Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Who Was Mary Eliza Wells?

I recently found on Find A Grave that several Wells family members were buried in Old Hopkinton Cemetery, Hopkinton, New Hampshire. Most were buried together in one plot. My 4th great-grandparents, Dr. Thomas G. Wells (1780-1849) and wife Lucinda Lyman Wells (1785-1860) are buried there with most of their children. Dr. Thomas G. Wells' Find-A-Grave Memorial is linked to his wife's memorial and nine of his ten children's memorials. Six of his children are buried in Old Hopkinton Cemetery.

However, his son Thomas Goodwin Wells (1804-1873) is buried in Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. (I shared their Find-A-Grave memorials in September 2012.) I am descended from him and his wife, Elizabeth Sewall Willis (1820-1900). They were married in Newburyport, Massachusetts on November 6, 1838.

I always thought that Elizabeth was his only wife, until I recently received notice of a fulfilled photo request for an unknown Mary Eliza Wells (1808-1836) who was buried in Old Hopkinton Cemetery.

Find-A-Grave Memorial# 83322264
Photo courtesy of alden
wife of
Thomas G. Wells,
Obt. April 16, 1836.
AEt. 28 years.

Without this additional inscription noting that she was the wife of Thomas G. Wells, she would have remained an unknown Wells. This inscription noting a husband's name and a specific death date prompted a little digging, and without too much trouble, I found additional information on this Mary Eliza.

Massachusetts Town and Vital Records, Boston Deaths, Record for Mary Eliza Wells.

Mary Eliza Wells (family member, Thomas G. Wells) died at age 28 on April 16, 1836, in Boston, Massachusetts, of Apoplexy.

New Hampshire Marriage Records, Record for Mary Eliza Little and Thomas G. Wells
Mary Eliza Little and Thomas G. Wells were married in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, only seven months before she died in Boston.

She was born on June 14, 1808, in Norwich, Vermont to Elizabeth and William Little.

Amazing how one photo on Find-A-Grave can compel me to add this story of a first marriage to my family tree.


  1. I had a similar lead to more information when I found a gravestone for my great grandfather William Townsend. The tombstone had his Civil War service information. I now have a copy of his Civil War Service Record and Pension file. Love tombstones for the light they can shine on things.

    1. I saw that today you also sang the praises of Find A Grave volunteers. It's amazing how inscriptions on gravestones can add to our family history. Thanks for reading and commenting.