Wells, Henry

Wells, Henry a distinguished philanthropist, was born in New Hampshire in 1805. He was brought by his parents when a child to Central New York. Without the advantages of an early education, but with a pushing spirit within him, he began his career as an expressman, his first route being from Albany to Buffa), at which time he carried all the matter in a carpetbag himself, and gave personal attention to its delivery. His business gradually prospered, and he increased it as circumstances required. Such was its wonderful progress that he organized a company, under the title of "The American Express Company," which subsequently bore the name of "Wells, Fargo & Co." Their business increased to such an extent that it embraced the whole country from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from Canada to Mexico and across the ocean. The reward of his enterprise and prudence was a princely fortune. With its avails he purchased a beautiful property. on the banks of the Cayuga Lake, at Aurora, N.Y., and there erected a palatial residence, which he filled with all the comforts and luxuries of art. In the retirement of his lovely rural home, he conceived the idea of erecting and furnishing at his own expense a seminary or college for the higher education of young women. By the side of his own mansion he laid off a park embracing woodland, hill, and plain, and in the middle of it he erected a splendid brick edifice, with all the appointments that skill, taste, and money could provide for the carrying-out of the great object he had in view. This magnificent edifice, with the entire property, was conveyed by deed as a free gift to a board of trustees, who gave it the name of "Wells College." A board of instruction was soon organized, and the college sprang rapidly into high repute. Its halls were soon filled, and students flocked to it from all parts, many of them the daughters of gentlemen with whom Mr. Wells had been associated in business. Its library and cabinets were made rich by contributions of his friends. The Hon. E.B. Morgan, of Aurora, added the munificent gift of $100,000 to the endowment of the institution, and is about to erect another important building for the college. On November 9, 1878, Mr. Wells sailed for Glasgow, and reached there on the 19th. He was too far enfeebled to proceed farther, and after lingering for a few weeks, his active, eventful, and useful life closed, December 10, 1878. (W.P.S.)

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