HORACE WELLES. - Horace Welles, now engaged in general merchandising in Divernon, has been known to the people of Sangamon county for a half century and as one of the pioneer residents of central Illinois is well deserving of mention in this volume, especially as he has ever borne himself as a man of upright principles, courteous and honorable in his treatment of his fellow men, and advocating the substantial development and improvement of the county. He arrived in the county in June, 1850, coming from Ohio. He was born in Hanover, Licking county, Ohio, November 6, 1824, and is of English descent. His grandfather, Dr. Thomas Wells, was born in Middlesex county, Connecticut, in 1749, and throughout his business career practiced his profession in his native state. His son, Chester Welles, was born in Chatham, Connecticut, October 15, 1788, and when a young man of seventeen years went to Ohio, arriving at Licking county in 1805, among its earliest settlers. He purchased land, cleared away the timber, prepared the fields for the plow and in course of time reaped good harvests. At Granville, that county, February 6, 1811, he married Polly Case, who was born in Granby, Connecticut, a daughter of Job Case of Granby. Mr. Welles followed farming in Licking county until after the birth of their children and subsequently resided in Putnam and then in Coshocton county, where he died May 26, 1868, at the advanced age of eighty years. His wife passed away July 18, 1841. In the family were five sons and five daughters who grew to mature years and three sons and a daughter are now living.
Horace Welles was reared on the home farm in Licking county and after attending the common schools spent a few years as a student in Granville Academy, thus acquiring a good education. He was connected with his father in the operation of the old homestead until he attained his majority when he and his brother bought the property. As a companion and helpmate for his life's journey he chose Miss Ellen M. Fassett, who was born and reared near Granville, a daughter of Captain Joseph Fassett and granddaughter of Captain Joseph Fassett, Sr., who commanded a company in the Revolutionary war. He was a very prominent man in Vermont and held many positions of honor and trust. The father of Mrs. Welles was born in 1778, was reared in Vermont and was there married and had one son, Truman Hewel Fassett. After the death of his wife he removed to Granville, Ohio, where he married Miss Mercy Boardman, who was born in Middlebury, Vermont. Captain Fassett was a contractor and builder and died in 1846 at the age of sixty-eight years.
Soon after his marriage Mr. Welles came to Illinois, accompanied by his brother Chester C. and his brother-in-law, Samuel H. Jameson. They made their way direct to Springfield and our subject soon bought a farm in Woodside township, which he cultivated for five years. In 1851 he entered three hundred and sixty acres of land in Pawnee township, securing three hundred and twenty acres with land warrants. He took up his abode there in 1855, broke the land and placed it in a productive condition, making it his home for a number of years. In 1883 he went to Putnam county, Florida, where he planted and improved an orange grove, residing there for thirteen years. He still owns two small places in that state, but in July, 1898, he returned to Illinois, settling in Springfield, where he purchased residence property. In 1899 he came to Divernon, bought a store, has since increased th stock and is now engaged in general merchandising. Indolence and idleness are utterly foreign to his nature and in the control of his business affairs he has led a busy and useful life. He is now meeting with success in his mercantile enterprise and has one of the good stores of this part of the county. He also erected a residence and has helped to improve and develop the town.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Welles have been born four children: C. H., who is connected with his father in the store and is married and has two children, Mabel and Harold; Carrie E., who died August 18, 1903; W. W., who is married and is developing a farm in Texas; and Fred F., who is married and now owns and operates a farm in Macoupin county, Illinois. The parents are members of the Presbyterian church, in which Mr. Welles has served as elder. He was originally a Whig and in 1856 voted for Fremont, remaining a staunch Republican for a number of years, but is now independent in politics. In February, 1900, man of the relatives and friends of Mr. and Mrs. Welles gathered at their home to celebrate their golden wedding and left behind them many beautiful tokens of their esteem, while wishing for them happy returns of the day. they are indeed worthy of the respect and friendship so freely accorded them for their lives have been such as to merit the highest regard, and the career of Mr. Welles shows that a successful man may also be an honest man.