Sarah Wells

So much has been said about the stunning Sarah Wells… Her early life is well documented. At 18 she travelled bravely through uncharted New England land, at the whim of her guardian, with only Indian guides and a few carpenters guiding her way. She did this without complaint and, seemingly, without fear. As a reward her guardian Christopher Denn shared 100 acres of claimed land with her.

Her story is legendary. And I cannot do it justice here. If you are her descendant, and even if you are not, you owe it to yourself to read a more interesting account listed here:

 But for a woman who lived to be 102, her teen years were a relatively small portion of her life. It was her years as a young mother that took a larger part of her time. 

Sarah and William had 12 children. Their oldest was born on the 3rd of May, 1721 and their youngest was born on the 4th of March, 1745. That’s 24 years of childbearing. Sarah was one month and two days short of turning 51 when the youngest little Eleanor was born. Remarkable, especially considering the risk of childbirth in those times. Five of the twelve children were born in May. My own Great6 Grandfather, Richard, was born on his twelve year old sister, Esther’s, birthday on the 29th of May 1743. If they did celebrate birthdays May would have been a festive month!

Sarah Wells lived to be 102. She outlived four of her children: William(d.1759), Richard my Great6 grandfather (d.1785), Isaac, and Esther. These last two died on the same day: August 11th, 1794. Sarah would have been 100 years old. What a blow to loose two of your children… and on the same day! Sarah, herself, passed away on the 21st of April 1796. Her fifth daughter, Catherine, died five days later.

When Sarah passed on she left behind her remaining children, 98 grandchildren, 212 great grandchildren and 13 great great grandchildren. What a legacy! Add the 12 children to those numbers and you have 335 descendants that lived during her lifetime! Can you imagine trying to remember all those names?!

I am a descendant of Sarah’s through her youngest son Richard. In 1783 he gathered his red-headed wife Jemima and their four children and boarded the “Sally” as United Empire Loyalists. What would his mother have thought? How did she feel about the American Revolution? Were there tearful goodbyes or did they leave silently without incident? 

My Great5 Grandmother, Elizabeth Bull (Smith), was 8 years old when she boarded the ship leading to a new country and a new exsistence. She was old enough to remember her grandmother. I wonder if she thought of her grandmother as she held in her arms her very first daugther born 5 months and 5 days after the passing of Sarah Wells. This new little great granddaughter was my red-haired Great4 Grandmother Mary Smith. I have a copy of her picture and I wonder if she shares any resemblance to Elizabeth or Jemima or even her Great Grandmother Sarah Wells. The description that Samuel W. EAger gives of Sarah Wells is this:

Her eyes were… dark, playful and sparkling…When excited to reply to some rude remark or impertinent inquiry, her eyes would flash like fire, and the presumptuous intruder was sure to be wounded in the conflict, and carry the scar home with him for reflection.

The red hair of Jemima Budd Bull and Mary Smith still plays a prominent role in my family, but what really excites me is the description of Sarah Wells eyes. I have dark brown eyes and so do both of my daughters. I’ve seen those playful, sparkling eyes… and the flash of fire too!

I am proud to be a descendant of Sarah Wells, and I like to think that I can see a bit of her spirit in my daughters eyes.


ps. thank to Michael Brown for sending me a wonderful array of information regarding Sarah & William. We are true cousins. And thank you to the Bull Stone House web site,, and the wonderful people that frequent the message board. Cheers!


Published in: on 1 May 2007 at 12:00 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. Thank you, Sarah, for such an interesting account of our ancestors. My Great5 Grandfather was Humphrey, older brother of your Elizabeth. The line comes down to me and my sisters through my father’s mother’s family, the Reids of Salt Springs, New Brunswick. My middle sister has strawberry blonde hair, my grandmother and her twin had red hair, and my younger sister is named Sara, by a nice coincidence (we didn’t know about Sarah Wells back then). I hope to be able to visit the Bull Stone House someday and learn more about Sarah and William.

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