The town of Wells was chartered on Sept. 15, 1761 by Benning Wentworth and organized on Mar. 9, 1773. Wells is situated in the southwestern part of Rutland county, and bounded on the north by Poultney and Middletown ; on the east by Tinmouth and Middletown ; on the south by Pawlet, and on the west by Washington county, New York. When New Hampshire first chartered Wells, it covered more than 23,000 acres. But two separate actions by the Vermont Legislature reduced the area. First, 6,118 acres were taken to help create Middletown in 1784. Then, 14 years later, Poultney annexed another 4,000 acres. Wells now consists of approximated 13,000 acres.
Much of the town's history is connected with Lake St. Catherine, a five-mile long body of water split between Wells and Poultney. Though referred to as St. Catherine as early as 1767 in New York land records, early residents called it Wells Pond, Lake Austin, Lake St. Austin and Lake St. Augustine.
Many people do not realize that three of the primary leaders of the Mormon faith trace their roots directly to Vermont. The first elder, Joseph Smith, was born in Royalton and his successor, Brigham Young, hailed from Whitingham. But there was another crucial player - Oliver Cowdery of Wells.
During the last 100 years, most development in Wells has concentrated along the shores of Lake St. Catherine. Wells village remains a 19th-century microcosm and because of its character has been designated a historic district on the State Register of Historic Places.1
The History of Wells, Vermont, for the First Century After Its Settlement, Hiland Paul with birographic sketches by Robert Parks, Tuttle & Co. Job Printers, Rutland, 1869; view online.
FamilySearch Historical Records Collection has Vermont birth, death, and marriage records online.
The probate district for Wells is Fair Haven, and the court district is Rutland.
The following is a list of cemeteries in present-day Wells. For location of cemeteries, see Cemeteries of Vermont, Rutland County, website at this link.
- Meeting House Burial Ground
- Stiles Cemetery
- Town Cemetery
1. St. Pauls Episcapol Church
7 East Wells Road
Wells, VT 05774
Town Clerk Vital and Town Records, 1732-2005, can be found on FamilySerach (browse only images) at this link.
The Family History Library has microfilm of original records from the Wells Town Hall.
Wells Town Clerk
108 Vermont 30
Wells, VT 05774
Phone: (802) 645-0486
Rutland Herald online at this link
Libraries and Historical Societies
1. History Rutland County Vermont, Edited by H. P. Smith and W. S. Rann, Syracuse, NY, 1886.
2. Wells: A Combination of the Old and the New, Don Wickman, Rutland Herald Newspaper, Dec.1, 2006.