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John I. Wells
John Wells

American, 1769 - 1835
Biography: Wells, John I. (1769-1835). Born in East Hartford to Jerusha Pitkin and John Wells, John I. Wells likely trained in Hartford and immediately afterwards went into business for himself, advertising extensively between 1789 and 1812. His first location was the Hartford shop “lately belonging to, and occupied by” Samuel Kneeland (American Mercury, 8/17/1789). At the end of 1791, he announced that he had “served as a Jouneyman, and lately returned from one of the most noted Cabinet Shops in New-York” and was actively producing furniture in “the most modern patter[n]s” (American Mercury, 12/5/1791). The same ad stated that he was adding the middle initial “I”, “in consequence of their being others of the same name in the city.” As Wells’s business grew he placed numerous advertisements for apprentices. In 1805 he announced a partnership with Erastus Flint, as Wells & Flint (American Mercury, 3/26/1805), which continued until 1809. Sometime around 1807, Wells started working with ink and paint as well as mattresses; his interest in woodworking evidently diminished by 1810. In 1819 he received a patent for an improved lever press and in 1829 another for more improvements on his press. A number of other pieces have been misattributed to him because they are marked “J. WELLS,” probably an owner’s brand. He married Anne (Nancy) Hubbard (1769-1854) of Northfield, Massachusetts, in 1796.