George S. Wells

 

George S. Wells , a prominent citizen of Geneseo, has been identified with the development of he farming interests of Henry County since his removal hither in 1855. He was born in Guildhall, Essex Co., Vt. , Oct. 27, 1834 . John Sullivan Wells, his father, was born in Durham , N. H., Oct. 18, 1803 . The name of Sullivan was given him because it was the family name of his maternal grandmother, who was the daughter of John Sullivan, of Berwick , Me . , and the sister of Gen. John Sullivan, after whom Sullivan’s Island was named, and of James Sullivan, who was one of the Governors of the State to which the island belongs.  John S. Wells secured by active life in his younger days the foundation of a robust, physical development, and obtained a sound elementary education.

   He entered upon the preparatory to the profession of a lawyer at Pembroke Academy , and was afterwards a student of law in the office of Hon. D. C. Atkinson, of Sanbornton, and later he completed his course under the preceptorship of Hon. W. Mattox, of Vermont . He began his practice at Guildhall, and five years after removed to Lancaster, N. H.  In 1846 he went thence to Exeter , in the same State, where he passed the remainder of his life in the active prosecution of his business, and in the service of his generation. He represented the town of Lancaster for four terms in the State Legislature, and in 1841 was the Speaker of the House. He acted in the capacity of Solicitor of the county Coos several years. He was State Senator from his district, and in the session of 1852-3 he officiated as the President of that body. In 1847 he was made Attorney General of New Hampshire, but resigned the position at the end of a year. In 1854 he was the Democratic nominee for the United States Senator, and was elected in the Senate, but was defeated in the House by five votes, on account of his, endorsement of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill. In 1855 he was again a candidate for the same office and received the unqualified support of his friends. In the same year he was appointed by Gov. Baker to fill a vacancy caused by the death of Senator Norris. In 1856-7, he was the Democratic candidate for Governor of the State, and managed the canvass in such a manner that the Republicans failed to carry the State on the popular vote, and the result was accomplished in the Assembly. Mr. Wells was a Delegate to two Democratic National Conventions, and in 1858 was one of the Visiting Committee to West Point . He was a man of refined tastes, scholarly attainments and spotless character. He was a gentleman of the old school, courtly, chivalrous and well bred, and under all circumstances, even in the heat of political debate, and in the ardor of a closely contested campaign, he never descended from the dignity which was his distinguished trait.

   He married Rebecca E. Bellows, in 1832. The family to which his wife belonged is well known in the circles of influence and intelligence. She was the daughter of Josiah Bellows, of Lancaster, N. H., and was a member of the same generation as the Rev. Dr. Bellows, of New York . The family of Bellows is of English origin and were Normans . They settled in England in 1066, and fac similes of their coats of arms are preserved by the descendants. John Bellows, who came to America on the “ Hopewell ” in 1635, is the first ancestor who settled in the United States .  Benjamin Bellows, his grandson, was the founder of Walpole, N. H., and from him the line is distinct. He was the grandfather of Mrs. Wells. John S. Wells died at Exeter , Aug. 1, 1860 .

   They had six children, of whom three are yet living. They were born in the following order: Henry B., George S., Nellie, Kate V., John S. and Emma. The two oldest sons and the second daughter are the survivors. The latter married Thomas Reddington, and lives in the city of Washington , D. C..  H. B. Wells is a merchant in Boston , Mass .

   Mr. Wells, of this personal account, was 13 years of age when his father removed his family to New Hampshire . He went to sea before he reached the age of 20. He entered the merchant service, and sailed from Boston to Liverpool , making but a single voyage. Later he went to the city of New York , and there embarked in mercantile business, and was afterwards similarly interested in trade in the city of Boston .

   He came to Henry County in 1855, and bought a farm in the township of Edford . It is situated on section 23, and comprises 160 acres. The proprietor has put the place under excellent improvements, and has erected a good class of buildings for farming purposes. In 1872 he removed to the city of Geneseo , but retains the ownership and personal supervision of his farm.

   Oct. 4, 1859 , he contracted a matrimonial alliance with Nellie P. Stewart, of Geneseo. She was born in Fowlerville, in the State of New York , and is the granddaughter of Roderick R. Stewart, one of the earliest settlers in Henry County , and of whom a full account may be found in another department of this work. She is the daughter of I. N. Stewart, who is deceased. Fred Burt, born Nov. 22, 1872 , at Geneseo, is the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Wells.

   Mr. Wells is a Republican, and adheres to the principles of temperance. He has supported the issues of the former party since its organization. He has served in the capacity of Alderman of Geneseo two years.

 

1885 Portrait & Biographical Album of Henry Co., Illinois   page 435

 

Transcribed by Jan Roggy

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