Finding aid for the Melancthon Woolsey Welles Papers

Repository: Western Reserve Historical Society
Creator: Welles, Melancthon Woolsey
Title: Melancthon Woolsey Welles Papers
Dates: 1818-1896
Dates: 1822-1850
Extent: 0.20 linear feet (1 container)
Abstract: Melancthon Woolsey Welles came to Cleveland, Ohio, ca. 1819 to study law at the firm of Kelley and Cowles. His sister, Mary Seymour Welles, had married prominent Clevelander Alfred Kelley in 1817. Welles was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1823. He then moved to Elyria, Lorain County, Ohio, and was appointed the first prosecuting attorney for that county in 1824. In 1826, Welles became the first toll collector at Akron, Ohio, on the Ohio and Erie Canal. While in Akron, he also served as the first postmaster, was a justice of the peace, and practiced law. Welles was a member of the Portage County Temperance Society, an incorporator of the Akron Lyceum and Library Association, and an agent for the Ohio State Temperance Society. He returned to Elyria in 1835 to practice law. In 1837, Welles moved to Cleveland and entered into a law partnership with Edward Wade and Edward Hamlin. He continued his involvement with temperance and antislavery groups while living in Cleveland. In 1841, he returned to Elyria, continuing his antislavery and temperance endeavors. Welles also served as a Commissioner of deeds for the State of Ohio and a Notary Public for Lorain County. During the 1840s, he became a member of the Liberty Party, and subsequently, the Free Soil Party. In 1849, through the auspices of Dr. Norton S. Townshend, Welles was appointed state agent for the sale of school lands, and moved to Defiance, Defiance County, Ohio. By 1860, Welles was living at Fort Dodge, Webster County, Iowa, and working as a land agent. He remained in Iowa the rest of his life. The collection consists of accounts, a journal, letters, articles of agreement, notes, memoranda, newspaper circular letters, newspaper clippings, deeds, receipts, drafts, commissions and appointments, business cards, a speech, a petition, and a constitution. Of particular interest to the study of early Akron, Ohio, is a photocopy of a ca. 1825 manuscript map of the village. The original map has been removed to the Manuscript Map Collection as MS Map 486A. Also of interest is a circular letter from the Executive Committee of the Portage County Temperance Society, signed by Welles and dated 1829, and a constitution, bylaws, and rules of order of the Sons of Temperance of the State of Ohio, Elyria Division, No. 400, dated 1848.
MS Number MS 4759
Location: closed stacks
Language: The records are in English