THE LEADING CITIZENS OF MADISON COUNTY

CONTENTS
Preface
Names Index
Portrait Index


  LYMAN WELLS, a retired farmer of Hamilton, who has been one of the most progressive and successful of that large class of useful and honorable citizens, was born in the town of Nelson, Madison County, in November, 1821. His father, Joshua Wells, son of Joshua, was born in Rhode Island, July 17, 1771. Joshua Wells, Sr., was a Rhode Island farmer who emigrated to Madison County, settling in the town of Brookfield on a farm, where he lived until his death, in 1831, when he was ninety years old. He was one of the hard-working, typical pioneers, who cleared his land of its timber, cultivated his fields, built his fences, erected his house and his barns, and performed his full share of the work necessary to convert the wilderness into a place fit for the habitation of civilized man. He was twice married, and reared three sons by his first wife, their names being Joshua, Gardner, and Robert.
  Joshua, Jr., came to this new country with his wife, Cassandra Collins, in 1792, when he was but twenty-one years old, and she was nineteen. A year or two previously he had been out to this county, making his first journey most of the way on foot, and bringing with him four hundred dollars in gold. Upon this first trip he bargained for a farm in Deerfield, Oneida County. But, being informed by one of the settlers that the title thereto was defective, he gave up the purchase, and selected eighty acres in the town of Nelson, Madison County, upon which he erected a log cabin; and it was to this farm and to this abode that in 1792 he brought his bride. His second journey was made with an ox-team, and for a considerable distance he cut his own way through the woods. Upon this eighty-acre farm he and his family lived for many years, at first his nearest grist-mill being north of Utica and about forty miles distant from his home, the journey hither and thither requiring two full days. When he began to sell his pork and wheat, he hauled these products of his farm to Albany with his team of horses. During his earlier residence in this new country the woods contained all kinds of wild beasts and game that were indigenous to this climate and this country, such as wolves, deer, bears, and so forth, of which Mr. Wells was one of the successful hunters, the killing of wild beasts being necessary in order to protect domestic animals, and that of game being needful for the replenishing of the family larder.
  Being a strong and rugged man, full of energy and industry, of good habits and of sound judgment, Mr. Wells accumulated property; and soon his eighty-acre farm upon which he first settled was enlarged to one hundred and fifty acres. His first child, Palmer, born June 12, 1796, was the first white child born in the town of Nelson. He died of consumption, March 12, 1823. Joshua and Cassandra Wells had in all eleven children, of whom these grew to mature years Lydia, George, Clark, Amanda, Eunice, Henrietta, Joshua, and Betsey. The youngest died in infancy with its mother. The two still living are: Eunice, born December 12, 1808; and Joshua, born in 1811, now a retired farmer of West Eaton. Eunice is the widow of George Warren, of Richmond, Mo. The father was married a second time to Mrs. Mary Wellington, nee Fletcher, by whom he had five children, two sons and three daughters, namely: Mary, who was a teacher for several years, and. who died a single lady, aged forty-two; Jonathan, who was a farmer, and died in 1867, aged forty-eight, leaving one son; Lyman, the subject of this sketch; Emily, who married Thomas Medbury, of Madison County, and died in October, 1867, aged forty-four, leaving a family; and Ruth, who died February 2, 1893, aged sixty-seven. The mother of these children died August 6, 1839, aged fifty-five years. Mr. Wells died January 27, 1864, aged ninety-three, leaving a valuable estate, besides having assisted his children largely when they desired to begin life for themselves. He was a devoted member of the Baptist church, and his home was for many years headquarters in these parts for members and ministers of that denomination.
  Lyman Wells received a good education in the district school, and was married February 12, 1850, to Miss Ambrosia Turner, of Erieville, Madison County, a daughter of Captain Benjamin and Esther (Medbury) Turner. Mr. and Mrs. Wells immediately began life for themselves on a one-hundred-and-sixty acre farm in the town of Georgetown, upon which they continued to live and labor for sixteen years. April 1, 1866, they removed to Hamilton, and bought for one thousand two hundred dollars their present fine lot, containing a modest dwelling, in which they lived until 1876, commencing in 1874 to build their present large mansion, moving into it in 1876. Mrs. Wells died April 22, 1887, at the age of sixty-one; and Mr. Wells was married the second time November 25, 1890, to Mrs. Amanda Hall, nee Smith, daughter of David D. and Althea (Preston) Smith and widow of William J. Hall, the latter of whom died in, 1876, at the age of forty-two, leaving one son, Fred. R., now of Chicago, married, and has one daughter. Mr. Wells still owns his fine farm in Georgetown, but is practically retired from active business, and is living in his pleasant home, which occupies half a block in the charming village of Hamilton, enjoying the companionship of his most estimable wife, both being among the most highly respected and honored people of the place.
  Mr. Wells is independent in regard to politics, voting always for the man rather than the party. Mrs. Wells is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church of Hamilton.

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