Wells Family Genealogy

The study of my Family Tree

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.


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 :-(



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.


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!


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.



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:


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









Wells family in a row







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

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












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.


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.


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





Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 78 other followers