John M. Wells

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John Moon Wells was an American farmer from Prairieville (now called Waukesha), Wisconsin who spent a single one-year term in 1849 as a Free Soil Party member of the Wisconsin State Assembly from Waukesha County.[1]


Wells arrived in Waukesha County in 1837, and served as the first public school teacher in the village's tamarack log schoolhouse, during the winter of 1837-1838, with a student body of between 25 and 30 children.[2][3]:436, 486, 628, 688

He was a member of the local Congregational Church (built in 1839), and participated in an ecumenical evangelical group known locally as "The Prairieville Breaking Team" which went around to the neighboring schoolhouses and villages to hold prayer meetings, and whose enthusiasm was deemed almost Methodist in its pious fervor.[3]:646


In 1841, he had served as the secretary of the Prairieville Democrats when they held a meeting on July 6 in preparation for the upcoming September territorial general election.[4]

On September 26, 1848, he served as a delegate from Waukesha County to the Wisconsin's 1st congressional district convention of the newly organized Free Soil Party, which nominated Charles Durkee for Congress. He also served in other Free Soil leadership positions during that period.[3]:619–620

He was elected to the Assembly in 1848 as a Free Soiler, succeeding Democrat Chauncey G. Heath.

He would be succeeded by Democrat John E. Gallagher.

Agricultural Society[edit]

In March 1849, when the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society was organized, Wells was elected as a member of the executive committee.[5][6] He was also a member of the committee which drafted a constitution for that body.[7]


  1. ^ "Members of the Wisconsin Legislature 1848–1999 State of Wisconsin Legislative Bureau. Information Bulletin 99-1, September 1999. p. 121 Archived 2006-12-09 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Portrait and Biographical Record of Waukesha County, Wisconsin: Containing Biographical Sketches of Old Settlers and Representative Citizens of the County, Together with Biographies and Portraits of All the Presidents of the United States and the Governors of the State Chicago: Excelsior Publishing Co. 1894; p. 339
  3. ^ a b c The History of Waukesha County, Wisconsin: Containing an Account of Its Settlement, Growth, Development and Resources; an Extensive and Minute Sketch of Its Cities, Towns and Villages--their Improvements, Industries, Manufactories, Churches, Schools and Societies; Its War Record, Biographical Sketches, Portraits of Prominent Men and Early Settlers; the Whole Preceded by a History of Wisconsin, Statistics of the State, and an Abstract of Its Laws and Constitution and of the Constitution of the United States Chicago: Western Historical Company, 1880
  4. ^ Manderville, John & Wells, John M. "The Democracy of Prairieville are already making preparation for the approaching contest, by an active and efficient organization" Milwaukie Sentinel, August 10, 1841; Issue 6; p. 1, col. 6
  5. ^ Madison Express "State Agricultural Society" reprinted in Milwaukee Sentinel and Gazette March 20, 1849; Issue 286; p. 1, col. 4
  6. ^ "State Agricultural Society" Milwaukee Sentinel and GazetteApril 2, 1849; Issue 297; p. 1, col. 1
  7. ^ Buck, Royal. "State Agricultural Society of 1849" in, Wisconsin State Agricultural Society. Transactions of the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, with an abstract of the correspondence of the secretary Vol. I. Madison: Beriah Brown, State Printer, 1851; pp. 332, 336