Wells Family Genealogy

The study of my Family Tree

3 July 2019: Genealogy Odds and Ends July 3, 2019

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here on a regular basis. I’ve been in computer transitions from one laptop to a new one. Always a bother.  In the meantime, here are a few bits and bobs I’ve come across.

ITEM ONE: I found this vintage stereoscopic photo of, of all things, a headstone in Buffalo, NY. From Forest Lawn Cemetery of the “Campbell Monument.” In all my gleanings through antique shops, I’ve never come across such a photo. Might be an interesting thing to collect if I happen upon another one. Has anyone out there ever seen a headstone photo like this before?

ITEM TWO: I enjoyed this article from Yankee magazine with funny pilgrim stories. I mean, how often do you come across funny pilgrims?

ITEM THREE:  While reading an old edition of Yankee magazine, I couldn’t help but notice the amount of advertisers with familiar family names.  Kenyon (Grills), Hubbard (Shoes) and Burdick (Restaurant). Nice to see we’re still kicking around.


Genealogy addict extraordinaire


9 Sept 2018: Genealogy and the search for truth September 9, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 5:43 pm
Tags: , , ,

There’s always been this mystery as to why my great grandparents were separated. I mean, it had to have been something pretty bad for a woman to kick her husband out of the house back in the early 1900’s.  But for all my digging, I could never find anything that gave me a clue as to what the circumstances were in their marriage that such drastic measures were needed to be taken.

Then last week my cousin sent me a box containing an old purse (old enough that it might have belonged to my great-grandmother Amalia.) Inside the purse were a bunch of old newspaper clippings in German. Amalia, my great-grandmother, was born in Slovakia, but she married John Kranz who was born in Germany.  The article I found in the purse was probably from a German newspaper published in Brooklyn, NY circa 1915.

Here is what my translation produced.  Thank you Google Translate 🙂

Wife Beater

Huge blacksmith abused a feeble frail woman

Tolerated the children

An extremely sad girl from married life yesterday appeared before Judge Kelln in the Supreme Court, when Mrs. Amelia Kranz brought a lawsuit to break up her marital union with the blacksmith John Kranz of No. 355 Stagg Str. The man is a dog of over 200 pounds bodyweight, the complainant, who weighs about 90-100 pounds, looks sickly and weak. The contrast was particularly acute when the poor mistress said in a thin voice that this brutal giant had terrorized and maltreated her for years. For weeks her face and lips would have been swollen by the constant blows of his fist. Often he would issue death threats against them, and those mitigations and threats would only have had the effect of extracting from the woman a few hundred dollars that she had saved during her marriage.

For the sake of her four children, aged from three to fourteen, Mrs. Kranz went on, she would have endured that torment for years, but now she could undermine her health and she had reached the end of her strength. In his defense, Kranz also condemns his wife for cruelty, claiming among other things that she had not given him sufficient food which stood in the sharpest contrast to his blooming, well-groomed appearance. The judge stated that he could not admit, under the circumstances, that the woman should take the legal costs of her small savings, and awarded her $30 lawyer’s fees. As Alimentation payment, Kranz has the option between $40 per month or home rental payment and $6 (The last few words were cut off.)

This is John and Amalia Kranz. He looks like a large guy, but I’m not sure I’d call him a giant. I don’t suppose we’ll ever really know the truth, but this certainly sheds an interesting light on what their home life may have been like. When I sent this translation to my cousin I told her that genealogy is, in many ways, the search for truth, and often times that truth isn’t as pretty as we might like it to be. But I’d rather know the truth of my ancestors. I’d rather know that my great-grandmother had the courage to stand up for herself and her children. She was obviously a very brave woman.



23 July 2018: Funerals in early Connecticut and other interesting stuff July 23, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 6:49 pm
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Today’s topic is a little bit off beat, but I came across this interesting passage in Frances Manwaring Caulkins’ History of New London, Connecticut this past weekend. It was so interesting I thought I’d share it with you.

History of New London, Connecticut, Pages 267-268:

Obituaries of the Early Settlers.

Taking our position on the high ground at the beginning of a new century, let us pause and review the band of early settlers, who sitting down among these barren rocks, erected these buildings, planted these gardens, manned these decks, and from Sabbath to Sabbath led their children up these winding paths to worship God in that single church — that decent and comely building, plain in appearance, but beautified by praise, which sate on the hill-top, side by side with the lowly mansions of the dead. From those silent chambers let us evoke the shades of the fathers, and record some few fragments of their history, not irrecoverably buried with them in the darkness of oblivion.

There is an interest lingering about these early dead which belongs to no later race. The minutest details seem vivid and important. A death in that small community was a great event. The magistrate, the minister, and the fathers of the town, came to the bed of the dying to witness his testament and gather up his last words. It was soon known to every individual of the plantation that one of their number had been cut down. All were eager once more to gaze upon the face they had known so well ; they flocked to the funeral ; the near neighbors and coevals of the dead bore him on their shoulders to the grave ; the whole community with solemn step and downcast eyes, followed him to his long home.

Riding at funerals was not then in vogue; and a hearse was unknown. A horse litter may in some cases have been used; but the usual mode of carrying the dead was on a shoulder bier. In this way persons were sometimes brought into town for interment even from a distance of five or six miles. Frequent rests or halts were made, and the bearers often changed. These funeral customs continued down to the period of the Revolution.

Our ancestors do not often appear to us in all the homeliness of their true portraiture. Imagination colors the truth, and we overlook the simplicity of their attire and the poverty of their accommodations. Estates before 1700 were small; conveniences few, and the stock of furniture and garments extremely limited. Many of the large estates of modern times have been built up from very small beginnings.

Each man was in a great measure his own mechanic and artisan, and he wrought with imperfect tools. Most of these tools were made of Taunton iron; a coarse bog ore, which could produce only a dull edge, and was easily broken. The value of iron may be inferred from the fact that old iron was of sufficient importance to be estimated among movables. In the early inventories very few chain are mentioned. Stools, benches and forms, took their place; jointstools came next, and still later, many families were provided with the high-backed settle, a cumbersome piece of furniture, but of great comfort in a farmer’s kitchen. A broad box-like cupboard, with shelves above, where the pewter was arranged, and called the dresser, was another appendage of the kitchen. The houses were cheaply, rudely built, with many apertures for the entrance of wind and frost; the outside door frequently opening directly into the family room, where the fire-place was wide enough to admit an eight feet log, and had a draught almost equal to a constant bellows. The most finished timbers in the house, # even those that protruded as sills and cross-beams in the best rooms, were hatchet-hacked, and the wainscoting unplaned.

One of the first objects with every thrifty householder, was to get apple-trees in growth. Most of the homesteads consisted of a house, garden and orchard. Cider was the most common beverage of the country. Some beer was drank. They had no tea nor coffee, and at first very little sugar or molasses. When the trade with Barbadoes commenced, which was about 1660, sugar and molasses became common. The latter was often distilled after importation. Broth, porridge, hasty-pudding, johnny-cake and samp, were articles of daily consumption. They had no potatoes, but beans and pumpkins in great abundance.


If you’d like to see more, you can find this book at http://www.archives.org



3 July 2018: Let’s be Social! July 3, 2018

Filed under: Wells Family — jgeoghan @ 7:34 am
Tags: , , , ,

Hello friends and family members,

As an offshoot of this blog, I decided to start a facebook group for members of the Wells family of Hopkinton, Rhode Island. Why? Well, I get to post lots of great info on my blog, but I’d love to also have a forum where we can be more social and share information back and forth more freely. I will still continue to keep up my blog as usual, but will also be posting tidbits on the facebook group as well.  I encourage you to join the group and get to know the other members of our family!

Here is a link to the group on Facebook. The name of the group is “The Wells Family of Hopkinton, Rhode Island.” You can also type that in the search box in Facebook to find us.




4 June 2018: Be careful who you accuse of being a witch in Salem … June 3, 2018

I just finished reading two novels that intertwine modern-day and the history of Salem as it relates to the Salem witch Trials. Interesting stuff, especially when you consider our own family’s entanglement in the area of accusing someone of witchcraft in Salem.  The following is a transcription I did for my genealogy program. It’s such interesting stuff I had to share it with you. Our earliest known Wells ancestor is Thomas Wells who married Naomi Marshall, daughter of Edmund and Millicent Marshall as described below.  This is great stuff. I love articles that have such in-depth citation notes. Normally, these notes are found at the bottom of the typed page. For the purpose of this blog (and my genealogy program) I’ve inserted them at the bottom of the corresponding paragraph.

Here’s a map to give you some reference:

Map of Salem, Mass and Area

FROM: The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 160, July 2006, The Edmund Marshall Family of Chebacco, Essex County, Massachusetts by Patricia Law Hatcher, Page 186 and onward.

The Edmund Marshall Family of Chebacco, Essex County, Massachusetts

Patricia Law Hatcher

The published quarterly court records of Essex County, Massachusetts, area a rich source for the family of Edmund Marshall and Millicent Marshall of Chebacco (now the town of Essex), providing information about vital events, lifestyles, individuals, relationships, and even personalities. (1) Their descendants settled in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

  • (1) Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts, 9 vols. (Salem, Mass.; Essex Institute, 1911-75). Spelling has been modernized in the abstracts. The Marshalls seem to have confined their court appearances to Essex County. They do not appear in Supreme Judicial Court files 1629-1797 (“Suffolk Files”) (FHL 0,909,870; 0,909,873; 0,909,876); in John Noble, Records of the Court of Assistants of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, 1630-1692; 3 vols, (Boston: County of Suffolk, 1901-1928); or in Records of the Suffolk County Court 1671-80, 2 vols., vol. 29 and 30 of Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts (Boston: The Society, 1933).

SALEM (1636-1651)

Edmund Marshall and his wife Millicent arrived in New England probably with other immigrants who sailed during the summer or fall of 1636. “Edmund Marshall” became a member of the First Church of Salem 8:11 mo. (January) 1636/7. His daughter Naomi was baptized soon after. “Millisent Marshall” joined the church a year later, on 31:10 (December) 1637. She remained a member of the church by “removed” was written next to Edmund’s name, with no date given (2) On 17 May 1637, Edmund was made a freeman of Massachusetts Bay Colony, a status for which church membership was a prerequisite. (3)

  • (2: Richard D. Pierce, ed., The Records of the First Church in Salem, Massachusetts, 1629-1736 (Salem, Mass.: Essex Institute, 1974), 6, 16, 7. The footnote erroneously interprets 8:11 mo 1636 as “November 8, 1636 (Old Style).”)
  • (3: “List of Freeman,” Register 3 (1849): 95.)

On the 29 11th month (January) 1637/8, land that Salem had granted earlier to Mr. Thorndike was reapportioned in eight twenty-acre lots, including one to Edmund Marshall. (4)

  • (4) Town Records of Salem, Massachusetts, Vol. 1, 1634-1659, Essex Institute Historical Collections, 9 (1868): 64-65. His lot is referenced several times in landholding lists (Town Records of Salem, 18-25). Under “Anno 1636” (page 21), “Edmund Marchall.m” is listed with “20 acrs,” the baffling “m” appearing to refer to the correction in the same hand. Notes next to many names indicating the page to which the entry has been moved (9 in Edmund’s case) reflect an effort to organize the grants geographically.

The common land, maintained by New England towns to be used by all inhabitants, often was eventually divided and distributed, but with an eye to the welfare of the community. On 25 10th month (December) 1637:

It is agreed that the marsh & meadow lands that have formerly layed in common to the town shall now be appropriated to the inhabitants of Salem, proportioned out unto them according to the heads of their families. To those that have the greatest number an acre thereof & to those that have least not above half an acre, & to those that are between both 3 quarters of an acre. (5)

  •  (5: Town Records of Salem (note 4), 61.)

Edmund Marshall received three-quarters of an acre for his household of four persons – Edmund, Millicent, son John and daughter Naomi. (6) On 25 12th month (February) 1638/9, Marshall was granted an additional three acres. (7)

  • (6: Town Records of Salem, 101-3)
  • (7: Town Records of Salem, 85.)

The family remained in Salem through 1646, as shown by the births and baptisms of their children. (8) However, they probably lived in the area that is now Beverly, away from what is today Salem proper. (9)

  • (8: Records of First Church of Salem (note 2), 16-20, Vital Records of Salem, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849, 6 vols. (Salem, Mass; Essex Institute, 1916-25), 1:57.)
  • (9: Sidney Perley, History of Salem, 3 vols. (Salem, Mass: the author, 1924-28), 1:373)

The first appearance of Edmund Marshall in the court records was in 1648 for failure to perform his civic duty by taking his turn at the watch. He was fined for his lapse, but the fine was “remitted on account of the weakness of his family and his poverty,” (10)

  • (10: Essex Quarterly Court Records (note 1), 1:246 (Salem, November 1651.)

The Marshalls moved farther from Salem town by early 1651 when Edmund Marshall “of Manchester” purchased sixty acres of land with two and a half acres of marsh in Manchester. (11). Manchester, which lies on the south coast of Cape Ann between Beverly and Gloucester, south of Chebacco. On 18 June 1645, at the request of the inhabitants, the General Court had ordered that “Jeffries Creek shall be henceforward called Manchester,” (12) Unfortunately, the early records of Manchester do not survive for either town of church.

  • (11: Essex County Deeds, 1:9 (dated 18:12mo;1650/51)
  • (12: Sidney Perley, History of Salem, 3 vols, 2:174.)

Edmund Marshall of Manchester skipped the obligatory church services and was presented in November 1651 for “absenting himself from the public ordinances three or four Sundays.” He compounded the error on his ways when he justified his absence by “reproaching Mr. Thomas Dunham, in saying that he had preached blasphemy, and was a common liar.” (13)

  • (13: Essex Quarterly Court Records (note 1), 1:246 (Salem, November 1651).


Edmund may have attended the church at Gloucester, where Richard Blinman was preacher. The Rev. Richard Blinman had arrived in New England around 1640 with a number of Welsh followers, settling first at Marshfield, Plymouth Colony, then relocating to Cape Ann (later Gloucester) in 1641. In 1650 he became minister to the fledgling settlement at New London, Connecticut, and members of his group followed. (14)

Sometime before 13 February 1651/2, Edmund sold his twenty acres in Salem. (15) Edmund and John Marshall were on a list of inhabitants of New London taken in March 1651. However, the Marshalls did not remain long in Connecticut and soon returned to Essex County. (16)

  • (14: W. Farrand Felch, “The Blynman Party,” Register 53 (1899):234-41: Isaac J. Greenwood, “Rev. Richard Blinman of Marshfield, Gloucester and New London,” Register 54 (1900):39-44; Frances Manwaring Caulkins, History of New London, (New London, Conn.:the author, 1852), 67,70.)
  • (15: Unrecorded deed; sale referenced at meeting of Salem selectmen 13 12th month (February) 1651/2, Town Records of Salem (note 4), 171; these town minutes quoted in Essex Quarterly Court Records (note 1), 7:293-94 (Salem, November 1679).
  • (16: Felch, “Bylnman Party” (Note 14), Register 53:238. There is no reason to believe that Edmund Marshall was associated with the West County group in England, but recently his wife Millicent has been identified in electronic sources as a Blinman. The contrasting social status for the Oxford-educated Blinman and for the illiterate and poverty-ridden Edmund and Millicent make this highly unlikely, and no hint of a familial connection between Blinman and the Marshalls is shown in David L. green, “Mary, Wife of the Rev. Richard Blinman of Marshfield, Gloucester, and New London; An Unsolved Problem,” The Genealogist 4 (1983): 173-86.)



For Puritan New England, belief in witchcraft was fundamental and consistent with their religious beliefs. It was often the only explanation available for bad things that occurred. It is not known why Edmund Marshall accused Goody Perkins, Goody Dutch, and the wives of William Vincent and William Evans of witchcraft in 1653. The charges were serious; Marshall’s house and orchard were attached to ensure his appearance in court. He was found guilty of defamation and ordered to make acknowledgement in the meeting house in Salem, Ipswich, and Gloucester within fourteen days of the court of 4 September 1653.

  • (17. Essex Quarterly Court Records (Note 1), 1:301 (Ipswich, September 1653).)

Two months later “Edmund Marshall of Salem weaver” purchased five acres near Basse River in what is now Beverly.

  • (18. Essex County Deeds, 1:21, dated 28 November 1653.)

Edmund kept this land until 1661, when he sold it, plus ten acres of upland with a dwelling house in Salem, and ten acres of upland together with half an acre of meadow, signing with his mark.

  • (19. Essex County Deeds, 2:13. The deed was made and acknowledge 25 1st month (March) 1661, recorded 22 3rd month (May) 1661. Edwards had not obtained a deed for the second five acres (from John Marston sr.), and in 1673 he received that deed and filed a statement documenting his neglect (Essex County Deeds, 4:4,5). He signed his statement with an M mark.)

On 31 March 1662, Edmund Marshall of Ipswich sold the house and land in Gloucester that he had purchased from John Browne, including one and a half acres of salt marsh and three acres of upland on the northwest side of the Annisquam River adjoining the other parcel. Edmond and Millicent signed with marks and acknowledged the deed at Ipswich 31 March 1663.

  • (20. Ipswich Deeds, transcribed (FHL 0,873,018), 2:150 (original page number). It is unclear whether the deed was made exactly one year prior to the acknowledgement or whether it was misdated. The earlier deed from Browne was apparently not recorded.


CHEBACCO (1663-1668)

Thereafter, the Marshalls are referred to as of Chebacco (which is given in an incredible variety of phonetic forms in early records). The southern portion of Ipswich was marshy, cut through by numerous waterways whose names are now unfamiliar: Chebacco River, Hog Island River, Harradine’s Creek, Nichols Creek. As the population grew, Chebacco was recognized reluctantly by the town of Ipswich as the second parish and allowed to form its own church. An area with few timid people, it developed its own personality and population, prompting controversies with the town and frequent court squabbles. (21) Shipbuilding was an important industry, even providing the name Chebacco boats to a later style of fishing craft. Edmund pursued his trade as a weaver, (22) but his sons would earn their livings as shipwrights. Chebacco became the town of Essex in 1819.

  • (21. James Colman, Sarah (Marshall) Colman, and Benjamin Marshall were members of the church at Chebacco. In the spring of 1679, the people at Chebacco called Dr. Jeremiah Shepard as their preacher and prepared to build a meeting house. The Council at Ipswich objected to this more than once and ordered them to desist. However, the women of the village determined that the order applied only to the “men” of the village and, acting alone, erected a church building. Soon after, Shepard moved to Lynn, and the congregation was founded around a strong minister, Rev. John Wise. The story of the forming of the parish, with lengthy quotations from the records, is in Robert Crowell, The History of Essex (Springfield, Mass: Town of Essex, 1868), 72-84.)
  • (22. Essex County Deeds, 1:9; Ipswich Deeds (note 21), 2:150 (Original page number).)

Marsh land was valuable to the residents of coaster Massachusetts. The grass that grew in the salt marsh could be cut and used to feed stock through the winter. It was, however, not always easy to identify specific parcels of marsh land, there being few identifiable landmarks. Sometimes parcels were common to several individuals, who each mowed the entire plot in turn. Such were the circumstances precipitating the pair of cases brought in 1662 and 1663. First, John Marshall sued Robert Cross for trespass for mowing the meadow Marshall had hired from Richard Brabrooke; in turn Cross sued Thomas Varney, John Marshall, Edmund Marhsall, and William Warrener for mowing Cross’s marsh grass after previously having been warned. (23) Cross apparently held part of the parcel in Chebacco marsh in common with John Burnham and John Marshall, Presumably, Cross soon thereafter carried out the statement he had earlier been heard to make that he would have the common marsh divided “before another year, that there might be no more difference in one mowing before another.” Although Cross and Marshall apparently settled their differences about the marsh, Cross and Burnham did not, continuing to meet in court on the subject. (24)

  • (23: Essex Quarterly Court Records (note 1), 2:434-35 (Ipswich, September 1662); 3:86-88 (Ipswich, September 1663).)
  • (24: Dean Crawford Smith, The Ancestry of Samuel Blanchard Ordway, Melinde Lutz Sanborn, ed. (Boston: NEHGS, 1990), 228-29.)

In a deposition on this case, “Edmund Marshall, junr.” referred to his “brother” John, thereby establishing the existence of a child of Edmund not baptized at Salem. (25) Edmund again referred to John as his brother in a 1663 deposition relating to marshland in the same area belonging to the Knowlton family. This deposition is the last mention found of John Marshall. (26)

  • (25: Essex Quarterly Court Records (note 1) 3:87 (Ipswich, September 1663))
  • (26: Essex Quarterly Court Records (note 1), 5:127-28 (Salem, November 1672). The case was in court in 1672 though the deposition was dates 25 June 1663.)

A great problem in the small, closely-situated lots was stock that got into neighboring fields and destroyed crops. (27) Hogs often had rings put in their noses to reduce the amount of rooting (and hence damage) that they could do. In 1668 William Cogswell accused John Burnham’s hogs of destroying his barley. Edmund and Benjamin Marshall deposed that when they were grinding their scythes at Cogswell’s, he asked them to look at the damage, which was about thirty bushels of barley. There was a creek between the two pieces of property, which cattle did not cross, but it does seem to have been deterred the hogs, which were neither ringed nor yoked. (28)

  • (27: Town Records of Salem (note 4), 64.)
  • (28: Essex Quarterly Court Records (note 1), 4:48-49 (Ipswich, September 1668).  At the next court, Burnham asked for a review of the case. The verdict was for Cogswell again, but he court did not accept this verdict (4:68-70 (Salem, November 1668).)



Edmund and Millicent’s daughter Naomi married Thomas Wells, (29) who could not get along with his neighbors either. A feud erupted at the September 1668 court, with many depositions. (30)

  • (29: There is no record of this marriage; the relationship is established from depositions.)
  • (30: Essex Quarterly Court Records (note 1), 4:49-50 (Ipswich, September 1668).

Wells’s slanderous statements about his neighbor Brabrook brought Edmund (presumably junior) and Benjamin Marshall into court to depose that Wells had often accused Brabrook of being a liar and disrespectful of the Sabbath, saying he was:

a damned wretch and limb of the Devil and was not fit to live upon god’s earth & it was as prone for him to lie as the smoke to fly upwards and on a sacrament day either going or coming it was all one he made no conscience of it.

The low opinion of Brabrook was shared by others. Robert and Anna Crosse also called him a liar. And the Fosters accused him of selling them a drowned heifer, which he claimed was good wholesome meat and said he was doing them a favor because they had a great many small children. But it had been dead three days and “when it came into (the) house they could not endure the stench.” But the couple also reported that Brabrook and John Bayer came to their farm and told them that when Thomas Wells had written the lease between them (Brabrook and Bayer) for his (Wells’) farm, Wells “wrote that he pleased and left out what he pleased and when he read it, he read what he pleased.” Wells was found guilty of slander and required to make acknowledgement in court.

At the next court, in November 1668, it was Robert Cross who sued Thomas Wells for slander.  Wells had said Cross was “a cheating knave and that he (Wells) should have as good trading with the devil as with him, and better, too.” Cross won, and Wells had to make a statement in court to clear Cross’ good name. The depositions indicate that Edmund junr. was age 23 (based on his baptism, he was actually 24). Benjamin aged 21 (actually 22) stated he had lived with Wills the previous winter. (31)

  • (31. Essex Quarterly Court Records (note 1) 4:66-67 (Salem, November 1668).

The squabbling continued at this court, generating numerous depositions and much word-slinging among family and neighbors: “Complaints having been brought in against Robert Cross, Stephen Cross (son of Robert), Benjamin Marshall on the one part, and Thomas Wells (Benjamin Marshall’s brother-in-law) on the other part, for many slanderous, reproachful and threatening speeches, partly against the court and members and partly against the persons of some of the worshipful magistrates.” (32)

  • (32. Essex Quarterly Court Records (note 1) 4:76-82 (Salem, November 1668).

Thomas Wells (aged about 42) and his wife Naomi (aged about 31) deposed that Goodman Cross said:

The Major Denison was disgraced in the court at Boston … the members of Boston court gave him a sharp reproof and the Major Denison was not respected in the court of Boston and Goodman Cross said that there came more appeals from the Ipswich court than any town in the country … and the seamen that belonged to our ketches said that Goodman Cross told them that his sons were set in the stocks and punished for nothing and he told us that the major could not abide him and therefore I fare the worse in the court and my sons also were punished for a matter of nothing.

Mister Bradstreet was the undoing of a man at Watertown … Mister Bradstreet sued him from court to court till he had undone him and made him so poor that he brought him from silk that he wore that he had instead thereof nothing but patched clothes and stockings out at the heels … and the court considered the man so undone the court gave him a sum of money for to help him.

Well reported a similar type of statement from Robert Cross’s son Stephen:

The magistrates sat between the court at dinner drinking burnt sack and when they came into court they were ‘broshing,’ looking red as though they were ‘flustered,’ and acted as though they were all ‘fodeeled.’ To which his father (Steven’s father, Robert Cross) replied that it was the fines they took that fed their fat sides, and the father said further that ‘I looked so big and spoke so sorely’ that he made the court quake.

Stephen Cross, Benjamin Marshall (Well’s brother-in-law), John Bayer testified to Thomas Well’s words that:

Our courts at Ipswich was all one (with) the Inquisition house in Spain: when a man is once brought into court thereof he knows not for what: he had as good be hanged: … old Bradstreet was … vaporing about wondering what became of all the fines: he answers himself: why they keep it to buy sack with all: and let cases go which way they will: they care not so long as they can feast their fat gotes.

Robert Cross, junr., and John Bayer testified to even more scandalous words, that Wells claimed he could “set spells and raise the Devil, he affirming himself to be an artist.” Bayer and Benjamin Marshall reported some fairly juvenile behavior by Wells, relating that one day when they were passing Goodman Brabrook’s, Wells wiped his feet on sheets that were hanging on the fence rails.

Thomas and Naomi Wells justified why they felt compelled to reveal the transgressions of the Crosses and Naomi’s own brother:

It had been the pleasure of god to visit my wife with sickness near unto death and other troubles which I never had tried with all before … we both can affirm those things spoken against the magistrates by those persons … we have sinned against god and his people because we had not revealed it sooner … some have said for Christ says he that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me and we apprehend this to be the case … we had rather suffer with a good conscious than not to suffer with an accused conscious.

Seventeen neighbors deposed on behalf of their “beloved neighbors” Thomas Wells and his wife:

We are much grieved and troubled that such things should be laid to their charge … about two years and (a) half they lived about two miles from us … we never found nor understood anything in their speeches or behaviors but that which was good and Christian like, and ever since last April they have lived amongst us … in his discourse being apt to speak or make occasion to discourse or religion and the best things.

Eighteen neighbors signed a petition asking for clemency for Benjamin Marshall (including two who had also signed the petition for Wells), indicating that Benjamin had lived with other families, probably as a farm laborer:

Among whom he hath lived for the most part of the 8th and 9th year of his age till now;  … the good commendation given of him by several in whose families he hath lived, to be an orderly person of quiet disposition, not given to bare anger or a spirit of revenge in labor diligent, dutiful to his parents as they affirm; … Thomas Wells hath often spoke in his commendation (of Benjamin) … now since the court held at Ipswich … Goodman Wells hath given out threatening words against both his brothers Edmund and Benjamin.

Two deposition make it clear that Naomi (Marshall) Wells was a catalyst in the proceedings. Benjamin Marshall’s brother Edmund (aged 23) even tried to indicated that Thomas Wells might have been willing to work things out (and revealing Well’s chauvinistic attitude in the process).

Wells said he had nothing against Benjamin and proffered friendship to them before the deponent’s father and mother (Edmund and Millicent). He wished to see Benjamin and asked to have him ‘Come and reckon with me but not before my wife for it is like(ly) she would rail at him but you must consider: she is but a woman and therefore not come to the house when I am not at home.’

Naomi’s elderly parents, aged 70 and 67, revealed more details:

As for my son Benjamin we never knew him given to malice or revenge in all our lives: not to speak reproachfully of magistrates or of any other: and as for Goodman Cross we have lived by him many years and never heard him speak ill of authority or against any magistrate, but as for our daughter Naomi we do think in our very hearts that certainly in her heart she hates her brothers both Edmund and Benjamin though we speak it with grief of heart, for she would often revile Benjamin and call him rogue before our faces … I told her that I had been in the church of Salem 30 years and upward and never was so detected as your father and I am by you our one child.

The case was proved, and all defendants fined and bound to good behavior.



  1. EDMUND (1) MARSHALL was born about 1598, and his wife MILLICENT _____, was born about 1601, based on depositions they gave in 1668. If these dates are accurate, she had her first child at age 33 and her last at age 45. It is more likely she was born later, closer to 1610. It seems likely that Edmund and Millicent were married in England, and that their son John was born there. Edmund and Millicent were living in November 1668 when they gave depositions, but he died before the September 1673 inventory of his meager estate: (33)

bedding, blankets and pillows     4li.   13 s.

wearing clothes                            2li.   14 s.

new cloth                                      1li.

two hats                                                9s.

one pot and skillet                               13 s.

two chairs                                              3 s.

one chest                                              6 s.

one loom and tackling                 2 li.   1 s.

three cows                                  12 li.

Total                                           23 li.   19 s.

At the May 1674 court, James Colman, who had become the husband of Sarah Marshall, was granted the administration of Edmund’s estate. Sons Benjamin and Edmund were still in the area, but they both admitted their satisfactions with the one cow granted them by their father on his deathbed, with the remainder going to James Colman. (35) From this it would seem likely that James and Sarah had lived with the elder Marshalls and had cared for them.

  • (33: Essex Quarterly Court Records (note 1), 5:313-14 (Salem, May 1674)
  • (34: There is no record of this marriage; the relationship is established from the depositions.)
  • (35: Essex Quarterly Court Records (note 1), 5:313-14 (Salem, May 1674))

Children of Edmund and Millicent (____) Marshall, all except John and Benjamin baptized at the First Church of Salem. (36)

  • (36: Millicent was named as the mother only in the court record for Benjamin.)

i. JOHN (2) MARSHALL, b. say 1634, probably in England; d. probably by 1674 when he did not appear in the agreement about his father’s estate. He was referred to as brother of Edmund, junr., in 1663, at which time he also deposed. (37) Thomas Burnham testified in 1682 that twenty years earlier (i.e., about 1662) John Marshall had been the proprietor of Richard Brabrook’s farm and that they had mowed some hay. Benjamin Marshall testified that about twenty-five or twenty-six years earlier (i.e., about 1656-57), he lived “with his brother John Marshall and Edward (sic) Marshall, which farm was then Richard Brabrook’s.” (38)

  • (37: Essex Quarterly Court Records (note 1), 3:87 (Ipswich, September 1663).)
  • (38: Records of First Church of Salem (note 2), 16: Vital Records of Salem (note 8), 1:57.)

2  ii. NAOMI MARSHALL, bp. 24 11th month (Jan.) 1636(/7); (39) m. Thomas Wells.

  • (39: Records of First Church of Salem (note 2), 16; Vital Records of Salem (note 8), 1:57.)

iii. ANN MARSHALL, bp. 15 2nd month (April) 1638; (40) possibly d. young.

  • (40: Records of First Church of Salem (note 2), 16; Vital Records of Salem (note 8), 1:57.)
  1. RUTH MARSHALL, bp 3 3rd month (May) 1640; (41) possibly d. young.
  • (41: Records of First Church of Salem (note 2), 17; Vital Records of Salem (note 8), 1:57.)
  1. v. SARAH MARSHALL, bp. 29 3rd month (May) 1642; (42) m. James Colman.
  • (42: Records of First Church of Salem (note 2), 19; Vital Records of Salem (note 8), 1:57.)
  1. vi. EDMUND MARSHALL, bp. 16 4th month (June) 1644; (43) m. (1) Martha Huggins; (2) Lydia (Morgan) Pierce.
  • (43: Records of First Church of Salem (note 2), 20; Vital Records of Salem (note 8), 1:57.)
  1. vii. BENJAMIN MARSHALL, b. Salem 12 or 18 2nd month (April) 1646; (44) m. Prudence Woodward.
  • (44: Vital Records of Salem (note 8), 1:57; Essex Quarterly Court Records (note 1), 1:108 (Ipswich, September 1668).)


  1. NAOMI (2) MARSHALL (Edmund 1) was baptized at the First Church of Salem 24 11th month (January) 1636(/7). Based on the birth of their oldest child, she married about 1655 Thomas Wells, shipwright, (45) who was born about 1626 (since he was age 42 in the 1668 deposition given above). (46)
  • (45: Warrant to Thomas Wells, ship carpenter, in Essex Quarterly Court Records (note 1), 4:77 (Salem, November 1668).)
  • (46: This Thomas Wells is shown (but with no evidence) as the son of Nathaniel Well(e)s of Westerly, Rhode Island, in Albert Wells, History of the Welles Family (New York; the author, 1875), 142-43.)

Naomi and Thomas resided in Boston between 1656 and 1665, when three of their children were born there. (47) They returned to Ipswich by 1668, as shown by their numerous appearances in the Essex court records that year, but shortly thereafter they moved to Westerly, Rhode Island.

  • (47: Thomas Wells apparently joined the First Church of Boston in 1661, based on the baptismal records of his two oldest children; on March 1661 his son Joseph was called son of Naomi Wells, while on 4 December 1661 his son Thomas was called son of Ann (sic) and Tho; Wells (see below: 48)

In July of 1667, Thomas Wells bought from Amos Richardson of Stonington 180 acres in the area under dispute between Rhode Island and Connecticut, agreeing to pay for it by building ship(s) of fifty tons in all. In 1679 he was warned out of Westerly, so he refused to build the ship(s), for which he was imprisoned in March of 1680 by the constable (Richardson’s son), whom the Rhode Island authorities then arrested in retaliation. (48)

  • (48: John Osborne Austin, The Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island, rev. ed. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing co., 1969), 218.)

Thomas Wells senr. and junr. appear on a list of Westerly freeman (with lot assignments) dated 7 March 1679/80, (49) although it wasn’t until the town meeting of 28 March 1692 that the hundred-acre lot 40 was granted to Thomas Wells senr., (50) and at the subsequent meeting 1 April 1692 that they “voated Thomas wells senr Admitted freeman of ye town.” (51)

  • (49: Westerly Town Record, Land Evidences, etc., 1 (1661-1706/7), 1 (FHL 0,940,222, item 4). The town records are in one part of the book and the land records in another. All westerly citations use stamped page numbers to agree with the index. The date is at the top of the right-hand column. Thomas Wells junr. had lot 47, Thomas Wells senr. had lot 40.)
  • (50: Ibid., 15.)
  • (51: Ibid., 16.)

The settlers in Westerly acquired their land from the Narragansett Indians, and on 23 August 1698 Thomas Wells witnessed a deed from Nenegreate (the son), sachem of the Narragansett Indians, to Capt. William Champlin. (52)

  • (52: Ibid., 55.)

Thomas Wells left a will at Westerly dated 24 December 1699, proved 12 February 1699/1700, (53) and the wording of the will indicates Naomi was the mother of all his children. He does not seem to have planned his will in advance. He dictated and signed a document that was deficient in several areas, then simply added an unsigned codicil to fix the omissions.

  • (53: Westerly Town Council and Probate Records, 2/1 (1699-1719), 6-8 (FHL 0,930,805, item 1). Naomi Wells presented the will with an inventory totaling £8.16.0 made 2 February 1700 by Thomas Reynolds, Peter Crandall, and Thomas Burdick. The will was proved 12 February 1699/1700.)

The last will and testament of Thomas Wells gent being in good understanding through gods mercy do make this my last will and testament as followeth my eldest son Joseph Wells hath already received his full doubell portion and more as may appear if need require yet not withstanding I give him five shillings at my desease. My son Thomas Wells I hve alredy given him his portion in a horse and neat cattle valued at seven pounds in pay; my eldest daughter Mary Wells and my daughter Ruth Wells have had thire portions already which are desseas(e)d (blot over the e, first and third s are a long s) ^and^ (interlined) my daughter Sarah Wells and my son John Wells and my son Nathaniel Wells have had thire portions in what small matters I had whereunto I sett my hand and seale the date desember 24:1699. (signed) Thomas Wells. (witnesses) Joseph Maxson, Stephen Randall his mark.

In the name of god amen be it known to whome it may consurne that I Thomas Wells senr being neer death doe comit my soule to god and my body to my frinds and to my deare belloved wife I doe make her executers (sic) of what estate I leave during her natural life and at her despose; And further I doe desir that my son Thomas Wells and my son John Wells and my son Nathaniel Wells do take the best care you can of my Loveing wife and what she hase and if she should be taken away suddenly what she leaves shall be devided amongst these three sons above named hoping they woulde take care of thire deear mother my loving wife Najomey Wells.

Children of Thomas and Naomi (Marshall) Wells:

  1. JOSEPH WELLS, b. Boston 7 June 1656, (54) bp. First Church, Boston, 3 1st month (March) 1661; (53) m. Stonington 28 Dec. 1681 Hannah Reynolds, (56) daughter of John Reynolds. (57) In his will, made 26 Oct. 1711 and proved 12 Feb. 1711/12, Joseph Wells, shipcarpenter of Groton, Conn., named wife Hannah: sons Joseph, John and Thomas Wells; and unmarried daughter Anne Wells. (58)
  • (54: (Ninth) Report of the Record Commissioners Containing Boston Birth, Baptisms, Marriages, and Deaths: 1630-1699 (Boston: Rockwell & Churchill, 1883), 55 (town records).)
  • (55: (Ninth) Report of the Record Commissioners Containing Boston Birth, Baptisms, Marriages, and Deaths: 1630-1699 (Boston: Rockwell & Churchill, 1883), 82 (church records).)
  • (56: Thomas Minor, The Diary of Thomas Minor, Stonington, Connecticut, 1653 to 1684, Sidney H. Minor and George D. Stanton, Jr., ed. (New London, Conn,: Day Publishing, 1899), 170 (“the 28 day (December 1681) Joseph wells was married & Hanah Reynolds were married”).)
  • (57: Austin, Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island (note 48), 218.)
  • (58: Boston Births, Baptisms, Marriages, and Deaths, 16301699 (note 54), 80 (town record).)
  1. THOMAS WELLS, b. Boston 4 Dec 1661, (59) bp. First Church, Boston, 8 10th month (Dec.) 1661; (60) m. Sarah ____. (61) Thomas Wells junior was chosen constable of Westerly for the year 1691. (62) On 1 Jan 1694(?/5) Thomas Wells made a deed of gift to his brothers John and Nathaniel; it was signed by Thomas and Sarah Wells. (63) On 22 Nov. 1705 Thomas Wells bought a hundred acres from James Davell. (64) In his will, made 11 April 1716 and probated 9 July 1716, Thomas Wells named a daughter Sarah, sons Thomas and Edward (to whom he gave his carpentry tools in addition to land), and his wife Sarah. (65) Children: 1. Sarah Wells. 2. Thomas Wells. 3. Edward Wells.
  • (59: Boston Births, Baptisms, Marriages, and Deaths, 1630-1699 (note 54), 80 (town record).)
  • (60: Boston Births, Baptisms, Marriages, and Deaths, 1630-1699 (note 54), 83 (church record).)
  • (61: She was not Sarah Rogers, as is sometimes stated. Austin, Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island (note 48), 217-18, shows Sarah Rogers, daughter of Thomas and Sarah Rogers, as wife of Thomas Wells of East Greenwich, son of Peter of Kingston.)
  • (62: Westerly Town Records, land Evidences, etc., 1 (note 49), 15.)
  • (63: Acknowledged 22 April 1695. Westerly Land Evidences, 2 (1707-1717), 73 (FHL 0,940,222, item 5.)
  • (64: Westerly Town Records, land Evidences, etc., 1 (note 49), 106.)
  • (65: Westerly Town Council and Probate Records, 2/1 (note 53), 105-6)

iii. MARY WELLS, b. Boston 15 April 1665, (66) m. Stonington 14 Jan 1689 Ezekiel Main(e), Jr. (67) Mary d. 12 Jan 1693, and Ezekiel m. (2) Stonington 22 Oct. 1695 Hannah Rose. (68) Child: Ezekiel Main(e), b. Stonington 15 Dec. 1690; d. there 24 Dec. 1691. (69)

  • (66: Boston Births, Baptisms, Marriages, and Deaths, 1630-1699 (note 54), 98 (town record).)
  • (67: Stonington Vital Records, 1:80 (marriage performed by Capt. Samuel Mason, recorded with the birth of a son on 15 December 1690 and his subsequent death on 24 December 1691): and 2:54 (family group entry for Ezekiel Maine’s family). It has not been determined whether Mary’s marriage was in 1688/9 or in 1689/90.)
  • (68: Stonington Vital Records, 2:54. It is not clear whether Mary died in 1692/3 or 1693/4.)
  • (69: Stonington Vital Records, 1:80)

iv: RUTH WELLS. Her father’s will indicated she was deceased by 1699 and may have been married; however, it is unlikely she married James Kenyon. (70)

  • (70: Patricia Law Hatcher, “Enigmas #18: Ruth, Wife of James 2 Kenyon of Rhode Island,” The American Genealogist 78 (2003): 306-8.)
  1. SARAH WELLS, b. Ipswich 27 Aug 1668. (71) On 11 April 1720 Thomas Wells made a deed of gift of 12 acres to his “aunt Sarah Wells … single woman.” (72)
  • (71: Vital Records of Ipswich, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849, 3 vols. (Salem, Mass.: Essex Institute, 1910-19), 1:389 (Sarah, d. Thomas, citing court record).)
  • (72: Westerly Land Evidences, 3 (1717-1728), 34 (FHL 0,940,222, item 6; very faint). This Thomas Wells was evidently the son of either Joseph or Thomas, Sarah’s older brothers.)

vi. JOHN WELLS, b. by say 1673 (estimating freeman at age 25); m. before 1 April 1701, Mary ____. On 13 June 1698 he was admitted a freeman of Westerly. (73) On 1 April 1701 John and Nathaniel agreed to divide the hundred acres given to them by their brother Thomas. (74) On that same day John Wells sold fifty acres to Daniel Lewis. The deed was signed by John and Mary, both by mark, with Nathaniel Wells as witness. (75)

  • (73: Westerly Town Records, Land Evidences, etc., 1 (note 51), 21.)
  • (74: Westerly Land Evidences, Book 2 (1707-1717), 73 (FHL 0,940,222, item 5)
  • (75: Westerly Town Records, Land Evidences, etc., 1 (note 51), 30.)

vii. NATHANIEL WELLS, b. by say 1680 (estimating freeman at age 25); m. ca. 1706, Mary Crandall, b. ca. 1686, d. 1763, daughter of Joseph and Deborah (Burdick) Crandall. (76) On 19 Oct 1705 Nathaniel Wells was admitted a freeman of Westerly. (77) In his will, made 5 July 1763 and probated at Hopkinton, R.I., 1 May 1769, Nathaniel Wells names son Jonathan and daughters Naomi Kenyon and Tacy Burdick. (78) Children, born at Westerly: (79)

  1. Naomi Wells, b. 11 May 1707, m. Westerly 15 Sept. 1726 Peter Kenyon. (80)
  2. Elizabeth Wells, b. 9 Jan. 1709/10.
  3. Jonathan Wells, b. 22 June 1712, m. Westerly 29 Nov. 1734 Elizabeth Maxson. (81)
  4. Tace/Tacy Wells, b. 4 Jan. 1714/15, m. ca. 1734 Hubbard Burdick. (82)
  5. Ruth Wells, b. 22 Jan. 1717/18.
  • (76: John Cortland Crandall, Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants (New Woodstock, N.Y.: the author, 1949), 7-8, 11-12.)
  • (77: Westerly Town Records, Land Evidences, etc., 1 (note 49), 40.)
  • (78: Austin, Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island (note 48), 218; also abstracted in Rhode Island Genealogical Register 4 (1981): 138, from Hopkinton Wills, 1:123.)
  • (79: Birth dates of children for Nathaniel and Mary are from Westerly Town Records, 2:127 (FHL 0,930,813), recorded on the day that Ruth was born. Crandall, Elder John Crandall (note 76), 11-12, gives them additional children Thomas and Deborah.)


One thing Miss Hatcher does not mention in regard to Thomas Wells is that he may have lived in New London before he was living in Salem/Ipswich, Mass.  According to “History of New London Connecticut” by Frances Manwaring Caulkins, Page 60, a Thomas Wells received a land grant in New London, dated Feb. 16, 1649-50. This date would mean that Thomas was in New London at the same time Naomi Marshall moved there with her parents circa 1651.  In 1651, Naomi would have been 15 years old. Seems young now, but I’m thinking back then it was time to start looking for a husband. Thomas was only a few years older than her. Maybe it’s the romantic in me, but I picture their eyes meeting on the way into church. Who knows …

Here’s the rub against my romantic grain and something Miss Hatcher left out.

“History of New London Connecticut” by Frances Manwaring Caulkins. Published 1895. Pages 355-356.
“Thomas Wells was one of the early band of planters at Pequot Harbor; probably on the ground in 1648, and certainly in 1649. He was a carpenter, and worked with Elderkin, on mills and meeting houses. The last notice of him on the town record is in 1661, when Wells and Elderkin were employed to repair the turret of the meeting-house. No account can be found of the sale of his house or land. He may have left the settlement, or he maybe concealed from our view by dwelling on a farm remote from the center of business.
A Thomas Wells whether another of the same has not been ascertained is found at Stonington or Westerly, about the year 1677, engaged in constructing vessels at a ship-yard on the Pawkatuck River. He is styled,”of Ipswich, shipwright.”

So the questions is … is the Thomas Wells who lived in New London at the same time as the Marshalls, the same one who ended up in Ipswich/Salem and married Naomi??? If he was a carpenter in New London in 1661, he could not have married Naomi in Massachusetts in 1655.

What we know for sure … We know that the Thomas who married Naomi in 1655 in Massachusetts is our ancestor. What I’m less certain of is that the Thomas Wells in New London is related to us at all.  It seems New London Thomas just faded from the records. No marriage, no death. That seems odd to me.

What are your thoughts? Do you have another piece of the puzzle to add to this discussion. If so, I’d love to hear from you.



26 April 2018: The Will of Randall Wells of Hopkinton, RI April 26, 2018

Filed under: Wells Family — jgeoghan @ 12:55 pm
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Continuing with the theme of wills, here is the will of Randall Wells, my 4th great grandfather (and vampire hero of my novel series: The Falling Series.) Randall was born 1747 and died 1821 and was married to Lois Maxson. His father was Edward Wells’ whose will I published in my last post.

Here is the will as a PDF. Click on the link here: Will of Randall Wells

The will is only 3 pages long so I also inserted it as JPGs at the very bottom.

From: Hopkinton Probate Book 5, Pages 168-170, Dated July 2, 1821. Probate book is located in the Hopkinton Town Clerks Office.

Be it remembered that I, Randall Wells of Hopkinton in the County of Washington and State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.. Yeoman, being aged and infirm as to bodily health but of sound disposing mind and memory, and calling to mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed to all men once to die and feeling desirous to set my house in order do make and allow this my last Will and Testament that is to say first and principal of all I commend my soul to the hand of God who gave it, and my body to the earth to be buried in a decent Christian burial at the discretion of my Executors herein after to he named, and as touching such worldly Estate as it has pleased God to bless me with in this life I give and dispose of the same in the following manner and form.. .that is to say                

Item — I give and bequeath to my beloved daughter Sylvia Wells, wife of Joseph, fifty dollars to be paid to her in three year after my decease by my Executors herein after to be named…

Item – I give and devise to my beloved son Randall Wells the use and occupancy of my dwelling house, and garden belonging thereto formerly owned by John Maxson Esq. Deceased so long as he shall wish to live in said house and occupy the same himself and no longer. I also give and bequeath to my son Randall Wells, fifty dollars to be paid to him in three years after my decease by my Executor herein after to be named.

Item — I give and bequeath to my beloved son Harris Wells eleven acres of the west end of the farm wherein I now live bounded westerly by Land which I deeded to the said Harris and Thomas V. Wells, northerly by Land of Hannah Reynolds, southerly by a highway and easterly by a line which shall be parallel with that on the west, said line to be so far east as for said Lot A contain eleven acres to him the said Harris his heirs and assigns forever with his performing what I may herein after assign upon him to do.

Item — I give and devise to my son Harris Wells ten acres of the South east part of the farm wherein I now live bounded easterly by the highway. Southerly by land of Joseph Potter, and westerly by Land of the said Potter and perhaps by land of the heirs of Rogers Crandall deceased and northerly by a line parallel with that on the south so as to contain ten acres.

Item —I give and devise to my beloved sons, Russell and Harris Wells, all the land which I own that formerly belonged to John Maxson Esq not herein before disposed of and the Recursion of so much of the same as I have herein before given to my son Randall to be owned or divided equally between them including what of said farm I have hereto deeded to the said Russell.

Page 169

On my will and meaning is that what I have deeded to the said Russell should be deducted from his share in the said land to them his heirs and assigns forever.

Item – I give and devise to my said sons Russell and Harris Wells all the land which I own in the upper end of this town near the long bridge (so called) equally between them to them, their heirs and assigns forever.

Item – I give and devise to my beloved son, Russell Wells all the farm where I now live which lies XXXX of the lands belonging to the heirs of Rogers Crandall deceased and likewise XXX of a line from the Northwest corner of said Crandalls land to the Southwest Corner of a small XXX lot on the opposite side of the land running from my house westward thence northly about as the wall and fence now stand on the west side of the lane to Harris Wells land.  I mean all the farm westward as aforesaid which I have not herein before given away all which I give to the said Russell his heirs and assigns forever.

Item – I give and devise to my said son Russell Wells five acres of WaaXXXX lying in the northeast corner of my homestead farm bounded easterly on the highway northenly on land of Benjamin Green to be sets of in a lot of equal sides as near as may be to him his heirs and assigns forever.

Item – I give and devise to my said son Russell Wells the undivided one half of my now dwelling house XXX where I now live to him, his heirs and assigns forever.

Item – I give and devise to my beloved son Thomas V. Wells all the rest and residue of my real estate not herein before given away to him his heirs and assigns forever with his performing what I shall herein after assign upon him to do.  My will is in case what my daughter Sylvia Wells should become in a destitute situation by having left a widow or otherwise and should choose to come into these parts to live again in such case my will is that my said son Thomas V. Wells XXX to her fifty dollars in consideration of what I have herein before given to him.

Item – I give and bequeath to my said son Thomas V. Wells my best desk and best case of drawers and XX wooden bottomed chairs one large fall leaf table and one good bed XX and CC two blankets and two sheets and one good XX XX bolster and pillows to be delivered to him in a convenient time after my decease by my executors herein after to be named.

Item – I give and bequeath to my beloved son Barton Wells two dollars to be paid him in three years after my decease by my executors herein after to be named.

Item – I give and bequeath to my grandson Randall Wells, son of Barton, one hundred dollars to be paid him in three years after my decease by my executors herein after to be named

Item – I give and bequeath to my three sons (Viz) Russell Wells, Harris Wells and Thomas V. Wells and to my grand daughter Sylvia Wells, daughter of Russell all my beds, bedsteds + cords, bedding XX not heretofore given away to be equally divided between them.

Item – I give and bequeath to my son Thomas V. Wells my young boy mare.

Item – I give and bequeath to my three sons (Viz) Russell Wells, Harris Wells and Thomas V. Wells all the rest and residue of my household furniture, farming utensils, live stock XX together with all others of my personal estate whatever it may be (not herein before given away to be equally divided between them, which together with all the other XXX and requests herein before made to them the said Russell, Harris and Thomas V. Wells are on conditions that they pay equally between them all my XX XX-XX and funeral charges and in all matters concerning the same perform according to the true intent and meaning of this my will.

Lastly – I hereby constitute and appoint my three sons VIZ- Russell Wells, Harris Wells and Thomas V. Wells my sole executors of my last will and testament hereby revoking and annulling all other and former wills by me made and establishing and confirming this and this only as my Last Will and Testament.  In testimony whereof I do hereunto set my hands and seal this second day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty one 1821 –

Signed, sealed, published and declared

by the said Randall Wells as and for his

last will and testament in the presence                             Randall Wells   Seal

of us who at the same time at his request

in his presence and in the presence

of each other hereunto set our names

as witnesses to the same.

Benjamin Green

Caleb Maxson

Christopher C Lewis


Will of Randall Wells, Page 1

Will of Randall Wells, Page 2

Will of Randall Wells, Page 3



24 April 2018: The Will of Edward Wells (1694-1764) April 24, 2018

As I continue through my paperwork, I came across a bunch of Wells’ wills for me to post. Here is the will of Edward Wells (1694-1764) as recorded in the Hopkinton, RI Probate books. These books are located in the Hopkinton Town Hall. Below is a transcription as well as a PDF of the original document. Edward was married to Elizabeth Randall (1704-1772) and was the son of Thomas Wells Jr. and Sara (Maiden name unknown.)

Below is a link to click on to open a PDF of his will:

Will of Edward Wells

From: Probate Book 1, Hopkinton, Rhode Island

The Will of Edward Wells – Page 72

In the Name of God Amen, I Edward Wells of the town of Hopk

inton in Kings County in the Colony of Rhode Island in New England

yeoman Being weak of Body but sound of mind and memory Bles

sed be God for the same and calling to mind the mortality of my body.

and that it is appointed for all men once to die and I do ordain this

to be my Last Will and Testament in manner so followeth (Viz)-

first and Principlely I Recommend my Soul into the Hands of God that

gave it and my Body to the Earth to be decently buryed at the –

Direction of my Executor Hereafter Named & as Touching such world

my Estate as it hath pleased God to Bless me with I give and Dispose of

the same as followeth (Immimit?) my will is that my just Debts and for

such charges be first paid out of my estate. – – – –

Item – I give and bequeath to my wife the Best room in my house and a pri

vilege in the cellar & a good bed & furniture and my mare & one cow and

the (xx) of one third of my real estate During her Widowhood –


Item-I give and bequeath to my son Randall Wells, thirty acres of land

where my house stands bounded as followeth Beginning at a corner of a wall

near the southeast Corner of a stable & from thence Running North to Land

belonging to the heirs of Matthew Green & from thence running Easterly

to my Northeast corner and from thence Bounding by John Robinson

and to the heirs of Joseph Wells Land and Still westerly so far that a

North Line to a fence now standing westerly from the first mentioned

Bound will make thirty acres and from thence Running by said fence

Easterly to the first mentioned Bounds unto him & his heirs and assigns for

ever. Except a privilege I give to my son Thomas in the East End of my

Shop and cellar & a privilege to work in the shop a privilege to the( L?)

of the House to make a Wood pile so long as He or his family shall Think

it proper to live in Said House.. -.


Item-I give to my son Edward the house he now lives in, in conside

ration of his paying to my widow the sum of one hundred pounds

lawful money to him, his heirs and assigns forever, further I give to

my grandson Stephen Wells twenty four acres of land more or less

Bounded as followeth Beginning at the corner of the stable first mentioned

and from thence running westerly as the fence now stands, until it comes to

the meadow & from thence running to the same course to a white oak tree in

the meadow to the west of a brook and from thence the same Course

to a fence and from thence bounding by said fence to Cpt. Reynolds,

his land and to bounding easterly by said Reynolds and running south by

my son Randalls south to the first mentioned boundary-


Page 73

Further I give my grandson Stephen Wells a lot of land –

by Ashawog River Beginning at the river where William Clarks

line comes to the river between Mr. Clarks land and David Wells

land and from thence to run east so far that at North line –

to Cpt. Reynolds his land, will make thirty acres including

the above mentioned Lott of land unto him the said Stephen

Wells, his heirs and assigns forever. Excepting a quarter of an acre

of land whare the burying place now is for the provision –

of a burying place- – – –


Item-I give and bequeath to my son David Wells a Lott of

land by Ashawog River Beginning whare Stephens lot begin

and thence running East by said lot to the edge of the

upland and from thence Running Southerly to the River so as to

make six acres & so bounding upstream by Said River to the

first mentioned bound unto him the said David Wells his heirs

and assigns forever. And all the Remainder of my Homestead

Farm I give to my two sons Matthew Wells and Thomas Wells

to be equally divided both in quantity and quality between

them unto them their heirs and assigns forever —


Further I give to my son Matthew Wells. two third of my –

right in the Town of Westerly in Co-  Lyddyes his Patant

unto him, his heirs and assigns forever and the other third of the

above mentioned Right I give to my son Randall Wells, his –

heirs and assigns forever.—


item-I give to my daughter Sarah Wells a priviledge in my

chamber to work in & Keep her things in so long as she –

shall live single. Likewise, [give to my three daughters-

each of them a cow – – further my will is that my daug

hter Sarah have part of my house hold goods to make

her equal with her sisters, they having had some of my estate

already and all the remainder of my household goods I give –

to my wife and three daughters to be equally divided between them.


Item-I give to my five sons the whole of my farming

utensils & carpenter tools to be equally divided between them-

further my will is that the remainder of my stock after

my debts & funeral charges are paid be equally divided –

between my children, five sons and three daughters- –

Likewise I give to my son Randall my Smith Tools.

Page 74

I likewise Do Constitute ordain and appoint my wife-

Elizabeth Wells Executrix & my son Edward Wells Executor to this

my last Will and Testament. Ratifying this and no other to be my

Last Will and testament and I do hereby Disanull, Revoke & –

Disallow of all other Wills or Bequeaths heretofore made by me in

Westerly. Whan of I the Said Edward Wells have hereunto set my

hand and seal this 20th Day of December in the fifth year of

his Majesty Reign George the Third King of Great Britain &

AD 1764. Signed, Sealed, Published, Pronounced & Declared

by the Said Edward Wells to be his Last Will and testament..

In the presence of­

Edward Wells       {Seal}

Joshua Wells

Thompson Wells

John Maxson Jun.



December 17, 1765 – Appeared in Council,

Joshua Wells, Thompson Wells and John Maxson Jun.-

The witnesses to the before written will and made an oath

that they saw the Testator, Edward Wells, sign, Seal, Publish

and Pronounce said will to be his Last Will and Testament

and that he was in perfect mind and that they signed as

withesses in the presence of the Testator at the same time.

Before Hezekiak Collins — President


Voted that the before written will be excepted proved

and the same be recorded. —

Witness Joshua Clarke Council Clerk


The before written will is a True Copy of

the original Will.  Just Joshua Clarke Council Clerk

Recorded December 18, 1765

Page 75

The following is a True Inventory of the personal

Estate Rights and Credits of Mr. Edward Wells-

Late of Hopkinton Dua(?) preputed to an inventory

On the 4th & 5th Days of December AD 1765


In Lawful Money                                                                                                  £              S              D


7 Stacks of flay                                                                                                      15            12            –

I stack of oats                                                                                                        2              5              –

Comstalks & flax                                                                                                   1              5              –

Seed Hay & Hay Seed                                                                                         1              2              –

Corn 55 Bushels                                                                                                    8              5              –

Casks & Syder in the cellar                                                                                 3              –               –

Potatos, pumkins & turnips                                                                                0              6              –

I Mare at 12L-                                                                                                        12            –               –

2 pair oxen at 12L-10/xx(?)                                               ______                    25            –               –

5 Cows at 4L-                                                                                                         20            –               –

4 Yearlings (or yearlands) a 45/                                                                          9              –               –

2 Calves a 20/                                                                                                        2              –               –

3 fat hogs & 4 shoats                                                                                           8              –               –

7 geese & six fowls & 7 sheep                                                                            3              8              –

I cart & 2 plows & one choice pin                                                                     4              –               –

2 chains, 2 copyoaks & grindstone                                                                   1              14            –

Bitte wedges & sling yoke                                                                                  0              6              6

1 harrow & ox bowes                                                                                           0              14            0

Blacksmith, tools, bellows & stake                                                                    5              0              6

Carpenter tools                                                                                                     1              14            –

2 hoes and one iron doge                                                                                    0              1              6

A right in one syder mill                                                                                      1              5              –

I old saddle at 12/1 dito at -70/new                                                                    4              2              –

I foot wheel a 12/1 Dito a 11/                                                                              1              2              –

Page 76

Brought forward                                                                                                  £              S              D

one bed stead 2/ Shoemaker tools w2/-                                                           0              4              –

1 coverlet a w/3 bedsted & 2 cord a 25/                                                           1              15            –

1 bed a 3 o/ Some Beding a 43/                                                                          3              13            –

1 Case of Drawers a 42/ 1 seder tub a 10/-                                                       2              12            –

Some Beding and one bed and furniture                                                         7              15            –

I stand a s/ Sunday glass & Earthan a 8                                                          0              11            –

Been & tub a 6/1 cask and Ria & c a/10/                                                          –               16            –

1 Churn & flaxseed                                                                                              –               6              –

5 rakes a 5/ 4 Sycthes & tacklin a 16/                                                               1              1              –

Sole leather a 8/ ox bows a 3/                                                                             –               11            –

upper leather a 1/ 6 and one fenct a 1/                                                             0              2              6

Loom & Tacklin                                                                                                   1              11            –

Sail 8/ 1 set of spokes a 5/                                                                                  0              13            –

1 chest a 3/ 1 pair hand iron a 8/                                                                         0              11            –

1 pair worsted comb a 10/                                                                                    –               10            –

1 box Iron and heeters (or hides?)                                                                     0              4              –

1 flat a 5/ 1 hatchet a 11/ 1 pr.stelyand 10/                                                        1              6              –

1 pair hand irons a 12/ 1 (?) hook a1/              ______                                   0              13            –

1 pair tin tongs a 3/ 2 trammels a 14/                  ______                                0              17            –

1 flue a 3/ 1 warming 12/                                                                                      0              15            –

1 frying pan a 6/  3 candlestiks a 1/6                                                                  0              7              6

10 chains a 24/ 1 table a 11/ 1 Do a 6/                                                                2              –               –

1 looking glass a 12/ 1 case & bottles a 9/                                                        1              1              –

2 chests a 12/ a piec-                                                                                            1              4              –

1 small chest of drawers a 5/ 1 box a 2/                                                             –               7              –

1 Box a 5/ 2 brass kettles a 27/                                                                            1              12            –

2 iron pots a 11 / 1 tea kittle a 12/                                                                       –               11            –

1 large Bible and other books a /12/                                                                  1              3              –

Earthen Ware & Glass –                                                                                      –               12            –

1 pipe box a 2/ tobaco knife and stool                                                               –               5              –

1 pilyon cloth a 6/ 1 state a 8/ card a 2                                                              –               8              8

2 bridles a 7/ 1  grid iron a 1/ 1bell a 4/                                                              –               12            –

Spools a 2/ 1 woolen wheels a 8/                                                                       –               10            –

1 pair hand bellows 1 morter 1 prikle calk                                                         0              4              –

Page 77

Brought over                                                                                                         £              S              D

3 plates, I tub and pigens all at 8/                                                                      –               8              –

sundry old things                                                                                                 1              11            –

1 barrel a 2/  Sundry old things more       _____                                          1              10            –

Pewter ware a 25/                                                                                                  1              5              –

4 Silver spoons                                                                                                     2              16            –

Sundry Old things a 3/ 2 old baskets all a                                                        –               5              –

1 calk a 2/  10 wood a 13/                                                                                     –               15            –

1 pawcat book & cask Equal to                                                                          2              19            11

worsted & yarn a                                                                                                  0              16            –

1 spring trap a 3/ Sundry old things 20/                                                            1              3              –

2 boxes & 1 pair shears                                                                                        –               3              6

1 bed & furniture                                                                                                  9              5              –

sheets & pillow cases                                                                                          2              15            –

1 meal bag a 2/  Towels and Table cloth                                                           –               4              –

1 bed and furniture                                                                                               1              10            –

1 chest and box                                                                                                     –               12            –

2 cedar tubs a 12/ 1 bed and furniture                                                               5              6              –

sundry old things                                                                                                 0              13            –

cash due                                                                                                                 1              17            10

Due on debts                                                                                                         7              17            8

3 Pitchforks                                                                                                            0              7              –

Chest                                                                                                                      –               9              –

2 Napkins a 6/                                                                                                        –               6              –

1 Calves Skin & 4 sheep skins a 8/                                                                    –               13            –

1 chest a 6/  tobacco a 3/                                                                                     –               9              –

Butter Honey and Shugar                                                                                   –               5              –

side of leather                                                                                                        –               10            6

Coffey pot a 2/                                                                                                      –               2              –

1 knife, old spindle & whir                                                                                  –               1              9

1 shilling money & pair leather taps                                                                  –               1              9

To sorn Rum, I yard stick 2 oz indigo                                                                –               3              –

To one (Chup pref?)                                                                                             –               4              –

216          3              7

Thomas Wells Jun. } Inventory

Joseph Green

Page 78

Addition to the Inventory of the Estate of Edward Wells deceased.

Voted in Council to be recorded February 11th 1766 –

                                                                                                                                £              S              D

(Viz) Four sheep a 7- per sheep                                                                         21,6         3              7

                                                                                                                                                8              0

to 3 sheepskin pelts a— 2 money due by book                                                              4              0

to Baskits and kniting needles                                                                          0              1              6

to 4 pairs of stockings a—                                                                                 0              10            0

to 2 pair britches                                                                                                  0              4              0

to five shirts a                                                                                                      1              7              0

to debts due equal to eighteen Pounds (16.2) Lawful money                      18            16            2

to three jacoats and 3 Coats                                                                              7              2              0

to 2 pair britches and one great coat                                                                2              10            0

to Leather Boor legs and one pair old shoes                                                  0              4              0

to one handkerchief and 2 hats                                                                         2              6              0

to 7 1/2 of Tabaco                                                                                                                2              6

£235        5              9

Addition Recorded February 16th 1766


Hopkinton appeared in Council December 17, 1765.

Elizabeth Wells Executrix and Edward Wells Executor to the

Last Will and Testament of Edward Wells of Hopkinton deceased

and made oath that they had and would present all the –

personal Estate of Said Edward Wells Deceased in order to ______

and likewise appeared Thomas Wells jun. and Joseph Green

the pricer of said deceased Wells Estate and made oath that

they had put a True Estimate upon the personal Estate of Edward Wells deceased according to ready money

price and if anything more was presented to their view

that they would do the same sworn in Council—

Before Hezekiah Collins Pres.-


The before written inventory is a true copy

Of the original inventory & recorded December 18th

AD 1765 Just Joshua Clarke Council Clerk –


Hope you enjoyed it! Interesting stuff!