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Philander Wells


Posted By: County Coordinator
Date: 3/20/2009 at 02:02:49

Philander Wells, a most creditable and commendable record is that of Philander Wells, who upon the battle fields of the south manifested his loyalty to the Union, while in public office he has displayed his deep interest in the welfare of his state and in business life has shown that his methods are honorable and straightforward, his whole record being an open scroll inviting the closest scrutiny. It is with pleasure, therefore, that we present a history of his career to our readers, knowing him to be a representative resident of Boone. He was born September 9, 1837, I Lisbon, St Lawrence county, New York, his parents being Peter and Mary Ann (Shaw) Wells. The father was a native of Washington county, New York and was a farmer by occupation. About 177 he removed to St Lawrence county, in the Empire state, and there carried on agricultural pursuits for some time. He first married Elizabeth Fulton, of Lisbon, St Lawrence county. She was born November 11, 1795, and died April 28, 1831. The children born of this union were: Polly, David, Benjamin, And William all now deceased, Sarah Ann who is the widow of William Gardner, Charles and Samuel who have also passed away, and Elizabeth the widow of George Lun. For his second wife Peter Wells chose Mary Ann Shaw who was born January 22, 1803. She too, was twice married her first husband being a Mr Getty. They became the parents of six children: Nancy James, David, Elizabeth, Mary Jane and Isabella. Of these two are living: Elizabeth born January 16, 1825, is the widow of David Wallace and Mary Jane born September 3, 1826, is the wife of James Brown. David Getty born July 27, 1823, died September 24, 1900. The other three died at middle age. The marriage of Peter Wells and Mary Ann Shaw was blessed with four children: Philander of this review, Clara the wife of C E Mackey, of New York city Alexander who died in Prescott, Ontario, in July 1899, and Leander who was burned I the wreck on the Denver & Ro Grande Railroad at Colorado Springs January 26, 1901, when about sixty-seven years of age, his birth having occurred in 1833. The father of this family was called to his final rest in 1866, and the mother passed away October 4, 1869 in Boone, Iowa. In religious faith he was a Universalist and in political belief was a Whig until the organization of the Republican party when he joined its ranks. Political meetings in those days were held in his hotel at Wellshill, town of Lisbon, New York. He conducted the hotel of the township for any years and was a well known factor in political circles.
In 1857, when twenty years of age, Philander Wells of this review came to the west locating first in St Paul, Minnesota. He afterward went to Hastings, that state, and in April of the same year removed to Havana, Illinois, where he continued until 1861. There he attended the reception given to Abraham Lincoln after his election. In the same year he returned to St Lawrence county, New York, his boyhood’s home’ and enlisted as a member of Company D, One Hundred and Sixth New York Volunteer Infantry. The regiment left Camp Wheeler in July 1862, and went to the front by way of Lake Champlain, proceeding thence to Virginia. In the winter of 1863 the command joined the Army of the Potomac and was present at the surrender at Harper’s Ferry, they having proceeded to the Shenandoah Valley, and took part in the battle of the Wilderness under Grant. They crossed the James river, proceeding to a point south of Petersburg, and took part I the battle of Weldon Railroad, Virginia. Subsequently they proceeded on transports to Baltimore and were in the important fight which prevented the Rebels from advancing on Washington. Later they participated in engagements at North Mountain and Cedar Creek and on October 19, 1864, Mr Wells was wounded in the left shoulder on which occasion General Ricketts tied up his arm. He as then sent to the hospital at York, Pennsylvania, whence he returned to Petersburg and did guard duty until April, when Richmond and Petersburg were captured. On April 9, his command away in the charge against the forces of General Lee, at Clover Hill, the surrendering point, and the regiment to which Mr Wells belonged acted as escort to General Grant when he went to the place agreed upon for the formal surrender, and saw General Lee hand his sword to General Grant. He afterward returned to the camp it the field and remained with his company until April 14. The sixth Army Corps had orders to report to Sherman’s army but only reached Danville at which point a counter order came causing the corps to proceed to Washington, and it was in the second splendid military review which arched through the streets of the capital city, being reviewed by President Johnson. Mr Wells was then discharged to report to Ogdensburg, New York for mustering out, and in July 1865, his military service was ended. He had joined the army as a private, but won promotion to the rank of first lieutenant and was later brevetted captain and then quartermaster, acting in that capacity until discharged.
After his return to New York, Mr Wells engaged in the lumber trade, having been connected with that line of commercial activity form the age of eleven years. IN this enterprise he joined his brother-in-law, Edgar N Fulton, and they went to Morley, St Lawrence county, New York, where our subject remained until the fall of 1868 when he came to Boone, Iowa. In May of the following years he embarked in the grocery business, conducting a store at No 704 Story street until 1883, when he retired. He has been a director of the Iowa State Fair Association, filling the office form 1887 until 1889, and helped lay out the fair grounds and construct the buildings, he was also one of the incorporators of the Boone District Fair, and has contributed not a little to the improvement of the city, through the erection of good buildings here, including the Union block. He was also one of the incorporators of the East Linwood cemetery.
On December 25, 1865, Mr Wells was united in marriage to Laura N Fulton, the daughter of Samuel and Laura (Burlingame) Fulton. She was born January 10, 1839, and died in 1868, her remains being interred in Ogdensburg, New York. She left one child Mary M the wife of Daniel W Barnett, of Boone by whom he had two children Floyd Wells born October 14, 1891, and Laura Mildred born July 19, 1893. After the death of his first wife Mr Wells was again married in the autumn of 1869, his second union being with Alma Sophia Cooke. He death occurred July 15, 1898.
Mr Wells has been a very prominent factor in public affairs in Boone. Five times has he been elected alderman of the city, and from 1889 until 1891 he filled the office of mayor, being the first person ever chose to that office in Boone for a two years’ term. In 1893, he was again chosen alderman and once more was elected in 1901 so that he is now filling the office. He has ever exercised his official prerogatives for the general good rather than for person aggrandizement. Socially he is connected with W c Crooks Post No 329, G A R and is also a prominent member of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to the blue lodge, chapter, commandery and order of the Eastern Star. He is also identified with the Za-Ga-Zig Temple of the Mystic Shrine, at Des Moines. He commands the respect of all who know him and in the state of his adoption where he is best known, he inspires personal friendships of unusual strength. All who know him have the highest admiration for his good qualities of heart and mind.

1902 Boone County History Book


Boone Biographies maintained by Jan Bony.
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