John R. Wells (September 5, 1838- July 6, 1918) was a resident of Powhatan and a practicing doctor and surgeon. He was born to in Arkansas, the grandson of the one of the earliest settlers John R. Wells, who originally settled the land that became Opposition. His father was G.W. Wells and his mother was Nettie Stubblefield of Cape Girardeau County. His father died when he was just two years old.
Dr. Wells attended college for two years at Springfield, Tennessee and began his medical education apprenticing in Jacksonport with Dr. Kirkwood and Dr. Matlock. He attended lectures at the Memphis Medical College from 1858-1859 and completed his study at the University of Louisiana in 1860. Immediately afterwards he returned to Powhatan and opened a medical practice.1
On July 15, 1862 Dr. Wells enlisted as a private in the Confederate Army. By the end of the war, Wells was a captain and assistant surgeon in the regiment of M.D. Baber and Company G, Col. Shaver's First Arkansas Rifles.
Following the war, he returned to Powhatan to practice medicine. He married Nettie S. Stuart (daughter of Champ T. Stuart) on November 24, 1864. The couple raised five children including Laura, Ada, George Walter, Frank Stuart and John L Wells.
On April 7, 1881, Dr. Wells registered with Lawrence County as a physician and surgeon.4
In 1897, Dr. Wells contributed to a monument fund for confederate veterans.5
Dr. Wells was a member of the Masons and achieved the rank of Master Mason. He was an officer in the Masonic cornerstone dedication of the 1888 Courthouse. He and his wife attended the Methodist Episcopal Church.2
By 1910, he was living in Imboden. In his will, he leaves his former residence and acreage in Powhatan to be shared between his daughter Laura and his George Walter. His land in Imboden is left to his son Frank Stuart. Dr. Wells also left 1,000 dollars to be paid to his granddaughter Nettie Sullivan. His sons were named executors of his estate and much of the personal property was sold off. His appraised property is primarily agricultural tools and livestock with no medical equipment mentioned.3
Court Cases as Plaintiff
In 1879, John R. Wells sued William Hogan over a property dispute. Box 18, Folder 123.
1. Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Lawrence County, 1889
2. Page 18, Thirty Eighth Confederate Infantry
3. NEARA, LCHS Probate, Box 31, Folder 23 29.
4. NEARA, Register of Physicians and Surgeons for Lawrence County
5. Daily Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas) · 4 Sep 1897, Sat · Page 4 confederate monument fund including Townsend, Wells Stuarts.pdf