John McLain Wells was born on June 2, 1852, near Rochelle, Illinois. In 1861, when he was nine years old, he came to Story County. He labored on the farm and began teaching at the age of sixteen. A year later, he entered Iowa State College at Ames and graduated in the first class in 1872. After graduation, he spent two years in the civil engineering department of the Northwestern Railroad at Chicago and two or three years teaching in Illinois. He then returned to Story County and assumed his
agricultural activities. He married Alpine Luring of Marseilles, Illinois, in 1879. They established their home on the farm where they resided fourteen years.
The family then moved into Nevada.
Mr. Wells was one of Nevada’s first engineers. He was involved with county surveying and was an expert in drainage matters. The result of his work added millions to the value of farmland in the county. He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge. John McLain Wells died on December 30, 1917. Alpine died on February 20, 1923.
Mr. and Mrs. Wells had one daughter, Reine Genevieve Wells. Miss Wells was a graduate of Nevada High School and also attended Iowa State College and Drake University. She was recognized for her excellent riding skills. She was admired for
her sidesaddle ability. She was a member of the Wednesday Bridge Club and a fifty-year member of the Eastern Star. After the death of her parents, she
made her home in the Story Hotel, taking her meals at the hotel. She died on June 26, 1964. Miss Wells will revealed that she would be a major benefactor of the community and the county. Her wishes were to use her estate to help fund the building of a wing to the Story County Hospital. Today this wing serves
the hospital as the Long Term Care Unit.
Pioneer Families >