Wells Family Genealogy

The study of my Family Tree

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

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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

-Jennifer

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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-

further-

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!

-Jennifer

 

22 April 2018: A Hopkinton, RI Wells Lot Update April 22, 2018

I’ve spent most of my day sorting through the boxes of genealogy info I have in my closets. Yes, it’s time to finally organize. And no, I’m not terrible excited about it.  But you should be because I’m looking for all sorts of new items to post here.

Here’s an interesting item I discovered today. It’s a survey I did of the Wells Lot (Hopkinton Historical Cemetery #25) home of Randall Wells and his wife Lois Maxson, my 4th great grandparents back on my 2012 Genealogy Road Trip.

A survey of the Wells Lot in Hopkinton, RI. Done Sept 2012 by me, Jennifer Geoghan.

That archaeology class I took in college finally paid off.  I remember one of the projects I had to do for that class was an archaeological survey of my dorm room.  Had to grid it out and draw the entire contents of my room (much to the dismay of my roommate, Laura.)  Much like I did back then, I walked back and forth, starting at what is on the above map, the bottom right and worked left.  When I got to the rock wall (the edge of the cem) I walked back to the far right and started again.  This is how the numbers work. Right to left, starting at the bottom.

First of all, you have to know you couldn’t do this sort of survey as the cemetery stands today. Back in 2012, there was moderate growth, but now the area is totally overgrown, like you can barely see any stones.  Here’s what I’m talking about:

Me, standing in the center of the lot in 2012.

Here’s me standing in the middle of the lot in 2012.  Note how you can see the ground.

Wells Lot – Oct 2017

Here is a shot I took this past fall (Oct 2017). The area is totally overgrown with some sort of pricker covered vines that have choked out most everything but the trees and stand waist-high. In the above photo you can kind of see the rock wall that runs on the left of my hand drawn map.

Overgrown … with a capital O!

DISCLAIMER: Please be aware that the Wells Lot is on PRIVATE PROPERTY. Although I tell you where it is located, I am not giving you permission to go on private property. Also be aware that the hunters in the area are usually drunk and shoot anything that moves.  OK, now I feel better.

One of the reasons I went to visit Randall and Lois’ graves last October was to collect the GPS coordinates for it.  Here’s the coordinates as collected by my phone:

When you enter these coordinates on Google Maps, this is what you see. What was a farmer’s field was a construction site when I was there last fall. Looked like they were building something down on Gray Lane.

So back to how I’m a bit of a geek for the survey I did. A circle with a T in it is a tree. A circle with a number in it is a headstone.  A field stone really as there are no inscribed headstones standing at this time.  I also noted the distance between stones. Since I forgot my tape measure, I paced it out so a foot is the actual length of my foot. I found 33 stones that I suspected might be field stones marking a burial, but I might be wrong on a couple of them. On my survey, you can see how many of them are in neat rows like any headstone in a cemetery would be.  Here’s what the large boulder at the bottom left of the map by the rock wall looked like in 2012:

Here’s what it looked like in 2017:

Not geeky enough for you? Well, I also photographed each stone with its number on the map. Here’s a few samples.  Can you find them on my map?

So who’s buried here?  We only know the names of three for sure and they are:

  • Randall Wells: 1747 – 1821
  • Lois (Maxson) Wells: 1748 – 1819
  • Elizabeth Pendleton: 1747 – 1819

They rest are a bit of a mystery. Personally, I think they are Randall’s family. The land would have been in the Wells family for a few generations prior to Randall. It’s entirely possible that his parents and grand parents are there with him. Sadly, the only thing we know for sure is that we’ll never know.

-Jennifer

 

4 July 2015: Wells items in the Narragansett Weekly July 4, 2015

Happy 4th of July all!  On this day I like to remember Randall Wells, my favorite patriot ancestor, my 4th great-grandfather who served in the Hopkinton Militia during the Revolutionary War.

Now on to today’s post.  Again while cleaning up my computer files this week, I came across a series of articles from the Narragansett Weekly.   To put them in context, I dug up a little information on this publication:

  • Title: The Narragansett weekly (Westerly, R.I.) 1858-1878
  • Place of publication: Westerly, R.I.
  • Geographic coverage: Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island
  • Publisher: J.H. Utter & Co.
  • Dates of publication: 1858-1878
  • Description: Vol. 1, no. 1 (Apr. 29, 1858)-v. 20, no. 51 (Mar. 21, 1878).
  • Frequency: Weekly
  • Preceding Titles: The Westerly echo, & Pawcatuck advertiser. (Westerly, R.I.) 1854-1858
  • Succeeding Titles: Westerly Narragansett weekly. (Westerly, Washington Co., R.I.) 1878-1899

Now that we know a little about the paper they come from, here’s the little tidbits I found this week:

From the Narragansett Weekly: March 3 1859

In the year 1757 the road from Potter Hill to Hopkinton City was laid out by a committee appointed by the Colony of Rhode Island. Several houses then standing in this vicinity yet remain. The red house on the corner, known as the “Babcock House,” and the old “Egypt house” now owned by Russell Wells, who is one of our oldest inhabitants… The old “Egypt” house is the same size that it ever was, but in shape a little different as the wind has sagged it to an angle of eighty-five degrees. I should say. I am inclined to think that it is one of the oldest houses in the state… The old house at Bethel was for a time occupied by the miller of the old mill. In laying out the road from the city of Potter Hill, the surveyors found no difficulty until they arrived at where is now a turn in the road, not far from Deacon Daniel Lewis’ before coming to the school house. Here was a field of potatoes, and to keep their course would be to go through them. The deacon’s grandfather Maxson persuaded the surveyor to go around his potato patch, as the distance would hardly be perceivable, but no sooner had they don so, when another obstacle presented itself. John Mascon (grandfather of Russell Wells before referred to,) owned and lived in the “Egypt” house. He was known as “Egypt John Masxon.” He raised large crops of corn, and sold quite large quantities every year; he gave this peculiar name to the place from this fact, and it is quite an appropriate one too, as a man was hardly ever known to go there to corn and come away empty… He met them and in not the smoothest language, gave them to understand that he was the king of Egypt, that the land they were then upon was his, and that he would not consent for a road just to be laid out. Finding that they were somewhat independent, and fixed too in their purpose, he somewhat softened down, and as night was coming on, invited, and rather insisted that they should go home with him and spend the night – they would be welcome, and after a good night’s rest would be better able to resume their duties…In the morning after a hearty breakfast the cloth was removed and the decanter set on. “Egypt John” bade his guests help themselves… there was no question in their mind but what the road should be laid out by Mr. Maxson’s house, and it was so laid out, and has so remained….”Should the reader in passing over this road hereafter, wonder why such a bend should have been made from the red house to the residence of Deacon Daniel Lewis, let him call to mind the bender enjoyed by that committee, one hundred and two years ago, in the old “Egypt” house. “Egypt John” has long been dead. “Peace to his ashes.” But could he have lived in these “degenerate days” what a political leader he would have been.

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From the Narragansett Weekly: May 6, 1886

An Historic House is being torn down at Ashaway. A correspondent of the Providence Journal tells the following story about the old house: The oldest house in this immediate vicinity, known as the “Egypt” house, is being torn down, having been vacant for some time, and being in a dilapidated state. It was at the corner where the road to Niantic (now Bradford, RI) turns from the old state road, and was sometimes called the Old Maxson house, from former residents. It is supposed to be 200 years old, as was the only house in this vicinity which had its great stone chimney built partly outside of the house. It is said to have acquired the name of “Egypt” from the fact that in the “Frosty Year,” 1814-15 when nearly all the Indian corn in this section was cut off by early frosts, a good crop was ripened on this farm, and people came from all directions for seed corn, even sending from Newport for it. It was once owned by a John Maxson, who at the time the state road was laid out is said to have induced the surveyors to make a sharp crook in it to clear his potato patch, by the persuasive eloquence of certain black bottles. It was last occupied by Mr. Silas C. Wells, whose son, Wallace, is having it torn down.

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From the Narragansett Weekly: 14 Mar 1859

A letter from “Pequot” (a pseudonym for someone) printed in the 14 Mar 1859 issue of The Narragansett Weekly states that this house was sold by Capt. Thomas Wells, brother to Randall Wells (and who moved to Muskingun Co, Ohio in 1789) sold the premises to Mr. Babcock. He quotes the following parody: “We from Egypt’s slavish ground, unto ‘HIO we are bound; But as we journey let us sing Halo-dantum to Musking!”… He further relates that Clark Wells, son of this Capt. Thomas Wells, remained behind: “This Clark Wells lived at the famous Egypt House, having married Betsey Maxson, the daughter of “Esquire Egypt John,” but died in early manhood. His widow went out to Ohio with her nephew, Barton Wells and there perhaps remained until her death.”… “I think I can nearly fix the removal of the old Red House from its first site to its present location. It had stood, as your correspondent remarks, upon the other side of the street leading to Egypt, a little distance from the road, and, as I have understood, with its back to the street, having been built before the road was laid out. The removal of the old house was an event in the history of the town, and called together much of the available cattle-power, curiosity, engineering, and, of course, the children of the neighborhood, to witness it. Mrs. Daniel Babcock, then a child of four or five years, was present, with other spectators, to see the moving. She was born in 1756. This would fix the event about 1770. But from some other evidence we can safely say it was in 1769, the very year George Potter removed to otter Hill… “Let me suggest to your correspondent that Deacon Babcock refused two thousand dollars for the premises more than half a century ago, when it contained less area than it subsequently did by additional purchase….”

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From the Narragansett Weekly: 16 Jun 1859

Letters from Ashaway- No. 9: … Randall Wells, who married Egypt John’s daughter {this was Lois Maxson}, was the last one for the family that lived there.

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From the Narragansett Weekly: 21 Jul 1859

Letters from Ashaway- No. 10: “Thomas Wells Esq., alias Capt. Tom, alias Rally Tom, after his brilliant and successful exploits in the war, returned to his native town, and pursued the avocation of farming at Wellstown. A few years later, he purchased the estate upon which the red house on the corner is located, where he lived up to the time of his removal to the state of Ohio, in the fall of 1791 (note: Thomas Wells died in 1790 in Ohio and his wife, Sarah (Clarke) died the winter of 1789/90 so this date of 1791 is wrong)

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Don’t forget, if you ever have any interesting family history to share, feel free to send it my way and I’ll be happy to do a post about it here on my blog.

Also don’t forget, I’m also an author whose last book was just released yesterday on Amazon.  Check it out!  It’s called “If Love is a Lie, Finding and Losing Love Online.”

If Love is a Lie, by Jennifer Geoghan.  Click on image for a link to the book on Amazon.

If Love is a Lie, by Jennifer Geoghan. Click on image for a link to the book on Amazon.

 

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

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

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

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Hopkinton Land Evidence Book #2, Page 357

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

Signed Sealed and Delivered.

Randall Wells (seal)     Lois Wells (seal)

In the presence of

John Lewis Jur      John Maxson Jur

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

John Maxson Jur Justice of the Peace

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

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I though t this a curious statement:

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

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

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

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book #2, Page 357

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book #2, Page 357

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book #2

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book #2

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

William Tanner                                 Randall Wells (Seal)

Job B. Clarke

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

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

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book

 

 

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

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

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

Hopkinton Votes on the Constitution March 1788

Hopkinton Votes on the Constitution March 1788

Hopkinton Votes on the Constitution March 1788

Hopkinton Votes on the Constitution March 1788

Hopkinton Votes on the Constitution March 1788

Hopkinton Votes on the Constitution March 1788

Here is a transcription of the document:

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

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

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

Yeas —-

Joshua Clarke Elder

Xxxx Palmer

Francis West

William West

Thomas West

Thompson Wells

Elnathan Wells

Thomas Wells Jr.

Samuel Wells

Amos Wells

Henry Wells

Jonathan Wells

Hezekiah Babcock

David Coon

Joshua Coon

Joshua Coon Jr.

Abram Coon

Oliver White

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

Nays —-

Grideon Allen

Lawton Palmer

John Palmer

Lawton Palmer Jr.

Edward Wells

Thomas Wells 2nd

Matthew Wells

Randall Wells

Clarke Wells

Edward S. Wells

Hezekiah Carpenter

Daniel Carpenter

Joseph Larkin

Aaron Davis

Zephaniah Brown

John Brown

Christopher Brown

William Coon

Samuel Coon

Elias Coon

Thomas Coon

Benjamin Coon

Daniel White

Thomas Barber

Joseph Barber

Moses Barber

John Coon

Samuel Maxson

Samuel Maxson Jr.

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

Yeahs:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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