Is your surname Wells?

Research the Wells family

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Thomas Wells

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Southwark, Surrey, England
Death: between September 26, 1718 and January 05, 1719 (64-65)
Prince George's County, Province of Maryland (Dates reflect writing and proving of will.)
Place of Burial: Saint Pauls Episcopal Cemetery, Baden, Prince George's, Maryland, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of George Welles; Thomas Morgan Wells, I; Elizabeth Mellows and Elizabeth Duckett
Husband of Frances Smith; Frances Smith; Frances Smith and Frances Wells
Father of Robert Wells; George Wells; Robert Wells; Thomas Wells, Jr.; Thomas Wells and 24 others
Brother of Edward Wells; Christopher Welles; Hamlet Welles; Mary Parker; Robert Welles and 2 others

Managed by: Elizabeth Ellen Prince
Last Updated:

About Thomas Wells

Revised Article: THOMAS WELLS FAMILY OF PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MARYLAND Family Tree DNA Wells Group #W006, Family Tree DNA Ward Subgroup #17

By John Britton Wells III (6th great grandson of Thomas Wells, born 1653) wellsga@bellsouth.net revised September 9, 2016

Most published genealogies of Thomas Wells of Prince George’s County, Maryland, born 1653, include his father as Thomas Wells, “Senior,” born c.1619 in England. They also claim that the younger Thomas was born either in England or America in 1653, but at the same time indicate he came to America in 1679. These published genealogies also name Elizabeth “Mellows” as the mother of the younger Thomas Wells in spite of the fact that Elizabeth lived her entire adult life in St. Olave Parish, Southwark, Surrey, England, where her will was probated on 15 February 1683.

Clearly, these genealogies are filled with contradictory information based on dangerous, unsourced assumptions and large doses of pure fantasy. The purpose of this article is to separate fact from fiction and establish the true ancestry of Thomas Wells of Prince George’s County, Maryland.

What we do know is that Thomas Wells, born 1653, was living in what is now Prince George’s County, Maryland, on 26 August 1695 when he purchased a 200 acre tract called “Strife,” then in Calvert County, “on the west side of the Patuxent River in the freshes [sic] of the river, being part of a warrant for 4,000 acres” from Thomas Smith. (Prince George's County Land Records, Vol. A, p. 26). Prince George’s County was formed from Calvert County in 1695, but did not become effective until 1696. The Patuxent River formed the boundary between Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties.

The proximity of the property to Anne Arundel County is important because it provides a link to the probable path of Thomas Wells to America. On 20 April 1679, Robert Conant of Anne Arundel County proved he had transported a number of persons including members of his own family and others, among them Thomas Wells, to the Province of Maryland. Conant was entitled to fifty acres of land for each person transported provided that he agreed to inhabit the land for sixteen years. These rights were subsequently assigned to Nicholas Laintes of St. Mary's City. (Patent Liber WC2, folio 50, 57, Maryland State Archives).

If we presume that Thomas Wells was transported during the year 1679 (age about 26 - seems reasonable) because Robert Conant was motivated to transport others in exchange for land, then Thomas was present from that year and likely resident in Anne Arundel County. Further, it was common for transported individuals to become indentured to the person who transported them for a period usually of about 7 years. If so, Thomas Wells remained in Anne Arundel County until at least 1686. Add these assumptions to the fact that Anne Arundel County is located adjacent to Prince George’s County it seems very likely that Thomas Wells, born in 1653, was the same man who arrived in America in 1679 as an indentured servant.

Although several widely distributed genealogies list the father of Thomas Wells as a Thomas Wells, born about 1619, there is not a single mention of an elder Thomas in any area Maryland records. Additional information from England further debunks the existence of Thomas Wells as the father of the Thomas Wells who arrived in Maryland in 1679. On 15 January 1682/3, Elizabeth “Mellowes” or “Millowes” of Saint Olave Parish in Southwark, Surrey, England, wrote her last will and testament. She was a poor woman, but felt the need to leave a tiny part from her meager estate “unto my sonn Thomas Wells who went into parts beyond the seas to Maryland or other parts in America … the sum of one shilling of lawfull money of England.” The remainder of her estate was left to her “loving and kind sonn in law John Parker of Crucifix Lane in the Parish of St. Olave in Southwark, hattmaker, [hat maker] the husband of my daughter Mary. [Signed] the mark of Elizabeth Millowes.”

An examination of the St. Olive Parish Register includes the birth of Thomas “Weles,” the son of “George Weles,” on 24 October 1653. He was christened at St. Olave on October 30th of the same year. His birth year is corroborated by “Maryland Chancery Records of 1714,” (Liber 3, Folio 27) in which Thomas Wells witnessed the boundary lines for an adjoining tract of land in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and is described as "Thomas Wells, Senr. aged about sixty one years." This would place his birthdate as 1653, the same year as the Thomas Wells of St. Olave Parish.

At least seven children were born to George “Weles” (also spelled “Wells” and “Welles” in other parish entries) and his wife Elizabeth. The baptisms of all but Edward were registered at St. Olave Church:

  • (1) Edward, born about 1635
  • (2) Christopher baptized 1 March 1639/40
  • (3) Hamlet baptized 13 November 1642
  • (4) Mary baptized 29 December 1644
  • (5) Robert baptized 20 June 1647
  • (6) Thomas baptized 30 October 1653
  • (7) Elizabeth baptized 1 July 1655.

Sadly, Christopher, Hamlet, Robert and Elizabeth died before reaching the age of majority. Mary married to John Parker and is mentioned in her mother’s will. It appears that only Edward survived long enough to have children to carry on the Wells family name in England.

Edward and his wife Martha left behind seven children, all of whom were also christened at St. Olave:

  • (1) George Wells baptized 14 April 1664
  • (2) Mary Wells baptized 14 Jan 1665
  • (3) William Wells baptized 28 July 1667
  • (4) John Wells baptized 29 November 1668
  • (5) Sarah Wells baptized 1 May 1670
  • (6) Parnell Wells baptized 16 November 1673
  • (7) Martha Wells baptized 8 November 1674

The family of Edward Wells disappeared from the records of St. Olave Parish after the baptism of Martha in 1674. There was “a great fire” in Southwark in 1676 which continued for 17 hours. Other contemporary accounts estimate that 70% of the buildings in Southwark were destroyed. Perhaps the family was forced to move away from Southwark at that time. Their fate in unknown.

Much discussion has revolved around the fact that in Edward’s mother Elizabeth’s will her last name is given as “Mellows” or “Millowes.” Again, according to the St. Olave Parish Register, Elizabeth’s husband George Wells died in 1655 and was buried in the St. Olave churchyard on 29 April 1655. It seems obvious that Elizabeth married a second time to a man named “Mellows” or “Millowes,” and, therefore, used his last name in her will. Elizabeth’s maiden name was actually either “Hawkines” or Jamkines” and she married to George Wells at St. Olave on 15 November 1626. She was buried at St. Olave as Elizabeth “Mallas” on 19 February 1682.

The records of St. Olave’s Parish extend only as far back as 1582. George “Welles” was christened in the church on 16 August 1590, the son of Edward Welles, a "joyner" [joiner] by profession. Edward Wells was married on 5 August 1574 to Elizabeth Partridge at the Church of St. James Garlickhythe, just one mile distant from St. Olave on the north bank of the Thames River. He is also listed as a member of the "Worshipful Company of Joiners and Ceilers" in the same parish. No earlier record of Edward “Welles” has been found.

Although there are few surviving public records that shed light on the life of George Wells, the baptismal records of his children from 1639 through 1647 list his occupation as “drayman,” a beer delivery driver, while the entries for his last two children in 1653 and 1655 describe him as a “brewer’s servant.” Obviously, he worked for one of the many local breweries in Southwark.

The Wikipedia history of the town of Southwark also gives us clues as to the family’s religious beliefs and the reasons why Thomas Wells came to America:

“Southwark [located on the south bank of the Thames River across from the Tower of London] appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as held by several Surrey manors. Its assets were: Bishop Odo of Bayeux held the monastery (the site of the Cathedral), the 'tide-way' - which still exists as St Mary Overie dock; the King owned the 'church' (probably St Olave's, located on Tooley Street) and its 'tidal stream' (St Olave's Dock); the dues of the 'waterway' or mooring place were shared between the 'King' and Earl Godwin; the King also had the 'toll' of the strand; and the 'men of Southwark' had the right to a 'haw and its toll'…. During the early Middle Ages, Southwark developed and was one of the four Surrey towns which returned Members of Parliament for the first commons assembly in 1295. An important market occupied the High Street from some time in the 13th century, which was controlled by the City's officers—it was later removed in order to improve traffic to the [London] Bridge…. The area was renowned for its inns, especially The Tabard, from which Chaucer's pilgrims set off on their journey in The Canterbury Tales. Just west of the [London] Bridge was the 'Clink Liberty' manor, which was never controlled by the City, technically held under the Bishopric of Winchester's nominal authority. This area therefore became the entertainment district for London, and it was also the red-light area. In 1587, Southwark was given its first playhouse theatre, The Rose. The Rose was set up by Philip Henslowe, and soon became a popular place of entertainment for all classes of Londoners. Both Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare, two of the finest writers of the Elizabethan age, worked at the Rose. In 1599 the Globe Theatre, in which Shakespeare was a shareholder, was erected on the Bankside in the Liberty of the Clink. It burned down in 1613, and was rebuilt in 1614, only to be closed by the Puritans in 1642 and subsequently pulled down not long thereafter. A modern replica called Shakespeare's Globe, has been built near the original site. Southwark was also a favourite area for entertainment such as bull and bear-baiting. The impresario in the later Elizabethan period for these entertainments was Shakespeare's colleague Edward Alleyn, who left many local charitable endowments, most notably Dulwich College. On 26 May 1676, ten years after the Great Fire of London, a great fire broke out, which continued for 17 hours before houses were blown up to create fire breaks.”

As a “drayman” and “brewer’s servant,” George Wells was not a man of means. In spite of his humble circumstances, George Wells named a son “Hamlet” Wells in 1642, the year the Puritans closed the Globe Theater. It is likely that he named his son “Hamlet” in protest over the closing of the theater. Clearly, he was a patron of the local theater and not a Puritan. In spite of George’s apparent liberalism and support of the established church, at least some of the Wells family became dissenters.

George’s daughter Elizabeth died on 24 November 1675 as a “non-conformist.” At the time of her death, her mother “Elizabeth Wells” was also included in the “non-conformist” register. George and Elizabeth’s daughter Mary as well as her husband John Parker also attended a “non-conformist” church. Mary’s death on 24 October 1686 was entered in a “non-conformist” register. Possibly as a reaction to the economic consequences of the great fire of Southwark in 1676, the family’s religious preferences and his own impoverished circumstances, George’s son Thomas Wells sought out a sponsor to pay his passage to a new life in America and left England forever in 1679.

Apparently, the Wells family in America continued its haphazard relationship with the established church and authority in general. The name of George’s son Thomas, born in 1653, appears frequently in the records of Prince George's County, Maryland. In July 1696 Court, Thomas Wells was found guilty of assaulting Thomas Swareingen and required to pay a fine and post a bond for his good behavior.

In November 1697 Court, Thomas Wells was paid a bounty for "one wolves head." Thomas Wells was impaneled on a Grand Jury. "Docquett of Subpoena. 4th Thurs in March 1698. John Merryton demands a Subpoena for Thomas Wells to testify inter him and His Majesty." "We present Elizabeth Plummer, wife of Thomas Plummer, for sending Jonathan Bryan and Matthew Cooper to the plantation of Thomas Wells to steal onions and cabbage and bacon."

On 28 March 1698 Thomas Wells was again in trouble with the authorities ". . . in Contempt of the Good Laws of This Province and allso the Kingdome of England make himselfe drunke and in Such manner did beare himself in Fighting etc. Against the tennor and Provision of the good Laws of God and this Province." Thomas plead guilty, paid a fine and again posted a bond.

Periodic misbehavior, however, did not seem to keep men from positions of civic and religious leadership. In 29 September 1699 Court, he and Thomas Plummer served together on a jury, and the Court "Ordered that Thomas Wells & Thomas Pelle be overseer of the Patuxent Hundred." In the Queen Anne's Parish (Church of England) Vestry minutes of 7 April 1707, “Thos. Wells, Sr.” was chosen vestryman. (“Court Records of Prince George's County, Maryland 1696-1699,” edited by Joseph H. Smith and Phillip A Crowl, American Historical Association, Washington, DC, 1964, pages 26-27, 275, 393, 456-8, 263-4, 547-8).

Thomas Wells died in Prince George’s County in 1718. His will, written 26 September 1718, was probated in Prince George's County on 5 January 1718/19. In it he named his wife, Frances, to whom he left his property for her life. It was then divided among his four sons: Thomas, Nathan, Robert, and Joseph. He left slaves to his four daughters, Frances, Mary, Sarah and Elizabeth, but only five shillings to his son, George. (Maryland Calendar of Wills, Volume 14, page 724). Frances Wells survived her husband by at least five years. On 23rd March 1723, “Frances Wells to Thomas Lancaster for five pounds ten shilling(s) current money [sold] … lot in Queen Ann Towne … left to said Frances according to and form of law by her husband Thomas Wells, Senr, deceased.” A “Mrs Wells” paid taxes in the Patuxent Hundred in 1719, but not in 1733. (Maryland State Papers, No. 1, “The Black Books,” Hall of Records Commission of the State of Maryland, 1943, Items 161 & 265).

Some family historians have speculated that the maiden name of Frances Wells was “Smith.” It appears that this assumption is derived solely from a property transaction between Thomas Wells and Thomas Smith in 1695. No documentation has been found that supports this conclusion.

Thomas and Frances Wells had nine children:

  • (1) Thomas Wells, Jr. born c.1683 in what is now Prince George’s County, Maryland, died in 1751, married Martha Boyd.
  • (2) George Wells born c.1685, died in 1770/1, married 1st Susannah (Swanson) Ward, married 2nd Sarah _________.
  • (3) Frances Wells born c.1687, mentioned in her father’s will, no further reference.
  • (4) Mary Wells born c.1689, mentioned in her father’s will. No further reference.
  • (5) Nathan Wells born c.1691, died c.1770, married Mary Duckett.
  • (6) Robert Wells born 5 August 1693, married Ann __________.
  • (7) Joseph Wells born 30 September 1697, died after 1758, possibly in Orange County, North Carolina, married 1st Margaret Swanson, married 2nd Mary Cox.
  • (8) Sarah Wells born 30 September 1697 (twin of Joseph), married Alexander Gaither.
  • (9) Elizabeth Wells born 11 May 1699, mentioned in her father’s will, no further reference.

Child #2, George Wells and his wife Susannah (Swanson) Ward had at least two sons, Joseph and George Wells. However, modern Y-DNA testing has uncovered an additional son: Nathan Ward. The listed parents of Nathan Ward, born on 12 February 1713, are James and Susanna Ward. (St. Barnabas Church Register, Queen Anne Parish, Prince George's County, Maryland). They are found in a Prince George’s County deed dated 10 December 1714 in which “James Ward of Prince George’s County ‘planter’ and Susannah his wife lately called Susannah Swanson of the one part [sell to] George Wells of the afsd county ‘planter’ … land called ‘Swanson (Swansea) Lott’ in Prince George’s County.” (Prince George’s County, MD Deed Book E, pages 331-332).

George Wells, the son of Thomas and Frances Wells above, was the next door neighbor of James and Susanna Ward. Recent Y-DNA testing of direct male descendants of both George Wells and Nathan Ward proves that George Wells was the actual biological father of Nathan Ward and not James Ward. It is unclear whether James Ward was aware of this circumstance, but by 30 March 1719 James Ward either left his wife Susannah or had died. On that date the vestry of Queen Anne Parish “ordered that the clerk summon George Wells and Susanna Ward to attend the vestry on Sunday the 12th April after the sermon touching their living lewdly and uncontinently together.” (Queen Anne Vestry Minutes, Prince George’s County, Maryland, page 60). Page 61 of the Vestry Minutes records that on “12 April 1719 then appeared George Wells and Susanna Ward and were admonished by the vestry not to cohabit together nor frequent each others company.” Apparently, the scandalous behavior of George Wells and Susannah Ward had been going on for some time and was common knowledge. When Thomas Wells, the father of George, died his will dated 26 September 1718 provided land and slaves for his wife Frances and all of his children except George to whom he left a paltry 5 shillings in an obvious show of displeasure for his son’s actions. (Maryland Calendar of Wills, Volume 14, page 724).

The fate of James Ward is unknown, but George Wells finally married Susanna Ward on 16 June 1725 (Queen Anne Parish Register). Either James Ward was dead by that date or he had been declared officially to have abandoned his wife, allowing her to remarry in the church. George Wells became the head of the Ward household and the father to all of the Ward children. The genuine affection held by the Ward children for George Wells from an early date is reflected in a deed from 8 December 1726, less than 18 months after his marriage to Susannah Ward, in which Thomas Ward, the son of James Ward, gave “for natural love and affection I bear unto my well beloved father-in-law (stepfather) George Wells for his great care and trouble of me in my affliction of sickness - all my crop of Indian corn and tobacco.” (Prince George’s County, Maryland Land Records 1726-1730, Liber M, page 103). The affection for George Wells, or the knowledge that he was his biological father, extended to Nathan Ward as well. On 30 June 1735, Nathan and his wife Margaret christened their first born son in Queen Anne Parish and named him “Wells Ward,” obviously in honor of George Wells. (Brown, Helen W., "Prince George's County, Maryland, Indexes of Church Registers, 1686-1885," Vol. 1, p. 197).

"Revision of the Thomas Wells article with new information I received from an "Old English" expert. The occupation of George Wells was listed as "drayman" in the baptisms of his older children and "brewer's servant" in later baptismal records".


GEDCOM Note

!Source: Maryland Chancery Record, Liber 3, folio 27. Will written 26 Sep 1718, probated in Prince Georges Co. 5 Jan 1718/19. He names wife, Frances, to whome he leaves his property for her life, and then to be divided between his four sons, Thomas, Nathan, Robert and Joseph. 5 shillings to son George and slaves to his daughters, Frances, Mary, Sarah and Elizabeth.


GEDCOM Note

Thomas Wells was not initially a Quaker

Thomas Wells was not initially a Quaker (if he ever was). Members of the Wells family joined the Quakers in 1745. Thomas Wells was 65 years old when he died. From MORRIS GENEALOGY by Robert C. Moon, M.D. (Vol. 2, p. 532). (Note: I checked the cited volume and page, and it did not pertain to the Wells family. The reference must be mistranscribed.) "WELLS--This is an ancient and distinguished family which can be traced to John Lord Wells of Alford, 1380, whose son, Lord Wells, was Lieutenant of Ireland in 1433, while Anthony Wells was Captain of York Castle in 1635. John, Lord Wells of Alford, 1380, had a daughter, Anne Wells, who in 1403 married the Earl of Ormond, whose descendant, Anne Boleyn, married King Henry VIII in 1532. Their daughter, Elizabeth, was crowned Queen of England in 1558. It is believed that these were the ancestors of the North Carolina branch..." Much information obtained from Randy Martin over the Internet.

I agree that Thomas Wells was not a Quaker, but his son, Joseph, and wife and some (if not all) daughters joined in about 1745. Joseph and family were active Quakers for a time in NC. Joseph's daughter, Rachel, from his first wife, also named Rachel who died soon after birth) was a Quaker minister. She married Quaker John Wright. Their daughter, Rachel Wright Cooke, was a famous Quaker woman minister who traveled back to England and Ireland to preach (even though she had 11 children back home). Her husband and family were very supportive of her ministry because they believed her truly gifted for that calling.

GEDCOM Note

Event: Indenture Apr 1669 Note: Agreed t

Event: Indenture Apr 1669 Note: Agreed to work and inhabit 50 acres of land for Robert Conant inMaryland in exchange for passage to America Event: Identity 15 Jan 1682 Note: Elizabeth Mellows' will dated Jan. 15, 1682 lists her son ThomasWells who went beyond the seas to Maryland. Event: Land 26 Jan 1696 Calvert Co., Maryland Note: Thomas first bought land in Prince George County, Maryland (orCalvert County, Maryland on the Patuxent River) on 26 Aug 1695 (or Jan26, 1696), a 200 acre tract named "Strife" on the west side of hePatuxant River (Liber. A Folio 26-28). (Surrounding Land Owned By FrancisSwantstone, Edward Isaak And Henry Darnell). To this he added an 18 acretract called "Something" on 15 Jun 1703 (Patent Liber CD Folio 88).Called "Planter of Clavert Co." Thomas contributed a "goodly sum" oftobacco for his share of the building of the Parish Church of St.Barnabas at Leeland and also provided accomodations for the bricklayersworking on the building. He d. 1717 Prince George Co MD and is probablyburied Queen Anne Parish. On 23 May 1722, Frances sold the house and lotin Queen Anne town, left to her in her husbands will. Where she livedthereafter is not known. Event: Court Jul 1696 Note: Found guilty of assaulting Thomas Swaringen Event: Land After 1696 Prince George's Co., Maryland Note: Acquired land adjacent to "Strife" called "Something" Event: Court Mar 1698 Prince George's Co., Maryland Note: Subpeoned to testify that Elizabeth Plummer had sent a servant tosteal onions, cabbage, and bacon from him Event: Court 28 Mar 1698 Note: Found guilty of drunkeness and fighting Event: Court 29 Sep 1699 Note: Served jury duty Event: Court 29 Sep 1699 Note: Appointed to serve as overseer, along with Thomas Pelle, of thePatuxent Hundred Event: Land 10 Jan 1704 Prince George's Co., Maryland Note: Folio 120b, Indenture, 10 Jan 1704. From: Thom. Swaringen of PG Co,and Jane his wife. To: Charles Hyatt, planter of PG Co. For =9C66 a 60 acparcel of land surveyed and deducted out of a tract called BasingthorpHall now belonging to Richard Harwood in freshes on west side of PatuxentRv; beginning at a branch of Bears Brooke and bounded by Basingthorp Halland land called Strife owned by Thomas Wells. Wit: Hugh Riley and WilliamMOORE (mark). Event: Appointed 7 Apr 1707 To Be A Vestryman Event: Witnessed 1714 Boundary Lines Of Adjoining Tract Of Land (SeeMaryland, Chancery Record, Liber 3, Folio 27) Will: 26 Sep 1718 Prince George's Co., Maryland Note: Wells, Thomas, Sr., planter, Prince George's Co., 26th Sept., 1718; 5th Jan., 1718. To wife Frances, dwelling plantation, ____, "Strife," and adj. tract "Something," in all 218 A., during life; at her decease to four sons, Thomas, Robert, Nathan and Joseph. Shd. all of sd. sons, Thomas, Nathan and Robert, die without issue, lands to descend to son Joseph; shd. he die without issue, to 4 daus. equally, viz.; Frances, Mary, Sarah and Elizabeth, and their hrs. To sd. daus., personalty. To son George, 5s. To wife Frances, extx., and hrs., house and lot in Queen Ann's Town and residue of estate. Test: Richard Duckett, Wm. John Black, Thomas Howell. 14 GIVN Thomas SURN WELLS AFN 92TX-QN AUTH The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints TITL Ancestral File (R) PUBL Copyright (c) 1987, June 1998, data as of 5 January 1998 REPO @R01@ Note: (Research):Information on this man can be found in the WellsChronicles Vol.3 # 3.p.265. His will was written 05 Jan 1717 and proven26 Sept 1717. I am trying to trace his son Robert, who m. Ann and theyhad a Robert. It is really the second Robert I am trying to trace. Dadinheirited land in the Conococheaque valley and sons Robert and Jeremiahworked it. Robert has a son Andrew but I can't believe there was only onechild of that marriage. I am looking for other children of the marriageof Robert b.1728/9 and married to Easter(Ester). Most of the family islaid out in the Chronicles. Check with the Wells Family list at Rootsweb.(Message dated August 10, 1999 posted by Ca rol Williams to Wells messageboard at Genealogy.Com Children Frances WELLS b: Abt. 1674 Mary WELLS b: Abt. 1676 Thomas WELLS b: Abt. 1680 in Prince George County, Maryland George WELLS b: Abt. 1685 in Prince George County, Maryland John WELLS b: Abt. 1690 in Prince George County, Maryland Robert WELLS b: 5 Aug 1693 in Prince George County, Maryland Nathan WELLS b: 1695 in Prince George County, Maryland Joseph WELLS b: 30 Sep 1697 in Prince George County, Maryland Sarah WELLS b: 30 Sep 1697 in Prince George County, Maryland Elizabeth WELLS b: 11 May 1699 in Prince George County, Maryland

GEDCOM Note

!ORDINANCES: IGI; SS, FHL Film Source #1

!ORDINANCES: IGI; SS, FHL Film Source #1553838, Batch 5026898 Sh 53

GEDCOM Note

See Linda Coate Dudick's page at http:/

See Linda Coate Dudick's page at http://ancestrees.com

GEDCOM Note

FamilySearch showed this additional info

FamilySearch showed this additional information: Burial - Place: Monocacy Dist, Prince Georges, Maryland

FamilySearch showed this additional information: Found guilty - Date: Jul 1696 Place: of assaulting Thomas Swareingen

GEDCOM Note

From Ancestral File (TM), data as of 5 J

From Ancestral File (TM), data as of 5 JAN 1998.

GEDCOM Note

Wells (N), m. by 29 June 1725, Martha,

Wells (N), m. by 29 June 1725, Martha, dau. of Mary Boyd of PG Co. (MDAD 7:28). Charles, m. by 5 Jan 1721, Sarah, extx. of Anthony Arnold of BA Co. (MINV 10:105; MDAD 7:461). She was also the admx or extx. of John Right of BA (MINV 11:255). George, m. by 9 Dec 1710, Mary, widow of Robert Gibson (BALR TR#A:129). John, contract of marr. 17 Aug 1671 to Ann Beedle, sister of Henry Beedle, and dau., in, law of William Coursey (TALR 1:163). John, of QA Co., m. by 1714, Jane, dau. of Louis Blangy (MWB 14:1). Richard, of AA Co., m. by 8 Jan 1696, Mary, dau. of Thoams Martin of AA Co. (AALR WH#4:4). Richard, m. by 1759, Lydia, admins. of John Zacha Allen (Judg. ISB#4:445, 482). Richard, m. by 5 May 1762, Mary, widow of Benjamin Allen of AA Co. (MDAD 48:81).

GEDCOM Note

#1. AFN:92TX-QN.

  1. 1. AFN:92TX-QN.

GEDCOM Note

!Ancestral File

!Ancestral File

GEDCOM Note

Life Sketch

About Thomas Wells Revised Article: THOMAS WELLS FAMILY OF PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MARYLAND Family Tree DNA Wells Group #W006, Family Tree DNA Ward Subgroup #17

By John Britton Wells III (6th great grandson of Thomas Wells, born 1653) wellsga@bellsouth.net revised September 9, 2016

Most published genealogies of Thomas Wells of Prince George’s County, Maryland, born 1653, include his father as Thomas Wells, “Senior,” born c.1619 in England. They also claim that the younger Thomas was born either in England or America in 1653, but at the same time indicate he came to America in 1679. These published genealogies also name Elizabeth “Mellows” as the mother of the younger Thomas Wells in spite of the fact that Elizabeth lived her entire adult life in St. Olave Parish, Southwark, Surrey, England, where her will was probated on 15 February 1683.

Clearly, these genealogies are filled with contradictory information based on dangerous, unsourced assumptions and large doses of pure fantasy. The purpose of this article is to separate fact from fiction and establish the true ancestry of Thomas Wells of Prince George’s County, Maryland.

What we do know is that Thomas Wells, born 1653, was living in what is now Prince George’s County, Maryland, on 26 August 1695 when he purchased a 200 acre tract called “Strife,” then in Calvert County, “on the west side of the Patuxent River in the freshes [sic] of the river, being part of a warrant for 4,000 acres” from Thomas Smith. (Prince George's County Land Records, Vol. A, p. 26). Prince George’s County was formed from Calvert County in 1695, but did not become effective until 1696. The Patuxent River formed the boundary between Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties.

The proximity of the property to Anne Arundel County is important because it provides a link to the probable path of Thomas Wells to America. On 20 April 1679, Robert Conant of Anne Arundel County proved he had transported a number of persons including members of his own family and others, among them Thomas Wells, to the Province of Maryland. Conant was entitled to fifty acres of land for each person transported provided that he agreed to inhabit the land for sixteen years. These rights were subsequently assigned to Nicholas Laintes of St. Mary's City. (Patent Liber WC2, folio 50, 57, Maryland State Archives).

If we presume that Thomas Wells was transported during the year 1679 (age about 26 - seems reasonable) because Robert Conant was motivated to transport others in exchange for land, then Thomas was present from that year and likely resident in Anne Arundel County. Further, it was common for transported individuals to become indentured to the person who transported them for a period usually of about 7 years. If so, Thomas Wells remained in Anne Arundel County until at least 1686. Add these assumptions to the fact that Anne Arundel County is located adjacent to Prince George’s County it seems very likely that Thomas Wells, born in 1653, was the same man who arrived in America in 1679 as an indentured servant.

Although several widely distributed genealogies list the father of Thomas Wells as a Thomas Wells, born about 1619, there is not a single mention of an elder Thomas in any area Maryland records. Additional information from England further debunks the existence of Thomas Wells as the father of the Thomas Wells who arrived in Maryland in 1679. On 15 January 1682/3, Elizabeth “Mellowes” or “Millowes” of Saint Olave Parish in Southwark, Surrey, England, wrote her last will and testament. She was a poor woman, but felt the need to leave a tiny part from her meager estate “unto my sonn Thomas Wells who went into parts beyond the seas to Maryland or other parts in America … the sum of one shilling of lawfull money of England.” The remainder of her estate was left to her “loving and kind sonn in law John Parker of Crucifix Lane in the Parish of St. Olave in Southwark, hattmaker, [hat maker] the husband of my daughter Mary. [Signed] the mark of Elizabeth Millowes.”

An examination of the St. Olive Parish Register includes the birth of Thomas “Weles,” the son of “George Weles,” on 24 October 1653. He was christened at St. Olave on October 30th of the same year. His birth year is corroborated by “Maryland Chancery Records of 1714,” (Liber 3, Folio 27) in which Thomas Wells witnessed the boundary lines for an adjoining tract of land in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and is described as "Thomas Wells, Senr. aged about sixty one years." This would place his birthdate as 1653, the same year as the Thomas Wells of St. Olave Parish.

At least seven children were born to George “Weles” (also spelled “Wells” and “Welles” in other parish entries) and his wife Elizabeth. The baptisms of all but Edward were registered at St. Olave Church:

(1) Edward, born about 1635 (2) Christopher baptized 1 March 1639/40 (3) Hamlet baptized 13 November 1642 (4) Mary baptized 29 December 1644 (5) Robert baptized 20 June 1647 (6) Thomas baptized 30 October 1653 (7) Elizabeth baptized 1 July 1655. Sadly, Christopher, Hamlet, Robert and Elizabeth died before reaching the age of majority. Mary married to John Parker and is mentioned in her mother’s will. It appears that only Edward survived long enough to have children to carry on the Wells family name in England.

Edward and his wife Martha left behind seven children, all of whom were also christened at St. Olave:

(1) George Wells baptized 14 April 1664 (2) Mary Wells baptized 14 Jan 1665 (3) William Wells baptized 28 July 1667 (4) John Wells baptized 29 November 1668 (5) Sarah Wells baptized 1 May 1670 (6) Parnell Wells baptized 16 November 1673 (7) Martha Wells baptized 8 November 1674 The family of Edward Wells disappeared from the records of St. Olave Parish after the baptism of Martha in 1674. There was “a great fire” in Southwark in 1676 which continued for 17 hours. Other contemporary accounts estimate that 70% of the buildings in Southwark were destroyed. Perhaps the family was forced to move away from Southwark at that time. Their fate in unknown.

Much discussion has revolved around the fact that in Edward’s mother Elizabeth’s will her last name is given as “Mellows” or “Millowes.” Again, according to the St. Olave Parish Register, Elizabeth’s husband George Wells died in 1655 and was buried in the St. Olave churchyard on 29 April 1655. It seems obvious that Elizabeth married a second time to a man named “Mellows” or “Millowes,” and, therefore, used his last name in her will. Elizabeth’s maiden name was actually either “Hawkines” or Jamkines” and she married to George Wells at St. Olave on 15 November 1626. She was buried at St. Olave as Elizabeth “Mallas” on 19 February 1682.

The records of St. Olave’s Parish extend only as far back as 1582. George “Welles” was christened in the church on 16 August 1590, the son of Edward Welles, a "joyner" [joiner] by profession. Edward Wells was married on 5 August 1574 to Elizabeth Partridge at the Church of St. James Garlickhythe, just one mile distant from St. Olave on the north bank of the Thames River. He is also listed as a member of the "Worshipful Company of Joiners and Ceilers" in the same parish. No earlier record of Edward “Welles” has been found.

Although there are few surviving public records that shed light on the life of George Wells, the baptismal records of his children from 1639 through 1647 list his occupation as “drayman,” a beer delivery driver, while the entries for his last two children in 1653 and 1655 describe him as a “brewer’s servant.” Obviously, he worked for one of the many local breweries in Southwark.

The Wikipedia history of the town of Southwark also gives us clues as to the family’s religious beliefs and the reasons why Thomas Wells came to America:

“Southwark [located on the south bank of the Thames River across from the Tower of London] appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as held by several Surrey manors. Its assets were: Bishop Odo of Bayeux held the monastery (the site of the Cathedral), the 'tide-way' - which still exists as St Mary Overie dock; the King owned the 'church' (probably St Olave's, located on Tooley Street) and its 'tidal stream' (St Olave's Dock); the dues of the 'waterway' or mooring place were shared between the 'King' and Earl Godwin; the King also had the 'toll' of the strand; and the 'men of Southwark' had the right to a 'haw and its toll'…. During the early Middle Ages, Southwark developed and was one of the four Surrey towns which returned Members of Parliament for the first commons assembly in 1295. An important market occupied the High Street from some time in the 13th century, which was controlled by the City's officers—it was later removed in order to improve traffic to the [London] Bridge…. The area was renowned for its inns, especially The Tabard, from which Chaucer's pilgrims set off on their journey in The Canterbury Tales. Just west of the [London] Bridge was the 'Clink Liberty' manor, which was never controlled by the City, technically held under the Bishopric of Winchester's nominal authority. This area therefore became the entertainment district for London, and it was also the red-light area. In 1587, Southwark was given its first playhouse theatre, The Rose. The Rose was set up by Philip Henslowe, and soon became a popular place of entertainment for all classes of Londoners. Both Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare, two of the finest writers of the Elizabethan age, worked at the Rose. In 1599 the Globe Theatre, in which Shakespeare was a shareholder, was erected on the Bankside in the Liberty of the Clink. It burned down in 1613, and was rebuilt in 1614, only to be closed by the Puritans in 1642 and subsequently pulled down not long thereafter. A modern replica called Shakespeare's Globe, has been built near the original site. Southwark was also a favourite area for entertainment such as bull and bear-baiti

GEDCOM Note

Name from IGI.

Name from IGI.

GEDCOM Note

fAMILY OF THOMAS HUTCHINSON

Pam Wilson Daughter of Joseph Smith and Elizabeth Smith Wife of Thomas Wells Mother of Thomas Wells; George Wells; Frances Ouchterlong; Mary Wells and 5 others Contact Profile Managers View Tree View List

Thomas Wells MP (c.1683 - 1751)

1 similar profile Thomas' son Donald Franklin Colvin Son of Thomas Wells and Frances Wells Husband of Martha Wells Father of Mary Duvall Brother of George Wells; Frances Ouchterlong; Mary Wells; Nathan Wells and 4 others Contact Profile Managers View Tree View List

George Wells MP (c.1685 - c.1771)

Thomas' son Arthur Harold Thorstensen, Jr. Son of Thomas Wells and Frances Wells Husband of Susannah Wells Father of Nathan Ward; Joseph Wells and George Wells Brother of Thomas Wells; Frances Ouchterlong; Mary Wells; Nathan Wells and 4 others Contact Profile Managers View Tree View List

Frances Ouchterlong MP (c.1687 - d.)

Thomas' daughter Arthur Harold Thorstensen, Jr. Daughter of Thomas Wells and Frances Wells Wife of John Ouchterlong Sister of Thomas Wells; George Wells; Mary Wells; Nathan Wells and 4 others Contact Profile Managers View Tree View List

Mary Wells MP (c.1689 - d.)

1 similar profile Thomas' daughter Arthur Harold Thorstensen, Jr. Daughter of Thomas Wells and Frances Wells Sister of Thomas Wells; George Wells; Frances Ouchterlong; Nathan Wells and 4 others Contact Profile Managers View Tree View List

Nathan Wells MP (1691 - c.1770)

Thomas' son Donald Franklin Colvin Son of Thomas Wells and Frances Wells Husband of Mary Wells Father of Elizabeth Wells; Thomas Wells; Mary Brashears; Sarah Wells and 7 others Brother of Thomas Wells; George Wells; Frances Ouchterlong; Mary Wells and 4 others Contact Profile Managers View Tree View List

Robert Wells MP (1693 - 1771)

Thomas' son Donald Franklin Colvin Son of Thomas Wells and Frances Wells Husband of Ann Wells Brother of Thomas Wells; George Wells; Frances Ouchterlong; Mary Wells and 4 others Contact Profile Managers View Tree View List

Sarah Gaither MP (1697 - 1729)

Thomas' daughter Arthur Harold Thorstensen, Jr. Daughter of Thomas Wells and Frances Wells Wife of Alexander Gaither Sister of Thomas Wells; George Wells; Frances Ouchterlong; Mary Wells and 4 others Contact Profile Managers View Tree View List

Joseph Wells MP (1697 - aft.1758)

1 similar profile Thomas' son Bjørn P. Brox Son of Thomas Wells and Frances Wells Husband of Rachel Wells and Margaret Wells Father of Rachel Wright; Levi Wells; Charity Wright; Joseph Wells and 10 others Brother of Thomas Wells; George Wells; Frances Ouchterlong; Mary Wells and 4 others Contact Profile Managers View Tree View List

Elizabeth Wells MP (1699 - c.1718)

Thomas' daughter Arthur Harold Thorstensen, Jr. Daughter of Thomas Wells and Frances Wells Sister of Thomas Wells; George Wells; Frances Ouchterlong; Mary Wells and 4 others Contact Profile Managers View Tree View List

Elizabeth Mellows MP (c.1620 - 1682)

"Wells", "Jamkines"

Thomas' mother Christina Julia Oka Wife of George Welles Mother of Edward Wells; Christopher Welles; Hamlet Welles; Mary Parker and 3 others Contact Profile Managers View Tree View List

George Welles MP (1590 - 1655)

"Wells"

Thomas' father Susanna Homan Husband of Elizabeth Mellows Father of Edward Wells; Christopher Welles; Hamlet Welles; Mary Parker and 3 others Contact Profile Managers View Tree View List

Edward Wells MP (c.1635 - d.)

Thomas' brother Ben M. Angel, still catching up Son of George Welles and Elizabeth Mellows Husband of Martha Wells Father of George Wells; Mary Wells; William Wells; John Wells and 3 others Brother of Christopher Welles; Hamlet Welles; Mary Parker; Robert Welles and 2 others Contact Profile Manager View Tree View List

Christopher Welles MP (1640 - d.)

Thomas' brother Ben M. Angel, still catching up Son of George Welles and Elizabeth Mellows Brother of Edward Wells; Hamlet Welles; Mary Parker; Robert Welles and 2 others Contact Profile Manager View Tree View List

Hamlet Welles MP (1642 - 1644)

Thomas' brother Ben M. Angel, still catching up Son of George Welles and Elizabeth Mellows Brother of Edward Wells; Christopher Welles; Mary Parker; Robert Welles and 2 others Contact Profile Manager View Tree View List

Mary Parker MP (1644 - 1686)

"Wells"

Thomas' sister Ben M. Angel, still catching up Daughter of George Welles and Elizabeth Mellows Wife of John Parker Sister of Edward Wells; Christopher Welles; Hamlet Welles; Robert Welles and 2 others Contact Profile Manager View Tree View List

Robert Welles MP (1647 - d.)

Thomas' brother Ben M. Angel, still catching up Son of George Welles and Elizabeth Mellows Brother of Edward Wells; Christopher Welles; Hamlet Welles; Mary Parker and 2 others Contact Profile Manager View Tree View List

Elizabeth Welles MP (1655 - 1675)

"Wells"

GEDCOM Note

!Transported to Maryland in 1679. On Aug

!Transported to Maryland in 1679. On August 26 1695. Thomas, planter of Calvert Co. purchased Strife, 200 acres., in Prince George's Co. from Thomas Smith of Calvert Co,. for 90 pds.

GEDCOM Note

!Source: Maryland Chancery Record, Liber

!Source: Maryland Chancery Record, Liber 3, folio 27. Will written 26 Sep 1718, probated in Prince Georges Co. 5 Jan 1718/19. He names wife, Frances, to whome he leaves his property for her life, and then to be divided between his four sons, Thomas, Nathan, Robert and Joseph. 5 shillings to son George and slaves to his daughters, Frances, Mary, Sarah and Elizabeth.

view all 43

Thomas Wells's Timeline

1624
1624
England
1653
October 24, 1653
Southwark, Surrey, England
October 30, 1653
Southwark, Surrey, England
October 30, 1653
Southwark, Surry, England,St Olaves Parish Ch
30, 1653
Southwark, Surrey, England
1679
1679
Age 25
Prince Georges, Maryland
1680
1680
Perquimans, North Carolina, United States
1680
Queenstown, Prince George's County, Maryland, United States of America