Thomas Wells (Colchester)

Thomas WELLS (Colchester) (1566 – 1620) was Alex’s 11th great grandfather, one of 1,028 in this generation of the Miner line.

Immigrant Ancestor

Thomas Wells was born in 1566 in Essex or Lancashire, England. His parents were John WELLS (1539 – 1572) and Alice [__?__] (1544 – 1588). He married Elizabeth KEMBALL in 1585.  Alternatively, his wife’s maiden name was HUNT. Thomas died 26 May 1620 in Colchester, Essex, England.

Elizabeth Kemball was born in 1568 in Colchester, Essex, England. Her parents were Henry KEMBALL (1538 – 1581) and Margaret MUNNING (1544 – 1582).  Alternatively, her maiden name was Hunt and her parents were Thomas HUNT (1545 – ) and Elizabeth [__?__] (1550 – ). Some sources say Elizabeth immigrated to America late in life and died in 1646 in Wethersfield, Hartford, Connecticut.

Colchester, Essex, England

Children of Thomas and Ann Elizabeth:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Jane Wells 1587
Colchester, Essex, England
2. Cornelius Wells 1589
Colchester, England
3. Daniel Wells 1589
Colchester, England
4. Hugh Thomas Wells 1590
Colchester, England
1672 or
1637 at Evansham, Worcestershire, England.
5. Mary Wells 1591
Colchester, England
6. Anne Wells 1592
Colchester, England
7. John Wells 1592
Colchester, England
Colchester, England
8. Elizabeth Wells 1593
Colchester, England
9. George Wells 1595
Colchester, England
Colchester, England
10. Joseph Wells 1595
Colchester, England
Colchester, England
11. Jonathan Wells 1597
Colchester, England
12. Isaac Wells 1598
Colchester, England
Margaret Luce
28 Nov 1671 Barnstable, Barnstable, Mass
13. William Wells 1598
Colchester, England
Prob Colchester, England
14. Nathaniel WELLS 29 Oct 1600 Colchester, England Unknown 1681 Wellstown, Washington County,  Rhode Island.
15. Abraham Wells 1603
16. Deacon Thomas Wells 11 Dec 1605
Colchester, England
Abigail Warner (daughter of our ancestor William WARNER)
23 Jul 1630
at St. Betelph’s, Colchester, Essex, England
26 Oct 1666 Ipswich, Essex, Mass
17. Richard Wells 1609
Colchester, England
12 Jul 1672 in Prob Colchester, England,


12. Isaac  Wells

Children of Isaac and Margaret Luce

i. Lydia Willis, b. 1618, England; d. 28 Nov 1671, Marshfield, Plymouth, Mass. m.  Ralph Chapman on 23 Nov 1642 in Marshfield, Plymouth, Mass, son of John Chapman.

ii. Abigail Welles, b. 1621, England d. 01 Mar 1687, Newbury, Essex, Mass.

iii. Mary Wells, b. 1621, England, d. 28 Jul 1648, Barnstable, Barnstable, Mass

iv. Elizabeth Wells, b. 1621, England d. 17 Mar 1662, Eastham, Barnstable, Mass.

16. Thomas Wells

Thomas’ wife Abigail Warner was born about 1613 in Boxted, Essex England. Her parents were William WARNER and Abigail BAKER. Abigail died 22 JUL 1671 in Massachusetts.

Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony … By Thomas Franklin Waters, Sarah Goodhue, John Wise, Ipswich Historical Society 1927

By grant of the Town, Thomas Wells had a house lot of an acre and a half on the further side of the river “near the foot-bridge” with the house lot of John Proctor, north, and that of Samuel Younglove, south, on the east and west compassed in by the Town River. This was recorded in 1635. At that time there was no cart-bridge over the river. All wheeled vehicles and horses forded the stream. There was no privilege of approach to the river apparently near the old Choate Bridge. If the foot-bridge were located on the site of the present Damon’s Mill, where the little island in the river would have made a very favorable location, approach to it from the south would have been by the two rod way by the side of the Cove, which was always open to the public. The original grant to Proctor and Wells, bounded by the river east and west, would not have prevented this right of approach. But the road from the corner where the Meeting-House of the South Church stands, to the river-bank near the saw-mill, was opened in a few years. Examination of early deeds of conveyance of the Proctor, Wells and Younglove lots, reveals plainly that they had their frontage on County St. and the houses were near this thoroughfare


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

 On the Coldham passenger list for the “Susan and Ellen,” Thomas Wells is said to be aged 30 which  places his birth between 15 April 1604 and 09 May 1605. A baptismal date for “Thomas Wells, the son of Thos. Wells, the 11th of December, 1605” was reported as being in “the Register of St. Botolph’s, in Colchester” [co. Essex, England] in “Genealogy of the Wells Family and Families Related,” by Gertrude W. Wells-Cushing (Mrs. William Tileston Cushing) [pub. 1903]. Mrs. Cushing also claimed that “St. Botolph’s Register, page 53, Colchester, Essex, Co., England has the following marriage record: ‘Thomas Wells of —–, single, and Abygall Warner of —–, single, the 23rd July, 1630.'” and adds “the parishes or places to which they belong are illegible.” The baptismal date reported by Mrs. Cushing is not necessarily inconsistent with the date range extrapolated from the passenger list, as baptism did not always occur within days or weeks of birth.

There is a much more serious problem with Mrs. Cushing’s statements, however There is, in fact, some controversy as to whether these St. Botolph’s records actually exist or if they were fabrications. In a private email message of 18 June 1997 from Orin Wells of the Wells Family Research Association, he stated: “I would submit that there is not a shred of evidence to substantiate that Thomas was from Colchester. I did some ‘on the ground’ research in Colchester because Prof. Albert Welles in his work in 1876 claimed that not only did Thomas come from Colchester, but so did the alleged 6 brothers he listed in his book. Turns out that with the possible exception of Thomas and Nathaniel, not a one of them is related to the others. We now know for certain where two of the others came from and the third did not even exist. Someone invented a name for him when they could not explain the “Widow Frances Welles’ in Wethersfield, CT. In fact, the searching of the Colchester records we have done so far has yielded precious few Wells and only one can be traced to the colonies. “Further, one author wrote that the marriage of Thomas and Abigail Warner was shown in the parish record of St. Botolphs on 23 July 1630.  However, a later check and recheck of this parish record and the Bishop’s Transcript for that parish showed that no such record occurred within 25 years of that.

Thomas’s left a will on 1 Jul 1666 at Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts.

“Know all men by these presents, that I Thomas Wells of Ipswich in the County of Essex, being weake of body, yet of perfect memorye blessed be god, doe make this my last will & testament, in manner followeinge, viz.: I comend my soule into the hands of my Blessed Redeemer, in hope of a Joyefull resurrection, vnto Eternall life, att the last daye; and my body to be decently buried.

Item. I giue and bequeath vnto Abigaile my wife, eight pounds, yearely to be paide vnto her, out of my lands where I now dwell, dureinge her life, in lewe of her Dowrye; and this is to be paide yearely, in wheate, malte, porke, & Indian corne, in equall proportion, and to be good & marchentable, and paide att ye current marchentable price, as such is then paide at here in Ipswich: Alsoe I giue vnto her to haue one of the best roumes in my house, viz: eyther the Hall, or the Parloure (att her choyce) and to enjoye the same dureing her widdowhoode, And to haue free liberty, to bake, brewe, & washe, &c., in the kitchen, & free liberty to laye her corne, meale & malte, &c., in the Hall chamber, and free vse of garden grounde, where she liketh best, & to haue it well fenced in, and to have lande duely tilled &c to sow flaxe seed on, and that yearely as she shall see cause; & freedome in both the sellars, as she needeth, and shall haue suffitiencye, of firewood provided & seasonably lay’d in, & that yearely att the cost of my executor, & free libty to keepe thre, or fower henns, & a pigg or hogg in the grounde & yards, and shall haue the sixte parte of the fruite, that shall yearely grow in the orcharde, & shall haue the free vse & libty of all these
dureinge her widdowehoode.

Ite. I giue vnto my saide wife the old baye mare (she uses to ride on) and the bridle, pillion seate, and pannell, and two cowes, (att her choyce) and to haue the keeping of a horse or mare and of two cowes for her vse, both summer and winter, & a good house roume for them in winters, & these to be well kept, att the cost of my executor, during her widdowehoode. Also, I giue vnto her the bible she uses, & the booke called the Soule’s preperation for christ, & that of Perkins upon the Creede, and the bedsteed we lye on, & the bedinge, curtans, & vallans, therevnto belongeing, (excepting the blewe rugg) and to have the best greene rugge in lewe thereof And I giue vnto her the “best chist and the” inlayd boxe wth T: W: vpon the lidd; and to haue one halfe of the lynen & lynen clothe, & the thirds of the wollan clothe that is in the house, or in yarne or clothe at the weavers, and the thirds of the woole in the house, at my disease, and one halfe of the putter [pewter] that was her owne fathers, and the putter pinte pott (or tanker), and a brass, or iron pott (att her choyce) saue onely the great Iron pott and I giue vnto her the iron skellet, & foure of the best spounes, & a good porrenger, & a couple of sauscers (att her choyce) and the best lowe chaire, & her little chaire, & a good Cushen, & one of the greate wheeles, & a little spinninge wheele, and the warmeing pan, as legacies

Ite. My will is that my saide wife, shall haue the free vse of any kettle (of mine now in the house) or milke vessells, &c., she needeth, & of anye other smale thinge in the house (that’s mine) as though they were her owne, and that wthout controule, & to haue freedome att the well for watter, and libty for her cloths, or anye thinge els to be spreade, &c., where she pleaseth, and these dureing her widdowhoode

IIte. Whereas John Wells, (my second son) hath receiued of mee, a deed of gifte, of all the lands I had att the Towne of Wells, in the province of Maine, beinge the quantity of three hundred & fifty acres (more or less) arrable, meadowe, & pasture, togeather wth two cowes, and ten pounds, fifteene shillings, yt I have paid (att his request) vnto Stephen Kent of Haverhill in cattle, vpon a bill due from ffrancis Littlefielde, Senr. (his father in lawe) wth severall other things, all wch he hath receiued of mee, in lewe of his portion, & accordeingly my will is, that the same shall soe stande.

Ite. I giue vnto my son John Wells, ten pounds, to be paide vnto him, or to his assignes, wthin three yeares next after my decease, five pounds thereof in cattle neate, & in good condition, & the other five pounds, in wheate, malte, & Indian corne, in equall proportion, & all good & mrchantable, & att the currante marchantable price, as it then goes here in Ipswich, & to be deliurd [delivered] att my now dwellinge house provided that my son John Wells be then liueinge. And I giue vnto him my cloke, & one of the greate putter candlesticks wth the topp thereof, & two great sauscers and two little sauscers more. And I giue vnto Sarah Wells, his wife, (my Daughter in lawe) one five shillings peece of gould, as legacies.

Ite. whereas my two Eldest Daughters, viz: Sarah Massie of Salem, and Abigaile Tredwell of this Towne, hath each of them thirty pounds in lewe of theire portions, my will is that the said Sarah Massie, or her assignes, shall haue a good cowe, or to the value of foure pounds ten shillings, in other cattle neate, & in good condition, (bulls onely excepted) & not to exceed eight yeares of age, & to haue the same deliuered here, where I now dwell, wthin one yeare, & a halfe, next after my decease, and also, to haue the benifitt of the grase of a litle parcell of salte marshe grounde, adjoyneing, to the north: west end of Mr. Wades, neare vnto hogge Iland, and my Daughter Sarah to enjoye the vse of this, vntill the decease of my Bro: Massie, her father in lawe, & then to return vnto my executor. Alsoe I giue vnto Abigaile Tredwell my Daughter, my sixe acre lott of salte marsh, &c., that lies in Plum Ilande, to her, & her heires of male, or a good cowe, to be deliuered vnto her in good condition wthin one yeare, & a halfe, next after my decease.

Ite. I giue and bequeath vnto Thomas Wells my youngest son, two hundred and fifty pounds sterl. in lewe of his portion, to be paide vnto him, his heires or assignes, out of my houssen, and lands where now I dwell, wthin seauen yeares, foure months, & nine; or ten dayes, next after the saide Thomas Wells my son, doe come to the full age of one & twenty yeares, viz: one hundred pounds, to be paide at, or before, the twenteth or one and twenteth day, of the third month, commonly called may, next come twelue months, after that the saide Thomas Wells my son, doe come to the age of one & twenteth yeares. (whose birth day was vpon the eleventh day of the eleventh mo: Anno Dom: one thousand sixe hundred forty sixe) Fortye pounds thereof to be paide in cattle neate, & in good condition, (bulls onely excepted) and in horss kinde, viz, in geldings, & the horss kinde not to exceede, the sume of eight pounds, and for age, not to exceede, aboue sixe yeares olde. And allways provided that the leane cattle, & horss kinde be paide & deliuered in the third mo. called may. And thirty-sixe pounds thereof to be paide in wheate, and barly malte, in equall proportion, and all to be good & marchantable, both sweete, drye, & well dressed. And twenty foure pounds thereof to be paide in Indian corne, pease, porke and sheepe, & all to be good & marchantable, as aforesaid, the Indian corne, not to exceed the sume of twelue pounds, nor the sheepe not to exceed ye sume of foure pounds: And the other hundred pounds, to be duely and faithfully paide vnto the saide Thomas Wells, my youngest son, his heires or assignes, wthin three yeares, next after, the time, & daye, or dayes of payemt of the foremer hundred pounds, & all to be payeable, & well and faithfully paide vnto the said Thomas Wells my son, his heires, or assignes, accordeinge vnto the foremr hundred pounds, both for Kinde, quallity & quantity. And the remaineinge fifty pounds, to be duely, & faithfully paide, vnto the saide Thomas Wells my youngest son, his heires, or assignes, wthin (the premenconed) seaven yeares, foure month’s & nine, or ten dayes, next after, that the saide Thomas, my son, doe come to the age of one and twenty yeares; twenty pounds thereof, to be paide in wheate, and barly malte, both good & marchantable, being sweet, drye & well dressed, & in equall proportion. And fifteen pounds thereof, to be paide in cattle neate, & in good condition, (bulls & bull saggs onely excepted) And fifteene pounds thereof, to be paide in Indian corne, porke, & pease, & all to be good & mrchantable, the Indian corne, not to exceed the sume of seaven pounds ten shillings; and all the cattle, horss kinde & sheep to be duely paide, & dld. [delivered] att my now dwelling house, here in Ipswich, & all the rest, to be likewise delivered here, att my house, where now I dwell, or att anye other house, malte-kilne & wharfe, in Ipswich where the said Thomas, the son, or his assignes shall appointe the same.

Ite. My will is, that if my executor (whom I shall name & appointe) doe not duely, & faithfully pay & dischardge, this two hundred, & fifty pounds as before mentioned, accordeinge to my true intente, (as before expressed) eyther in whole, or in parte. Then, the saide Thomas Wells, my youngest son, his executors, or assignes, shall enter upon and take possession of the houssen, and lands, where now I dwell, both of arrable, meadowe and pasture, & quietly, to possese, & enjoye the same, vntill the whole be dischardged, anye thinge herein contained to the contrarye notwthstandinge.

Ite. my will is, that if the saide Thomas, my youngest son, shall dye & cease this life, before he come to the full age of one & twenty yeares, then the executor, of this my last will, shall pay vnto the rest of my children, the full sum of one hundred, and forty pounds, viz. vnto John Wells, or.

Thomas died on 26 Oct 1666 at Salisbury, Essex County, Massachusetts, at age 60. Thomas’s estate was proved on 15 Nov 1666 at Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts.

Children of Thomas and Abigail

i. Nathaniel Wells b. 1636 in Salisbury, Essex, Mass.;  m.  He married 29 OCT 1661 Liedia Thurley, daughter of our ancestor Richard Thurley (THURLOW)   Nathaniel died (15 DEC 1675)(15 DEC 1681) at Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts.


ii. John Wells  b. 1637 at Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts. He married Sarah Littlefield.  Sarah’s parents were Francis Littlefield and Rebecca Rust and her grandparents were our ancestors Edmund LITTLEFIELD and Annis AUSTIN.  He settled in Maine. He died 11 APR 1677 at Wells, York, Maine.

iii. Sarah Wells (1640 – 1703) m. John Massey of Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts.

iv. Abigail Wells b. 1641-1642 at Ipswich, Essex, Mass. She married 19 JUN 1661 to Nathaniel Treadwell, son of Thomas and Mary Treadwell. She died 16 JUN 1677 at Ipswich, Essex, Mass. Nathaniel married (2) Rebekah Titcomb.

v. Peter Wells (1645 – 1715

vi. Rev Thomas Wells b. 11 JAN. 1646/7 at: Ipswich, MAl m. 10 Jan 1669 at: Ipswich, Mass. to Mary Perkins; d. 10 JULY 1734  He was given a “Legacy to be paid him at 22 yrs Going to College.”  was a student at Harvard College under a provision of the will of his father…

vii. Elizabeth Wells b. 2 JUL 1646 at Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts. She married 9 JUN 1669 to John Burnham. She died 9 JUN 1731 at Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts.

viii. Hannah Wells (1648 – 1682) m1.  [__?__] Rogers. She m2.  Richard Symonds on 16 Aug 1679 in Salam, Essex, MA.

ix. Lydia Wells (1651– ) m. John Ropes


[Wells3 253] Nathaniel Wells had 6 brothers  who came to America settling in various parts of New England: Hugh 1590, Joseph c1595, William c1598, Thomas 1605, Richard 1609, and George 1611.


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11 Responses to Thomas Wells (Colchester)

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  6. Robert Andrew Wells says:

    Any Body know of a Thomas Wells who was born in Colchester, England in 1756? He named his son Nathaniel, and that’s an unlikely coincidence… Thomas was my great great great grandfather…. if you can find a thread to connect to my Thomas Wells, then I can provide the US family tree from there…

    Robert Andrew Wells
    Formerly of Alabama USA… currently in Abu Dhabi UAE

  7. Pingback: John Kimball | Miner Descent

  8. Michael Tuck says:

    Do you consider the Gertrude W Wells-Cushing book, Genealogy of the Wells Family and Families Related to be unrelable in general, or just as it pertains to the Thomas Wells controversy as noted on your site? I just discovered the book myself, and my immediate thought had been that it would be very useful for my Wells line.

  9. This Wells coat of arms is copyright of Please remove it, or at least add a link to our website and remove any advertising to outside companies, such as…. This amounts to you using my images to collect ad dollars for yourself. Please cease and desist. You have quite a huge number of my graphics on your site at

    Mike Kennaugh

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