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James Wells (1840 - 1878)

James Wells
Born in Mississippi, United Statesmap
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died at about age 38 in Mississippi, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 20 Oct 2009
This page has been accessed 746 times.


US Black Heritage Project
James Wells is a part of US Black heritage.

James Wells was born about 1840 in Mississippi.[1]

According to an online exhibit published by the University of Chicago Library, he was the father of Ida B Wells. [2]

James was a carpenter. He and Elizabeth Warrenton, the mother of Ida B Wells, were enslaved persons on the property of Spires Bolling in Holly Springs, Mississippi.[2]

After the emancipation and the end of the Civil War, he and Elizabeth were legally married and used their new freedom to become politically active, attain some economic success, and get schooling for their children. James Wells continued his training in the building trade, and became a skilled and successful craftsman.[2]

James, Elizabeth, and their youngest son died in a yellow fever outbreak in 1878.[2]


  1. "United States Census, 1870," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 April 2016), James Wells, Mississippi, United States; citing p. 7, family 46, NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 552,239.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 The web exhibit A Voice for Justice: Exploring the Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells was curated by Ariadne Argyros, The University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center Web Exhibits Fellow, with the support of Kathleen Feeney, the Head of Archives Processing and Digital Access at The University of Chicago Library.

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