25 September, 2022

1901 Obituary: ‘Good Old Bro. Wells’

by | 24 June, 2021 | 1 comment

During the 1800s and early 1900s, a typical issue of Christian Standard carried numerous accounts of those who had “Fallen Asleep.” These obituaries—often written by friends, family members, and ministers—were no doubt widely read.

This obituary for “good old Bro. Wells” was written by O. S. Deming, a man (we assume) who identified himself as having given lessons in Latin and Greek to Wells. We believe you’ll find Mordecai Wells was a rather fascinating person.

_ _ _

Mordecai Wells

December 21, 1901; p. 31

Mordecai Wells died this morning [Nov. 3, 1901], at his home in Mt. Olivet, Ky., after an illness of about two weeks. He was seventy-six years of age, and although he long had been a sufferer, and had been totally blind for more than fifty years, he had been, until within the last few years, one of the most active workers in the Christian Church in northern Kentucky.

Elder Wells was a valiant soldier in the Mexican War, where he contracted inflammation of his eyes, and lost the sight of both. Before Elder Wells had enlisted in the United States service, he had given his heart to God and had decided to educate himself for the ministry. After coming home he entered into a solemn covenant with the Master that he would henceforth devote his time and talents to his service, and all who knew “good old Bro. Wells,” as he was affectionately called, will bear cheerful testimony that he has faithfully kept his covenant. His education was quite limited, but with wonderful energy and perseverance he set to work to fit himself for the ministry. He attended a school for the blind—Louisville, Ky.—for eighteen months, and after his return home he married Miss Elizabeth Claypoole. They had been lovers from childhood, and for over fifty years she has been not only a loving companion and a devoted teacher, but a most willing and efficient helpmate in all his Christian work. He was the father of six children. His wife and children read to him almost constantly. Possessed of untiring zeal and a most wonderful memory, he soon had the Bible at his tongue’s end, so to speak, and had fortified himself with a thorough historical and scientific education. Not satisfied with this, in the early sixties, at his request, the writer gave him lessons in Latin and Greek, and owing to his prodigious memory and close application he soon became quite proficient in these languages.  

Before he became blind he had traveled all over this and the surrounding communities, and was familiar with every road and bridle-path, and this knowledge enabled him to go, unattended, to his preaching appointments, sometimes to crossroad schoolhouses or country churches, and frequently to towns ten and twelve miles from where he resided.

Elder Wells continued to preach as long as his health would permit, totally indifferent as to salary, liberally and freely contributing the while, to the support of other ministers, and after he became physically unable to preach, he devoted his time to his family and to deeds of charity. He was always cheerful, and enjoyed an innocent joke. Elder Wells leaves a wife and six children, and numberless other relatives and friends, to mourn their loss, and by his death the community has lost a most estimable citizen, the church a most faithful and efficient worker, his wife a most devoted husband, and his children a kind and indulgent father. May God comfort them in their great affliction.

O. S. Deming
Mt. Olivet, Ky., Nov. 3, 1901.

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1 Comment

  1. Osmer Deming

    O.S. Deming (1837-1917) was my great-great grandfather and was revered by many during his life and after his death. The school system in Robertson County was named after him and my parents gave me his name when I was born. O.S. was from upstate New York and was a veteran of the Civil War. He relocated to Mt. Olivet, Kentucky, and spent the majority of his life there, making himself part of the community and eventually becoming the county judge. I have never read anything that he has written until I found this fine tribute to his friend, Good Old Brother Wells. Thank you for publishing this.

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