Looking Back: Great-grandson seeks information about Civil War ancestor

January 04, 2004|BRENDA S. EDWARDS

A search is on for information about Asahel Nelson Wells, who died July 14, 1911, in Boyle County.

Tom Evans of Minneapolis, a great-grandson of Wells, is researching his family and would like to exchange information on the Wellses. He has attempted to put together the information from military, census and other records.

Wells apparently was married four times, three ending in divorce, and had lived in the Danville and Junction City area in 1895. He is buried in Camp Nelson National Cemetery.

Wells was born July 6, 1838, in Tioga County, Pa., and was a son of Nelson Wells (1812-1860), and Betsey Maria Bradford Wells (1812-1891).


Wells was 23 years old when he enlisted in Co. H (Capt. Carpenter's Co.), 13th Michigan Infantry Regiment Dec. 21, 1861, at Richland, Mich., for three years. He mustered Jan. 17, 1862. On April 1, 1863, he was promoted to hospital steward at Murfreesboro, Tenn. He re-enlisted Jan. 18, 1864, at Chattanooga. He was mustered out in Louisville on July 25, 1865.

He filed for an invalid pension May 23, 1911, in Kentucky. His widow filed for a widow's pension Aug. 3, 1911, in Kentucky, and later as guardian for a minor child Aug. 29, 1911, in Kentucky.

Asahel Wells first married Charlotte Adelia (also spelled Adell and Adela) Snooks in Michigan. His second wife was Katherine Lavinia Kennedy Barton of Todd County, Ky.; thirdly, Adelia Hawley Stevens Wells; and his last wife was America S. Kemper Leimbaugh Wells, whom he married about 1900.

His first wife was born about 1840 in Michigan and died July 16, 1907, in Indiana. She is buried in Bennett Cemetery, Vaoca, Ind.

According to the 1870 Floyd County census, Asahel N. Wells was living in New Albany. He was 30 years old, a life and fire insurance agent, and born in Pennsylvania. Charlotte was listed as his wife at age 28. Their children were Sherban, 9, in school, and Essie, 2, both born in Indiana. (Essie may have been a nickname for Hester.)

In the 1880 census, Evans found Charlotte Wells living with three children, Sherban, Hester and Justus in Georgetown, Ind.

She divorced Asahel Wells March 1, 1876, and got custody of the three children. She died July 16, 1907. She lived her final years with her son, Justus.

Asahel married again Sept. 25, 1878, to Katherine (Kate) Barton of Elkton in Todd County, Ky. She was born Oct. 20, 1848, and was a daughter of Urban Ewing Kennedy and Achsah Harris Knight. She died March 22, 1922, in Red Bluff, Tehama, Calif., and was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery.

Katherine Barton was a school teacher in Todd County and married three times, the last time to Wells. She married Guilford Wimberly Barton on Feb. 16, 1841, in Trigg County, Ky. He died in 1876 after fathering Datha Barton, Nov. 23, 1874, in Graves County.

After Katherine married Wells, they lived in Shelby City, Danville and Nicholasville.

Asahel and Katherine had three sons, Asahel Nelson, Joseph and Todd. Katherine and the children moved to Missouri and lived with her son, Joseph, because Asahel reportedly abused her. She later moved to Nicholasville. She divorced Asahel Wells in 1886.

Todd died in 1896 while driving cattle when his horse stumbled at Antelope Ranch owned by J.W. Boyd; and Joseph Wells died in 1900.

Katherine married Lewis Edwin Rowley, a Canada native, in 1898. Rowley died in 1910.

Evans does not know anything about Asahel Wells' marriage to Adelia (Ada) Hawley Stevens. However, when filing a for pension, America Wells said her husband told her that a divorce was decreed on Nov. 12, 1900.

America Wells, according to Civil War pension papers, and Asahel Wells married Nov. 14, 1900. There was a minor child, Cary Louise Wells, born Sept. 29, 1901, surviving when he died in 1911. America died Feb. 3, 1931.

In Evans' search for America Wells in 1920 and 1930 census records, he found an America S. Wells, 70, in Taylor County living with her sister, Jennie A. Gilpin, 56. He is attempting to prove that this was Asahel's wife. They were married in Taylor County.

Evans also found records that shows the color of Asahel Wells' eyes and hair are different. One reference shows his eyes were blue, and another hazel to brown. His weight fluctuated by 40 pounds and information about his height varied from 5 feet 6 1/2 inches to 6 feet 2 1/2 inches.

One record shows that Cary Louise Wells cared for her mother, America, while they lived at 558 E. Main St., Danville, for eight years.

If anyone has information about these families, contact Tom Evans at

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