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Fairfield County, Ohio
History & Genealogy



Pioneer Period and Pioneer People of Fairfield Co., Ohio.
by C. M. L. Wiseman
Publ. F. J. Heer Printing Co., Columbus, O.  1901

Transcribed by Sharon Wick

Pgs. 278 - 280

     The honor of founding this town is claimed for Alexander Wells and William Wells, by their friends.  It is doubtless true that William laid out the town; but both men were largely interested in it from its beginning.
     William Wells was a son of George Wells, who lived and died in Licking county, Ohio.  William was reared by grand parents, and did not follow his father to the West.  He was always a prominent man of Wellsville, and acted as magistrate under Governor St. Clair, a position of more importance than that of justice of the peace now.  The magistrates met at stated intervals and constituted the Court of Quarter Sessions - now superseded by our County Common Pleas.  His son, Alexander, was a prominent man of Wellsville, and the local historian.  The man who, in an address, applied Dr. H. Scott's school house anecdote to Lancaster, instead of Clark County, where it belonged.
     The office of Associate Judge was one of importance and honor, in the first fifty years of Ohio.  The judges settled estates, appointed administrators and granted licenses, performing the duties now pertaining to the office of Probate Judge, and were also members of the Common Pleas Court.


     In the year 1810, Gen. Wells deeded a part of section 29 to Samuel Hooker, Sr., and in that deed distinctly reserved one half acre for a burying ground, and there he and his wife were buried.  It was then known as the Wells' graveyard, where a majority of

Pg. 279 -
his descendants, who since died in this county, were buried.  It became, however, the burial place of all the old pioneers of the neighborhood, and many of their descendants.  It is fairly well cared for, and held as a sacred spot by the people of Greenfield.
     Alexander Wells a few years since delivered an address referring to old times.  He said:
     "In 1828 there was a debating society in Lancaster, Ohio; the meetings were held in a school house.  The subject of railroads was discussed.  In a day or two one of the members (Dr. Harvey Scott) received a note signed by a dozen of the solid men of the neighborhood, to this effect: 'You are welcome to the use of the school house to debate all proper questions, but such things as railroads are impossibilities, and are impious, and will not be allowed.
     Mr. Wells is greatly in error and unwittingly slanders Lancaster.  The occurrence he refers to took place in Clark County, Ohio, and was related by Dr. H. Scott in his history of Fairfield County.
     General Wells received his patent from the United States Government, for section 29, Aug. 24, 1809, and for section28, Feb. 10, 1809.  When he came to Greenfield in 1801, the lands were not for sale, and he was a squatter.  The lands were sold in 1802 or 1803, at public auction, to the highest bidder, and the best land between the home of the General and Lancaster would as high as four dollars per acre.  Patents are not always evidence of the date of purchase, as families have been known to occupy land 60 years without the patent.
     After the death of General Wells, a portion of his lands, probably one section, became the property of Richard HookerRichard and Samuel Hooker lived

Pg. 280 -
long and honorable lives upon his land, and the station, the graveyard and the farm are called Hooker.
     General James Wells
had eleven children, three of whom died early, and it is known that his descendants to this time number 500 souls - six generations.
     Nathaniel Wells settled in Union township, Licking County, at an early day, near the point known as Hebron.  He was nearly related to Gen. Wells.  He was a farmer, and lived and died in that neighborhood.
     His sons were: John Wells, who was a "49er," but remained only five yeas in California, when he returned to Baltimore, Ohio, where he died.  He was the father of Mrs. Dr. J. H. Goss.  Basil died in California.  Jesse moved to Illinois and died there.  Daniel lived in Newark, Ohio.  Samuel lived in Licking County; George in Kansas City; Franklin moved to Iowa; Narcissa lived in Newark, Ohio.
     A Dr. Ferguson, of Hebron, married a Wells.  One  of his daughters married Mr. Tomlinson, of Indianapolis, Indiana, who became very prominent there.  One daughter is a preacher, another is a doctor.
     L. Calvin Sutphen, brother of Captain Sutphen, married Mary, a daughter of Dr. Ferguson.  He died early and his widow married Mr. Brush, treasurer of Perry County, and they moved to Zanesville, Ohio.




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