Thomas WELLS Sr. (1626 – 1700) was Alex’s 9th great grandfather, one of 1,028 in this generation of the Miner line.
Thomas Wells was born about 1626 in Colchester, Essex, England. His parents were Nathaniel WELLS and [__?__]. He emigrated with his parents in 1629 and landed at either Salem or Boston. Thomas Wells was one of the early band of planters at Pequot Harbor (New London, Connecticut); probably on the ground in 1648, and certainly in 1649. He removed from there to Ipswich where he was engaged in shipbuilding until 1677, at about which date he removed to Rhode Island and lived in Wellstown. He was a carpenter, and worked with Elderkin on mills and meetinghouses. He married Naomi MARSHALL on 12 Feb 1655 in Boston, Mass. Thomas died 12 Feb 1700 in Hopkinton, Rhode Island.
Some researchers cast doubt on the theory that Thomas’ father Nathaniel immigrated and say that Thomas was the original immigrant.
Naomi Marshal was baptized 24 Jan 1637 in Salem, Mass. Her parents were Edmund MARSHALL and Millicent BLINMAN. Naomi died in 1700 in Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island.
Children of Thomas and Naomi:
|1.||Joseph Wells||7 Jun 1656
|2.||Joseph WELLS||c. 1658 Boston Mass.||Hannah REYNOLDS
28 Dec 1681
|26 Oct 1711 Groton, CT|
|3.||Thomas Wells Jr.||4 Dec 1661
|29 Jun 1716|
|4.||Mary Wells||15 Apr 1665
15 Dec 1690
|12 Jan 1693
South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island
South Kingstown, CT
|6.||Sarah Wells||27 Aug 1668
11 Dec 1693
18 Feb 1697
31 Oct 1698 in Boston
|8.||Nathaniel Wells||10 Dec 1673
Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island
Chimney Orchard Burial Ground, Hopkington, Washington, Rhode Island
Ship-building. — The first ship-builders in this region were 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.
Thomas, son of Nathaniel Wells, was born in Colchester, England, in 1626. He came with his parents to America in 1629. He was a shipwright and carpenter. From 1648 to 1651 he was in New London. Connecticut, where he had a grant of land in 1649. He removed from there to Ipswich where he was engaged in shipbuilding. The records are confusing and hard to read, but he was arrested for reproaching the court court in Ipswich in 1668. About 1677, he removed to Rhode Island and lived in Wellstown. He is mentioned at Westerly in 1677 as engaged in building vessels in a shipyard, and is called “of Ipswich, shipwright”. He bought a farm of one hundred and eighty acres in Westerly, Rhode Island, on the east side of Pawcatuck river, now Westerly. 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.
Thomas died 12 Feb 1700, aged seventy-four, at his home in Wellstown, located in that portion of the township of Westerly which afterward became the township of Hopkinton, and was buried in the burial place called Chimney Orchard, on the estate first purchased by his father.
I have modernized some of the spelling in these Ipswich court records. Thomas Wells was deposed for reproaching the court, particularly Major General Daniel Denison. His brother-in-law Benjamin Marshall was also deposed. There was very bad blood between Thomas, his wife Naomi and Benjamin and her parents Edmund and Millicent Marshall. Thomas was not very sorry for what he had said. While the testimony is very detailed, in the end the case was referred to the Salem Court and I have no record of how it all came out.
Warrant, dated Nov. 13, 1668, to Thomas Wells, ship carpenter, for reproaching the court at Ipswich, signed by Samuel Symonds.* Bond of Thomas Wells, Reginald Foster, surety.
Warrant, dated Nov. 16, 1668, to Benjamin Marshall, for high misdemeanors, also to witnesses, Stephen Crosse, John Bayer, and Robert Crosse, jr., signed by Samuel Symonds.* Bond of Benjamin Marshall, Richard Brabrooke, surety.
Steeven Crosse,* Benjamin Marshall* and John (his mark) Bayer, testified that Thomas Welles commonly spoke of the court and magistrates, “y’ or Courts at Ipswich was all one the Inquisition house in Spain: when a man is once brought into Court thofe: he knows not for what: he had as good be hanged: thof what the inquisition house is we know not: therfore leave it to be Judged by them y’ vnderstand it & that puld Brandstreet was a worse yousorror then Godforey & vapporing a bout wondering what became of all the fines: he answers himself: why they keep it to by sack with all: and let Cases go which way they will: they care not so long as they can feast their fat goats,” etc.
Roberte Crosse, jr.,* and John (his mark) Bayer testified that Welles also said he “can set spelles & Rases the Devil, he affirming himself to bee an artise.”
Thomas Wells, aged about forty-two years, and Naomi, his wife, aged about thirty-one years, testified that Goodman Cross said “the Major daneson [Major General Daniel Denison] was disgraced in the Court at Boston because he said to the Court concerning mestres Love that they had Condemned and hanged a omen and y* know not for what for which the members of Boston Court gave him a sharp reproof and the Major Denison wos not respected in the Court of Boston and goodman Cross said that there Came more appeals from Ipswich Court than any town in the country and that some of Boston told him that we in the eastern parts Cap him in place or ofes or alls he had been torned out of place before now and the semen that belonged to ore Caches said that Goodman Croce told them that his sons were sate in the stocks and punished for nothing and he told us that the Major could not abide him and therefore I fare the worse in the Court and my sons also were punished for a matter of nothing.” Sworn, Nov. 18, 1668, before Samuel Symonds.*
Robert Crose, jr., aged twenty-seven years, deposed. Sworn in court.
Thomas Wells deposed that Goodman Cross said that “mestor bradsted wos the ondoing of a man at Watertown which wos of a great estate and of good account which went in good apparel and select stockings and they had dellings to gather Mister Bradstreet sued him from Court to Court… till he had on dun him and made him so poor that he brought him from selcke that he wore that he had instead tharof nothing but patched Clothes and Stockings out at the heals and that Mister Bradstreet was as bad as one godfree in veseri, which ore ansar was to him what that godfree was which answer was made to us that he was a well liked fellow and that he was a great uesoror and if he Came before a gogee his locks would hang him and the Court considered the man so on don the Court gave him a sum of money for to halp him Mister Bradstreet came to hear of it took it away from him and so he saruess him … I did not know Mister Bradstreet nor to this day nafter know or see godfree and nafer had dellings with Mister Bradstreet,” etc. Sworn, Nov. 18, 1668, before Samuel Symonds.* They further deposed that Marshall said that Major Denison was deceitful as his two sorts of hair showed and that Goodman Andros was like him, and on a training day he would be knocked down and none should know how it came to pass.
Thomas Wells and wife Naomi confessed that the reason they revealed the things spoken against the court at Ipswich was because they thought they concerned the life of the Commonweath. “It has ben the pleasure of god to visit my wife with sickness near unto death and other troubles which I never was tried with all before which made us between ourselves to consider what the mind of god should be in it and it put us in mind that the referent magistrates were spocken against and threatened which in this Court we both know in the presence of god and his people we both can afirm thos things spoken against the magistrates by thos persons then our consciouses smot us severely and heare in wee have sinned against god and his people because we had not revellied it Sonor then we said thow we have lived in thes naglate and not to revell it we Can find no rule in Scripture that wee Shale Hue any longer tharin and we hard of a ganarall training to bee at Ipswich intended and might be a fet opportunity as to do so as some have said for Christ says he that loveth father or mother more then me is not worthy of me and we apprehend this to be the Case of Christ and we had now rast in our consciouses night nor day till wehad reuelled thos things thar fore wee Commend ourselves to god and to the honored Court for we had rather suffer wth a good conscious than not to suffer with a accused conscious,” etc.
Steephen Crosse, aged about twenty-three years, deposed that the day when Jacobe Perkens’ house was raised, about a month ago,Thomas Wells said that Benjamin Marshall should be put to service for seven years, etc. Sworn in court.
Thomas Wells further testified that Benjamin Marshall said that Goodman Brags presented these young men for breaking up the bridge and being vexed with him said that it should not be long before his house should be burned or his cattle knocked in the head, and that he had come from old Goodman Crose’s when he said so. Sworn, Nov. 18, 1668, before Samuel Symonds.*
John Giddinge and Edmond Marshall deposed that being at Goodman Storry’s house, etc. Sworn, Nov. 23, 1668, before Samuel Symonds.*
Richard Brandbrooke, aged fifty-five years, deposed that Welles said he would give his brother Benjamin Marshall more wages if he would live with him again and that Merchant Booship advised it; this was after the vessel was launched. Sworn in court.
Robert Crosse, sr., aged about fifty-five years, deposed. Sworn in court.
Marthy Low, aged about twenty-seven years, deposed concerning John Bare.
Sarah Marshal, aged about twenty years, deposed. Sworn, Nov. 21, 1668, before Daniel Denison.*
Sarah Story, aged about forty-eight years, deposed, Nov. 23, 1668, that Robert Cross, jr., lived near Goodman Wells a year and his dealings had always been just.
Thomas Wells further deposed that Stephen Cross said that the magistrates sat between the court at dinner drinking burnt sack and when they came into court they were “broshing,” looking red as though they were “flustred,” and acted as though they were all “fodeeled.” To which his father replied that it was the fines they took that fed their fat sides, and the father said further that “I looked so big and spack so sorlie” that he made the Court quake, etc. Sworn, Nov. 18, 1668, before Samuel Symonds.*
Ezekiel Woodward testified that he had known Wells seventeen or eighteen years and he had carried himself soberly and discreetly and without offence; and was reputed a civil, neighborly man in the place where he lived. Sarah Foster testified to his good conduct, having lived very near him. Sworn, Nov. 21, 1668, before Daniel Denison.*
John Bayer and Benjamin Marshall testified that last April, coming down from the Falls with brother Welles, when they passed Goodman Brandbroock’s, Welles wiped his feet upon some sheets that were hanging upon the rails, etc. Sworn in court.
Goodman Bryadbrooke deposed that he asked John Bayer “why did you dirty your Anttes sheet,” but he said that Thomas Welles did it, whereupon deponent went to Welles and “asked him was this a requitall y’ you gave me for lending you my canoe?” etc. Bayer mentioned his master Crose. Sworn in court.
Edmond Marshall, aged twenty-three years, deposed that Wells said he had nothing against Benjamin and proffered friendship to them before deponent’s father and mother. He wished to see Benjamin and asked to have him “Come & reckon with me but not before my wife for it is very likely she would Rayele at him but you must Considor: she is but a woman & therfore not Come to the howse when I am not at home.” Sworn in court.
Thomas Clungen, aged about twenty-four years, deposed that Robert Cross, jr., was at his master’s house and his dame asked him if he saw any miscarriage of her husband’s and he said he had not, etc.
John Bayer deposed. Sworn in court.
Sarah Story deposed that Goodwife Brabruck said John Baer used language not fit to be spoken in a family, etc.
Mehitabell Brabrooke, aged about sixteen or seventeen years, deposed. Sworn, Nov. 19, 1668, before Samuel Symonds.*
Edmund Marshall, aged about seventy years, and his wife Melesent, aged sixty-seven years, deposed “As for my son Benjamin we never knew him given to Mallice or Revenge in all our Hues: nor to speak reproachfully of Magistrates or of any other: and as for Goodman Crosse we haue lived by him many years and neuer hard him spake ill of authority or against any Magistrate, but as for our Daughter Naomi we do think in our very hearts that certainly in her heart she hates her Brothers both Edmund and Benjamin though we spake it with greif of heart, for she would off en revile Benjamin and call him Rogue before our faces when we could never find what grounds she had so to do or hard any cause he had giuen her in words or actions; and when we reproved her for it, she would face us down it was false giving us the lye as it were to our faces, where upon I told her that I had been in y* church of Salem 30 years and upward and never was so detected as your father and I am by you our one child, where upon she replied again to us saying we might tell a hundred lies for all that and nare be known, for she could do it, and being long sick and in y* opinion of most y* came to visit me Judged I should neuer recover, yet she could say in a reviling way that I did desemble, and further we atest that Thomas Wells did say in a threatening way that there was something aworking that would tak affect not long after we heard of his accusing of our son Benjamin to goodman Brag for threatening his house should be burned and his Complaint of him concerning our honored Major, which is matter of great grief to us now in our old age, whether it be not out of a spirit of maliciousness that Thomas Wells should do thus, we have cause to think no other, by reason of his words to his brother Edmund at my house one Sabbath day: for coming in we ask him to eat with us, but Thomas Wells answered no for if I cant have your good will except I be a servant to y* Devil I care not: to the which his mother replied and asked him whether he knew what he said: and he answered yea; because you persuaded me to be at peace with him whom I can haue no peace with pointing to his brother Edmund; we asked why he said so, he said he had committed no sin in so doing; this we are forced to speak with grief of heart our conscious puts us upon it, further when he drew our daughter Sarah away from helping of me when I was in distress and lame, for we said to him that he would undo her but he said trouble not yourselves I will provide for her, so that she is gone from us and left us desolate of help: and now can call her Brothers Edmund and Benjamin Roges at will.” Sworn Nov. 19, 1668, before Samuel Symonds.
Robert Crosse, sr., Steephen Crose and Benjamin Marshall deposed that the wife of Thomas Welles said after court in Mr. Giddnes kitchen that Edmond had witnessed falsely, etc. Sworn in court.
Edmund Marshall deposed that Welles said that although Stephen Crose was a turbalent fellow, he never heard him speak ill of authority, etc.
Thomas Bragg, aged about twenty years, deposed that Goodman Brabruck said at Chebaco that Welles was a very honest man, etc.
Samuel Symonds referred the case to the Salem court.
17 Sep 1679 – He took the oath of fidelity to the colony at Westerly, Rhode Island
Caulkins, History of New London, pp 74, 355-6 [Wells 142-3]
Aged 42 in 1668. Thomas Wells was one of the early band of settlers at Pequot Harbor in 1648/49. A carpenter, he worked with Elderkin on mills and meeting houses. Last notice of him is in 1661, when Wells and Elderkin were enjoined to repair the turret of the meeting house
Wells, Thomas.—Westerly, 1680. He was called ” of Ipswich, ship-wright.” He died Feb. 12, 1700. His will was verbal, dated Dec. 27, 1699; in it, he mentions children Joseph, Thomas, Mary, Ruth, Sarah, John and Nathaniel. His wife was Naomi
RIGR 4:354 – Westerly Town Council and Probrate, vol 2 (1) 1699-1719
Thomas Wells. Will dated 27 December 1699 presented for probate 1 April 1700. pg 7 mentions wife Naomi Wells, sons Joseph Wells eldest, Thomas Wells, John Wells and Nathaniel Wells. Daughters Mary Wells eldest, Ruth Wells and Sarah Wells. Winesses: Joseph Maxson, Stephen Randall.
[Reynolds 137] TW and NW of Ipswich Mass and late of Stonington Conn.
[Salisbury 352] TW was a shipbuilder and married NM, daughter of Edmund Marshall, EM’s son Benjamin was in Ipswich in 1677 and was called “bro” of TW.
[Wells3 254] Sometime after 1651, he removed to Ipswich where his uncle Thomas lived and commenced the business of shipbuilding there which he continued until 1677. In 1677, TW bought a farm of 180 acres in Westerly RI and moved there with his sons Joseph and Thomas. 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 TW felt he was in danger of loosing his land, refused to build the vessel. RI got Westerly and TW got his farm by paying something to RI. TW and NM had Joseph 1656, Joseph 1658, Thomas 1661, Mary 1665, Ruth 1667, Sarah 1668, Nathaniel 1676.
From the “Connecticut, 1600s-1800s Local Families and Histories New England Families, Vol. IV, Genealogies and Memorials”, Pg. 2086
“Thomas, son of Nathaniel WELLS, was born in Colchester, England, in 1626. He came with his parents to America in 1629. He was a shipwright and carpenter. From 1648 to 1651 he was in New London, Connecticut, where he had a grant of land in 1649. He removed from there to Ipswich where he was engaged in shipbuilding until 1677, at about which date he removed to Rhode Island and lived in Wellstown. He is mentioned at Westerly in 1677 as engaged in building vessels in a shipyard, and is called “of Ipswich, shipwright”. He bought a farm of one hundred and eighty acres in Westerly, Rhode Island, on the east side of Pawcatuck river, now Westerly. For this farm Wells agreed to build a small vessel for Amos Richardson, but he soon found that the land was claimed by Rhode Isalnd 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 Well’s 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. He died February 12, 1700, aged seventy-four, at his home in Wellstown, located in that portion of the township of Westerly which afterward became the township of Hopkinton, and was buried in the burial place Chimney Orchard, on the estate first purchased by his father. He took the oath of fidelity to the colony at Westerly, September 17, 1679.”
2. Joseph WELLS (See his page)
3. Thomas Wells
Thomas’ wife Sarah Rogers was born in 1663. Her parents were Thomas Rogers and Sarah Cole. She married Thomas in Hopkin about 1691. Sarah died in 1716 in Westerly, Kings (Washington) Co., Rhode Island.
Thomas was born in Ipswich, Massachusetts, in 1663. At the age of fourteen he removed with his father to Westerly, Rhode Island. In 1677 the family settled in Wellstown, Hopkinton township, Rhode Island, and Thomas lived there the remainder of his life. He died 1716, aged fifty-three years. He took the oath of fidelity at Westerly, September 17, 1679. In a deed, dated 1694, he and his wife Sarah gave to his brothers Nathaniel and John a piece of land given him by his father. It was situated near Crandall’s Mills, in Westerly township. His will was dated April 11, 1716, and proved in 1716. On October 2, 1711, a general recorder’s quit-claim deed was granted to Thomas Wells. Nathaniel Wells, and others. His name was on the list of freemen from first settlement.
Children born in Wellstown: Thomas, about 1692: Edward, mentioned below: Sarah, about 1696.
4. Mary Wells
Mary’s husband Ezekiel Maine was born 1670 in Scituate, Plymouth, Massachusetts. his parents were Ezekiel Maine (1645-1714) and Mary [__?__]. After Mary died, he married Hannah Rose on 22 Oct 1695 in Stonington, New London, Connecticut. Ezekiel died 20 Oct 1715 in Stonington, New London, Connecticut
Child of Mary and Ezekiel:
i. Ezekiel Maine b. 24 Dec 1691, d. 24 Dec 1691
5. Ruth Wells
Ruth’s husband James Kenyon was born 4 Jul 1657 in Glodwick Oldham, Lancashire, England. His parents were James Kenyon and Esther Smith. James died 4 May 1724 in South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island.
Children of Ruth and James:
i. Sarah Kenyon b.1691 in South Kingstown, RI; d. 1721; m. 1710 in Kingstown, Washington, RI to Samuel Crandall
ii. James Kenyon b. 7 Apr 1693 in South Kingstown,RI; d. 1729 South Kingstown, Washington, RI; m.
iii. Thomas Kenyon b. 1695 in South Kingston, RI; d. 1774 Charlestown, Washington, RI; m. 4 Oct 1717 in South Kingstown, Washington, RI to Mary Ladd
iv. Ebenezer Kenyon b. 1697 in South Kingstown, RI; d. 1755 Westerly, RI; m. Elizabeth [__?__]
v. John Kenyon b.1698 in South Kingstown,RI; d. 1755 Charlestown, Washington, RI; m. 25 Sep 1720 in North Kingstown, Washington, RI to [__?__] Ladd
vi. Ruth Kenyon b. 1702 in South Kingstown,RI d. 1720
vii. Peter Kenyon b. 1704 in South Kingstown, RI; d. 23 Sep 1746
Charlestown, Washington, RI; m. 15 Sep 1726 in Westerly, Washington, RI to Naomi Wells daughter of Nathaniel Wells and Mary Crandall.
7. John Welles
John’s second wife Eliza Bickford was born in 1670 in Boston, Mass.
Children of John and Eliza
i. John Wells b. 1711 in Plainfield, Windham, CT; d. 29 Sep 1739; m. 19 Jan 1732 to Amey Wilcox
8. Nathaniel Wells
Nathaniel’s wife Mary Crandall was born in 1686 in Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island. Her parents were Joseph Crandal and Deborah Burdick. Mary died in 1763 in Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island.
Children of Nathaniel and Mary:
i. Naomi Wells b. 01 May 1707 in Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island; d. 1737; m. 15 Sep 1726 in Westerly, Washington, RI to Peter Kenyon
ii. Jonathan Wells b.22 Jun 1712 in Westerly, Washington, RI; d. 1734; m. 29 Nov 1734 in Westerly, Washington, RI to Elizabeth Maxson.
iii. Tacy Wells b.4 Jan 1715 in Westerly, Kings,RI; d. 1755 RI; m. 4 Jan 1734 in Westerly, Washington, RI to Hubbard Burdick
History of New London county, Connecticut: with biographical sketches of … edited by Duane Hamilton Hurd
New England families, genealogical and memorial: a record of the …, Volume 4 edited by William Richard Cutter 1913
Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts … By Massachusetts. County Court (Essex County)
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Very interesting reading about TW and NW! My husband Mason is descendant of George W Wells of Sothbridge so now need to connect back to NW. Were in Westerly just yesterday and had no idea until now that the family settled there! From New Canaan, Ct
Very interesting reading about TW and NW! My husband Mason is descendant of George W Wells of Southbridge and I think formerly of Woodstock, also a ship builder and sons founders of old sturbridge Village, so now need to connect back to NW. Were in Westerly just yesterday and had no idea until now that the family settled there! From New Canaan, Ct
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Thanks for writing about the Wells (Wellses?). I just learned that I’m also descended from this line, through Thomas’s daughter Ruth and her daughter Sarah Kenyon. It’s so interesting hearing their stories… even if they involved family members not getting along!