Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy 135th Birthday, Eliza Ann Everett Wells (1876-1942)!

Gawain's grandmother

Eliza Ann Everett was the daughter of Dixie pioneers, and as far as records show, she never went far from her St. George home.  She must have roasted there in those black dresses mixed with the desert heat!  
Eliza was the seventh of eight children.  She married St. George Wells the week before her twenty-third birthday, and herself had eight children.  The oldest, Stephen Wells, was born on their first anniversary.   The young family moved into the home of St. George's parents, since after his father's death they were needed to care for his aged, blind mother.  An earthquake struck the area, and toddler Stephen refused to come back inside because he insisted "the house was running around."  This home had a coal stove, running water, and electricity, but no indoor bathroom.

St. George, Stephen, Eliza
Eliza's next child was Rachel, a beauty who went on to marry Charles Zitting in the 1920s.  Unfortunately, she didn't know he was a polygamist and future leader of a fundamentalist group. Rachel died only six months after this marriage, and some suspect foul play.  

Sadly, Eliza's next baby William died the day he was born, and then a year later came our ancestor George.
Eliza with Rachel, Stephen, and baby George
Following George were Annie, Harold, Eugene, and Mary.
Wells family, Eliza dominant in the middle
The Wells family had a beautiful orchard of apples, peaches, apricots, pears, grapes, and pomegranates, as well as pigs, cows, and chickens, and later a dairy farm.  The children were taught to milk cows at a young age.  Eliza ran the farm while her husband went on a mission from 1906-1908, leaving her with four children under the age of 6; little Stephen was put in charge of the milking.  Her strong personality and dominant nature may have stemmed from this formative experience.  She was known as Aunt Zan, from the elison of her name Eliza Ann.  Even her grandchildren called her by this name.  (Gawain didn't know her personally, as she died the month after he was born.)
Eliza and St. George
Now that we have our own dark-eyed Eliza Wells, the name lives on!
double Eliza!

For her birthday, I would give her  a new dress--something besides those two best black ones that seem to have served for her entire lifetime of portraits (or perhaps the color preference is inherited--we've seen our own Eliza frequently in black!).  Something colorful, cool, spring-like, and cheery for her May birthday.


  1. I don't wear a lot of black! Not anymore, at least.
    I'd give her a makeover for those portraits.

  2. I love these Anita!!!
    I know this is the first one I have responded to, but you really do a great job bringing our ancestors to life.