William H. Wells (1840 – )

“WILLIAM H. WELLS owns and occupies a snug homestead on section 2 in Burr Oak Township, where to a great extent he has carried out the theory of Horace Greeley, ‘ that a small acreage well tilled is more desirable than a large area of land partially neglected.’  His 13 acre farm is consequently brought to a high state of cultivation and he has good improvements, including the necessary buildings and a cider mill, which he operates profitably both for himself and his neighbors.

Our subject, essentially an Ohio man, was born in Seneca County, that State, Jan. 3. 1840, at the modest homestead of his parents in Thompson Township. His father, William Wells, was a farmer by occupation, and a native of Bellefontaine, Pa., and married in early manhood Miss Susan Barger. The parents settled among the pioneers of Seneca County, Ohio, where they lived until 1860, and then came to this county. The father died at the home of his son W. H., in Burr Oak, Sept. 24, 1888, when over seventy-seven years of age, having been born in May, 1811. The mother is still living.

Four sons of the parental family served as soldiers in the late Civil War. The eldest, Benjamin F., is now a brick manufacturer of Scott City, Kan. One daughter died when twenty years of age. Benjamin F., in 1861, enlisted as a Union soldier at Three Rivers, in the 11th Michigan Infantry, which was under command of Col. Stoughton, but organized under Col. May, of White Pigeon. Their duties lay mostly with the Army of the Cumberland. Benjamin F. was in active service, escaped wounds and capture, and at the expiration of his term of enlistment received his honorable discharge. He was all through the Georgia campaign, his regiment being most of the time with the 23d Army Corps.

Our subject, following the example of his brothers, also entered the ranks, becoming a member of Company F, 1st Michigan Light Artillery, in which he rendered a faithful service of three years. He also went with his regiment through the Georgia campaign, and participated in many of the important battles of the war, including the siege of Atlanta and the battle of Nashville. He also was fortunate, receiving only a wound by the accidental discharge of a pistol, on account of which he draws a pension. After a faithful service of three years he was given his honorable discharge near the close of the war, on the 14th of January, 1865, at Nashville, Tenn. His brother George belonged to the 103d Ohio Infantry, and, less fortunate than the others, fell a victim to the rebel atrocities of Libby Prison, being captured and confined in that terrible stockade, where he was deprived of his shoes, and where his feet were frozen, rendering him a cripple for life. He also is a pensioner, and is now living on his farm near Pulaski, Williams Co., Ohio. Jacob Wells, the other brother, also enlisted in the 103d Ohio Infantry, and, at the battle of Beverly, W. Va., was wounded in the small of the back, and received an honorable discharge after a service of three years. He also draws a pension, and is a resident of Illinois.

Our subject, after returning from the army, took up his residence in this county, and in the fall of 1867 was united in marriage with Miss Esther E. Ware, who was a native of Pennsylvania, and was born April 22, 1840. Mrs. Wells is the daughter of Phillip and Esther A. (Graeely) Ware, who were natives of Lehigh County, Pa., and emigrated to Michigan about 1860, the father taking up a tract of land in Colon Township, this county, where he labored until his death. The mother is also deceased.

To our subject and his estimable wife there have been born ten children—Milton A., Wilson, Edwin, Rose, Matilda, Malinda, Esther A., Susan, Marinda and Clinton, the latter of whom is deceased.”

Source:  Portrait and Biographical Album of St. Joseph County, Michigan, Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1889, pages 332 and 335



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