Henry WELLS

Family tree of Henry WELLS

Industrialist, Businessman

AmericanBorn Henry WELLS

American businessman important in the history of both the American Express Company and Wells Fargo & Company

Born on December 12, 1805 in Thetford, Vermont, USA , United States

Died on December 10, 1878 in Glasgow, Scotland

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Henry Wells was born in Thetford, Vermont, the son of Shepley Wells, a Presbyterian minister who moved his family to central New York State in the westward migration of Yankees out of New England. He was a member of the seventh generation of his family in America. His original immigrant ancestor was Thomas Welles (1590–1659), who arrived in Massachusetts in 1635 and was the only man in Connecticut's history to hold all four top offices: governor, deputy governor, treasurer, and secretary. In this capacity, he transcribed the Fundamental Orders into the official colony records on 14 January 1638, OS, (24 January 1639, NS). As a child, Henry worked on a farm and attended school in Fayette. In 1822 he was apprenticed to Jessup & Palmer, tanners and shoemakers at Palmyra, New York.



As a young man Wells married Sarah Daggett, who died in Albany, New York, October 13, 1859. In 1861 he married Mary Prentice of Boston. They had four children: Charles, Mary, Oscar, and Edward.

...   Henry Wells was born in Thetford, Vermont, the son of Shepley Wells, a Presbyterian minister who moved his family to central New York State in the westward migration of Yankees out of New England. He was a member of the seventh generation of his family in America. His original immigrant ancestor was Thomas Welles (1590–1659), who arrived in Massachusetts in 1635 and was the only man in Connecticut's history to hold all four top offices: governor, deputy governor, treasurer, and secretary. In this capacity, he transcribed the Fundamental Orders into the official colony records on 14 January 1638, OS, (24 January 1639, NS). As a child, Henry worked on a farm and attended school in Fayette. In 1822 he was apprenticed to Jessup & Palmer, tanners and shoemakers at Palmyra, New York.



As a young man Wells married Sarah Daggett, who died in Albany, New York, October 13, 1859. In 1861 he married Mary Prentice of Boston. They had four children: Charles, Mary, Oscar, and Edward.



In 1836 Wells became a freight agent on the Erie Canal and soon started his own business. Later he worked for Harnden's Express in Albany. When Wells suggested that service could be expanded west of Buffalo, New York, William F. Harnden urged Wells to go into business on his own account. In 1841 the firm of Pomeroy & Company was formed by George E. Pomeroy, Henry Wells and Crawford Livingston. In the express business they competed with the United States Post Office by carrying mail at less than the government rate. Popular support, roused by the example of the penny post in England, was on the side of the expressmen, and the government was compelled to reduce its rates in 1845 and again in 1851.



Pomeroy & Company was succeeded in 1844 by Livingston, Wells & Company, composed of Crawford Livingston, Henry Wells, William Fargo and Thaddeus Pomeroy. On April 1, 1845, Wells & Company's Western Express – generally known simply as Western Express because it was the first such company west of Buffalo, New York – was established by Wells, Fargo and Daniel Dunning. Service was offered at first as far as Detroit, rapidly expanding to Chicago, St. Louis, and Cincinnati.



In 1846 Wells sold his interest in Western Express to William Livingston, whereupon the firm became Livingston, Fargo & Company. Wells then went to New York City to work for Livingston, Wells & Company, concentrating on the promising transatlantic express business. When Crawford Livingston died in 1847, another of his brothers entered the firm, which became Wells & Company. (However, Livingston, Wells & Company continued to operate under that firm name in England, France and Germany.)



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