Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy 143rd Birthday, St. George Wells (1868-1945)!

Gawain Wells' grandfather

Saint George was born in St. George, married in St. George, and died and buried in St. George.
He was the sixth of eight children born to British pioneers, with several half-siblings from his father’s first wife.  Saint George was small of stature and had curly blond hair.  When he was a teenager working in the Silver Reef Mines about eighteen miles away from St. George and living away from home, his father Stephen wrote a letter of counsel, “When I think of the many duties of life that there is to do, I find that the boy or girl who begins the soonest makes the best man or woman.  Therefore mix up with play and work some reading, spelling, writing, and then some music which will make your company always agreeable go where you may. You must labour with your hands and heads, sometimes with one at the time and sometimes with both at the same time."

St. George and brother Sam with blind mother Annie
Saint George married Eliza Everett and they had eight children.  He farmed, and also had a blacksmith shop on his property.  He owned three lots, with a beautiful orchard of apples, peaches, apricots, pears, grapes, and pomegranates.  He raised cows, pigs, and chickens, and later had a dairy farm with milking barn, electric milkers, and a regular clientele.  He also owned land in the Santa Clara Valley where he raised hay and had apple and peach orchards.

After his father died in his arms following a buggy accident, Saint George and his family were needed to care for his aged blind mother.  They moved into the two-story adobe home that Stephen had built.  An earthquake struck about 1890, and two-year-old son Stephen Robert Junior would not come back inside because he insisted, “the house was running around.”  The home had a coal stove, running water, and electricity, but no indoor bathroom.  The children were taught at a young age to milk the cows. 

Elder Wells
Saint George was called to serve a mission in the Western States in 1906.  He left Eliza home with four children under the age of six.  Saint George sold a team of his horses to raise money for the mission, and left six-year-old Stephen in charge of the milking.  Perhaps due to that time as a single parent, Eliza was a dominant force in the family even after her children had families of their own.  
page from his mission journal

On his way to his mission assignment, Saint George visited his brother in Nevada, and then went to the Manti Temple, and then to the Salt Lake Temple.  He was set apart by J. Golden Kimball and shown the sights by his two Salt Lake sisters.  Saint George traveled by train to Denver, and then served in Colorado and Nebraska.  He traveled without purse or script, and kept track of every penny spent and donated.  He had success in giving out tracts and scriptures, teaching lessons, and convert baptisms.

Saint George was honorably released in 1908 due to ill health, returned home, and reported on his mission in stake conference.  The local paper frequently reported that he was doing his home teaching.  He was a careful, faithful man.

Wells family

I would give him a St. George t-shirt!


  1. I'd give him a copy of Saint George and the Dragon.

  2. So fun to read this Anita--I'm slow to catch up, but enjoying it!