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Melvin Wells, 1902-1981

Melvin E. Wells

1902:  Melvin Wells’ parents, George Wells (1862-1914) and Lizzie (Hughes) Wells (1870-1954), came from Iowa and purchased the Emmanuel Smith farm in Corinna Township on the shores of Cedar Lake.  There was an old log cabin, a log barn, an open well and 172 acres.  Arrival here was in March 1902 and three months later, Melvin was born, one of eight children and the oldest boy. The children were Aleathe, Velma, Nellie, Genevieve, Melvin, Homer, Herbert (1906-1973) and Hazel, also a half-brother, Jay, and half-sister, Maude, children of George and Nettie (Rockwell) Wells, who died March 13, 1889.

1903:  In the fall of 1903, Melvin’s parents purchased the adjoining resort of 38 acres from Gerrit and Celia VanDyke.  They moved to the resort grounds and named the resort Cottage Grove.

1908:  In April 1908 they sold Cottage Grove resort to F.S. Mears and moved back to the farm.  George Wells’ farm operations were successful with excellent stock, modern barn, swine barn, and other farm buildings.  He manufactured maple syrup.

1909:  George Wells started a new and larger scale resort with the erection of a $6,000 lake hotel and 20 cottages.

1914:  Melvin’s father, George E. Wells (1862-1914), died November 14, 1914.  Lizzie Wells continued with the farm and the resort

1920:  At age 18, Melvin joined the Woodsmen Lodge and was still a member in 1976.

1924:  Melvin Wells and Mildred Sparks were married in October 192.  Three daughters were born:  Elouise (Juetten), Ardis (Twiss) and Evelyn (Peterson).  Melvin rented the farm from his mother.

 In 1924 Melvin became a member of the Heberling School Board, serving for 26 years.

1928:  Melvin was elected as clerk of the Corinna Township board and served for 25 years. He was instrumental in starting the Wright County Farm Bureau and served as chairman of the Corinna Southside Bureau and also served on the Wright County Board.   

1929:  Melvin helped organized the Annandale Cooperative Creamery.  He was on the board for 27 years serving as secretary for six years and as president. 

1933:  Melvin helped organize a Canning Association in St. Cloud for canning peas, corn and string beans.  He spent almost 30 years in this work, was field man until 1950 and then elected manager.

1948:  Melvin joined the Fair Haven Masonic Lodge No, 182.  In 1955 he served as Master and again in 1964.  He was also a member of the Royal Arch Lodge in Buffalo, Nazarene Commandry No. 24 in St. Cloud and the Zurah Shrine in Minneapolis.

1952:  A fire in July 1952 wiped out everything except the house and garage.

1957:  Melvin sold his purebred herd, giving him more time to serve on various committees and assuming office responsibilities as manager of the Central Minnesota Processers Association.

1962:  Melvin remodeled the new barn into six apartments.  He also converted the upstairs of the big house into apartments.

1863:  Melvin suffered a heart attack.

1975:  Melvin and Mildred built a new log house on the exact spot of the original log cabin.  After moving in they converted the downstairs of the big house into an apartment.   

1976:  At the age of 74, Melvin was still farming, although only 150 acres were under cultivation, the remaining acreage sold as lots in a housing development.  He served as board member of the Annandale Methodist Church.  His first church, where he attended Sunday school, was the North Corinna Methodist Church, which consolidated with the Annandale Methodist in 1914.  The church  building became Twedt’s store.  There is a cemetery at the site of the former church.

1976:  Mildred A. Wells (1903-1976) was killed in a car accident near Cokato.  She was a member of Silver Leaf Rebekah Lodge, Wright County Farm Bureau, Neighborhood Club, Wright County Historical Society and was a 4-H leader.  She worked with Wright County Extension, Senior Citizens, Bloodmobile volunteer, and many other community services.     

OBITUARY (as printed in the St. Cloud Times (Saint Cloud, Minnesota) July 1, 1981)

Melvin G. Wells, 79, Route 3, died Tuesday.

   Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Annandale United Methodist Church with Dr. Rolland Robinson officiating . Burial will be in Woodlawn Cemetery.

   Friends may call from 4 to 9 p.m. today at the Dingmann-Ferrell Funeral Home in Annandale. A prayer service will be held at 7:30 p.m. followed by a Masonic service at 8 p.m.

   Mr. Wells was born June 2, 1902, in Corinna Township in rural Annandale to the late George and Lizze (Hughes) wells. He married Mildrd Sparks Oct. 11, 1924, in Annandale. He lived in the Annandale area all of his life.

   He was a member of the Annandale United Methodist Church, Fairhaven Lodge 182 AF&AM, and was active in the Farm Bureau in Wright County. He served on the Annandale Creamery Board for many years and was manager of the St. Cloud Canning Factory for many years.

   Survivors include daughters, Mrs Cliff (Elouis) Guetten, Annandale; Mrs Tom (Ardis) Twiss, Houston, Tex; Mrs Paur (Evelyn) Petersen, Rossford, Ohio; sisters, Mrs. Jim (Genevieve) O'Brien, San Diego, Calif.; Mrs. Elwin (Hazel) Knickerbocker, Annandale, 11 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

   He was preceded in death by his wife April 7, 1976, four sisters and three brothers.