Aaron Wells Family Association

Newsletter #27?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? January 2001


Aaron Wells and Ruth Wiggins were married 31 July (bond), 3 August (minister’s return), 1790. Children: Nathan, Elizabeth A., Rachel E., Drucilla & Ruama, Sarah “Sally?W., Nancy, William W., Robert, John W., Ruth, Aaron, Mary “Polly? Daniel & Uriah.?




Wells Family Reunion

Sunday, July 15, 2001

11:00 a.m.?:00 p.m.


North Central 4-H Center

Carlisle, Kentucky



Lucy Thompson




Jon Hagee

3021 Stanford Drive

Lexington, KY?40517

Day (859)257-5320 ext 321

Eve (859)271-2918





Betty Jo Wells

R. R. 2, Box 215

Mount Olivet, KY 41064

(606) 724-5696


Newsletter Editor

Patricia Roane Straube

131 Robinhood Drive?????

San Francisco, CA?94127

(415) 334-6300 straube@earthlink.net


DNA Project

Message from the President


Dear Wells cousins,


It has been a busy year for me! I'm looking forward to seeing you all this summer. We have a very exciting project that we'll be giving more details on in the next newsletter. There is a worldwide DNA project being organized and we have been chosen to participate because of the mysterious ancestry of our Aaron Wells. This means that after years of interesting but sometimes frustrating research, we may be able to trace our ancestry to one of the major Wells family groups. Isn't modern science wonderful! We will want to have a big turnout, the more participants, the better chance that we will get positive results from the project.


A lot of you have been doing Wells research this past year. The internet continues to be a marvelous genealogy and communication tool. Several "new" cousins have contacted Patricia and me looking for Wells and Wiggins information. Associated families are coming closer as we find out more about our common kin. Patricia has dug up some interesting things about Edmond Collins Burden, who married Uriah's daughter Nancy D. Wells. Several cousins fought together in the Civil War. My own ancestor, Corporal Oscar P. Overbey fought alongside his brother James and cousin Edmond in the Confederate's 1st Battalion of Kentucky Mounted Rifles. Edmond's mother was Elizabeth Collins and he was named after his grandfather Edmond Collins who married Sarah Kenton, Simon Kenton's niece. This couple are also the ancestors of all the Wells descending from William W. and Daniel Wells including me. So you see, it all ties together!


Betty Jo has reserved our regular building at the Carlisle 4-H Camp on July 15th. We'll have detailed directions in the next newsletter. Let's bring a lot of our research to this year's reunion. Bring your families. Make it a goal to remind 10 family members about the reunion this year. That includes Wiggins, Mitchell, Ward, Evans, Callon. Also Harmon, Barlow, Collins, Thomas, Rice, Young, Durrum, Rankin, Barnett, Burden, Curtis, Overbey and McConnell. Let's support this exciting new Wells DNA project. It will be good to see you all!

????????????????????????Your Cousin,



Treasurer’s Report


Dear Cousins,


Here we are well into another new year. I do hope each of you enjoyed a happy holiday season. In this part of the country we had a white Christmas along with some below normal temperatures.


On January 7th, I was able to attend the Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary Celebration for our cousins Dickie and Helen Wells Rankin in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Many of you know the enthusiasm that she and her sister Ruth bring to our reunion each year. This was a very enjoyable winter afternoon with their lovely family and friends amid picturesque surroundings. We extend congratulation from the members of our association


At this point we have $1,079.00 in our treasury. I have just written a check for $137.00 for the publication of our last newsletter.


We would appreciate any donations that you care to contribute. It is never too early to start making crafts to bring to our reunion. May each and everyone of you have a healthy, happy and prosperous new year.


????????????????????????Respectfully submitted,

????????????????????????Betty Jo Wells



Letter from the Editor


Welcome to all the new subscribers to our newsletter, and in several cases ?newfound cousins:

Descendants of Ruth Wells and William Callon: Jerre Callon Williams, her sister Harrilyn Callon Ellis and their cousin, Terri Corpuz O’Brien. Descendants of Elizabeth Ashcraft Wells and William Wiggins: Marilyn Hill and her cousin-in-law, Dixie Rath Fuller. Look for their contributions of new information in the current newsletter.


Please remember to write me at my new address:

131 Robinhood Drive

San Francisco, CA? 94127-1626

and share your news. And don’t forget to let me know of your own changes of address. My email address is <straube@earthlink.net>.



?/span>??????????????????????? Patricia Roane Straube

????????????????????????Newsletter Editor






Our cousin Wendell Curtis, a descendant of William W. Wells and Matilda Collins, has taken much of the family history research done by his brother Carroll and posted it on a web site?< ftp://wcurtis:snert@personal.bellsouth.net/pub/lig/w/c/wcurtis/JOB%20CURTIS%20OF%20VA%20HOMEPAGE.HTML>. It has lots of great stories and pictures, not only about the Curtis family but also the Wells, Jett, Overbey and Mann families. Check it out!?


Excerpt from the Francis Edwin "Frank" Curtis section of Curtis: Some Descendants of Jonathan and Job Curtis of Virginia:?


Walter Curtis (B. June 3, 1900, D. August 8, 1965) the fifth son of Frank and Alletha [Overbey] Curtis, married Lemira Edith Swart6 on May 30, 1925. Edith (B. December 13, 1906, D. June 28, 1997) was the daughter of Eva Jane Mullikin5 Swart [Leonard Franklin Mullikin4, Matilda Wiggins3, Elizabeth Ashcraft Wells2, Aaron1] and Walter Newton Swart. Walter Curtis describes his wedding day thus: "We got near Sardis (just across the Robertson County line) and ran out of gasoline. I walked to Sardis and got some gas and a preacher and brought them back to the Ford. I had told the preacher what I wanted and a crowd followed us. We were married in the Ford. I thought it was fitting since we became engaged in it."


In 1940 Walter bought a garage, arcade, and feed mill in Sardis, and in the fall of that year he and his family moved to Sardis. In 1944 he purchased a bus and a contract, with the Board of Education, and began transporting students to Deming School in Mt. Olivet. Walter drove the school bus for eighteen years. Walter served as Justice of the Peace, for the Sixth Magisterial District of Mason County, during the late '40s. During the process of renovating the large building he had bought in Sardis, Walter did his first electrical wiring and plumbing work. He later went into the electrical and plumbing business and continued until shortly before his death in 1965.



Walter sold his business in Sardis and he and Edith moved to Mt. Olivet in January 1950. In February, of that year, they moved for the last time to their home on East Main Street. In 1951 Walter was appointed and later elected to the Mt. Olivet Board of Trustees and served for several years. Edith continued to live in this house for a number of years following Walter's death. She eventually moved back to Sardis near her daughter Joella Carpenter's home and remained there until shortly before her death on June 28, 1997.




Mary L. Wood4 was the daughter of Andrew Wood and Jane Wiggins3 [Elizabeth Ashcraft Wells2, Aaron1]. In the 1900 Census of Robertson County, the household of Alfred and Mary Shepherd included his mother-in-law, Janie Davis, a widow. On March 8, 1888, Jesse S. Davis married Mrs. Jane Wood in Robertson County. She is buried in the Piqua Methodist Church Cemetery where her stone reads: “Jane Wood 1826-1901.?






William Wiggins, father of Ruth Wiggins, gave consent for her to marry Aaron Wells. Other than that fact, little else is known about him. Our cousin, Don Claypool, a descendant of Elizabeth Ashcraft (Wells) Wiggins, has a doubly good reason to research the Wiggins side of our family. He and I have been sharing our research, which has grown to include all the Wiggins in north central Kentucky. Other early settlers include brothers, Phillip and Archibald Wiggins, sons of Thomas and Matilda Wiggins of Hampshire Co., Virginia (now West Virginia.) Fortunately Thomas left a will in 1778 naming his children so we know William wasn't a member of his immediate family. We've had to research all these families since they lived in the same areas at the same time with many of the same names (Ruth, for example) and are undoubtedly related. We haven't gotten a "breakthrough" yet, but we have found some very intriguing information and clues for further research.


Don received the following email from Richard Wiggins <wiggins@ieee.org>, a descendant of Daniel K. Wiggins of Louisiana:


Last week, I spent a day in Hagerstown, Maryland, the county seat of Washington County. In the Western Maryland Room at the Washington County Free Library, I found a reference to early Land Records of Frederick County. Washington County was formed from a part of Frederick County in 1776. Included are the following two references to land records of interest:

?? " Daniel Ashcraft recorded deed 28 Aug. 1753 made 14 June 1753 between Col. Thomas Cresap of Frederick County, for 30 pcm MD, part of tract of land called "Boyle's Cabin," about a mile and a half below the mouth of Cataphin Creek, which is in Virginia, containing 60 acres more or less. Signed Thos Cresap, before Thos. Cresap Junr., Joseph Flint. Deed acknowledged before Thomas Prather, Nath. Wickham, Receipt. AF paid."?

??? "Joseph Flint recorded deed 17 Aug 1757, made 1 April 1757 between Daniel Ashcraft of Frederick County for 100 pcm MD, sells tract containing 60 acres, formerly surveyed for Col. Thomas Cresap. but by mutation become property of Daniel Ashcraft, called "Boyles's Cabbin" on Potomac River, adj. to William Wiggin's part of tract. signed Daniel Ashcraft before Philip Jackson, Jarvis Hougham. Receipt. Ack. AF & duty paid."


From the above, it appears that the tract of land owned by William Wiggins in Maryland had been acquired before 1757 and was part of a tract called "Boyles Cabbin."


At the County Courthouse, I found land records that included a transcription of the deed recorded by Owen Robey on May 29th, 1789 in which William Wiggins sold a tract of land called "-------" Cabbin for 60 pounds. I am unable to make out the name of the tract. It looks like "Grafsoy."?Perhaps if I can find the original deed, I will be able to make out the name. This property was "conveyed into the said William Wiggins by Joseph Flint" and contained "fifty acres more or less. On the back of the deed, appears a statement that Elizabeth, wife of said William Wiggins "examined out of the hearing of her husband" relinquished all her rights to the mentioned land. It is my understanding that the original deeds of these early transactions are now housed in Annapolis, Maryland.


At the Historical Society I was able to buy a map showing many early land patents with the tract of land called "Boyles Cabbin" right along the Potomac River. On another map, a similar area was marked "Bayless Cabbin". There are apparently land patents for the tract of land known as "Bayless Cabbin" in the Hancock District in 1748 and 1752. I didn't have time to track these down but I plan to be in contact with the Librarian and hope to find out where I might find them. As I'm sure you know, there seem to be lots of variation in the spellings of names.


Now we know for sure that William Wiggins' wife's name was Elizabeth and that one of his immediate neighbors was Daniel Ashcraft. Joseph Flint, the witness to these deeds, was the father of Mary Flint who married Archibald Wiggins. It appears that William Wiggins sold his land in Maryland in May of 1789 and in July of the following year gave his consent in Mason Co., Kentucky. We don't have Richard's copy of the map to know the location of "Cataphin" Creek, but from the land records of Hampshire Co., Virginia we have found that those Wiggins lived on the waters of the Cacapon River. The Cacapon-Town watershed along the Potomac drains both in Hampshire Co. (Cacapon) and in Washington Co., Maryland (Town). Further downstream is Catoctin Creek, which is another branch of the Potomac, and is part of another watershed which drains Washington and Frederick Counties in Maryland and Loudon Co., Virginia.


The sources of Richard's information have some very good web sites:


Washington County, Maryland Free Library,



Washington County, Maryland Historical Society



Maryland State Archives



However none of the original sources appear to have been printed, filmed or digitalized. But for anyone able to perform the necessary research in Maryland, the chances of success appear to be excellent.



Another Wiggins Link


We have some newly discovered Wells cousins with another Wiggins link. Dixie Rath Fuller’s husband, Henry, and his 1st cousin, once removed, Marilyn Hill, are descendants of Elizabeth Jane Mullikin4, daughter of William Mullikin and Matilda Wiggins3 [Elizabeth Ashcraft Wells2, Aaron1] Elizabeth Jane Mullikin married John Wiggins November 30, 1869 in Robertson Co. Henry and Marilyn are the descendants of the fourth of their five daughters, Matilda Wiggins born?6 Dec 1876 in Mount Olivet, Robertson County, KY. She married Leslie Fuller 13 May 1895. She died 1 Nov 1953 in Campbell County, KY. Leslie was born 6 Sept 1876 in Bracken County, KY. He died 6 Jul 1954 in Campbell County, KY. Both are buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Campbell County, KY.


John Wiggins, who was born about 1844, was apparently the son of Thomas and Margaret Wiggins of Mason Co. and a Veteran of the Civil War. We’re all still actively researching this family but it is most likely that Thomas was the son of Archibald and Rachel Wiggins who are buried in Shannon Methodist Church Cemetery, Mason Co., KY.


Jon Hagee has written a fascinating account of literally “digging up?the evidence that this Archibald Wiggins was neither Archibald of Hampshire Co., Virginia nor his son , Archibald Jr. Don Claypool has evidence that he was known as?Archibald “Little?Wiggins. Whether this was a middle name or a nickname is unclear. His relationship to the other Wiggins is currently unknown. Stay tuned as we try to put all these Wiggins in their proper places.

In the meantime, check out Jon’s Wiggins Research web page at:



?i style='mso-bidi-font-style: normal'>Archible Wigen’s?tombstone was found several dozen yards from the Wiggins Family Plot half-buried in the sod. He died Feb 22, 1847 in his 73rd year. His wife Rachel’s stone, which was found in a pile nearby, reads “died July 14, 1854 in her 84th year.?/i>


?/span>A Dream Come True


By Luella Wells

Reprinted from Newsletter #3, November, 1988


When you were a kid, did you ever have the urge to run away from home and join the circus?


Well, that's just what Oakley and Hartsel, sons of Irvin Wells [Christopher Columbus3, Uriah2, Aaron1] did back in 1932. They started with The Mighty Haag Circus as comedy acrobats. Next it was with The Kay Bros. Circus where they learned to perform on the triple horizontal bars under the tutelage of Paul LeRoy, Two other young men joined the act to learn bars, one of which was none other than Burt Lancaster. Comedy acrobatics then became their number two act, plus they filled in as clowns.


In the spring of 1935 they signed with The Clyde Beatty Cole Bros. Circus. The show opened indoors in Chicago before going on the road. After the show closed it was home to Indiana to visit family and teach their oldest brother, Herman, all they could before spring. Their partner and teacher, Paul LeRoy, was retiring for health reasons. In 1936 they again joined The Clyde Beatty Cole Bros. Circus with Herman completing the act. Thus the billing, The Wells Bros. Trio, was born.


Then they went to theater work and special events in winter. In the spring they signed with a circus until time for state and county fairs. After fair time it was theaters again. This was the usual except for the winter of 1938 when they toured Cuba for 15 weeks. Then, in February of 1942, they were forced to give up traveling because of World War II. The original Trio gave their final performance in The State Theater in Baltimore, Maryland on February 7, 1942. One by one they were inducted into the service of their country. Oakley made the supreme sacrifice on October 12, 1944 when he was killed near Aachen, German.


After the war the two remaining tried settling down, however by fall of 1948 the smell of grease paint and the urge to travel took over. This time their brother, Quentin, joined the act and once again it was The Wells Bros. Trio. Their first booking was Haiti, then to Aruba, next came Curacao, on to Venezuela, and the final stop in Jamaica before returning to the USA in the spring of?'49. After a summer with the circus they went to Los Angeles for theater work, once sharing the billing with The Will Maston Trio featuring Sammy Davis jr. Another notable engagement was with The Spade Cooley Show in the Ballroom on the Santa Monica Pier, which was televised.


Early in 1950 The Trio went to Venezuela again. This time to Caracas where they worked for several weeks in an amusement park called Coney Island. Then back to the USA with a circus. Later in the year a tragic accident, while the show was en route between engagements, killed the owner and a number of show horses, eliminating two acts and causing the show to close. The trio again showed fairs and did some shows with the Super Circus in Chicago that were televised nationally. At the close of the 1950 season, Herman left the act not to return.


During the next couple of years Hartsel and Quentin worked as a duo. Then, in the winter of 1953, The Wells Bros. Trio billing went up again. This time it was the youngest, Delmar, who completed the act. Their first engagement was in Puerto Rico. Most of the balance of?'54 was routine until fall when they went to work for Roy Rogers at The Canadian National Exposition in Toronto. This was their last show and what a finale it was, with one of the best in show business.

Besides working in South America, the Caribbean, and various places in Canada, they were in just about every state in the United States. Their very first circus, The Mighty Haag, performed at the fairgrounds in Mount Olivet, Kentucky. This is the exact spot where Lucy and Howard Thompson later had their home.


If all this sound like an exciting way to live, read on. The early years meant traveling by truck, sleeping and eating in tents, bathing and doing laundry in pails. With The Clyde Beatty Cole Bros. Circus, life was easier. They traveled by train and had berths every night - no air-conditioning though! Finally they got their own cars and travel trailers. Much of the time it meant two or more shows a day, loading up after the last show about 11:00 pm then taking turns driving most of the night to reach the next destination for shows that same day.


If any of you old-timers ever saw an act billed The Wells Bros. Trio, you probably had no idea you were watching kin.


Additions and Corrections


Thanks goes to Dixie Fuller and Marilyn Hill for doing look-ups in the Kentucky Death Certificates.


P. 36, Nathan Wells Jr. , son of Nathan Wells2, Aaron1] died April 29, 1921 in Kenton Co. at the age of 90 years. A retired carpenter,. he was born September 30, 1830 the son of? Nathan Wells of Sardis, Kentucky.


P. 48, Walter Wells, son of?Christopher Columbus Wells3 ?/span>[Uriah2, Aaron1] was born June 1, 1876 and was single when he died April 8, 1941 in Mason Co. though his usual residence was in Bracken Co. The Walter E. Wells who married Hattie Hitt was born July 17, 1887 and died March 26, 1922 in Bracken Co. and was the son of Everett Wells and Lousetta Parsons, apparently no relation to our family.



The Blue and the Gray


When it first became known that William and Ruth (Wells) Callon’s son, James B. F. Callon served as a sergeant in Co. K of the 1st Cavalry of the 28th Regiment of Indiana Volunteers [see Newsletter #25, January 2000], I began to wonder about some pictures of a soldier that were in the Callon Family Bible. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, none of the photographs were identified. Taken in Alexandria, Virginia, one showed the soldier with his injured right leg propped up on a stool. I sent a scan of these pictures to Jerre Callon Williams, James B.F. Callon’s great granddaughter. She excitedly wrote back that she had received his pension file from the National Archives that very day and it contained affidavits explaining his war injuries...right hip and leg. While charging the Rebel Cavalry, his horse ran against a tree, throwing him to the ground with great force at White Plains, Virginia in April 1863; he was hospitalized for a month. Other affidavits attest to his disabilities, constant pain and need to have someone assist him with walking in latter years. [He had worked as a firefighter in Indianapolis immediately after the war.] He was identified!