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Benjamin F. Wells

BENJAMIN F. WELLS is a practical and enterprising farmer residing on section 2 in Kalamo Township, Eaton County, and is the eldest in a family of seven children. His father, Ozias, and mother, Mary (Kennedy) Wells were natives of the State of New York. The grandfather, Green Wells, died in Orleans County, N.Y., at the advanced age of eighty-eight years. The father was a farmer in Madison County, N.Y., where he engaged in agricultural pursuits for some years and then removed to Princeton, N.J., where he worked for an uncle as overseer in the digging of the canal. The mother was born at Half Moon, Saratoga County, N.Y. Her father, John Kennedy, also engaged in farming in Madison County. The mother of our subject resided in New York State until 1837, when she came to Michigan and spent the rest of her days among her chi8ldren and died at the home of our subject, March 20, 1885, being at that time over eight-six years old. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was the mother of seven children, namely: B. F.; Thurston, living at Yates Center, Kan.; William, a resident of Albion Township, Calhoun County, Mich.; Mrs. Anna Perry, a resident of Madison County, N.Y.; Mrs. Jane Hummeston, who died at Vermontville, this county; Mrs. Lucinda Hall, residing at Chittenango, Madison County, N.Y., and Mrs. Nancy Doolittle, residing in Clarendon, Calhoun County.

Our subject was born in Chittenango, Madison County, N.Y., March 27, 1819, and was reared on a farm. He attended the district school through the winter season and worked on the home farm during the summer. He remained at home after his father's death and in company with his brother ran the farm. Two of the brothers made their home with uncles in Orleans County. The mother finally sold her share and came to Michigan in 1837. She purchased about one hundred and twenty acres of land, it being just as the Indians had left it. Our subject was induced to come to Michigan to make a home and came by canal to Buffalo, and thence to Toledo by the steamer, "New England," and by rail to Adrian, accomplishing the rest of the journey by stage. He then engaged in work for an uncle. The first summer and fall he built a log house and moved in to it December 8, 1827. The land surrounding this cabin abounded in deer, wild turkeys and game of all kinds. He then began breaking ground, having brought a plow from New York. He used an ox-team that he purchased in Adrian to draw the plow. After working and clearing up this land until 1840, he returned to New York, and remained in Madison County for two years. At the end of that time he returned to Clarendon Township and purchased one hundred and sixty acres. In 1860 he traded this tract of land for one hundred and sixty acres on section 2. This property was but partly improved. He moved his family there by team and has since steadily continued in the work of improving the estate.

On this farm the land is all tillable with no waste such as swamps would occasion. Over five acres is spread a fruitful orchard, and each year good crops of grain, wheat, etc. are raised. Mr. Wells raises a good grade of cattle and stock and has a fine flock of Merino sheep. His farm is situated three miles from Vermontville. In 1874 Mr. Wells erect a handsome brick house and has since built two barns, one 40 x 70 and the other 40 x 36 feet in dimensions. Besides many natural springs on this farm there is a windmill and tank that furnishes water for the cattle.

Mr. Wells has been twice married, the first time to Miss Ann M. Benham, in 1838. Mrs. Wells was born in Hopewell, Ontario County, N.Y. Her father Lewis Benham, was one of the early settlers in Clarendon Township, this State, where he resided until his death, which occurred in Albion, Mich., May 25, 1886. By this marriage Mr. Wells has four children: Alice, wife of M. G. Parker, residing in Jackson, this State; George F., a farmer in Roxana Township, living on a farm containing forty acres; Clark E., married, residing at Vermontville, and the owner of a farm of one hundred acres; and Perry B., married to Tina Boyd, and residing in Vermontville on a large and fertile farm containing one hundred acres. Our subject was a second time married at Peterboro, Madison County, N.Y.,  March 26, 1857, to Miss Melissa R. Hamilton. Mrs. Wells was born in Nelson, Madison County, N.Y., and is the daughter of John Hamilton, a farmer of that county. She is the mother of two children--Clinton K. and Clayton H., twins, the first residing at home and the second in Chautauqua County, Kan., where he is engaged in agricultural pursuits.

Mr. Wells, the gentleman of who we write, has filled many prominent positions in the county, holding the office of Commissioner of Highways for fifteen years Justice of the Peace, twelve years, Supervisor five years, and School Director and Pathmaster for several years. He has also served on different committees in county work. Socially, he is connected with some of the prominent orders, holding high positions in each. He is member of the Free and Accepted Masons at Vermontville, the Royal Arch Masons at Charlotte, and the Knights Templar at the same place. In politics Mr. Wells votes the Republican ticket and in 1854 served as a delegate to one of the conventions. Three of his sons are members of the two Masonic orders to which the father belongs. Mrs. Wells is one of the consistent working members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Wells is unusually well informed, and his public spirit and enterprise correspond with his intelligence. He has always labored earnestly to promote the cause of education and to advance the agricultural interests of his township. His farm of one hundred and sixty acres is one of the finest in the township, and his home is supplied with all the comforts of life and made cheerful and attractive by the good taste of himself and his estimable wife. His social qualities are such as to render him extremely popular, especially among his brother Masons and he is looked upon as a man whose future promises to be very useful.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Barry and Eaton Counties, Mich., Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County ... [and] the Presidents of the United States and Governors of the State. Chapman bros: 1891. pp. 278-279.

 

 

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