George and Harriet Wells of Fleming County, Kentucky

George and Harriet Wells family
of Fleming County, Kentucky

The Prologue:
Cousin Gene Green conveyed the information I have so far on the seven children to me in December, 1979 in Springfield, Ohio during the wake of my grandmother and his first cousin, Kitty Mae MURPHY-BASEY.

The Early Beginnings: The Emerging Family: The 1870 U.S. Census of Mason or Fleming County, Kentucky does not have George, Harriet or their children listed. The 1880 U.S. Census lists George Wells’ household listed in Flemingsburg, Fleming County in Precinct #7. Included in this household is George, age 42; Harriet, age 38; Henry, age 22; John, age 14; Lucretia, age 13; Bettie, age 7; Anna, age 5; and Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie”, age 2. Based on the 1880 census record, the approximate year of birth for each child is as follows: Henry SMITH in 1858, Carrie in 1860, John CULBERSON in 1866, Lucretia in 1871, Betty in 1873, Anna in 1875, and Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie” in 1878. Cousin Eugene Green, in an oral interview in December 1979, indicated that a son by the name of George, Jr. was born in 1881. It appears that all of the children were born in Kentucky.

George, Sr., along with his two stepsons, Henry and John, are listed in the 1880 census as farm laborers. Harriet as “keeping house.” Carrie, the oldest daughter, as a domestic servant. All held occupations typical for most southern African-Americans after the Civil War.

Also noted in the Wells’ household in the 1880 census is Edward Reems, age 23, as a farm laborer; and Alice Rudd, age 17, as a domestic servant. The census taker did not indicate what relationship, if any, these two had with George and Harriet. More likely the two were boarders. Boarding people was a common living arrangement in the late 1880s.

By the 1900 U.S. Census, George and Harriet are living in Mason County, Kentucky, District #8. Living with them is their oldest daughter, Lucretia Smith, and her children.

By the 1910 U.S. Census, George, age 64 and Harriet, age 66 are now without children living with them. However, George’s brother, John T. Wells, age 80 has taken up residency with them. Within six years, George Wells dies in February 1916.

Now alone, Harriet is living at 919 East Third Street in Maysville, Kentucky. By 1920, two of her grandsons, Carl and Stanley Green are living with her.

In the same month eighteen years after the death of her husband, Harriet dies on February 14, 1932 in Maysville, Kentucky. Surviving her were children Elizabeth, Betty, Lucretia, Anna, Carrie and John Culberson. A 1932 Affidavit of Descent, which was filed in Mason County Court, notes that Carrie and John were children of Harriet’s by a prior marriage.

One of the unsolved mysteries of my research on this family is: Who and what is the relationship, if any, between my George Wells of Flemingsburg and George W. Wells, age 32, listed in the 1870 U.S. Kentucky Census in Fleming County? The two would have been the same age by the 1880 census. Both had seven children. Both lived in the same county. Yet those are the only similarities I’ve found to date.

The differences are the second George W. Wells is listed as a laborer rather than a farm laborer. His wife is Carolina, age 31. His children are Wiley, age 18; Milton, age 15, George and Sarah, age 12; Ellen, age 10; and Mary, age 7. Living with George W. Wells is Agga Wells, probably his mother (1870 Fleming County, Kentucky Census, p. 375).

The Henry Smith Family:
Henry SMITH married (?), and the two of them apparently had two sons. Their names were Jim and Charley. No other information is yet known about this side of the family.

The Carrie Dorsey Family:
Carrie married (?) DORSEY, and the two of them apparently had three daughters. Their names were Hattie, Margaret, and Daisy. According to the 1934 settlement of Harriet Wells' estate, Carrie, age 63, was living in Chicago, Illinois.

The John Culberson Family:
The third child, John CULBERSON, apparently had four sons. Their names were John, Jr., Walter, Roy, and Raymond.

The Lucretia Wells Family:
Lucretia, married Jesse SMITH on April 21, 1890. The two of them had four children: Jesse, Jr., Lucian, Cordelia, and Mae. She later married (?) MILES. In a 1934 settlement of Harriet Wells’ estate, Lucretia, age 58, was living in Duxberry, Massachusetts.

The Betty Wells Family:
Betty, married Al GREEN. The two of them had nine children: Carl, Stanley, George, John, Wilson, Eugene, Houston, Mattie, and Lizzie.

The Anna Wells Family:
Anna, married Charles C. MURPHY. The two of them had two daughters: Kitty Mae and Elizabeth. Kitty Mae married Fred BASEY, and the two of them had one child. Her name is Betty Rae. My mother married Franklin AYERS, and the two of them had eight children: Harry BASEY, Mark, Frank, Jr., Adrianne, Randy, Judy, Timothy, and Melanie. Anna's youngest daughter, Elizabeth, married Sam CUMMINGS. The two of them had one child: Mary Ann. Mary Ann raised two children: Rochelle and DeAndre.

The Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie” Wells Family:
Lizzie married Henry FIELDS. The two of them had four children: Althea, Henry, Charlton, and John. Henry had three children from an earlier marriage named: Warner, Blanchard, and Viola. What I need to know is the names, birth/death data, names of spouses/children(if any), and martial information on the seven children of Lizzie and Henry FIELDS (please see enclosed forms).

The George Wells Family:
George, Jr., no information can yet be found.

Contributed by Tim Ayers - Nashville, Tennessee

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