Wells Family Genealogy

The study of my Family Tree

May 27, 2010 Jonathan Wells House May 27, 2010

Today I thought I’d get back to the Wells Family and talk about the Jonathan Wells House located at 178 Diamond Hill Road in Ashaway, RI. 

The Jonathan Wells house (aka The Jonathan Wells – Ethnathan Babcock House) is a post and beam 2 story house with center chimney and sits on 3.9 acres of land overlooking the Tomaquag Valley.  It has 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and six working fireplaces, one with a working beehive oven and a smoke house in the attic.    Behind the house is a detached 2 car garage with a hay loft and a small barn.  A Late Victorian, wood-shingled barn is nearby.   I have seen it written many times that “Originally the house was part of the Jonathan Wells estate”.  I’ve never actually seen it written that he built he house.  Although he may have, all I can say with any degree of certainty is that he owned and was living in the house at the time of his death.

Jonathan Wells (6-22-1712 to 3-5-1772) has the distinction of being my 5th Great Grand Uncle and my 1st Cousin 5 times removed at the same time.  Jonathan is the son of my 6th Great Grand Uncle, Nathaniel Wells (1672-1768/9) who was the son of my 7th Great Grandparents Thomas Wells and Naomi Marshall.  This is how he is my 1st cousin 5 times removed.   He is my 5th Great Grand Uncle because he was married to Elizabeth Maxson, who was the daughter of my 6th Great Grandparents the Rev. Joseph Maxson and Tacy Burdick.

The house has been called the Jonathan Wells-Ethnathan Babcock House.  Figuring that Ethnathan Babcock was probably another owner of the house I tracked him down.  

 Jonathan Wells had a son named Elnathan Wells (born ca 1737).  

Elnathan’s will dated 2 July 1804 mentions his nephews, Elnathan Babcock and Peleg Babcock.

Elnathan Babcock and Peleg Babcock Jr. were sons of Peleg Babcock Sr. & Elizabeth Wells.

Elizabeth was the daughter of Elnathan’s brother Jonathan.

So basically Elnathan Babcock was the grandson of Elnathan Well’s brother or you could say he was his great nephew.

Jonathan’s will reads:

“To the name of God Amen this fifth day of March in the year of Our Lord 1772, I , Jonathan Wells, of Hopkinton in the County of Kings County and Colony of Rhode Island, yeoman, being in health and of perfect mind and Memory, thanks be given to God, for the same and calling to mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last will and testament that is to say Principally and first of all I give and recommend my soul into the hands of God that gave it.  And for my body I recommend it to the earth to be buried in a christian decent manner at the descretion of my executor.  Nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty Power of God and as touching such worldly____ where with it hath pleased God to bless me in this life, I give, devise and dispose of the same in manner and form following that is today…..

     Item-I give and bequeath to Rebeccah Wells, my dearly beloved wife, (NOTE: Jonathan married a second time to Rebecca Clagget after his 1st wife died) the one third of the use and profit of my real estate together with the best room and bedroom adjoining the same in my now dwelling house with the priviledge of the kitchen and buttery and cellar.  I likewise give to my said wife, two ____ and their furniture and two pots and a kittle and ice kittle and the silver teaspoons, tea tongs and silver strainer and a set of china cups and saucers and ditto of stoneware, two glass tumblers or baker glasses and teapot and her choice of the looking glass and six chairs and tea table and warming pan and two china bowls.

     I likewise give to my wife, firetongs and _____ and the case of drawers and trunk and great chair and three basons, six spoons of puter, six plates and two platters and one tub and one pole and trammel and frying pan and three knives and forks, one large silver spoon, all the above articles I give to my said wife during the time she remains as my widow.  But if she marry, it is my will that she shall have no more than one good bed and furniture and eight dollars worth of the rest of the household stuffs as she wishes to have which shall be her estate forever at her disposal. 

     Item-I give and bequeath unto my beloved sons, Elnathan Wells and Jonathan Wells all my real estate and all the rest of my personal that I have not already given away by this will after my last debts and funeral monies being first paid.  I give to my sons equally to be divided between them, my two farms to be divided by a northerly and southerly line ______ to quantity and quality and my said sons after dividing said farms shall come to for their choice of said land.  All said land I give to my sons and their heirs and assigns forever. 

     And I do hereby constitute, ordain and appoint my aforesaid son, Elnathan Wells, my only sole executor of this my last will and testament.  I do hereby disallow, revoke and disannul all and every other former testaments, wills and legacies, bequeaths and executors by me in any way before this time named, willed and bequeathed.  Ratifying and confirming this as no other to be my last will and testament.

     In witness thereof, I have here unto set my hand and seal the day and year before written.

     Signed, sealed, published, pronounced by the Jonathan Wells as his last will and testament.

     In presence of us the subscribers.                                Jonathan Wells   (seal)

Witnesses:         Ethan Clarke,  Daniel Clarke,  Joshua Clarke                                                                        

_____________

The Jonathan Wells house was “raffled” off last fall.  Here’s an article on it: And here’s a link to another article on line: http://www.thewesterlysun.com/news/article_188e3b80-e6db-11de-8640-001cc4c03286.html  I have a friend who works for the town there that said that some state officials found out about the raffle after it occurred and had said  kind of raffle was not legal in the state of Rhode Island.  I haven’t heard anything since then.  If you know what the current status of the house is, let me know.

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Come visit my website at www.FamilyHistoryDetectives.net and let us help you trace your family tree!

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One Response to “May 27, 2010 Jonathan Wells House”

  1. Mike Says:

    Thank you very much for this story! My wife & I had planned to purchase one of the raffle tickets last year after reading the article and falling in love with the house. The raffle was retracted due to legal reasons… the house now remains with the owners who originally tried to raffle it off. it is now, however, for sale. My wife & I visited the house with a realtor last month and the the house breathes history; it is quite beautiful. We were very curious about this history so this was a fun read.


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