THORNTON WALTON WELLS. One of the most efficient workers in the field of education in Western Kansas for many years has been Thornton Walton Wells, now superintendent of schools at Russell. Mr. Wells was county superintendent of Russell County six years.
He has lived in Russell County since he was about two years old. He was born in DeKalb County, Missouri, April 10, 1877. His ancestors came originally from England and Ireland. His father, George S. Wells, was born in Illinois in 1832 and spent his early life in Illinois and Wisconsin and in the vicinity of the Great Lakes. He was a very proficient hunter and trapper and was always in his most congenial sphere when in districts not yet well settled by white men. For several years he followed the trade of butcher in Chicago, and was married in that city. After his marriage he moved out to Northwestern Missouri and located in DeKalb County. From there in 1879 he brought his family to Russell County, Kansas, and was a pioneer, homesteading 160 acres. He died there in 1883 and after his death the homestead was sold. He was also a veteran of the Civil war having enlisted in Company I of the Thirteenth Iowa Regiment of Infantry in 1864, seeing about one year of active service. In politics he was a republican and in religion a Baptist.
George S. Wells married Elizabeth Thornton, who was barn in Chicago in 1840 and is now living at Great Bend, Kansas. She became the mother of ten children: Delaney E., a stone mason living at Los Angeles, California; Charles W., in business at Otis, Colorado; Benjamin Frank, a painter in Colorado; Newman G., a farmer at Henning, Nebraska; Lillian M., now teaching at Ellis, Kansas, the widow of Henry Rediger, who was formerly a farmer in Barton County, Kansas; Homer M., a farmer at Aitkin, Minnesota; Lizzie A., wife of Leonard Bryant, a farmer in Norton County, Kansas; Thornton W., who is eighth among the children; Lottie I., wife of William Keyser, an electrical engineer at Seattle, Washington; and Mabel F., wife of Giles B. Dodge, a painter at Great Bend, Kansas.
Thornton W. Wells received his early educational advantages in the public schools of Russell County, attended grade school for a time at Great Bend and has completed a liberal education in the intervals of his active school work. In 1901 he graduated in the Special Science course from the Normal College at Great Bend. In 1903 he completed the teachers' course in the Salina Normal School. For one summer he attended the Kansas State Normal at Emporia and three summers the Kansas State Agricultural College at Manhattan.
Mr. Wells began teaching in 1894 at Pilot Rock school in Russell County, where he learned his letters, and since then his school work has been practically continuous in this county. For four years he was principal of the school at Luray, for three years was principal of the Lucas School and was then elected county superintendent of Russell County, filling that responsible office from 1907 to 1913. From 1913 to 1918 he was superintendent of the schools, of Lucas and in 1918 became superintendent of the Russell schools. He has three schools under his supervision with a corps of twenty-one teachers and an enrollment of 530 scholars.
Mr. Wells served as a member of the Kansas State Board of Education from 1911 to 1913. He has also been president of the Golden Belt Teachers Association, and is chairman of the Agriculture and Geography Committee of the Round Table of the State Teachers Association for the year 1918.
He is affiliated with Blue Hill Lodge of Masons at Luray, is past master workman and has been representative to the Grand Lodge of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and is a member of Lucas Camp, Modern Woodmen of America, and of the Sons of Veterans.
In 1903, at Luray, Mr. Wills[sic] married Miss Ada A. Daniels, daughter of W. B. and Harriet (Hilton) Daniels. Her parents reside at Luray, her father being a retired farmer. Mr. and Mrs. Wells are the parents of five children: Alice A., born December 23, 1904; Ada A., born June 14, 1907; Victor C., born November 3, 1908; Kenneth L., born April 25, 1916; and Helen Margaret, born October 19, 1918.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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