IR, Dec. 31, 1953.  Julia R (Erbig) Handy, wife of Amos E. Handy of West Street, Ashaway.  Funeral Services were held today at 2pm at the Harvey W. Buckler Funeral Home, 121 Main Street.  Internment was in Oak Grove Cemetery, Ashaway.

Here is a Death notice from my Great Grandfather Philip Weber, husband of Julia Erbig Weber Handy above, from the Westerly Sun dated 14 May 1942.  It Reads: Weber – In Ashaway, RI, at West Street, May 14, 1942, Philipp Weber, husband of Julia R. (Erbig) Weber, aged 76 years.  Funeral Services at the Harvey W. Buckler FUneral Home, 121 Main Street, Saturday May 16, at 2pm.  internment in Oak Grove Cemetery, Ashaway.  Relatives and friends invited.

Searching the microfilm is pretty easy to do.  They have a card catalog that is cross referenced and pretty easy to navigate.   For those who aren’t familiar with using microfilm, it’s a pretty easy affair.   Anyway, here is a picture I took of the Westerly Library on the day I was there.  Not a cloud in the sky!! A beautiful day in sunny Rhode Island.


23 Sep 2012 – Pitcher Cemetery #63 in N. Stonington, CT September 23, 2012

While on my road trip I stopped in to see the Pitcher Cemetery (#63) in North Stonington, CT.  It is located across the street from 49 Wyassup Road in a field behind a wooden fence enclosure.  Here are a few pictures of the cemetery:

It seems to be being maintained, at least the grass is being cut but the stones themselves are mostly leaning against trees and not where they were originally placed.  The reason I visited the cemetery was to see the graves of Harriett Newell Pitcher Buddington and her daughters Lucy E Buddington and Martha H Buddington.  Harriet was the first wife of Edward J Buddington who was the son of Lois A Wells (Sometimes referred to as Louise) and Oliver Russell Buddington Sr.  Lois A Wells (My Great Great Aunt) was the daughter of Russell Wells and Lydia Rogers Crandall (My Great Great Great grandparents)  One of my mysteries of the family is what happened to Lois and Oliver R Buddington????? I have no idea when the died or where they are buried.  Russell and Lydia Wells are in Oak Grove Cemetery in Ashaway, RI.  Edward J Buddington is buried in Arlington National Cemetery and Harriett and daughters are in the Pitcher Cemetery but where are Lois and Oliver?  If you know, I’d sure like to hear from you.

Here are some pictures from the Pitcher Cemetery:

Harriet Newell (Pitcher) Buddington

Here is Lucy E Buddington who died 14 Jul 1858

Here is Martha H. Buddington who died 4 Mar 1880

I took some more pictures of the other graves and posted them on www.findagrave.com  you just have to search by cemetery and put in Pitcher – Conn – New London County and it will come up.


8 Jun 2012 – Wells Family of Hopkinton in the News (really old news!) June 8, 2012

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Here are three more Wells family articles from genealogybank.com.

First is Captain William Randall Wells, called Bill (1816-1872) son of Randall Wells Jr and Patience Coon.

Providence Evening Journal (Providence,RI) 30 Nov 1872, Page 2

Suicide at Hopkinton.  William R. Wells, of Ashaway, more intimately known as “Captain Bill” committed suicide in a grove near Hopkinton, on the morning of the 28th inst., Thanksgiving Day, by hanging to a tree.  The body was found about eight o’clock in the morning, by Irving Chester and another boy, both trappers, who visited the woods to look at their traps.  An inquest was held yesterday, but we have not yet learned of the result.

This article mentions Ensign Thomas Wells the 5th (1755-1829) son of Thomas Wells 4th and Sarah Thompson.

Rhode Island American (Rhode Island) 12 May 1829, Page 2

At Hopkinton, R.I.on the 20th ult. Thomas Wells Esq. in the 74th year of his age, for many years a firm believer in the Christian religion, and a useful and respected member of the church to which he belonged.

This article mentions James Wells (Abt 1760-1835) husband of Ann Love.  James and family are buried in the Old Fernwood Cemetery in North Kingston, RI.  I’ll be honest and say that I have no idea who his parents are.  Kind of hit a dead end on him.  He’s in my genealogy program because his daughter Anna Maria Wells (1823-1862) married John Hagadorn Wells (1817-1907) and John is the son of Thomas Robinson Wells (1784-1853) and Maria Potter.  Thomas Robinson Wells is the son of the above mentioned Ensign Thomas Wells the 5th and Mary “Polly” Robinson.  Circular, I know, but there’s always a relation in there somewhere.

Newport Mercury (Newport,RI) 9 May 1835, Page 3

Died, … At Hopkinton on the 30th ult. James Wells, Esq. aged 70 years – a Revolutionary pensioner.


6 Jun 2012 – More Wells Articles from Genealogybank.com June 7, 2012

Here are 3 more articles I found on genealogybank.com this past week.

These first two mention Martha Ann (Rogers) Wells (1825-1903) Wife of Jonathan Russell Wells and mother of Williams Rogers Wells.

Providence Evening Journal (Providence,RI) 2 Jan 1875, Page 3

ASHAWAY – The third “Social” was held on Sunday evening at the residence of Mrs. M.A. Wells, A large number of people were present.  The literary exercises were interesting and well performed.


Providence Evening Journal (Providence,RI) 23 May 1876

ASHAWAY – …. Wong Chin Foo, a Chinaman, in full Chinese costume gave a lecture at the Seventh Day Baptist church, Monday evening, upon “Domestic Life inChina”.

The ladies’ auxiliary tract society will meet with Mrs. Martha Wells, Tuesday afternoon, for the purpose of completing the organization of the society, election of officers, etc.


This last one is an obituary for Williams Rogers Wells in the newspaper in DeRuyter, NY where he lived for a few years going to school.

The De Ruyter Gleaner (DeRuyter,NY) 18 Jan 1927, Page 5

William Rogers Wells, aged 71, died in Ashaway, R..I., December 26th.  He was a student of DeRuyter Institute in 1869-70.  He was a manufacturer and prominently identified with the textile industry for many years as owner and manager of mills and as a commission broker.  His wife, who was Pauline R. Stillman of Alfred, died in 1922

Deruyter NY Gleaner 13 Jan 1927 Pg 5 WR Wells obit



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