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Mystery of the Month - July 1997

Zachariah Wells of Lee and Wise Counties, Virginia

Zachariah Wells b: Cir 1739 Virginia; d: 1825 Lee County, Virginia; married Abigail Osborne. Zachariah and Abigail(Osborne) Wells lived in Big Stone Gap in Wise and Lee Counties, Virginia. Some researchers show Abigail born Cir 1739 to 1750. Some have her b: Cir 1753 Russell County, Virginia dau of James Osborne and Mary Whitaker and one as b: 15 Jan 1757 Orange County, Virginia and d: 06 Jan 1844 McMinn County, Tennessee.

Several genealogies and articles have been printed on this family some of which indicate that Zachariah was the son of Richard Wells b: 15 Mar 1722 Frederick Co., Maryland and Ann "Nancy" Brown. This pair are included in the so-called "Little Wells" family of Maryland. Researchers of the "Little Wells" and others do not believe that Zachariah was a son of Richard. It is suspected that the linkage was made by someone years ago who was trying to follow up on a story included in a Wise County history stating that Zachariah's father was Richard Wells who settled in Wise county. The story includes mention of brothers Robert and Moses, neither of which were children of Richard Wells and Ann "Nancy" Brown.

Another story claims that Zachariah was found by a traveller or neighbor who came to his family's cabin one day and found the parents had died of Cholera or some other disease and that the baby had somehow survived. He was supposedly raised by neighbors. There seems to be no basis for this story either.

Some researchers have written the Zachariah Wells was a revolutionary war soldier. The only Zachariah Wells in the records is shown in file #S39119 who was in Sullivan County, Tennessee on 29 Mar 1825 when, at age 80, he applied for a pension. His wife was dead at the time and "all his children married". 05 Sep 1825 he was in Washington County, Tennessee and in 1833 he was of the County of Whitley in Kentucky. The application shows he enlisted in Capt. Henry Lee's Company in the County of Louden, Virginia.

This record does not seem to fit the information most researchers show for the family since Zachariah is supposed to have died near Big Stone Gap, Wise County, Virginia around 1825 and Abigail still later.

Children of this family supposedly included:

Thomas Wells b: Cir 1771 Virginia; m: Becky Blevins

Nancy Wells b: 07 Dec 1773 Virginia; m: John Boggs

Zachariah Wells b: Cir 1775 Virginia; m: Becky Shepard

William T. Wells b: Cir 1779 Virginia; m: Susan Ward

Robert Wells b: Cir 1780 Virginia; m: Elizabeth Shepard

Jemima Wells b: Cir 1781 Virginia; m: John Sturgeon

Elizabeth Wells b: Cir 1783 Virginia; m: Thomas Landers

Abigail Wells b: Cir 1785 Virginia; m: William Landers

Jacob Wells b: Cir 1787 Virginia; m: Johanna Shepard

Jeremiah Wells b: Cir 1789 Virginia; m: Elizabeth Culbertson

John P. Wells b: Virginia; m: Eliza

Joseph Wells

The Mystery of the Month is:

  1. Where and when was Zachariah Wells born?
  2. Who were his parents?
  3. Can anyone PROVE that the Revolutionary War soldier of this name was the same person?
  4. If so, what was he doing in Sullivan and Washington Counties, Tennessee in 1825 and possibly in Whitley County, Kentucky in 1833 when he had lived most of his life in Wise County, Virginia?
  5. Who was the Robert Wells to whom he sold property in Wise County in 1815?

If you have answers to any of these questions, please e-mail us. Please e-mail any responses to :

e-mail: Wells Family Research Association

Additional information on this family can be found at:

Don Chesnut's page

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