Wells Family Genealogy

The study of my Family Tree

12-28-2019: Shoe Laces from the Past December 28, 2019

Over Thanksgiving, my mom asked me if I wanted anything out of a bag of assorted shoelaces she was getting rid of.  When I pulled them out, I found these very vintage laces. I suppose this proves how my mother has stuck to her delightfully thrifty New England roots and not tossed them out,  cause, you never know, you might need them someday. Guess she’s been in Florida too long as she’s tossing them now. She figures the tan box might even have originally belonged to her mother.  Both pairs are products of the Rhode Island Textile Company of Pawtucket, RI. The one in the blue packaging is dated 1985. I can only think my mom purchased them on Long Island where I grew up. Probably either the Caldor out in Rocky Point or over in Riverhead somewhere.

Textile companies hold an interest to me since the industry is so closely tied to the Wells family.  We owned, operated and worked in the mills of the Hopkinton area for many generations.  Shoelaces also remind me of line and or twine which reminds me of Ashaway Line and Twine where many members of my family worked and is also owned and operated by the Crandall’s, cousins of the Wells family.

I googled the Rhode Island Textile Company and was happy to see they are still in business, though from the view of their facility on Google Earth (see below) it looks a little quite.

The company is not in Pawtucket anymore. When I googled them, I discovered they’d moved to Cumberland, RI in 2016.  I found an article on The Valley Breeze website telling about the company and its move. Nice article, Ethan.

PAWTUCKET – Rhode Island Textile Company, which claims to be the largest and most diverse manufacturer of braided, knitted and woven elastic, cords and webbing in the U.S., is leaving Pawtucket and consolidating operations in Cumberland. The company’s 97,000-square-foot property at 211 Columbus Ave. in Pawtucket is listed on a real estate site for $1.9 million. Two buildings are located on 3.5 acres of land, according to the listing.

The company, first founded in 1913, is closing its side-by-side manufacturing facilities on Columbus Avenue in Pawtucket to do business at 35 Martin St. in Cumberland, where it already has a distribution facility. A visit to the facility Tuesday found signs of construction for new executive offices and landscapers cleaning up the front of the property.

Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien said he and City Council members met with R.I. Textile Company officials several times after learning they had bought another company and were looking to consolidate to one location. He said officials “did everything we could” to find a way to keep the manufacturer in the city. They offered tax incentives and stabilization agreements, among other things, but were unable to sway the owners.

From what he was told, company officials were looking to move to a more modern facility with room to grow, said Grebien. R.I. Textile Company officials could not be reached for comment this week.

Cumberland Mayor William Murray said he’s “very pleased” that the owners chose Cumberland as a place to settle in. “We are thrilled to have Rhode Island Textile in Cumberland,” he said. “We met with them two or three times to give them information they requested as they made their decision.”

The firm, he said, is adding a business to the town’s portfolio “that will help build up the Martin Street industrial area.”

R.I. Textile Company manufactures narrow fabrics like elastics cords, webbing, gear like parachutes, laces, and certain pet products like collars and leashes. The company makes shoelaces for New Balance and is the largest manufacturer of military specification laces used in military boots and women’s and men’s dress shoes.

The company is the parent of Westminster Pet, according to its website.

Knowing that the Pawtucket facility is for sale, Grebien said officials are looking to see if the owners will consider selling the property in pieces. The city sold a parking lot to the company 10 or 15 years ago and has had an agreement in place to share parking for soccer games at the McKinnon-Alves Soccer Complex, he said. If the parcel isn’t offered separately, the hope is to partner with the next buyer of the facility to keep using the lot for parking.

For more on Rhode Island Textile Company, visit www.ritextile.com .

(I tried the website, but it didn’t seem to be up and running anymore. Not a great sign.)

Anyway, I found my discovery of these vintage laces amusing.

-Jennifer

 

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.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2107003152906080/

-Jennifer

 

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).

NEW LONDON (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.)

 

WITCHCRAFT (1653)

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).)

 

COURT ACTIONS (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.

 

GENEALOGICAL SUMMARY

  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.

-Jennifer

 

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

-Jennifer

 

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

 

2 Jan 2018: A little Wells humor to start the year off. January 2, 2018

Filed under: Wells Family — jgeoghan @ 7:43 pm
Tags: , ,

While Mom and I were strolling through St. Augustine (Florida) on December 23rd, we passed this sign. I leaned over and said to her “Boy, they’re selling us for cheap.”

A little Wells humor.

 

15 Nov 2017: A mill with a Wells history November 15, 2017

I was just working on the project of filling in the gaps in the notes in my genealogy program database when I happened upon this reference below. It was in the notes I’d gathered for Ruth Wells, daughter of Thomas Wells and Naomi Marshall. Thomas and Naomi are my 7th great grandparents, Ruth my 6th great grand aunt. The funny part is I visited the Gilbert Stuart birthplace while on my vacation last month! …. but had no idea that Ruth and husband James Kenyon worked the grist mill next to the Gilbert Stuart house!

Thankfully, I took lots of pictures!

Here’s the reference:

Matthew James of New Hampshire and his known descendants: with the related families of Pugsley, Ivers, Wells, Davis, Rasmus, Alford, and Weller, by Markley, Janet James; Burnett, Mary Lou James, 2002, Page 211

RUTH 2 WELLS (Thomas 1), b. ______ mentioned in her father’s Will. Ruth mar. ca 1692 James Kenyon, Jr., of Kingstown and Westerly, RI. He was b. 4 July, and bp. 12 July, 1657 at Oldham Parish Church, Lancashire, England, the son of James (Sr.) and Ester (Smith) Kenyon.

Both James Sr. and Jr. were millers. James, Sr., had the first grant to the mill privilege in Washington Co., RI, a place where the artist Gilbert Stuart was born in 1755. James, Jr., was taxed in RI in 1687. In 1700 an earmark was granted him for his sheep. James, Jr., and Ruth were in possession of the mill in 1702 when they conveyed it to Joseph Smith. In 1706, “James Kenyon, Sr.” and wife Ruth deeded to George Thomas of “Conanicut” 36 acres for 25 pounds.

In 1722 James and wife Ruth deeded to Jeffery Hazard 300 acres and housing in South Kingstown for 800 pounds.He bought land in Westerly in 1723. He wrote his Will 18 March 1720 and it was proved in Westerly 4 May 1724. In it he mentions his wife Ruth and makes her and son Peter executors. [Howard N. Kenyon, English Connections and Genealogy of American Kenyons of Rhode Island, (1935), hereafter”Kenyon,” pp. 47-56.]

The gray wooden building to the right is the mill

Selfie with the sun in my eyes. Red house is the G.S. birthplace. Gray is the Mill

Awesome photo I took of the Mill.

Photo taken across the mill-pond created by the dam. Mill on left. House on right.

Looking down on the wheel from the bridge over the damn

An old mill stone.

Sorry, they don’t allow you to take photos on the inside of the mill.

-Jennifer

 

20 Oct 2017: What ever happened to the Carriage Manufactory? October 20, 2017

While on my vacation in Hopkinton, I went in search of the location of A.L. Wells & Co. According to their advertisement, they were the largest carriage manufactory in the state of Rhode Island.

It was located on Clarks Falls Road, just west of Main Street (Route 3) in Hopkinton City.  It was quite large and took up the lots of at least three or four of the current house lots you will walk past.

Here is the site of the manufactory today:

August Lewis Wells Sr. (the A.L. of A.L. Wells and Co.) lived in what we now call the Thurston Wells House, which is this lovely yellow house on Main Street in Hopkinton City.

When you’re standing on Clarks Falls Road looking at the site of the manufactory, if you turn around, you can see a side lane that leads right down to Augustus’ old barn.  You can see it as the yellow building way back there.

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

Here is a new engraving of the factory and house I found.

-Jennifer

 

14 Oct 2017: Death, Taxes and the Wells family. October 14, 2017

Old Ben Franklin was right when he said death and taxes were the only things certain in life.  While on my vacation I came across this small, paper booklet from 1855 listing the “Valuation of Taxable Property in the Town of Hopkinton” for the year 1855. Quite a few Wells family members on the list.

Here are all the Wells’ on the list:
Wells Horace: Real Estate $0 … Personal Estate: $300 … Total: $300 … Tax: $0.96
Wells Thomas R.: Real Estate $1200 … Personal Estate: $2000 … Total: $3200 … Tax: $10.84
Wells, Thomas R & Co., machinery in Valley Mills: Real Estate $9000 … Personal Estate: $0 … Total: $9000 … Tax: $28.80
Wells Jonathan R: Real Estate $1200 … Personal Estate: $3000 … Total: $4200 … Tax: $13.44
Wells Russel: Real Estate $1700 … Personal Estate: $0 … Total: $1700 … Tax: $5.44
Wells Edward S.: Real Estate $300 … Personal Estate: $0 … Total: $30 … Tax: $0.96
Wells Edward S. Jr., and wife: Real Estate $0 … Personal Estate: $1700 … Total: $1700 … Tax: $5.44
Wells Henry M: Real Estate $2000 … Personal Estate: $1500 … Total: $3500 … Tax: $11.20
Wells Peter C.: Real Estate $2400 … Personal Estate: $0 … Total: $2400 … Tax: $7.68
Wells Betsey: Real Estate $700 … Personal Estate: $0 … Total: $700 … Tax: $2.24
Wells Denison: Real Estate $200 … Personal Estate: $600 … Total: $800 … Tax: $2.56
Wells Augustus Lewis: Real Estate $1200 … Personal Estate: $1500 … Total: $2700 … Tax: $8.64
Wells Silas C.: Real Estate $1700 … Personal Estate: $0 … Total: $1700 … Tax: $5.44
Wells William R.: Real Estate $0 … Personal Estate: $100 … Total: $100 … Tax: $0.32
Wells A.L. & Co.: Real Estate $200 … Personal Estate: $0 … Total: $200 … Tax: $0.64
Wells Thomas P.: Real Estate $200 … Personal Estate: $0 … Total: $200 … Tax: $0.64
Wells Albert, house and lot: Real Estate $700 … Personal Estate: $0 … Total: $700 … Tax: $2.24

Remember that there were two Wells’ families in Hopkinton at the time so folks like Denison, Peter and Albert are not related to my family of Jonathan R, Thomas R, Silas, Russel, etc.

So, who was the richest Wells in town in 1855? That would be my great, great grandfather, Jonathan R. Wells (1819-1864), with a total of $4200 in taxable property. This is for an individual as the highest taxes were actually paid by Thomas R. Wells Machinery in Hope Valley, a business, not an individual.

Jonathan Russel Wells

Russel Wells (1780-1859) son of Randall Wells and Lois Maxson, is on the list as well. His total estate came to $1700.00 and he paid only $5.44.

Other Wells’ in our family listed are:

Children of Russel Wells and Lydia Rogers Crandall:

  • Jonathan Russel Wells (Mentioned above)
  • Silas Crandall Wells (1813-1907)
  • Thomas Randall Wells (1816-1903)

Capt. William Randall “Bill” Wells (1816-1872) son of Randall Wells Jr. and Patience Coon.

Edward Sheffield Wells Jr (1793-1870) son of Edward Sheffield Wells Sr and Tacy Hubbard. (Note he is listed as Sr., not Jr. on the list.)

The children of Edward Sheffield Wells Jr and Deborah Hoxsie Lewis:

  • Augustus Lewis Wells Sr. (1820-1906)
  • Elizabeth Perry “Betsey” Wells (1825-1888)
  • Edward Sheffield Wells 3rd (listed as Jr. 1822-1893)

I find it odd that they published this book at all really.  I mean today, would you want the town to publish a book stating your net worth? Seems like privacy laws wouldn’t allow such a thing in 2017.

-Jennifer

 

21 Sept 2017: Seaweed Pudding probably tastes better than it sounds September 21, 2017

Today I continue my series of posts on the traditional local foods prepared by our ancestors in Hopkinton. Rhode Island isn’t called the Ocean State for nothing. Mom’s cousin Dorothy remembers her mother (Sylvia Wells, daughter of Williams R Wells and Pauline Stillman Wells) making pudding from seaweed they would gather off the beaches down near Quonny. This would be back in about the mid 1930’s. Although it seems this is a real thing, after scouring the internet I as only able to come up with one recipe for such a pudding called Blancmange.

Blancmange as defined by Wikipedia: “Blancmange (from French blanc-manger) is a sweet dessert commonly made with milk or cream and sugar thickened with gelatin, cornstarch or Irish moss(a source of carrageenan), and often flavored with almonds.”

Blancmange: A pudding made from Irish Sea Moss

  • 1/3 cup Irish Sea Moss
  • 2 cups of milk

Gather fresh moss on the beach. Rinse well in cold water and spread in the sun to dry.

When ready to use, soften 1/3 cup of moss by covering it in cold water for fifteen minutes.

Drain and add 2 cups of milk. Cook in a double boiler for thirty minutes without stirring.

Strain into a bowl or molds, and cool—it thickens only on cooling.

Serve with jam, light flavored cream, boiled custard, chocolate sauce, or fruit, fresh or stewed. The blancmange is rather tasteless by itself and depends on the sauce for flavor.

* * * * *

There are several different types of edible seaweeds that grow off the coast of Rhode Island that our ancestors probably harvested to use as food. Here are a few:

Irish Sea Moss – Contains carrageenan and is used to thicken and stabilize ice cream, puddings, cream cheese, cottage cheese, frozen yogurt, pie fillings etc.

Irish Sea Moss

Bladderwrack/Knotted Wrack/Rockweed – Used in between layers of New England clam bakes for flavor and steam.

Bladderwrack

Oarweed and Sugar Kelp are two varieties of kelp that grow in Rhode Island. Oarweed (or Kombu as it is called in supermarkets) is cooked and enjoyed in salads and soups. Sugar Kelp can be cut into strips to make an Asian seaweed salad.

Sugar Kelp

Sea Lettuce – Used in fresh salads.

Sea Lettuce

Now, who’s ready to go foraging down at the beach?  🙂

Have you ever tried seaweed pudding? if so, where and what was it like?

If you have a recipe for Seaweed Pudding you’d like to share, send it my way!

-Jennifer

T minus 9 days til I leave on my Rhode Island/Conn vacation!  YAY!

 

6 Sep 2017: Foraging for dessert on the beaches of Rhode Island. September 6, 2017

Today I continue my series on food traditions of the Hopkinton/Westerly, RI area. What did our grandmothers and great grandmothers cook? From what I can tell, they drew heavily on foods that grew locally or even in their own back yard. My mother’s cousin Dorothy (from the Wells side of the family), remembers her mother making jelly from Beach Plums which would grow down by the water. From what I’ve read, they sound like they taste bitter, so I’m wondering what this Jelly would taste like.

First, lets talk about exactly what is a Beach Plum.  For this, I’ll borrow some text from Wikipedia:

The beach plum, is a species of plum native to the East Coast of the United States, from Maine south to Maryland. … It  is a deciduous shrub, in its natural sand dune habitat growing 40–80 inches high, although it can grow larger, over 13 feet tall, when cultivated in gardens. The leaves are alternate, elliptical, 1.2–2.8 inches long and 0.8–1.6 inches broad, with a sharply toothed margin. They are green on top and pale below, becoming showy red or orange in the autumn. The flowers are 0.4–0.6 inches in diameter, with five white petals and large yellow anthers. The fruit is an edible drupe 0.6–0.8 inches in diameter in the wild plant, red, yellow, blue, or nearly black.

The plant is salt-tolerant and cold-hardy. It prefers the full sun and well-drained soil. It spreads roots by putting out suckers but in coarse soil puts down a tap root. In dunes it is often partly buried in drifting sand. It blooms in mid-May and June. The fruit ripens in August and early September.

The species is endangered in Maine, where it is in serious decline due to commercial development of its beach habitats.”

Beach Plums

Beach Plums grow on the shores of Long Island as well. My cousin Sharon did a report in grade school about cooking and included some information from my Grandmother (on the Geoghan side of my family.) She lived only a short distance from the Sound, in Mount Sinai, New York. Here is the page out of Sharon’s report that talks about Beach Plums.

Beach Plums. As mentioned in my Cousin Sharon’s grade school report on cooking.

Here are a few recipes for Beach Plum Jam that I found.

Beach Plum Jam

Wash beach plums.  Cook in water to barely cover until soft.  Strain through colander, add sugar, cup for cup, to pulp and juice. 1lbs. of lemon juice may be added if desired.  Boil until drops “string out”. Delicious with all kinds of meats.

Beach Plum Jam

Makes 4 cups

  • 4 cups whole beach plums
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup medium-bodied red wine, such as Merlot

Put a ceramic plate in the freezer to chill. Meanwhile, combine all ingredients in a 5- to 6-quart heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat.
Bring to a simmer so that the plums release their juices. Let cook 5 more minutes. Then pour mixture into a strainer set over a bowl, and press on the solids to extract the juice and fruit.
Return extract to heat and simmer, stirring often, 25 minutes. Reduce heat as needed to keep from boiling up. Remove the chilled plate from the freezer and spoon a small amount of jam onto it. It should thicken when it hits the cold. If it’s thick enough, stop there. If not, return the plate to the freezer and continue cooking the puree, checking it at 5-minute intervals, until it reaches the desired thickness (it should form a skin when chilled).
Pour into hot, sterilized jars to within 1/4 inch of the top, adjust lids, and process in boiling water 5 minutes. Let cool at room temperature and check seals.

_____

Have you ever tried Beach Plum Jelly?

If so, where and who made it?

What did you think of it?

I’m in search of a recipe for the sea weed pudding I’ve heard was another dish cousin Dorothy’s mother made.  If you have one stashed away in the back of a kitchen drawer, I’d love it if you could send it my way.

-Jennifer

 

30 Aug 2017: The case of the missing cemetery August 30, 2017

Filed under: Cemeteries,Wells Family — jgeoghan @ 2:34 pm
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The case of the missing cemetery.  It sounds like the title of a mystery novel in the vein of Nancy Drew or Sherlock Homes.  In this case, it’s a missing Wells Family cemetery in Ashaway, RI.

This past weekend I was up visiting my mom.  We went over to visit her cousin Dorothy who lives around the block.  We were talking about recipes and the produce they grew around the old Wells house when she started talking about this cemetery, one she was sure was a really, really old Wells family cemetery, that was located right off of Route 3 just south of the old Wells house (the one that was in Crandall Field.) When I showed her the area on Google earth, she pointed out the spot where it was.  I circled it in red.

Missing Cemetery should be located here.

She says that it was just south of the driveway to the house her father built, which is the one hidden by the trees in the google pic.

She also said it was surrounded by HUGE rocks, so tall she couldn’t see the inside of the cemetery.  (Mind you, she was a child at the time.) The cemetery was pretty sizable as well. About the size of a house lot. The stones, she thinks, were placed there on purpose to protect the cemetery.  I asked her if she remembered headstones, but she doesn’t. She said she never climbed up the rocks to look over them.

Right now, there is no physical evidence at this location to ever suggest there was a cemetery there at any point in time.  Dorothy remembers it being there around the time she lived in the house whose driveway is just north of Wells Street which would be around 1935. She couldn’t remember when the stoned disappeared. Dorothy says the rocks were very close to the road, easily visible to anyone passing by.  

I’ve searched through all my old photos of the Old Wells house to see if there were any signs of large stones in the distance.  Unfortunately, all the photos seem to be facing the other direction, north up Route 3, not south.

The question is, who’s buried in this cemetery? Dorothy seemed convinced it was a Wells family plot as it was on Wells land, land that had been in the family as long as anyone could remember.

So, anyone out there have any information about this cemetery? I’d LOVE to hear from you if you do. I’ve reached out to my friend, Lauri, who wrote the Hopkinton Historical Cemeteries book to see if she can lend a hand, but she’d never heard of it either.

-Jennifer

 

27 Aug 2017: The continuing search for the food of my family August 27, 2017

This weekend I continued my search for recipes the were regulars in the kitchens of my Rhode Island ancestors.  A reader of this blog suggested I should see if Indian Pudding, a Rhode Island staple of sorts, might be among the recipes in the Wells family cookbooks.  She was right, it was!  When my mother and I asked her cousin Dorothy about it, she remembered her mother (A Wells) did indeed make it. I also found a recipe for it in my grandmothers old cookbook as well.

Indian Pudding

Indian Pudding from my Grandmother’s old cookbook

  • ½ cup corn-meal
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Ginger
  • ¼ tsp Cinnamon
  • 4 cups Milk, scalded
  • 1 egg, well Beaten

Combine corn-meal flour, molasses, sugar, egg, salt and spices.  Beat thoroughly.  Add milk slowly, stirring constantly. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to thicken.  Pour into well-oiled baking dish.  Bake in slow over (325 degrees) about 30 minutes.  Serve warm with cream or with lemon or orange sauce.  If desired, ½ cup of raisins may be added before pudding is baked.  8 Servings.

 

Here is the recipe Cousin Dorothy had in her cookbook. It included a few different sauces that could be put on top of the pudding as well.

Cousin Dorothy’s recipe for Indian Pudding

Makes 8 servings

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Boil in the top of a double boiler over direct heat: 4 cups milk

Stir in ½ cup corn meal.

Place these ingredients over boiling water.  Cook them for about 15 minutes.  Stir into them and cook for about 5 minutes ¾ cup dark molasses.

Remove from heat. Stir in:

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 well-beaten egg
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Pour the batter into a well-greased baking dish. To have a soft center, pour over the top: 1 cup of milk. Bake the pudding 1 ½ to 2 hours. Serve pudding hot with hard sauce, cream or vanilla ice cream. This dish is sometimes made with apples. In that case, add 2 cups of thinly sliced apples and use

 

Hard Sauce

Makes about 1 cup. The basic ingredients of hard sauce are always the same, although proportions and flavoring vary. In this recipe, the larger amount of butter is preferable.  An attractive way to serve hard sauce on cold cake or pudding is to chill it and mold it with a small fancy cutter – or to put it through an individual butter mold.

Sift: 1 cup powdered sugar

Beat until soft: 2 to 5 tablespoons butter

Add the sugar gradually.  Beat these ingredients until they are well blended.

Add: 1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 tablespoon coffee, rum, whisky, brandy lemon juice, etc.

Beat in: 1 egg or ¼ cup cream.

When the sauce is very smooth, chill thoroughly.

 

Spicy Hard Sauce

Makes about 1 cup.

Prepare: Hard Sauce

Beat into it:

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon sale
  • (Liqueur, to taste)

Chill.

 

Brown-Sugar Hard Sauce

Makes about 1 2/3 cups

Sift: 1 ½ cups brown sugar

Beat ½ cup butter until soft

Add the sugar gradually.  Beat these ingredients until well blended.

Beat in 1/3 cup cream slowly:

Beat in, drop by drop: 2 tablespoons dry wine or 1 teaspoon vanilla

Chill well.  Add for garnish: ¼ cup chopped nuts

 

So, does any out there have any memories of eating Indian Pudding when they were growing up in Rhode Island?

I did find a few Rhode Island restaurants that still serve it and plan on visiting them for samples while I’m up there in October. If you know of any places that serve it that I should check out, let me know and I’ll add them to my list.

As always, I’m looking for more traditional South County food to add to my recipe file for future testing.  I’ve heard tell that I should investigate Clam Cakes.  Any thoughts???  

Cousin Dorothy, who is 93 years old, remembers that back when she was a girl, they grew all sorts of produce in the area around Hopkinton and Westerly.  On the old Wells homestead (the current location of Crandall Field in Ashaway) they grew apples and pears and had a grape arbor. She remembers fields upon fields of corn and her mother making jams from beach plums, as well as a pudding from sea weed.  Never heard of sea weed pudding before.  Anyone out there heard of that one?

-Jennifer

UPDATES:

From Ronald: “Hi. I tried the Indian pudding from your grandmothers old cook book, and it was delicious.”  Thanks, Ronald.  I’m sure Grandma Wells would be happy to hear that!  I’m looking forward to picking me up some cornmeal while I’m up in RI on vacation in a few weeks.  I’ll be trying this recipe when I get home. -Jennifer

 

17 Aug 2017: Planning a trip to my homeland August 17, 2017

It’s that time of year again when I get to blow this pop stand and head north.  YAY!! I’ll be up in CT/RI on vacation the beginning of October and have started my list of things to do and places to see. HOWEVER, my list is incomplete.

Read to the VERY BOTTOM for things I need help/suggestions for.

Visit Randall & Lois Wells’ graves in Hopkinton, RI.  My annual pilgrimage to my 4th great grandparent’s graves back in the woods.  Let’s face it, not too many of us still can even find them. I usually visit John Rogers grave on the grounds of Connecticut College as well.

Take my favorite hike.  There’s a great Nature Conservancy trail up to Long Pond in Hopkinton. Super scenic, like something out of Lord of the Rings.  There’s a timelessness to the landscape there that seems untouched, like some native American tribe from long ago could come strolling around a boulder.

Visit Mystic Pizza in Mystic, CT.  I know, the cheesiest and most wonderful of the chic flicks of the 80’s.  Not only that, the pizza is like … totally awesome (to quote the 80’s) Not sure how well it will fare now that I’ve had gastric bypass, but I’m willing to give it a shot. It’s worth a visit if for nothing but to inhale deeply and take in the scent of wonderful food.  Plus it’s a location I used a few times in my novels so it’s fun to visit.  I ever wrote some of my books sitting at the table in the bay windows up front.

Speaking of food …. I’m also planning meals at Abbots in Noank, CT and Ford’s Lobsters in Noank. I plan on being so tired of lobster by the time I drive out of New England that it will hold me for a long time!

Visit the Lighthouse Museum in Stonington.  Yes, the infamous lighthouse that is the setting for my third novel. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it and knew I had to feature it in a book.  I’ll also spend time roaming the streets of picturesque Stonington.

Visit B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill in Mystic.  Again, after my gastric bypass surgery, this should be an interesting experience.  I love their apple baked goods and plan on sampling quite a bit.

Visit Oak Grove Cemetery in Ashaway.  Not only my future resting place, but also the current resting place for a good portion of my mom’s side of the family.  I always stop in to pay my respects but also to inspect the condition of our stones and do any necessary cleaning of them that may need to be done.

Fulfilling any Findagrave.com photo requests that are online for the area. Need any photos taken of a headstone in the area? I’ll be checking them out while I’m up there to see who I can help out.  I also plan on updating FAG.com on new burials in Oak Grove and finishing adding photos of all the stones.

Visiting Kenyon’s Grist Mill in West Kingston, RI. I’ve never been to a grist mill before so I’m looking forward to learning something new. I’m also in the market for some corn meal to make me some Johnny Cakes upon my return to FL.  

Popping over to Stonington Vineyards to buy a case of my favorite wine of theirs. Sadly, I can’t get it here in Orlando. Also sadly, gastric bypass severely limits how much alcohol I can drink, so that case will last me a couple of year!

Shop Craigslist.com for cool stuff in people’s basements! Sounds odd, but I bought a cool old trunk off of Craigslist last time I was up there from some couple in Ashaway. I’m on the hunt for cool antiques. I’m also looking for some good antique stores to visit if you know of any you can suggest. Not the shiny, all cleaned up kind of antiques, but the paint chipping off, just pulled out of the barn kind. Will also be looking for yard sales and estate sales as well.

If time permits, I’d like to visit Mystic Aquarium.  Haven’t been there since I was a kid.

Pop into the Mystic Seaport Gift Shop.  I’ll be honest and say I’ve been to the Seaport enough that I don’t need to go again …. for a long time, but the gift shop is awesome! I love the book section up stairs too. Always worth a visit.

Get out on the water.  No plans finalized for this yet, but I will get out on the water for a few hours, if not longer. I did a sunset sail out of Mystic a few years back that I could do again, but ideally I’d love to take sailing lessons.  I’m just having a hard time finding a place to do that so late in the year.  Seems sailing season ends the week before I arrive!!!

A day at the Coggeshall Farm Museum in Bristol, RI.  I can’t wait to spend some time here so I can do some research on farm life in the late 1700s.  Valuable info I can weave into my stories of the vampire, Randall Wells!!

St. Edmund’s Severed Arm.  Yes, you read me right. This one just has to be seen to be believed, at least by me.  It’s in Mystic and apparently on display.

CAN YOU HELP ME?

I’m looking for:

  • Good antique stores/malls. Ones that sell reasonably priced items of local origin. Items that are not all spit and polished, but need love and have chipped paint.
  • Scenic hiking trails (other than my favorite up to Long Pond in Hopkinton.)
  • Restaurants that serve good local cuisine.  Rhode Island Clam Chowder?  Johnny Cakes?
  • How can I get out on the water?  Boat tours you can suggest.  I’d even be up for whale watching. Ideally I’d love to take a sailing lesson or two.
  • Know of any places of local history interest like Kenyon’s Grist Mill? I love to learn about local history.
  • If you know where I can buy a courting candle, you’re my new best friend!!!

-Jennifer

UPDATES:

From Bruce: “Know you are connected to the Crandall family. Think about a trip north of Mystic to Canterbury, CT (Windham Co.) to the Prudence Crandall museum. Check their hours – I don’t think they are open every day.”  Thanks, Bruce.  I’ll add the museum to my list of possibles.  I’m sure a trip there would make a nice subject for a blog post.

From Wayne:  “Hi Jennifer – I too am a direct descendant of Samuel Hubbard (my mother is a Burdick), living now in southern RI. We are distant cousins. If you haven’t been, you might consider seeing the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace in Saunderstown, and maybe taking the Francis Fleet Whale Watch out of Galillee. BTW, white corn meal is ubiquitous here! Wayne”  Thanks Wayne. I’ve added the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace to my list. Looks really cool. Sadly, Frances Fleet Whale Watching closes in September so they won’t be open.  Too bad, they looked ideal.

 

20 July 2017: Great Summer Read featuring the Wells Family … and it’s FREE July 20, 2017

Hello friends, fans and family.

Just wanted to let you know that the ebook version of FALLING for Death is free on Amazon until Sunday. This is the novel I wrote featuring Randall Wells, his wife Lois Maxson and a host of other Wells family members. It’s the first in a five book series but is also a full length, stand alone story.  If you’re a fan of Hopkinton, RI and the Wells Family and …. happen to like vampires, you’re in a for a real treat!

Check it out!

-Jennifer

 

20 April 2017: Randall Wells and Lois Maxson’s book has changed April 20, 2017

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I wrote my 4th great grandparents, Randall Wells and his wife Lois, as characters into my novel series. I thought I’d announce that I have rebranded that series, giving it new titles and new covers.

I now introduce you to The FALLING Series.

As a promo for the new brand, book one in the series, FALLING for Death, is free on Amazon for the ebook version for the next couple of days.  Here’s the link.  Check it out and download your free copy today to see what Randall and Lois may have been like.

-Jennifer

 

29 Oct 2016: Celebrate the spookiness of Halloween with the Wells vampires. October 29, 2016

For those of you who have read my blog long enough, you know that not only am I a genealogist, but I’m also an author.  Among my novels is a series I wrote where I used my real life Wells ancestors as actual characters, mainly Randall Wells (1747-1821) and his wife Lois Maxson (1748-1819) of Hopkinton, Rhode Island.   To grant myself my fondest genealogical wish of meeting my 4th great grandparents, Lois and Randall, I took the facts we know of their lives and weaved a story around them, breathing literary flesh over those dry bones of the dates of birth, marriage, death.  Then I brought them ahead a few hundred years and made them living people in the modern age we live in today.

How did I do that?  Well … I made them vampires.  Each book in the five book series reveals more of their story, like peeling back the layers of an onion. So for Halloween, I thought I’d share with you a little of how their story begins to unfold in book one of the series, The Purity of Blood.

To set up the quote below, I will introduce Sara Donnelly, the protagonist of my novels.  Like me, she is also the 4th great-granddaughter of Randall and Lois, at least the literary versions of them.  It is through her eyes that we enter the hidden world of vampires that secretly coexists with the humans of the Earth.  But these vampires are not like the ones of popular culture.  Vampires are not immortal.   They can walk in the sunlight.  For the most part the are solitary creatures that have an innate need to hide their existence from the world.

In this conversation, Sara is talking to Daniel Bennett.  Daniel is the adopted son of Randall and Lois.  He is also a vampire, but though he is well over a hundred years old, he has never killed a human.  He was raised by Randall to be as close to human as a vampire can possibly be, and because of this unique lifestyle, they have extended their lives well past the accelerated aging most vampires experience.

Now read as Daniel explains the beginning of Randall and Lois’ back story.

The Purity of Blood, Vol I, by Jennifer Geoghan. Available now on Amazon.com

Excerpt from The Purity of Blood, Volume I, by Jennifer Geoghan

“So, Randall and Lois. You promised to tell me their story when there was time.”

“I did, didn’t I.” His smile faded a little. “It’s not a very happy one, are you sure you want to hear it now?”

“Well, give me the highlights; you can fill in the details some other time.”

He settled back in his chair and began.

“I guess I have to go back farther than just when Randall became what we are now. You should know that their marriage was arranged by their parents. In those kind of small isolated communities like Hopkinton, most of the time marriages were partnerships more than emotional relationships. Randall will tell you he fell in love with Lois the moment he first laid eyes on her. She, on the other hand, was a sensible woman and only agreed to the marriage because she thought Randall would be a good provider and partner in life. She didn’t love him, but she also didn’t think it was important that she did either.

“He married her knowing this, but he was convinced that in time she would eventually grow to love him. Her sensibilities and his expectations were more common than you would think back then. The lifelong journey together often took two people from strangers to friends, and from friends to lovers. This was what Randall hoped would happen for them in the end.

“Years passed and Lois was an excellent wife providing for all his needs, raising his children and supporting him in every way she could. But he knew she still didn’t love him the way he wanted her too. Still he loved her with all his heart and believed that someday she would return his love with her own.

“Their life went on like this for many years so I’ll skip ahead to 1819 when he was bitten. Randall was an older man when it happened, seventy-four. He had gone out of town for a few days to settle some business up in Providence, I think it was. He was travelling back to Hopkinton in his carriage when he came across what looked like a body in the middle of the road. He got down to see if he could help, but the body was a vampire lying in wait for him. He sprang up, attacked Randall then left him for dead deep in the woods.”

He paused when he saw the look on my face. “You’re wondering why the trap. Why not just drag him down off the carriage and kill him.

I shrugged my shoulders as I chewed.

“Vampires are people too, Sara.”

Then he kind of chuckled when he realized what he’d said. “They get bored and find new ways to capture prey. I have to assume that was why. Anyway, there in the forest, Randall went through his transformation. It took a couple of days he thinks, but you can’t keep track of time when all this is happening to you. The pain is too excruciating.”

“Do you think his attacker meant to leave him alive?”

“He doesn’t know and there’s no way to say for sure now.”

“What do you think?”

Daniel paused for a moment then said “Yes, I think it was probably on purpose. But I’m the only one who thinks so.”

Then he turned to watch a couple at another table kissing in the corner. Although I had no clue why, I think it was clear he didn’t want to talk about it anymore, so I changed the subject.

“So what happened next?”

“When he regained his senses he knew something was wrong. He felt the remains of the bite marks on his neck and when he held his hand up to his chest, he couldn’t feel his heart. Even though his throat burned with an overwhelming thirst he didn’t understand, none of it mattered, his only thought was for Lois.

“He ran back to the house only to find her sitting on the back porch waiting for him. She took one look at him and knew something was terribly wrong.

“He told her what had happened, that he’d been attacked and had woken up in the forest. Of course at this point he had no idea what had really happened to him. Then he reached out, took her hand and placed it on his chest so she could feel that his heart no longer beat.

“Did he look younger then?”

“Yes.”

“That must have freaked Lois out.”

“Yes, I believe it did.” He sighed, I think uncomfortable with the subject.

“So what happened next?” I asked as I twirled my fork around in my pasta.

“She started to cry and told him she didn’t want to be a widow. I think part of her thought he was dead already – some kind of a ghost. She broke down and told him how she’d desperately loved him for years, but had kept it hidden from him because of her pride. She’d thought that if she ever told Randall how much she loved him, that things would change between them. She said she wouldn’t be able to stand it if he ever tired of her and looked at another woman. She knew that by denying him what he’d always wanted most, her heart, that she’d kept him all to herself. And here in the end, she finally realized she should have confessed her love for him years ago.

“Randall was stunned, he’d had no idea. He said in that moment of revelation, he could feel the warmth of her hand on his bare chest. Swept up in his lack of understanding of what was happening to him, he felt her blood as it surged through her hand faster and faster, her pulse quickening under her emotions. He could hear her heart beating so loud and so strong. And in that singular moment, he realized that after all these years, it finally beat only for him. He said he’ll never forget how his eyes stared at her hand on his chest, and how he followed the blood in it up her arm until he looked up to see the desperate emotion that filled her eyes. That was when he lost control. The thought of a life without her overwhelmed him and … he bit her.”

Daniel paused for a moment, waiting for me to take in the enormity of what he’d just said.

“Suddenly realizing what he’d done, he dropped her and ran off, leaving her barely alive. He still didn’t know what he’d become, but he knew what he’d done to Lois, and unable to live with the knowledge of it, he fled.

Totally wrapped up in the story, I stared at Daniel.

“You’re not eating, please finish,” he softly urged.

I cut up a meatball and took another bite.

“So then what?”

“I suppose you could say that’s where their story really begins, but let’s save that for another time.”

He reached over and gently placed his hand on mine, and for a moment ran his thumb across my knuckles. It was the smallest of contacts, but even this small sensation generated a tingling down deep inside me. When I looked up into his eyes, he smiled, then pulled his hand back to pretend to take a sip of water as our waitress passed.

I was satisfied for tonight, but I wouldn’t let him forget to tell me what happened next. It would give me something to look forward to. Of course, I was also wondering how I was going to translate all this new information into my genealogy program. I’d have to give that some more thought as well.

I hope you enjoyed this spinet of my novel.  If you’d like to read the entire novel and the four more that follow to experience the entire story of Randall, Lois, Daniel and Sara, go to Amazon.com to purchase the books as either paperback of ebooks:

https://www.amazon.com/Purity-Blood-I-Jennifer-Geoghan-ebook/dp/B00J142WK2

The Purity of Blood, Vol I, by Jennifer Geoghan. Available now on Amazon.com

The Purity of Blood, Vol I, by Jennifer Geoghan. Available now on Amazon.com

-Jennifer

 

6 July 2016: Forgotten Soldiers in a box of old postcards July 6, 2016

My father passed away a little over a month ago and so we’ve started the long process of organizing his belongings.  Dad was a bit of a pack rat but what he did have, I’m finding, was some very odd and interesting items. While home this past weekend I was looking through a box of vintage postcards he’d had and found an odd collection of what look like picture postcards from a military unit stationed in the South Pacific.  From the uniforms I’m going to guess they were taken during World War One.  Wondering who these men might have been I googled US Military in the South Pacific during WWI and discovered that we were indeed fighting there during WWI.  I have to admit, I don’t think I’d ever heard that in school.

img542

According to Wikipedia:

The Asian and Pacific theatre of World War I consisted of various naval battles and the Allied conquest of German colonial possessions in the Pacific Ocean and China. The most significant military action was the careful and well-executed Siege of Tsingtao in what is now China, but smaller actions were also fought at Bita Paka and Toma in German New Guinea. All other German and Austrian possessions in Asia and the Pacific fell without bloodshed. Naval warfare was common; all of the colonial powers had naval squadrons stationed in the Indian or Pacific Oceans. These fleets operated by supporting the invasions of German-held territories and by destroying the East Asia Squadron.  One of the first land offensives in the Pacific theatre was the Occupation of German Samoa in August 29 and 30 1914 by New Zealand forces. The campaign to take Samoa ended without bloodshed after over 1,000 New Zealanders landed on the German colony, supported by an Australian and French naval squadron.

I’m not sure how much involvement American troops had in these actions but I have to assume we were there in some capacity.  I mean, we’re Americans … we generally don’t sit on the sidelines well.

Where did these postcards come from?  I’m not sure.  Dad could have just picked them up someplace because they looked cool but that seems unlikely.  A few of the other cards in the box were addressed to my great uncle Theodore VanSickles (Husband of Dorothy Pauline Wells – Daughter of Williams Rogers Wells) so maybe one of the men in this unit was a friend of his.

So what clues do I have as to who these men might be?  Well, there is writing on the back of two cards.  The first one is:

img528On the back of the card above with the men in the field is written: “I am all so on this picture were the x is. Please write soon.  From your loving son John.”

img531The only other card with writing on it is this one:

img526It says: “This is a picture of three XX Co. when doing a guard. No. 1 is James A Moore.  2. Mr. Lawrence and 3 Corporal McNally.   From John.  P.S. The next letter you write, why xxx me know how many cards that I have sent you while I was in the Army.”

img530

From this I know these cards are of an Army unit. Unfortunately the last name of Lawrence and McNally aren’t much help and neither is James Moore as it’s a very common name.  So here I am posting them on the internet in the hopes that maybe a family member of a man in these photos might find me so I can find a good home for these cards.  Plus I’d really love to know more about what these men were doing during their service to our country.

Here are the rest of the cards:

img545 img544

img540 img543 img541 img539 img538 img537 img536 img535 img534 img533 img532 img527-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, genealogist and author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.

 

2 July 2016: Using Gedmatch.com to find my cousins July 2, 2016

I’ve posted about my experiences using FamilyTreeDNA.com before.  Their site is fine but of course you’re limited to matches of people who’ve uploaded their DNA to that site only.  To widen my DNA net a little more, I downloaded my DNA info from FamilyTreeDNA and uploaded it to GedMatch.com.

GedMatch.com is a free site.  Refreshing, no?  But it’s not exactly user-friendly.  First of all their dashboard page is totally confusing if you don’t have a degree in genetics.  Be that as it may, it was pretty easy to follow their directions on how to download my data from FamilyTreeDNA and upload it onto GedMatch … which was what I thought would be the difficult part.  However GedMatch does not appear to notify you when you have DNA matches in their system.  I’d uploaded my DNA file a while back and was told it would take a few days to upload into their system.  I was never notified that it had been processed and so … completely forgot about it until a few days ago.

Here’s what the main page looks like after you log in:

Gedmatch.com

Gedmatch.com

HINT #1:  When they say to write down you Kit Number …. DO IT.  You have to have that number for everything.

It was yesterday I found the little sticky note with my DNA Kit Number jotted down on it which was what reminded me I’d never heard back from GedMatch.  So I logged back on to the site to see if I’d had any matches.  Looking at the options on the Dashboard had me a little lost.  I expected something like “See Your Matches.”  No, it seems the best way to see your DNA matches is to click on GEDCOM + DNA Matches.  First I’ll say that the best way to search and also be found is to upload a GedCom file for your ancestors.  How do you to this?  Well, if you use any sort of genealogy computer program you can export a gedcom file from it, which is what I did.  The GedCom contained all the names of my ancestors going back 12 generations.  I uploaded the file and connected it to my Kit Number … remember I told you to write down that Kit number!

So after I clicked on GEDCOM + DNA Matches, this is what I get:

My GedMatch Matches

My GedMatch Matches

For the privacy of my matches I’ve blacked out their private info.  I’ll just say they give names and email addresses.  You can click on the number under the column “GEDCOM ID” to get more info on that member.

Individual Detail Display Gedcom member

Again, I blacked out the info for their privacy.  It was this one, about 5 or 6 down on my list, that caught my attention.  They’re from Lanarkshire, Scotland!!!  Yes, that’s where the trail goes cold on my Geoghan Family.  I sent this member and email this morning with all my Geoghan info to see if it rang any genealogical bells for them.  Wish me luck!

So what else can you do on Gedmatch?

I’m not really into the technical DNA stuff but I like to see a good pie chart.  If you click on “Admixture – Heritage” and select the Eurogenes project, this the kind of report you’ll get:

GedMatch - EuroGenes Report for me

GedMatch – EuroGenes Report for me

Looks a lot like the report I got from FamilyTree DNA (See below)

Mtdan Frequency map close up

So what else is on GedMatch?  On the same “Admixture – Heritage” there are several projects to pick from.  Here’s what the MDLP Project looks like:

MDLP Project

MDLP Project

You’re definitely going to want to click on the “Click here for more information” link.  When you do, it takes you to Wikipedia where all those numbers are explained.  My breakdown goes as follows:

  • 40.18% … ENF: the component of the ancient European Neolithic Farmers with the peak in the ancient samples of LBK culture (Lazaridis et al. 2014, Haak et al. 2015). Among the modern populations – the highest values have been detected in Sardinians, Corsicans and Basques.
  • 25.97% … WHG-UHG: the native component of the ancient European Mesolithic hunter-gatherers (Lazaridis et al. 2014, Haak et al. 2015). Among the modern populations – the highest percentage in the population of Estonians, Lithuanians, Finns and others.
  • 21.26% … ANE: component from North-Eurasian component by interpolating the non-East-Asian part of Native Americans’ ancestry.
  • 10.59% … Caucas – Gedrosia: identical to Pontikos’s Caucasus-Gedrosia cluster
  • 0.93% … NearEast: the modal component of Middle Easterners
  • 0.50% … Paleo-African: the modal component of African Pygmies and Bushmen
  • 0.47% … Amerindian: the modal component of the Native American
  • 0.09% … Oceanian: the modal component of the aboriginal inhabitants of Oceania, Austronesian, Melanesia and Micronesia(the peak in modern Papuans and Australian Aborigines)

Basically, I’m European … duh … knew that.  I’m definitely not Native American.  Would be nice though.

Here’s what the Dodecad Project looks like:

Dodecad ProjectThis one seems pretty spot on with what I know about my family.   There are a few other projects that give you different pie charts but they’re all pretty similar.

There are also comparisons that you can do between your DNA test kit and someone else’s. I did it between me and the gal from Lanarkshire.  There were a couple of other matches but really distant looking from the numbers.

There’s also a test called “Are your parent’s related?” Of course I had to check that one out.  Good news …..

Are your parents relatedI see there is something called Tier 1 membership which you have to pay for.  To be honest I can’t see that paying the $10 gets you much other than helping support the site.

So … If you’re a relation of mine and have your DNA results from another site, upload your DNA data onto GedMatch.com and let’s see if we’re related!

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, Genealogist and author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.

 

23 Feb 2016: Will the surnames Wells and Geoghan die out? February 23, 2016

Can a name die?

You wouldn’t really think so, but it’s surprising how close both my parent’s surnames have come to extinction. Reasons why? Mostly not enough sons having sons.

Can a name die

Let’s start with the Geoghans.

John Geoghan (My Grandfather) had five children:

  • Daughter
  • Son 1
  • Son 2
  • Son 3
  • Daughter

Son 1 had one son with the last name Geoghan

Son 2 had one son that does not have the last name Geoghan

Son 3 had two sons, one with and one without the last name Geoghan

So from John Geoghan, of his 12 grandchildren, 8 boys and 4 girls, only TWO BOYS have the last name Geoghan to carry it on to the next generation. Yep, you read that right, only two! Why only two of the four you ask? Those are two really long stories of family drama you wouldn’t believe!

Now let’s go back another generation to my Great Grandfather, Thomas Geoghan.

Thomas had six sons and one daughter. Of all of those children, the only one to produce a son was my grandfather John. So now my brother and cousin are left to carry yet another generation of Geoghans!

My brother has two boys and my cousin has one. So it’s up to those three boys to carry on the name Geoghan if we want to see it survive for our family line.

No pressure there!

Producing an heir ... it ain't just for royals anymore.

Producing an heir … it ain’t just for royals anymore.

So how about the other half of my family, the Wells side. I’m sorry to say they’re not fairing much better.

My grandfather, Williams Rogers Wells, had nine children, six boys and three girls. Here’s how he fared for name carrying male grandchildren:

  • Son 1: 3 sons
  • Son 2: No Children
  • Son 3: No Children
  • Son 4: 3 daughters
  • Son 5: 2 daughters
  • Son 6: 1 daughter

No pressure on “Son 1”, my mom’s uncle Everett Stillman Wells!

So how did Everett’s boys do?

  • Son 1: 1 son and 1 daughter (this son has 2 daughters) DEAD END
  • Son 2: 1 son and 3 daughters (This son has 2 sons and one daughter!!)
  • Son 3: 2 daughters

So it’s down to the two sons of Everett (son of James Wells) to carry on the Wells name!

yayitsaboyfront_1[1]

If you go back another generation in the Wells family, to Williams Rogers Wells’ father, Jonathan Russell Wells, Williams was the only son who produced any children.

If you go back yet another generation to Jonathan Russell Wells’ father Russell Wells, it’s not much better. Russell had three sons, Silas Crandall Wells, Thomas Randall Wells and Jonathan Russell Wells.

Silas had two sons, Wallace Ray Wells and Ray G Wells. Ray died when he was ten. Wallace Ray Wells had a son named Edward Gray Wells, but so far as I know, Edward only had one daughter. So Silas is a DEAD END.

large_itsagirl

Thomas Randall Wells had three sons. Sounds promising, but sadly they all died under ten years of age. So again, DEAD END.

You have to go back to my 4th great grandfather, Randall Wells (my personal favorite ancestor! Read my books to find out why!) to find a wealth of sons with sons. Randall had five sons. His son Russell (my ancestor) as we know only has two male descendants that carry the Wells name.

Randall Wells Jr doesn’t seem to have any living descendants bearing the Wells name. It is possible that the other three sons may have produced enough male heirs to carry on the name. More research on those branches of the family is necessary though.

Anyone looking for a project to take on???? 🙂

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.

 

28 Sept 2015: Hopkinton, RI Fall Festival September 28, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 8:10 am
Tags: ,

I thought I’d pass on to those of you who live in the RI/CT border area that the Hopkinton Land Trust is sponsoring a Fall Festival in Hopkinton on October 10th.

Since I’ve donated to the Land Trust I guess I’m on their email mailing list.  Sure wish I was up there to go, but living in Florida, it would be a but much of a trip for the day.  However, it’s a wonderful cause and if you can attend, I’m sure you’ll have fun and also be supporting a good organization, not to mention spending some time in Hopkinton, the ancestral home of the Wells family here in America.

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Have fun for me!  I sure wish I could go as I wrote a Fall Festival into my novel, The Purity of Blood, which is the book with Randall Wells and Lois (Maxson) Wells as characters in it.  Fall Festivals here in Florida just aren’t the same.  After all, palm trees don’t change color in the fall 😦

-Jennifer

 

5 July 2015: Randall Wells: Making a Fictional Character out of a Real Person July 5, 2015

If you didn’t already know, I have two blogs.  This one and one that is dedicated to my career as a writer.  (https://jennifergeoghannovels.wordpress.com) It’s about what I’ve learned on my journey to becoming the world-famous novelist I’m destined to be (Keep your fingers crossed on that one 🙂 )  This morning, I was working on my post for my writing blog, and as finished, I realized I could just as easily use that post on this blog about the family.  So here’s a preview of tomorrow’s post on my writing blog:

Yesterday I talked about how I used my family tree on Ancestry.com to promote my book series.  Today I thought I’d talk about exactly how you take a person long dead and gone and pull them into the living.  No, I’m not making zombies in my spare time, I’m too busy writing for that nonsense.

Zombies?  Who’s got time to fiddle with that?

In my book series, The Purity of Blood, the general gist is that Sara, my protagonist, is a pure.  A pure is someone whose blood is especially appealing to vampires because of the lack of genetic impurities in  their blood.  This makes them tastier than your average human.  Because they’re pure, people in these families enjoy exceptionally good health, actually they never get sick at all and usually only die of old age.   I go into this more in the books, but suffice it to say, Sara’s family is one of these rare families.

because I’m a genealogist on the side, I love to study the members of my family tree in detail.  It was that dream of meeting some of my long dead ancestors that inspired me to write my novels to begin with.  Problem is, how do you talk to someone who died well over a hundred years ago???  Easy, make them a vampire.  🙂  So in my novels, I give Sara my exact family tree.  Same names, same dates, same everything.  I only changed the names of my actual parents, but other than that, everything I mention in my novels if pretty close to all the research I’ve done on my family tree for the last 25 years.

Exactly how do you do that?

So when I started creating the ideas that would be the crux of my novels, Randall Wells and his wife Lois Maxson were at the heart of it all.  Randall and Lois are my 4th Great-Grandparents.  For unknown reasons, I’ve always had a fondness for them.  Maybe it’s because the house that Randle built still exists today.  Maybe it’s because he’s a patriot ancestor of mine.  Who knows, but for whatever reason, if I could meet any of my ancestors face to face to have a sit down and get the real story of their lives, it would be Randall and Lois.

So enter The Purity of Blood novels …

The Purity of Blood Volume I by Jennifer Geoghan

How do you take real people like Randall and Lois and make them believable characters in a novel?  I mean, what do I really know about who they were as people?  These are the things that puzzle me, that I ponder when I work on my family tree.  Were my ancestors good and kind people?  Were they jerks?  Were they good husbands and wives?

Well, to start with, you start at the beginning, what we know for fact.

Randall Wells Sr.:  Born 30 Sept 1747 In Hopkinton, RI … Died the Fall of 1821 in Hopkinton, RI … Married Lois Maxson (1748-1819) in 1770.  Randall was the son of Edward Wells and Elizabeth Randall, also of Hopkinton for many generations.  Lois and Randall had 6 children.  History books of the area list Randall as a successful farmer with at least 148 acres.  He served in the Rhode Island assembly for a few years and was the Hopkinton Town Treasurer as well as a Justice of the Peace.  Military records show he served many years in the Hopkinton Militia during the Revolutionary War rising at least to the rank of Captain. In his will, he remembers all his children.

But there are more interesting facts that have made their way through time as well. Hopkinton town records books also say that “Voted that Randall Wells have License to sell all sorts of spiritous liquors in his now dwelling house for the space of 6 months from this day (November 1, 1773)”  Him and some other also formed the “Hopkinton Horse Insurance Company,” where you could insure your horse for $1 against theft.  I’m guessing that was the car insurance of the day.

So when I sat down and wondered how all this could tell me what kind of a man Randall was, I took into account the legacy of what he left behind with his children.   The most direct account I have of the legacy Randall left behind is from my Great Aunt Dot.  In here memoirs, she writes of her grandfather Jonathan Wells, who was Randall’s grandson.  She writes Jonathan was a kind considerate courageous man from my father’s point of view and judging from the strict way my father brought us up, yet tender and loving and full of care especially to the ill or competent.”  I like to think that since this tradition of child rearing was passed down to me through my mother and she was a Wells, that perhaps this was how Randall raised his children.  Is this true?  How’s to say, but I chose to believe so and made Randall that way in my novels.

So in my novels, Randall is a young man growing up in Hopkinton.  His father and brothers are all in the farming trade.  The same with Lois’ family.  But how would they have met?  Well, Hopkinton is a small town and probably would have been a small town back then.  However, they were a religious bunch and I have to assume probably didn’t socialize much with the neighboring families outside of church functions.   With this in mind, I wrote it that Randall had only been formally introduced to Lois on one occasion, but that he’d had a crush on her for years.  When he was old enough to marry, he and his father rode over in their carriage to the Maxson house and his father proposed the idea of an arranged marriage between Lois and Randall to Mr. Maxson.  Lois agrees, but she’s not in love with Randall.  She thinks Randall’s very handsome and a man with good prospects, but she only agrees to marry him because it’s a good match for her and she thinks Randall will be good to her.  Love?  Did too many folks marry for love back then?  I don’t know, but I have to imagine that many married in a small town like Hopkinton because it was a “good match.”  Besides, it makes for a better story if the learn to love each other.  Well, in this case, if Lois learns to love Randall, because he’s already head over heals for her.

In my novels, I try to progress the back story of Randall and Lois a little in each book.  When we first meet them, they have a strained and somewhat bizarre relationship.  How did they get this way?  What happened since they met, married, died, became vampires, and the next couple hundred years?  This is what you slowly find out.

What was the hardest part of writing the truth into the books?  Truthfully, it was writing around the fact that Lois dies first!   I hadn’t factored that into my original outline, but if I wanted to be faithful to the realities of their real lives, I had to do some creative thinking.  I have to say, given what I had to work with, I came up with some great reasons why the family WOULD THINK … Lois died first.  But did she???    Actually, in my books, Randall died and became a vampire before Lois did, but the family never knew it.

I really loved how I wrote scenes where Randall would reminisce for his fourth great-granddaughter about live in Hopkinton back in the late 1700’s/early 1800’s.  He tells stories about fighting in the Revolution,  about what life was like on the farm with Lois.  Lois tells the story of how she agreed to marry Randall and how she eventually fell in love with him.  She talks about raising their children and watching them grow, seeing them die, and then watching the next and the next generation of progeny bloom and wither.  Until she’s there talking to Sara, her 4th great-granddaughter.  What would that do to a person, to experience the joy of birth and to know you’d see that baby die?  That would have to take an emotional toll on even a vampire.

So these are some of the thing I thought about when brining Lois and Randall to life.  It’s a lot to consider and I pray that I did them justice.

-Jennifer

I Am Randall

 

 

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.

**********

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.

**********

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….”

**********

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.

**********

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)

***********

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.

 

1 July 2015: City Directories (a look inside the Wells house of 1924/5) July 1, 2015

So have you discovered cities directories as a great resource into your family history yet?  I love them because you can really track people’s movements on the census off years.  Take this page out of the 1924-1925 Hopkinton, RI city directory.  It lists just about every adult with the last name of Wells in the town.  Handy, no?

1924-1925 Hopkinton RI City Directory

1924-1925 Hopkinton RI City Directory

The first Wells listed is Dorothy Pauline, school teacher.  She’s my Great Aunt and the only Wells of her generation I was ever able to meet.  I love how it says she boards with W.R. Wells.  That’s Williams Rogers Wells, her father.  I’m assuming “Boards” implies she was paying Dad some rent.  🙂

The same is said of my Grandfather, Elliot Wells, boarding with dad.  They must have taken this info for the directory before he got married in May 1925.

Williams, Dad, was probably about 70 when this directory went to press.  It doesn’t list an occupation for him so I’ll assume he’d already retired from being a “manufacturer” as he was usually listed.  He died the next year in 1926.  I’d always heard that my grandfather Elliot and his wife Florence stayed living with him at the Wells House, taking care of him until Williams passed away.  This seems to support that.

Strangely, the other son, my great-uncle Williams Jr. was not living in that BIG old house, but lived elsewhere with his wife.  They moved to California at some point and from what I understand didn’t return very often to RI.  For such a close-knit family, I’ve always found that odd.

So if you haven’t already looked, I highly recommend checking out these city directories.  I’ve found them for every decent sized city when I’ve looked.  Ancestry.com has a lot of them scanned and you can search for them easy enough.

Don’t forget, my latest novel, If Love is a Lie, comes out on Amazon in only TWO DAYS, this Friday.  Check it out!

-Jennifer

Only Two Days left until is Love is a Lie is available on Amazon

Only Two Days left until is Love is a Lie is available on Amazon

 

 

29 June 2015: Who are these old Men? June 29, 2015

A friend up in Hopkinton gave me a copy of this photo.  I can identify who one and maybe a second of the elder gentlemen of Hopkinton, RI are, but not the others.

Group of Old Men in Hopkinton, RI

Group of Old Men in Hopkinton, RI

Here’s who I can identify out of the photo:

This is Silas Crandall Wells (1813-1907) son of Russell Wells and Lydia Rogers (Crandall) Wells.  He’s my second great grand-uncle.

Silas Crandall Wells 1813-1907

Silas Crandall Wells 1813-1907

The other man I have a lead on is:  I was told his name was Randall R Wells, but I don’t have a Randall R Wells in my database or any Randall that would fit the dates of the photo.  I’m guessing it was taken pretty close to 1907 as that’s the year Silas (above) died.

Randall R Wells??

Randall R Wells??

So if anyone has any lead on who any of these men are, let me know (jegeoghan@hotmail.com) and I’ll update this post for all to see.

Thanks,

-Jennifer

PS: Don’t forget, my latest novel, If Love is a Lie, is going to be released on Amazon this Friday!!

Only Four Days Left!!! Until If Love is a Lie is released on Amazon!

Only Four Days Left!!!
Until If Love is a Lie is released on Amazon!

 

 

22 June 2015: Editing those old family photos June 22, 2015

Filed under: Wells Family — jgeoghan @ 8:16 am
Tags: , , ,

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while.  I’ve been devoting a ton of my spare time to getting my writing career off the ground.  I still work on little genealogy projects when I need a break from the work of being an independent writer and publisher.  This weekend I was working on findagrave.com adding info and family links to Wallace Ray Wells and his children.  I also work on email questions I get from this blog.  I’m always happy to try and help any Wells in genealogy distress!

So this week while trying to find the best way to edit photos for book promotional images, I came across a site that is great for editing family photos as well. It’s called picmonkey.com.  I highly recommend that you check it out.  Here’s a few photos I played with yesterday:

Before:

The little girl is my mom and the lady next to her in the glasses is my grandmother Florence (Weber) Wells

The little girl is my mom and the lady next to her in the glasses is my grandmother Florence (Weber) Wells

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After:

Wells family in a row

 

 

 

 

 

Before:

Children of Williams Rogers Wells: Forest, Elliot, Nathaniel and Dorothy

Children of Williams Rogers Wells: Forest, Elliot, Nathaniel and Dorothy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After:

Forest  Dot Ellio Nat ad dog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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Hopkinton Land Evidence Book #2, Page 357

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

Signed Sealed and Delivered.

Randall Wells (seal)     Lois Wells (seal)

In the presence of

John Lewis Jur      John Maxson Jur

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

John Maxson Jur Justice of the Peace

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

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I though t this a curious statement:

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

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

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

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book #2, Page 357

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book #2, Page 357

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book #2

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book #2

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

William Tanner                                 Randall Wells (Seal)

Job B. Clarke

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

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

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book

Hopkinton Land Evidence Book

 

 

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

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

Hopkinton Tax Book 1902

Hopkinton Tax Book 1902

Hopkinton Tax Book 1902

Hopkinton Tax Book 1902

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

Hopkinton Tax Book 1902

Hopkinton Tax Book 1902

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

Wells House, Ashaway, RI

Wells House, Ashaway, RI

 

 

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

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

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

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

Here are some pictures I took of the cemetery:

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

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

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Thompson's stone

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Thompson’s stone

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Elizabeth's headstone

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Elizabeth’s headstone

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Thompson's footstone

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Thompson’s footstone

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Elizabeth's footstone

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Elizabeth’s footstone

Thompson Wells Lot #44

Thompson Wells Lot #44

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Panoramic View

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Panoramic View

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Side view with field stones

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Side view with field stones

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Field Stones

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Field Stones

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

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

Thompson Wells Lot #44:  Me and Thompson

Thompson Wells Lot #44: Me and Thompson

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

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

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

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