Aaron Wells Family Association




Newsletter #33                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              January  2004


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




Wells Family Reunion

Sunday, July 18, 2004

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


North Central 4-H Center

Carlisle, Kentucky



Lucy Thompson




Jon Hagee

3021 Stanford Drive

Lexington, KY  40517

(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



Message from the President

Stop the Presses!!!

Dear Cousins,


Cousin Patricia will fill you in on the exciting details of the latest developments of the Wells DNA project. This has definite possibilities to bring us together with far-flung Wells cousins who may never have been connected through traditional research. We are, as usual, cautious. DNA, although it appears very decisive, does not give exact relationships. Brothers or 4th cousins may display the same markers. But, as with any other lead, it sure does narrow down the focus of our search. And sometimes, just the process of elimination may be of immense help! Notice some of our familiar names and the mention of twins in the Thomas Wells family of Prince George's Co., Maryland. Just think, until now, scientific/medical technology has never been able to reveal what we appear to be on the brink of discovering. These are indeed exciting times for genealogical research!


Some of you may have heard of  The Discovery Expedition based in St. Charles, Missouri [http://lewisandclark.net/]. These folks have been working on recreating the whole of the historic Lewis and Clark Expedition, which began in 1803 as their boats were made and put in around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I have been working with the reenactors since 2000 in various capacities. Most recently, a group of us from Indiana and Kentucky delivered 600 pounds of supplies in an authentic manner. For several months, we had been building boats, scouting out the territory and making our plans. Finally on the first weekend in November, we put into the Ohio River, camped along the way in wilderness areas and finally delivered our supplies to the Expedition.

There are more details at: http://frontierfolk.net/blue_heron_resupply/
Another project I have been involved with is the rebuilding of historic Tanner's Station at Blue Licks. This little fort or blockhouse stood across the highway from the spring. A group of reenactors has been building it using many authentic tools, materials and methods. I'll have more on this, including information on a new book on the Battle of Blue Licks that should be out within a few months.


As you know, I have been studying our pioneer ancestors. I have been re-reading Edna Kenton's book Simon Kenton: His Life and Period 1756-1836. One of the themes centers around Kenton's use of the residents of Washington and Kenton's Station for his protective scouts up and down the Ohio River during the 1780-90's. I've often wondered if our Aaron was one of "Kenton's Boys", those heroes of the Mason County frontier.


I continue discussing the frontier with friends, doing research together and experimenting with equipment and ideas. I've just returned from a weekend visit to the Caesar's Creek Pioneer Village in central Ohio. We cooked up venison stew, a fantastic duck breast dish, bear meat seasoned with onions, chicken & noodles, iron skillet cornbread, home-made jam, apple pies and spice cookies ?all over an open fire. After dinner was cleaned up, we spent time telling stories and tall tales huddled around the roaring fire. The whole weekend was very cold, with snow and sleet on the way home. But, we learn from every experience, and winter camping is one that needs to be tried and conquered to encompass the full pioneer experience.


I have also been listening to a lot of traditional Celtic, Irish and Scottish music. I have a series of videos on the English language that traces English from its roots and then in the 1600's and 1700's to America. Very fascinating.


For those of you  who have ancestors in Bourbon County, a new organization has been formed called the Bourbon County Genealogical Society. We meet at the Paris-Bourbon County Public Library on every third Thursday of the month at 6 pm. I am scheduled to do a presentation for the March 18, 2004 meeting. It can be found on the web at: www.bourboncountian.org.


I hope this winter newsletter finds all of you safe and warm. We are doing well, my daughter has completed her first semester of college in the honors program at the University of Kentucky. We are so proud of her!


                                                Your Cousin and Friend,

                                                Jon Hagee - Lexington, KY



Treasurerís Report

Dear Cousins,


Once again we are well into a new year. I hope that each of you enjoyed a happy holiday season and that you will have a healthy and prosperous year.


These cold winter days will be a good time for making one of your creations for the silent auction at the family reunion the third Sunday in July.


Thanks to you who have sent donations to the association. Our current balance is $834.54. We will need to pay for the present newsletter. Iím sure that all of us appreciate the work that Patricia does to send us this interesting and informative publication.


                                                Respectfully submitted,

                                                Betty Jo Wells




Letter from the Editor


Thanks to all of you who have contributed items and information for this newsletter: Marilyn Armstrong, Don Claypool, Dixie Fuller, Don Gorden, Connie Hazletine, Megan Mueller, Jane Roane, Nicky Wells and Orin Wells.


Please remember to send your news, updates, pictures, change of address and other items of family or historical interest to me at:


Newsletter Editor

131 Robinhood Drive

San Francisco, CA  94127-1626

Email: straube@earthlink.net.


You can visit our updated FIVE-generation database at RootsWeb:



With the addition of another generation, all information about living individuals has been removed.  And remember the Aaron and Ruth (Wiggins) Wells Family Association  web page:




                                                Patricia Roane Straube

                                                Newsletter Editor







Another Wells descendant has matched our group. Billy Wells?great grandfather was James M. Wells who married Sarah (Clark) Owen, 24 December 1833, in Bullitt Co., Kentucky.  Sarahís first husband, John Shakell Owen, had been killed by a falling tree just two years after their marriage. James and Sarah soon moved to Daviess Co., and Billyís grandfather, Samuel M. Wells and his family later lived in McLean Co. before moving west to Arkansas where Billyís father, Rufus McKinley Wells was born. James was the son of Jacob Wells who married Rebecca Orme, 6 April 1806, in Bullitt Co. He was said to be Jacob Wells Jr., son of Jacob Wells and Elizabeth (Sedgwick?) of Maryland. Jacob Sr. has long been thought to be a son of Nathan Wells who married Mary Duckett, 13 December 1716, in Queen Anneís Parish, Prince Georgeís Co., Maryland. Nathan was a son of Thomas and Frances Wells of Prince Georgeís Co.


This, however, created a problem since another family, also claiming descent from Thomas, has a completely different DNA pattern. Joseph and Margaret Wells of Monocacy, Frederick Co., Maryland, were Quakers who later moved to North Carolina and whose son Joseph Wells Jr. married Charity Carrington. Descendants have long claimed that their ancestor, Joseph Sr., was identical to Thomas Wells?son of the same name. These conflicting claims have raised so many questions that the Wells DNA Project began seeking out other lines from Thomas Wells for DNA testing.






Just as the newsletter was ready to go to print, I received an email from Orin Wells of the Wells Family Research Association with the subject line: Stop the presses!!!  Results from another DNA match had just come in from a descendant of Andrew Wells of Sevier Co., Tennessee and his third wife, Eve Houk. Andrewís Revolutionary War pension file revealed that he was born May 16, 1755 ďon the Potomac River within about two miles of the mouth of Conoguchuguee [Conococheague] Creek.?He was the son of Robert and Esther Wells who left Maryland only a few years after his birth for Orange Co., North Carolina and then in 1772 to the South Carolina/Georgia frontier, finally settling in Wilkes Co., Georgia. Robert was the son of Robert Wells Sr. and his wife Ann. Robert, in turn, was the son of Thomas and Frances Wells of Prince Georgeís County.


It should be noted that in researching the ancestry of Isaac Kindred Wells, who was discussed briefly in the January 2003 issue of the newsletter, Don Claypool and I have come to the conclusion that he was most likely a grandson of this same Andrew Wells and his second wife, Elizabeth Williams. Obviously there still remain quite a few questions about the chain of evidence along all three of these lines. However, as more results of the DNA testing have come in, it appears more and more likely that Aaronís DNA pattern, along with all his other newly discovered kinsmen matches that of the immigrant ancestor, Thomas Wells of Prince Georgeís County, Maryland.






Thomas Wells first appeared in the Maryland Historical Records (WC 2, Folio 50) when mentioned "24 Apr 1679 - Land to Robert Conant of Anne Arundell county - rights to seven hundred acres of land for transporting himself, Abigail his wife, Martha, Margaret and Ann his children into the province to inhabit sixteen years since also for transporting Giles Hawley, Thomas Wells, Francis Taylor, Edward Chub, Robert ___, Ann Waters, Mary Cole, Jno. Cole, Susan Cole into the province to inhabit."


On the 26th day of August 1695, Thomas Wells appeared in the Maryland records when he purchased a 200 acre tract of land named "Strife" on the west side of the Patuxant River in Prince Georgeís County.

Thomas?approximate year of birth is taken from a document in the Maryland Chancery Records of 1714, (Liber 3, Folio 27) in which Thomas Wells witnessed the boundary lines for an adjoining tract of land and is described as "Thomas Wells, Senr. aged about sixty one years."  This would place his birth at about 1653.


Documented in the Queen Anne Parish Records, which began in 1692, and in the will of Thomas Wells, dated 26 Sep 1718 and proved 05 Jan 1718/9, are the names of his wife, Frances, and his children [birth dates and order of the first five are estimates]: Thomas Wells b. circa 1683; George Wells b. circa 1685; Frances Wells b. circa 1687; Mary Wells b. circa 1689; Nathan Wells b. circa 1691; Robert Wells b. 05 Aug 1693; Joseph Wells b. 30 Sep 1697 (twin); Sarah Wells b. 30 Sep 1697 (twin); and Elizabeth Wells b. 11 May 1699.


Wells DNA Project Updates


Orin Wells has also announced that the Wells DNA Project website is in the process of reorganization.  Results are now being grouped together and our Aaron and his kinsmenís results are on page 11: http://www.rootsweb.com/~wellsfam/dnaproje/results11.html [We are family #20]. Other improvements will be following shortly.


He has also announced that the project is accepting sponsorships (voluntary donations) to offset the cost for those who find DNA testing a financial hardship. These funds would primarily be used to assist test subjects in the UK where the dollar is down significantly against the pound. Also, those suspected of connecting to a branch in which uncertainty exists or who is a strapped "brick wall" researcher may be considered. Those who are clearly connected by genealogy to branches, which have a good DNA pattern already established, probably would not be offered this support.


Orin R. Wells
Wells Family Research Association
P. O. Box 5427
Kent, Washington 98064-5427
website address:




Cousin Connections


Our Wells database at RootsWeb, which until recently has given only the first three generations after Aaron and Ruth, generates some interesting email.




Some of those writing in are not Wells descendants but have other connections to the Wells family. Meagan McDowell Mueller had a question about the possible relationship of Nancy Wells, wife of John McDowell, to our Aaron Wells. Nancy was born about 1765 to 1770 in Pennsylvania and died after 1830, probably in Bracken Co., Kentucky. Unfortunately, we donít have any information about her. However, thanks to some additional help from Marilyn Wood Armstrong, we were able to make connections to McDowell descendants  who later married into our Wells family, including two that had eluded us because of misspellings.


Lillie Forest Wood b. 20 Feb 1875, Robertson Co., KY, (daughter of James Harvey Wood and Martha McDowell) m. (1) 23 Mar 1897, in Maysville, Mason Co., KY, Wade Hampton Meadows, b. 1860, (son of John W. Meadows and Elizabeth Kenton) d. 20 Nov 1914, Robertson Co., KY, buried: Mount Olivet Cemetery, Robertson Co., KY, m. (2) 24 Aug 1915, in Augusta, Bracken Co., KY, David Riley Wells, b. 17 Mar 1863, (son of Mordecai Wells and Elizabeth Ann Claypool) d. 1 Sep 1936, Robertson Co., KY, buried: Mount Olivet Cemetery, Robertson Co., KY.  Lillie died 25 Apr 1925, Robertson Co., KY, buried: Mount Olivet Cemetery, Robertson Co., KY.


[Although often using the name Lillian, her name was given as Lillian Ward Meadows on p. 58 of The Heritage of Aaron Wells and Ruth Wiggins.]


Lula May Wood b. 13 Apr 1878, Kentucky, (daughter of James Harvey Wood and Martha McDowell) m. 1 Mar 1905, in Robertson Co., KY, Hamer Duke Wells, b. 23 Jul 1877, Kentucky, (son of James M. Wells and Celestine Watson) d. 24 Oct 1943, Mason Co., KY, buried: Shannon Cemetery, Mason Co., KY.  Lula died 4 Mar 1943, Robertson Co., KY, buried: Shannon Cemetery, Mason Co., KY.


[Hamerís name was given as Hanson on p. 50.]


While David Riley Wells and Lillian Wood Meadows had no children together, Hamer Duke Wells, a descendant of Nathan Wells and Jane Guffin, and his wife Lula May Wood had at least three sons.  We hope to add information about them at a later date.





Don Gorden also wrote in to correct an error in our database: 95. Sarah Ellen Layton, daughter of Sarah R. Ward and Robert P. Layton, was married only once, to Edward (not Edgar) Lee Ogden. Kenneth P. Gorden was their daughter Myrtleís husband. [p. 57]. Here is the corrected entry for that family:


Sarah Ellen Layton b. 11 Nov 1870, Harrison Co., KY, (daughter of Robert P. Layton and Sarah R. Ward) m. 13 Feb 1891, in Wamsley, Adams Co., OH, Edward Lee Ogden, b. 2 May 1870, Harrison Co., KY, (son of Benjamin Franklin Ogden Jr. and Alice Belle Washburn) d. 27 May 1955, Anderson, Madison Co., IN, buried: Memorial Park Cemetery, Anderson, IN.  Sarah died 5 Dec 1938, Anderson, Madison Co., IN, buried: Memorial Park Cemetery, Anderson, IN.


   i      Orville Lee Ogden b. 31 Jan 1898, d. 2 Feb 1898.

+ ii     Myrtle Beatrice Ogden b. 25 Nov 1902, Otway, Scioto Co., OH, m. 10 Jun 1923, in Anderson, Madison Co., IN, Kenneth Pickering Gorden, b. 12 May 1897, Osceola, Madison Co., IN, (son of Welden B. Gorden and Vilena Pickering) d. 2 Mar 1987, Anderson, Madison Co., IN, buried: Memorial Park Cemetery, Anderson, IN.  Myrtle died 16 Jul 1993, Indianapolis, Marion Co., IN, buried: Memorial Park Cemetery, Anderson, IN.

+ iii    Oscar Harold Ogden b. 31 Jan 1909, Peebles, Adams Co., OH, m. 5 Dec 1926, in Anderson, Madison Co., IN, Helen Marie Reynolds, b. 18 Aug 1907, Anderson, Madison Co., IN, (daughter of Ozro Reynolds and Elsie Anderson). Oscar died 17 Jan 1985, Muncie, Delaware Co., IN, buried: Maplewood Cemetery, Anderson, IN.


Don (not Donald) is the son of Kenneth Gorden and Myrtle Ogden. Welcome Don! Also, through RootsWeb, we found some additional information about Robert P. Layton and Sarah R. Wardís son, Charles:


Charles Layton b. 30 Mar 1872, Lewis Co., KY, m. 17 Aug 1895, Harriet Kathryn Ashcraft, b. 18 Aug 1872, Harrison Co., KY, d. 8 Oct 1960, Winchester, Adams Co., OH.  Charles died 31 May 1953, Winchester, Adams Co., OH.


 ii   Mildred Mabel Layton b. 7 Apr 1901.m. Harry Kenneth Smith, b. 28 May 1894, Ohio, d. 5 Nov 1965, Cincinnati, Hamilton Co., OH.  Mildred died 8 Oct 1960, Cincinnati, Hamilton Co., OH.


  i  Oscar Carl Smith b. 22 Mar 1920, West Union, Adams Co., OH, m. Ardella Clara Wiesman, b. 15 Mar 1922, Cincinnati, Hamilton Co., OH.



Lineage Links

Is this our Aaron?


Better indexes have allowed us to find references that have previously been ďhidden". This is from a card file at the Pennsylvania Archives. Is this our Aaron?


It is in reference to a certificate that was issued to an Aaron Wells on 15 November 1784 for service in the Washington Co., Pennsylvania Militia. This was more than a year after the Treaty of Paris had been ratified by Congress, officially ending the Revolutionary War and more than two years after the actual cessation of hostilities.


The 1783 Tax Lists for Washington County, Pennsylvania. Compiled by Katherine K Zinsser and Raymond M. Bell. 1988



By Raymond Martin Bell


An important source for genealogical searchers in Pennsylvania is the early county tax lists. Taxes were assessed in the fall for the next year, listing all person within each township who owned land, horses or cows and all single men aged 21 or older (Ēsingle freemen?.


Washington County was formed in March 1781 [from Westmoreland], and was fully organized by the fall of 1781. Its territory included all of southwestern Pennsylvania west of the Monongahela River and south of the Ohio River. The first tax lists, though assembled late in 1781, were for taxes to be levied in 1782. These lists have been published in the Pennsylvania Archives, Series III, Volume 22.


Before 1982 the only known tax lists for the 1780ís were those stored in the Washington courthouse, beginning with 1784. Fortunately, about 1983 a complete set of the duplicate tax lists (1782 through 1789, except 1784) was found by chance in Harrisburg. These lists have been reproduced on microfilms RG4-340 and RG4-341 by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.


The 1783 tax lists are published in this book because the year 1783 is particularly significant. The 1782 Indian attacks in Washington County (especially the western section) were severe between the March attack on Millerís Fort through September when the attack on Riceís Fort occurred. Both forts were in Donegal Township. Many persons fled from their cabins to safer quarters farther east and the 1783 tax lists reflect the dispersion.


The same year Donegal Township listed the names of twenty-some persons from Ohio County, (West) Virginia, which lay just to the west of Washington County. A man taxed in an eastern township of Washington County in 1783 for only horses and cows may well be a refugee from a western township.


In Hopewell Township just north of Donegal Township, there were 15 Wells men listed. Unfortunately, the list is roughly in alphabetical order but with intervening names other than Wells which may indicate proximity. There is a large group of Wells grouped together who are known to be of the ďCross Creek?or ďLittle Wells?family, most of whom owned large tracts of land. However, separated from this group, two men were enumerated together,  Robert Wells and Nathan Wells, with horses, cows and sheep, but no land or slaves. Also farther up the list were John, James and Timothy Downing. Robert Wells of Mason Co., Kentucky and Clermont Co., Ohio, now known for certain to be a kinsman, had married Mary Downing in 1778. Timothy Downing later moved to Mason Co. as well. There was no Aaron Wells enumerated in any township. We can imagine a young man of about 19 or 20, old enough to serve in the Militia but not yet 21, old enough to be taxed as a single male. 


In Amwell Township, just east of Donegal Township, were Abraham, David, and Caleb Evans, as well as a Thomas and Philip Wiggins. This is almost certainly the Caleb Evans who later married Elizabeth Wiggins in Nelson Co., Kentucky and whose son, William Evans, married Aaron and Ruthís daughter, Sally W. Wells.


In addition, further east in Fallowfield Township on the Monongahela River, were Augustine Wells, known now to be a kinsman, and his father-in-law, Moses Doolittle. There was also a Thomas Wells.


Research in Pennsylvania may tell us when this Robert and Nathan disappeared from the Washington Co. tax lists. The fact that they owned no property could be a reason why they may have moved west to Kentucky.



Doctors in the House

Wells Physicians


While the majority of Aaronís grandchildren and great grandchildren were farmers in the 19th and early 20th centuries, a sizable minority took up other professions.  We begin a series of profiles of these starting with the men whose chosen calling was medicine.


A published biography has recently been discovered, that of Jasper Moss Wells, a son of William W. Wells and Matilda Collins.   


Ragan, Rev. O. G. History of Lewis County, Kentucky. Cincinnati: Press of Jennings and Graham, 1912.


DR. J. M. Wells is one of twelve children born to Wm. W. and Matilda Wells, in Nicholas County, Ky., near the town of Mt. Olivet. There were two boys by a former marriage, which, added to the other twelve, makes fourteen children in all ?seven boys and seven girls. Of the boys three became physicians and two ministers of the gospel. Dr. Wells received his education in Nicholas County, Ky., and Clermont County, O. He graduated from the Eclectic Medical Institute, of Cincinnati, February 23, 1877, and was married March 8, 1877. He located at Milford, Bracken County, Ky., where he practiced his profession two and one-half years. Upon solicitation he removed to Vanceburg on November 10, 1879, and is today one of the most prosperous and successful physicians. He has always been prominent in Church and social circles, and enjoys the confidence of a host of friends. He is an elder of the Church of Christ, and has been a Christian for many years. He is a member of the Kentucky Medical Association, the Cincinnati Eclectic Medical Society, the Alumni of the Eclectic Medical Institute, the National Eclectic Medical Association, and honorary member of the Wisconsin State Eclectic Medical Association, and secretary of the Board of Pensions of Lewis County, and is coroner of Lewis County at present.

     He has contributed numerous articles to the various medical journals which have given him a national reputation among Eclectic physicians. It is said of Dr. Wells that  ďhe is a man of strong convictions and stands firm for that he believes is right.?o:p>


[Jasper Moss Wells?two brothers who also received medical degrees were Riley and Nathaniel and his two brothers who became ministers were Elder Mordecai and Rev. Edmond Collins Wells of the Disciples of  Christ. The following two newspaper clippings were in the possession of his sister, Mariah (Wells) Mann.]



   Dr. Jasper Moss Wells ďthe beloved physician,?died at his residence in Vanceburg, Ky., Oct. 27, 1915.  Born in Nicholas County, Ky., Oct. 12, 1846. Became a Christian at thirteen at Mt. Olivet, Ky. Early life spent on farm, Robertson County, Ky. Graduated from Eclectic Medical College, Cincinnati, O., in March, 1877. Married Miss Anna Mains, March 8, 1877, and began the practice of his profession at Milford, Ky, Moved to Vanceburg, Ky., Nov. 9, 1879, where he made a host of friends. Large audiences attended funeral at church, Oct 20, 1915. Dr., Wells was a brilliant writer, contributed many articles to medical journals and delivered addresses at several medical conventions. His life in its fullness was depicted in church wherein he was elder and leader of the choir. For years, the melody of his voice, voices he trained, and stringed orchestra he organized, filled our auditorium with choicest music. Success of our protracted meetings largely due to his songs. At his request no public funeral by orders, no funeral sermon, no display of flowers were mingled with obsequies. More than fifty member of church followed his remains to Maysville, and numbers of others attended burial. To Sister Wells the doctor owed his ability to accomplish the good things. Her ability as teacher, musician and leader of church activities has made good work her possible


Sudden Death of Dr. J. Moss Wells

   A message was received here early this morning by relatives announcing the sudden death of Dr. J. Moss Wells at Vanceburg yesterday afternoon at 2 oíclock p. m. The interment will take place in Maysville Cemetery tomorrow. No further particulars have been received. Dr. Wells was a native of this county. He was a brother of Mrs. R. M. Mann of this county; Dr. N. Wells of Harrison; Daniel Wells of Michigan, and Mr. Mary Thompson of Cincinnati. His wife, who was Miss Anna Maines before marriage, also survives. Dr. Wells was about 66 years old and has been practicing medicine about 38 years He leaves a good estate.