William C. Wells, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of William C. Wells

WILLIAM C. WELLS. No citizen of Porter county has borne a more respected name than Mr. Wells, who began his career in this county as a youthful veteran of the Civil war and without capital at the start made his way into prominence and prosperity, so that he was honored with one of the principal county offices, and has for many years been one of the most successful farmers, fruit growers and stockmen in the vicinity of Kouts.

He was born on a farm in Fulton county, Ohio, March 22, 1848, a son of David and Catherine J. (Crane) Wells. The Wells family came from Maryland, with which colony and state it had been long identified. William Wells was the great-grandfather, and James Wells the name of the grandfather, the latter having been a resident of Wayne county, Ohio. David Wells, the father, was a native of Ohio, and was owner of a fine farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Fulton county, near Wauseon, the old place being now the site of the Wauseon water supply works. David Wells was twice married, and by his first wife had twelve children. After her death he married Mrs. Catherine J. (Crane) Maxwell, who by her former marriage had two daughters, Mary and Joanna Maxwell. Five children were born of her marriage to David Wells, namely: Leander G., who enlisted in 1862 in Company B, Sixty-third Indiana Infantry, was afterwards married to Sarah Kline, of Ohio, moved out to Missouri, and died in 1898, having been the father of ten children; William C., the second in the family; James A.; Mrs. Sarah J. Breyfogle, of Valparaiso; and David O., a rancher of Wyoming. The mother of these children was born in Pennsylvania.

In 1854 the family moved to Indiana, where the father was taken off by typhoid the same year. The children obtained their schooling in this state, and when William C. was still a boy he became one of the youthful recruits to stem the tide of rebellion in the south. On December 5, 1863, he was mustered in at Michigan City in Company E of the One Hundred and Twenty-eighth Indiana Infantry, being made sergeant in his company, and left for the front on his sixteenth birthday. His first destination was Nashville, where he left the railroad, and thence marched to join Sherman at Chattanooga. From there he participated in all that splendid campaign towards Atlanta, then returned with General Thomas' army to meet Hood's army in the campaign which culminated in the terrible battles at Franklin and Nashville. He was then put on transports at Clifton, Tennessee, and went around to Washington, and thence down the Potomac to North Carolina, where he was in several of the engagements of the spring of 1865 leading up to the final conclusion of the war. Among the battles in which he fought for the Union may be mentioned those of Resaca, Buzzard's Roost, Marietta, Kenesaw Mountains, Pulaski, Columbia, Franklin and Nashville. At the close of the war he was mustered out on October 20, 1865, and when a little more than seventeen years old exchanged the life of soldier for that of civilian, with his business career all before him.

While he was away fighting for his country his mother had died, and on his return he found the old home broken up. He then found a home with Mr. P. M. Robinson and wife, of this county, who became father and mother to the young soldier lad and helped him start in the practical affairs of life. He later found employment on the farm of William Morrison, near Kouts, and in 1869 was married to his employer's daughter, Miss Victoria J. Morrison. William and Prudence (Irvin) Morrison, her parents, were born and married in Ireland, and in 1831 immigrated to this country. The children in the Morrison family were Mary, Rebecca, Thomas, quartermaster in the 9th Illinois Cavalry, Lovina, Margaret, John, George and Sarah E., besides Mrs. Wells.

Mr. and Mrs. Wells began their wedded life on a farm of fifty-one acres in Pleasant township, and for ten years worked steadily in laying the foundation of a permanent prosperity. As one of the popular citizens of the county, known for his efficiency in every test to which he had been put, Mr. Wells was elected in 1878 to the office of county recorder, taking office the following year. He was re-elected in 1882, and thus gave the county eight years of his service. During his second term he made an abstract of the entire county. After this for a number of years Mr. Wells had a successful business experience, for one year in Valparaiso then three and a half years at Gibbon, Nebraska, and then moved to Hammond, Indiana, where he was in the grocery trade for eight years. Mr. Wells after more than twenty years of varied and honorable activities in public and business life returned to his first love, the farm and country. In 1900 he bought a part of the old Morrison estate, and eventually came to own two hundred and forty acres at his present homestead, which is noted as one of the most attractive and valuable farms of Porter county. Aside from general farming and stock raising, he has taken special pride in building up a splendid fruit farm, and his orchard of seven thousand trees is now considered the best and largest in the county, comprising the choice varieties of apples, pears, peaches, cherries, plums, etc. His dairy is also an important adjunct of his farming enterprise. His herd consists of high-grade Jerseys, and he markets large quantities of cream at Hammond. Mr. Wells is a business farmer, has used ideas as well as labor in his work, and is today one of the most successful representatives of the agricultural class in northwestern Indiana.

Mr. and Mrs. Wells are the parents of five children, namely, Maud V., Mabel K., Guy M., Paul I. and Ray A. All received their early education in the district schools or the public schools of Valparaiso. Maud was graduated from the Valparaiso high school, Guy is a graduate of Wabash College at Crawfordsville, while Mabel was given special training for her talents in the Art Institute of Chicago, and she is a graduate of the Chicago School of Applied and Normal Art. Guy is now manager of the Chicago Street Railway Advertising Company at Toledo, Ohio, being a young man of much ability and getting a first-class salary. He married Miss Ivy Carlson, and they have one son, Robert William. Maud is now the wife of Albert W. Sprague, who is in business in Hammond, and they have three children, as follows: Fern, who graduated from the Hammond high school and is now assistant librarian of the public library in that city; Marvin and Thelma, both now students in the Hammond high school. Since her graduation from the institute Miss Mabel Wells has become principal of the art department at Baker University of Baldwin, Kansas. Ray Wells, who is employed by the Hammond Electric Light & Gas Company, married Miss Bird Bradford, and they have two children, Meredith and Jennie. Paul Wells lives at home and is assistant to his father.

Mr. Wells and wife have for many years been members of the Methodist church, and both are wholesouled people who are helpful factors in their community and have engaged in many good works for the benefit of others than their own immediate family. In politics he has been Republican ever since casting his first vote. Fraternally he is a Good Templar, was master of the Masonic lodge at Valparaiso two years, is an honored member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and belongs to the Ancient Order of United Workmen.

Source: Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 881 p.
Page(s) in Source: 644-647

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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