Lee County Biography


Thomas Wells, though not one of the early pioneers of this county, may be classed among them, as, during a residence of many years within its precincts, he has developed a farm, finely located in Willow Creek Township, on sec­tions 27 and 28, whose improvements rank with the best in this vicinity. Mr. Wells is a native of Prince Edward Island, born December 10, 1831, a son of one of the old families of that insular lo­cality. His father, Hugh Wells, was born in the same place at himself. The grandfather of our subject was a native of the North of Ireland, of Scotch ancestry, and was an early settler of Prince Edward Island, where he passed his remaining years in farming.

The father of our subject was reared and married in his birthplace, and resided there until 1844. In that year, accompanied by his wife and six children, he started for Illinois, traveling by water to Boston, thence by rail to Albany, canal to Buffalo, by the Great Lakes to Chicago, and from there to his destination in Kane County, with an ox-team. His means were limited and he first rented land, which he cultivated for a while, and then, after spending a year and a half at Somon-auk, he came to this county in 1856 and bought a tract of improved land in Allen's Grove, upon which he lived until death closed his mortal career. The maiden name of his wife was Ann Irving. She was born in Dumfreeshire, Scotland, and was a daughter of Thomas Irving. She died on the home farm. She reared seven children to useful lives.

Thomas Wells was thirteen years old when the family came to Illinois, and so remembers well the incidents of that long and memorable journey, and of the pioneer life of the first years that he lived in this State. For some time there was no railway, and the greater part of the land in the northern part of Illinois was still owned by the Government, and has since been sold at $1.25 an acre. He remained an inmate of the parental family until his marriage, and then located on a farm on section 25. He did not have the money to pay for it, and soon gave it up and farmed as a renter for a time. He then bought the farm in Willow Creek Township where he now resides. Since it came into his possession he has greatly in­creased its worth by many valuable improvements that he has placed upon it, including a neat and substantially built frame house, two good barns, granaries, sheds, etc. The land is under admira­ble tillage, and yields abundant harvests in repayment for the care bestowed upon it and the outlay of money necessary for its cultivation.

Mr. Wells had the good fortune to secure a devoted wife when he married Miss Helen J. Hallenbeck March 26,1858. They have had two children, Addie and Arthur. The sorrow of their wedded life has been in the death of their daughter, July 7, 1887. She was born November 26, 1861, and was married to George Roberts, December 22,1886. Arthur Wells was born September 29, 1864. He was married October 17, 1888, to Miss Nellie, daughter of Dennis and Ann Miller, who was born March 12, 1866. They have one child, Addie N. Mrs. Arthur Wells died September 6, 1891.

Mrs. Wells was born in Onondaga County, N. Y., October 2, 1840. Her father, Mathew Hallenbeck, is thought to have been a native of Schoharie County, N. Y., and was of German descent. He served an apprenticeship of seven years to learn the trade of a carpenter, and was engaged at that occupation in DeWitt, Onondaga County, after his marriage, until 1857, when he came to Illinois and located at Cordova, Rock Island County, where he carried on his calling until his death. The maiden name of his wife was Catherine M. Shoudy, and she was a daughter of John and Cath­erine Shoudy. She was, born in Schoharie County, N. Y., and died at Cordova, IL. Mrs. Wells is a consistent member of the Presbyterian Church, and a true Christian in every respect. Mr. Wells is a man whose character and habits are above reproach, and during his many years' residence in Willow Creek Township, his course has been such as to win him the respect and trust of all who know him. In his political views, he is a Republican and stands firmly by his party.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892


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