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Prolific Inventor : Moses Doolittle Wells (1798 - 1878) of Morgantown, WV

Replies: 17

Re: Prolific Inventor : Moses Doolittle Wells (1798 - 1878) of Morgantown, WV

Posted: 1323571076000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Wells, Doolittle, O'Neill
Hi Joe,

Ephraim Stockton Wells (who went by his initials E.S. Wells) was a prominent resident of Jersey City, NJ, and also an inventor. He was in the patent medicine business and his products included a rat poison called "Rough on Rats." Its worldwide success resulted in the production of numerous other "Rough On" products.

A recent book, "History of Jersey City", by Alexander McClean has a great deal of information about his life at page 366+.

From "The Wells/Ogborne Family of New Jersey" online at has the following

Ephraim S. Wells, son of Ephraim B Wells, Born abt 1841, and Unknown O'Neill from Baltimore MD of Morgantown, West Va

Family consisted of 8 children whose mother died around 1852. The family then took up residence in Uniontown PA. E.S. Wells attended public schools and Attended Madison College. When 18 he set out over the Allegheny Mts by stagecoach to NYC with $1.25 and worked as a drugstore clerk. E.S. Wells went to war (Fourth Michigan Volunteers) in 1861. He later settled in Jersey City.

Susan S Titus who is descendant of Robert B Titus who arrived in Weymouth MA aboard the SS Hopewell in 1635
Married Ephraim S. Wells (widower) and Lived in Jersey City, NJ
Susan and Ephraim had 4 sons: Charles A, (1871) William Henry (1873); Edgar Wells (1876 died 1925) and George Titus Wells (1878).

According to my notes, E.S. Wells was married twice. He first married Isabella Lane of New York City in 1868 and she died within a year. He married second Susan Stephenson Titus (d. 1889), daughter of Enoch Armitage Titus and P. Elizabeth Blackwell.

From the New York Times, 12 Mar 1913, pg. 11:

"EPHRAIM S. WELLS, who compounded the poison known as "Rough on Rats," died Monday at the home of his son, Edgar Wells, in Glenmore, Mercer County, in his seventy-second year. He was born near Morgantown, West Va., and forty years ago came to Jersey City, where he first put his rat poison on the market."

According to my notes Ephraim Stockton (E.S.) Wells (1841-1913) was the son of Ephraim B. Wells (b 1794). Ephraim B. Wells was a brother of Moses Doolittle Wells and my ancestor Augustine Wells Jr. Their parents were Augustine Wells Sr. and Lucy Elizabeth Doolittle. Their were other siblings as well. Lucy Elizabeth Doolittle was the daughter of Moses Doolittle Sr. and his wife Mary Scott.

Ephraim B. Wells' wife may have been the Margaret Wells who, along with Ephraim B. and Jacob "Kyger" witnessed the will of Ephraim's grandmother, Mary Doolittle.

Here is a truncated descendant list for the Augustine Wells Sr. family.

1-Augustine WELLS Sr
b: 19 March 1760, Queen Anne's Town, Prince George's Cty, MD
d: 18 July 1839, Monongalia County, WV
+Lucy Elizabeth DOOLITTLE
b: 19 April 1761, Beekman, Dutchess Cty, NY
m: about 1781
d: 19 March 1848, Monongalia County, WV
. . 2-Thomas Doolittle WELLS Sr.
b: 30 July 1784, Pennsylvania
d: 27 July 1878, Oquawka, Henderson Cty, IL
. . 2-Martha WELLS
b: about 1784, Virginia
. . 2-Sarah WELLS
b: 1786
d: before 1831
. . 2-Hezekiah WELLS
b: 1788
d: after 1812
. . 2-Dr. Augustine WELLS Jr
b: 1790, (West) Virginia
d: 16 February 1856, Morgantown, Monongalia Cty., WV
. . 2-Ephraim B. WELLS
b: 1794
. . 2-John B. WELLS
b: 1796
. . 2-Moses Doolittle WELLS
b: 1798, Monongalia County, WV
d: 11 October 1878, Morgan District, Monongalia Cty, WV
. . 2-Lucy WELLS
b: 1801
. . 2-Asenath WELLS
b: 1802, Virginia
d: after 1880

Best wishes, Kathy Grant
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EmmaJaneCole3... 1377199817000 
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