Charles W. Wells, owner and editor of the Alton "Empire," the leading journal in the northwestern part of Osborne county, is a native of the Sunflower State, born at Osborne December 17, 1884, the son of Frank P. and Mary S. Fultz Wells. The father was a native of New York State, born there February 28, 1850, and came to Kansas with his parents in 1879, when they located at Osborne. Frank Wells was a harness maker by trade, for some years living at Brookville, Kan. At one time, before the railroads ran across Kansas, he was a government freighter in Colorado and Mexico, spending weeks on the long trips required to carry government supplies to the posts on the frontier. He is now engaged in the harness and implement business at Osborne. In 1878 Mr. Wells married Mary S. Fultz, of Marquette, Kan., the daughter of Edward and Julia Fultz, of that city. Mrs. Wells was born at Michigan City, Ind., October 14, 1861, and accompanied her parents to Kansas in 1879, where she lived until her marriage. Mr. and Mrs. Wells became the parents of six children: Mary Alice, born November 4, 1880, a graduate of the Osborne High School, and of the State normal at Emporia, who taught six years before her marriage with Dr. S. J. Schwaup, of Osborne, on July 20, 1908, and now has one child, Frances Josephine, born September 1, 1910; Frank Edward, born October 5, 1882, now engaged in business with his father; Charles W.; Nettie J., born July 28, 1886, a graduate of the Osborne High School in 1905, now the wife of R. Roy Hays, of Osborne, and has one child, Mildred, born in October, 1910; Wallace Arthur, born January 20, 1888, now a printer at Clay Center, Kan.; Gertrude Grace, born February 22, 1890, now the assistant postmaster at Osborne.
Charles Wells received his education in the public schools of Osborne, and when only a lad of sixteen entered the office of the Osborne "Farmer" to learn the printer's trade. He worked in Osborne as an apprentice three years, then decided to go West, reaching Idaho in 1906. He worked in Utah, at Salt Lake City, for a year, and in other cities for about the same time, but was forced to return to Kansas because of ill health. Mr. Wells worked in several different States at his trade until 1910, when, on June 6, he purchased the Alton "Empire," which had been established in 1881, the only paper in the town. He at once began improvements, replacing the old plant with the most modern equipment that money could buy, typesetting machines and many conveniences for the printing and editing of the paper, which, under his able management, has increased in circulation until today it wields a wide influence in this section of the State. Mr. Wells is a Republican in politics and works earnestly in the interests of the party. Fraternally he is a Mason. On November 24, 1910, Mr. Wells married Lela M., the daughter of Rev. James and Adeline Kerr. Mrs. Wells was born at Enosdale, Kan., November 26, 1890; her father was a native of Illinois and her mother of Indiana, and at the present time they are living at Sylvan Grove, where Mr. Kerr is pastor of the Methodist-Episcopal church. Mrs. Wells graduated from the Alton High School with the class of 1908, and taught one year before her marriage.Pages 362-363 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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