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James and Margaret (Cragg) Wells

Short sketch on James and Margaret. Article taken from "The History of Tuscola County" (Michigan) by H. R. Page Co., Chicago, 1883.
Contributed by Bonnie Petee.

Margaret and James were married by Robert Thorton, Presbyterian minister. Witnesses were John Janson and Isaac Cragg. Possible double wedding with Isaac Cragg and Margeret Wells, who married the same day.

Fremont Township Cemetery in Mayville is on the land that James homesteaded. There is another cemetery in Fremont Township it is West Dayton. Some of the Walker Families are buried there. Fremont Township Cemetery is the on in Mayville, Tuscola County, Michigan, land that James Wells cleared and settled on - he donated the land for the Cemetery. The majority of the Wells family are buried here. One of Richard & Harriet's daughter is also buried here, Mary Wells, 17 Apr., 1855 - 4 Jun 1864. Richard being the brother of James. Elkland Cemetery in is Cass City, Tuscola County, MI where most of the others are buried.

In 1851 James had Lot 4 on the 9th concession, 108 acres. He sold half of it in 1855.

According to the Land Registry Office records located in Whitby, Ontario James Wells purchased the south half of Lot 4, Concession 9 in Reach Township, Ontario on April 15, 1847 from the Canada Company. In 1851 he sold half of this lot to a George Solley and on February 23, 1855 he sold the other half to William Nichols. As it turns out this was the same year that he migrated to Fremont Township in the state of Michigan to homestead.

Article below taken from "The History of Tuscola County" (Michigan) by H. R. Page Co., Chicago, 1883.
Contributed by Bonnie Petee.

Glancing back through the historical past, something more than twenty years , a short time, truly,
in comparison with other events, we find find that on the 26th day of April, 1855, an unbroken forest covering all the area of our beautiful township, for the march of civilization had not yet touched with a withering hand. The deer, unalarmed, pursued his way through the forests, slaked his thirst at the babbling brooks or laid himself down for peaceful repose, joint tenant of the mighty wilderness with the Indian, whose advent antedates history and almost tradition. Heretofore none had risen to question their supremacy to those beautiful lands and the more beautiful forests, but the onward flight of civilization was fast approaching, and before the meridan sun of the 27th day of April, 1855, had shed its refulgence over the graceful elms and mighty pines of these forests, a new epoch was reached. At about the hour of twelve, noon, on that eventful day, a man who had braved the terrors and hardships of a long unbroken trail, stood near the spot where the house of Jacob Maier now stands, on section 26, owner of the soil beneath and the trees above him, the sole resident of the township, the first who had dared to stake his fortune on the endeavor . This was JAMES WELLS, who brought with him his wife and children and has ever since been a resident of the town.

Soon the sound of the ax is heard, the forest patriarchs bow their heads to the heavy blows and soon fall mightily to the earth, subservient to the will of man. Civilization has commenced, a new epoch is reached and the stepping stone for this beautiful township of ours is laid. That same afternoon the foundation for a house was laid, and that night Mr. Wells and family slumbered beneath the fair canopy of heaven, miles from the nearest settlement, and pioneers of the wildernest. Before noon on the 28th the house was completed and roofed with basswood logs., the first white habitation in the township or rather in this area that subsequently was made into Fremont Township. From that time forward till January following Mr. Wells might be considered as the only resident. During the summer he planted corn and potatoes and in the fall, wheat, covering it with a hoe.

In January, 1856, William Turner moved in from Canada, bringing a span of horses and a sleigh, and settled on section 23, on the farm now owned by James B. Crosby. He had the first team but afterward exchanged them for a yoke of cattle. From that time forward the seetlement was quite rapid, for in March following, Calvin and Leonard Fox, Wilson Kitchen, and David Fulton moved in with their familes, also from Canada, bringing teams, mechanical tools and implements of husbandry and settling on the places they now occupy. In the summer of 1856, JAMES WELLS harvested the wheat he had so nicely hoed in among the stumps the fall before, and the first of it was ground in a large coffiee-mill owned by him, the balance was taken to Teller's mill, at Millville, four miles from Lapeer, a distance of twenty-four miles through the wilderness, the journey occupying four days. And thus was the embryo of the township formed.

On the 28th of November, 1857, a deed conveying eighty acres of land on section 14, was made from one Anderson to L. C. Schermerhorn, and was the first conveyance executed in the township, the same land now owned by Rudolph Frenzel. The first marriage was solemnized by Rev. C. B. Mills in the spring of 1857, between William Hamilton and MARY ANN WELLS, daughter of JAMES WELLS, at his house on section 26, in this township. Nothing further of importance occured in the years 1858 and 1859 worthy of mention in history.

The Township of Fremont, Tuscola County, Michigan
by Alonzo B. Markham.

This town is bounded on the north by Indian Fields, east by Dayton, south by Watertown and county line, and west by Vassar and Juniata. According to Indian traditions, this township was once an important portion of the hunting grounds of the Chippewa Indians, and there are abundant evidences of sanguinary conflicts between hostile tribes of these natives of the soil. The first lands located in this township were on Houghton Creek, and selected by the late Professor Douglass Houghton.

The town of Fremont was organized by the board of supervisors at a meeting held January 6, 1857. The territory comprised township 11, north of range 9 east. The names of the freeholders of the above described township who signed the application are as follows: C. B. Mills, Ezra Tripp, Calvin Fox, JAMES WELLS, Wilson Kitchen, James Mead, A. B. Tripp, James Roberts, Joseph Mead, S. Spencer, Leonard Fox, R. B. Smith, David Fulton and L. C. Schermerhorn.

The first township meeting was held at the house of JAMES WELLS, on section 26, the 6th day of April, 1857. There were six votes cast, and every voter was elected to one or more offices. It is related at this town meeting that an inventory of the cash on hand was taken, which resulted in an exhibit of $2.50.

Disposal of property. In 1869, James Wells sold 80 acres of Section # 25, then in 1864 and 1873 he sold 240 acres of Section # 26. Then in 1874 bought 120 acres in Section # 16 from Avery and Co. Later on that land was inherited by his son Richard and Eda Wells and then later it went to his son Winfield and Iva Wells and then to their son Richard and Thelma Wells.

Linked toMargaret CRAGG; James WELLS

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