Who were parents of Jacob Wells born 1781 to 1790 in Kentucky?

+2 votes

My brick wall is my gggg-grandfather Jacob A. Wells, died 6 Sep 1844, Clark Co., Ark., per probate court record.  I have good data on his children from the probate court record.  His wife, named as executrix of the estate, was named Sally.  In the 1850 Census of Clark Co., she was named Sarah, born 1800 in Illinois living with daughter Nancy (Wells) Gates and son Abraham.  I have tracked both Nancy and Abraham.  For Sarah, or Sally, Wells I have found no record of death or burial.  So there is that.

Jacob's date and place of birth, according to the 1840 Census of Clark Co., is between 1781 and 1790 in Kentucky.  His parentage is unknown.  However, my YDNA testing indicates that he descended from Henry Wells, died 1714 in Bucks Co, Pennsylvania Colony. 

There are narratives that Jacob arrived in Clark Co. some time around 1811 to 1814 and that he was a Methodist preacher and blacksmith. 

He apprenticed (blacksmithing) two boys, William and John B. Denton. "Born in Tennessee on July 28, 1806, John B. Denton lost his parents when he was eight years old and was apprenticed with his older brother William to Jacob Wells, a blacksmith. Both Denton's father and Jacob Wells were Methodist preachers, probably part-time local preachers, a very important element in the spread of Methodism on the frontier. Soon after the death of Denton's parents, near the end of the War of 1812 when many settlers were rushing into the newly opened lands to the west, Jacob Wells moved with his family and the Denton children from Tennessee to Indiana, and from thence to Clark County, Arkansas Territory, where John B. Denton lived most of his Arkansas years."

"Jacob Wells became one of the leading citizens of Clark County and of the Arkansas Territory. He arrived in the county with his family and the Denton children some time before 1819, the year in which his name appears in the records as a member of both the grand and petit juries. 

In 1824 he was commissioned a colonel by the territorial governor and given command of the First Regiment of the Arkansas Territorial Militia. John B, Denton's brother William was commissioned a second lieutenant in the regiment.

 When Arkansas was admitted to the union in 1836, Jacob Wells became the first county treasurer of Clark County under statehood.  Some of the accounts of John B. Denton's boyhood days in Arkansas, based on distorted source material, suggest that Denton was reared not only in poverty-stricken but even "degraded" circumstances, but all of the reliable evidence portrays Wells as a man of character and substance, a prosperous farmer, blacksmith, and public servant."

So there is that regarding Jacob.  His grave site has not been identified.

I am descended through his son Rev. George W. Wells, Sr.,


in Genealogy Help by James Wells G2G Crew (520 points)
retagged by Dorothy Barry

1 Answer

+3 votes
Best answer
Many of the original settlers of Kentucky were men who received land warrants for their service in the American Revolution. A search of the Kentucky Land Warrants shows only one man named Wells. He was James Wells of Virginia who got his warrant in 1783. This might be a good place to start looking.

Just looked at the DAR website and there was a James Wells who married Sarah Johnson and they lived in Breckinridge Co. Kentucky.
by Jeanie Roberts G2G6 Pilot (126k points)
selected by James Wells
I finally chased down your lead.  Unfortunately, I am not related to that Wells family.  My compliments to you for your great idea.

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