Genealogy of Peter Wells of Jamestown & Kingston, Rhode Island

Genealogy of Peter Wells
of Jamestown & Kingston, Rhode Island

Note: The majority of the following material comes from the book "The Descendants of Peter Wells of the Line of Joshua Wells" by A.J. Wright. (Grandson of James Wells, Jr. of Hartford CT.) and Alice Wells Tuthill of Michigan City, Ind. Published 1914.
It has been "laundered" by Family Tree Maker so it appears in a slightly different format than in the original

See also the Peter Wells Family History

(1) 1. Peter Wells

Birth Date: About 1630
Birth Place: England
Death Date: 1715
Death Place: Kingstown, RI
Occupation: res: Jamestown, RI 1667. d. ae85
Peter Wells was residing at Jamestown, RI, in 1667. How long he had resided there is unknown. There is a tradition among his descendants that he was born in England in 1630. It is known that he was about 85y of age when he died at Kingston, RI in 1715, and it was understood that he was of English birth. It seems probable that the tradition is founded on fact. The records of Jamestown do not give much information concerning him and his large family, The births of his nine children were recorded there, but the records are so badly worn and illegiable that it has been difficult to decipher some of the names and dates of birth.

From these town records and from other sources the following records has been prepared.

  1. A dau was born in May, 1667
  2. A son, Thomas was born in Sept. 1669
  3. A dau was b. in Nov, 1671
  4. Another dau was b. Jul 20, 1673
  5. a son, John, was b. in May 1676
  6. A dau was b. Jan 21, 1678
  7. Another dau was born in June 1680
  8. A son, Peter Jr. was b. in 1681
  9. A dau Susanna, was b. Nov. 2, 1684

The name of the wife has not been ascertained. It may have appeared on the original record, but there is no trace of it at the present time.

The population of Jamestown (CT Island) must have been very small in those days of the colony. In 1708, the date of the first census, it was only 206

It is evident that he was a member of the town council in 1683 for there is upon the records a letter of administration granted to Hannah Clarke, widow of William Clark, and he signed the letter of authority to the widow to act as administrator on the estate.

Jamestown was incorporated as a town Nov. 4, 1678, and Peter Wells was made a freeman by the Gen. Assembly of the Colony at Newport, on the 6th day of May, 1679.

He must have been one of the eartly settlers for he had resided there at least a dozen years before the incorporation of the town.

The nearby town of Newport was settled in 1639 and Peter may have resided there before crossing over to Ct Island. A careful search of Newport records, however, does not reveal any evidence to support this theory.

Examination of the lists of persons whose names appeared upon the books of the vessels coming to New Eng. ports in early times has failed to locate him.

The usual genealogical works furnish no facts concerning his antecedents. Nathaniel Wells, who seems to have not been a relative of his later, settled on the main land a few miles west of Jamestown.

His descendants, as well as those of Peter, are residing in that locality at the present day. Nathaniel had been a well to do shipbuilder in Colchester, Eng. and had to abandon his property interests there and flee to American to escape persecution on account of non-conformity in religious matters.

Colchester, England, seems to have been the home of many of the Wells family and possible Peter may have come from that section of the England.

It appears from the Jamestown Records that he was appointed administrator of the estate of William Salter, deceased, and his bond and letters of administration or authority as administrator or executor are recorded in the first book of the land evidence of the town. They are dated Dec. 29, 1684. Under this date it appears that the town council of Jamestown gave him all the estate of William Salter, who died Dec. 24, 1684, on condition of his maintaining the aged mother of William Salter.

The Colonial records of RI contain the following concerning Peter Wells:

"At the General Assembly and election held for the colony at Newport, the first of May, 1678, voted, upon the petition of Mr. Thomas Greene, John Tooly, William, Peter Wells, and John Sheldon to be accomodated with as East Greenwich men are, their petitions are granted and they are to be accomodated in the next division of the ten thousand acres formerly granted, on the condition others are."

"At Newport, 6th day of May, 1679, voted that Peter Wells of Jamestown be admitted as a freeman of the colony."

"At Warwick, Nov. 2, 1695. Voted that whereas some differences doth appear betwext the town of Kingstown and the town of Westerly concerning bounds of jurisdiction, their assembly do declared, that Ensign John Crandall and Peter Wells, together with others there settled some of them having formally paid dues to Kingstown, and that they are to be within the jurisdiction of Kingstown, until further orders."

From this last act of the assembly it appears that Peter Wells had removed from Jamestown to the main land at Kingstown a few miles to the west or southwest, of his former home.

An examination of the Col. Land Evidence shows that on the 4th of Jul 1693, Henry Hall, of Westerly, RI, deeded to Peter Wells of Kingstown, Planter, "one hundred acres, west from John Sheldon's dwelling, bounded on Petticomscot Line, N.W. and S.E. 12 score poles, and in breadth 70 poles, W. 12 score poles on Job Babcocks' line."

The records show that on the 6th of Sep 1702 Peter Wells deeded "that farm I now live on, 100 acres housing, orchard, etc. to son Peter for love to him, he having behaved dutifully to his said father in this my aged and feeble condition."

It is related in some legal proceedings that on the 23rd of Aug 1715, "he testified as to knowledge of land in Jamestown 42 years before and many years after that time."

He died at Kingstown, in the year 1715.

The youngest son, Peter Wells, Jr. who received the homestead from his father by deed in 1702 resided there until his death in 1732.

In his will he gave his land in parcells to his sons, James, Peter, John and Sanuel. Peter, John and Samuel transferred their shares to James. James removed to Westerly, RI, and in 1755 he sold the homestead to John Jerathmell Bowers, of Swansea, MA. This is as far as the town clerk of South Kinstown suceeded in tracing the property transfers; but it is well understood that the homestead was located near th premises owned by John G. Clark northwest of the railroad station at Kingston on the line of the railroad from Providence to Westerly, RI.

Rev. John Hagadorn Wells, pastor of the Cong. Church at Kingston, RI for many years (now deceased) traced the property some years ago and was certian that he located it accurately.

He is authority for the above statement as to the location. Rev. John Hagadon Wells was not a descendant of Peter, but his wife was a descendant. He was a descendant of Nathaniel Wells, the ship builder of Colchester, Eng. who fled to American to escape persecution on account of non-conformity in religion.

In this history only one of the children of Peter will be considered. The records of the others may be written later on as facts can be obtained. John, the fifth child of Peter, will be considered in this history.

John Wells

Other children:

(2) 1.6 unk WELLS
Birth Date: 21 Jan 1678
Birth Place: Jamestown, RI

(2) 1.7 unk WELLS
Birth Date: Jun 1680
Birth Place: Jamestown, RI

(2) 1.8 Peter WELLS Jr.
Birth Date: 1681
Birth Place: Jamestown, RI

(2) 1.9 Susanna WELLS
Birth Date: 2 Nov 1684
Birth Place: Jamestown, RI
Sources:"The Descendants of Peter Wells of the Line of Joshua Wells" by A.J. Wright. (Grandson of James Wells, Jr. of Hartford CT.) and Alice Wells Tuthill of Michigan City, Ind. Loaned to Janette Young Streeter, Marcellus MI by Jennie Wells File of Lake LaGrange, Cass Co. MI Published 1914.
Peter Wells, of Jamestown and Kingstown, RI and some of his Descendants. by A.J. Wright of Hartford Ct.

Provided by Rita Wells - Delton, MI

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