Biography of Judge George W. Wells of Washington Township

George W. Wells, born in Monongalia County, W.Va., in 1839, was a notable figure in Washington Township, recognized for his roles as a judge, farmer, and stock-raiser. Son of Benjamin L. and Sophia (Kughn) Wells, he was raised by relatives following his parents’ early deaths. A Civil War veteran, Wells served nearly four years, reaching the rank of captain. Post-war, he settled in Dade County, Mo., married Letitia Poage, and had six children. Elected county judge in 1876 and presiding judge in 1878, he was also active in local education and community development. A dedicated Republican, Wells voted for Abraham Lincoln while in service.

Ex-Judge George W. Wells. Prominent among the representative men of Washington Township and among the enterprising farmers and stock-raisers of the same, stands the name of Mr. Wells, who was born in Monongalia County, W. Va., in 1839. He is the son of Benjamin L. and Sophia (Kughn) Wells and the grandson of James Wells, who was of Welsh descent, and who went, when young, from Baltimore to Greene County, Penn., where he died at the age of ninety-three. His father was an early settler of Baltimore. Jacob Kughn, the maternal grandfather of George W. Wells, also went when young from Baltimore to Greene County, Penn., and there he died at the age of ninety-five years. He was of Welsh descent and was a soldier in the early wars. Benjamin Wells and wife were natives of Pennsylvania, and both died when their son, George W. Wells, was but a lad. Mr. Wells was justice of the peace for many years. George W. Wells was the fourth of five children, two sons and three daughters, and received very little schooling after the death of his parents. He lived with relatives and strangers until fifteen years of age, and then learned the carpenter trade, which he followed until the war. In 1854 he went to Illinois, thence to Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio, etc., and in 1859 to Greenfield, Mo. In May 1861, he went to Chicago, and in October of the same year joined Company F, Fifty-seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and was in the fights of Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, and was with Gen. Hulbert through Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, etc. In the spring of 1864 he joined Gen. Sherman and was all through the Georgia and Atlanta campaign. He was at the grand review at Washington, D. C., and was discharged at Louisville, Ky., July 7, 1865. He held the office of corporal, third and first sergeant, and from October 1864, he commanded his company as captain. He was in the service nearly four years. After the war he traveled in different States until 1866, when he returned to Dade County, Mo., and in 1867 married Mrs. Letitia Poage, a native of Dade County, Mo., and the daughter of Jonathan and Catherine Weir. Mr. Weir was born in Cooper County, Mo., and his wife in Kentucky. They were married in Cooper County, and Mr. Weir is still living. To Mr. and Mrs. Wells were born six children, five now living, one son and four daughters. Since the war Judge Wells has lived on his present farm, which consists of 180 acres of excellent land, 80 acres in another tract, and over 100 acres under cultivation, all the result of his own efforts, as he started a poor boy. In 1876 he was elected judge of the county court from the Eastern District, and in 1878 he was elected presiding judge, serving in the latter capacity four years with ability and credit. He is a Republican in politics, and his first presidential vote was cast for Abraham Lincoln while in service. He is a member of the I. O. O. F., Lacon Lodge No. 75, and he is also a member of Greenfield Post, of the G.A.R. His wife is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He is an active worker in the cause of education and for the general upbuilding of the country; he is one of the progressive and industrious farmers of Dade County and spares no pains for the improvement of his stock. Although of Southern birth, Mr. Wells took a firm stand for the Union at the breaking out of the war. His brother was also a staunch Union man, but many of their relatives were in the Confederate Army.


Goodspeed, History of Hickory, Polk, Cedar, Dade and Barton Counties, Missouri; Chicago, The Goodspeed publishing co., 1889.

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