Joseph Wells

Joseph WELLS (1658 – 1711) was Alex’s 8th great grandfather, one of 512 in this generation of the Miner line.

Joseph Wells was born  about 1658 near Pequot Harbor, Massachusetts.  He had a brother also named Joseph born 7 Jun 1656 in Boston Mass and died as an infant.  His parents were Thomas WELLS Sr. and Naomi MARSHALL.   He married Hannah REYNOLDS on 28 Dec 1681 in Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island.  Joseph died 26 Oct 1711 in Groton Conn, though some say he died in Boston, Mass.

Our Wells ancestors, original immigrant Nathaniel, son Thomas, and grandson Joseph and were all ship builders

Hannah Reynolds was born in 1662 in Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island.   Her parents were John REYNOLDS and Anne HOLBROOK.  Hannah died after 1711 in Stonington, New London, Connecticut,

Children of Joseph and Hannah:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Joseph Wells Jr. 1682
Groton, CT
3. John Wells c. 1690
Groton, CT

2. Thomas WELLS 1687
Groton, CT
Elizabeth HOWLAND
c. 1707
after  13 June 1767 at Cobb Place, or Cobbstown, near Mystic CT.
4. Anne Wells 1692
Groton, CT

Ship-building. — The first ship-builders in this region were Joseph’s father Thomas Wells and George Denison. They resided in what is now Westerly, though at the time claimed as a part of the present town of Stonington. Joseph, the son of Thomas Wells, was also a ship-builder.

1677 – Joseph’s father bought a farm of 180 acres in Westerly RI and Joseph (age 21)   and his brother Thomas (age 17) moved with their father from Ipswich, Mass. The farm was on the east side of the Pawkatuck River, now Westerly and Welles agreed to build a vessel of 48 tons and furnish all the wood and iron but not the rigging to pay for the land. The land was claimed by both Connecticut and RI and as Thomas Wells  felt he was in danger of losing his land, refused to build the vessel.

For this farm Wells agreed to build a 48 ton vessel for Amos Richardson, but he soon found that the land was claimed by Rhode Island and as he was afraid of losing the land he refused to build the ship. Richardson sued in the lower court and it was carried to the court of assistants at Hartford, where it lasted until 1680. Two of Thomas Wells’ sons, Joseph H., aged twenty-two, and Thomas, aged seventeen, appeared as witnesses in this lawsuit. Rhode Island won the suit and Wells procured the land by paying Rhode Island.

3 Jan 1680 – Joseph Wells signed a contract to finish up a vessel then on the stocks at Pawcatuck.

20 May 1680 – Joseph signed another contract for the building of a vessel, wherein he describes himself as of Mystic, Conn.

28 Dec 1681 – He married Hannah Reynolds, of Stonington (Mystic), , and settled in Groton, where he died, Oct. 26. 1711.

To what extent ship-building was carried on in Stonington from the days of Joseph Wells down to the Revolution it is now impossible to tell, for no known record thereof exists. Several small craft were built at Stonington, Long Point, and on the Mystic River before and during the war of the Revolution, but their owners and tonnage is not certainly known.


[Wells 145] Moved to Westerly RI 1677, then Groton where he lived and died 26 Oct 1711. Bought a tract of land 1696 in Groton (then New London) on the eastern slope of Cow Hill. In 1706 purchased another tract of 10 acres, 1708 another 50 … just below Mystic on the west side of the river. Has date of birth for JW as 1658.

[Savage 4: 474-480] In his will are mentioned his wife and children Joseph, John, Thomas and Ann.

[Reynolds 137] JW was a noted shipbuilder of Pawcatuck River and Groton, having a farm and residence near the head of Mystic on the Groton side of the river. Will dated 26 October 1711.

[Wells3 254] The first Joseph Wells was born 7 June 1656 and died young. The second Joseph was born c1658. [Salisbury 352] records the date of the first JW.

Early Connecticut marriages as found on ancient church records …, Volume 5 edited by Frederic William Bailey

History of New London county, Connecticut: with biographical sketches of … edited by Duane Hamilton Hurd

This entry was posted in 10th Generation, Line - Miner, Sea Captain and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Joseph Wells

  1. Pingback: Thomas Wells | Miner Descent

  2. Pingback: Thomas Wells Sr. | Miner Descent

  3. Pingback: John Reynolds | Miner Descent

  4. Pingback: Sea Captains | Miner Descent

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