Tuesday, October 24, 2017


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Chuck Wells

Charles Arthur “Chuck” Wells was born on September 12, 1897, in Greenfield, Indiana. His full name and birth information were recorded on a 1936 passenger list. Wells’ World War I draft card had his full name and birth date. Wells’ full name and birthplace were mentioned in Indiana Authors and Their Books, 1917–1966 (1974) and Indiana’s Laughmakers (1990). The same birth date is at Social Security Death Index. In the book, Some Quaker Families, Scarborough/Haworth, Volume 4 (1993), Wells’ full name and were birthplace were the same but the birth date, October 25, 1897, was incorrect.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Wells was the youngest of two sons born to Lindsay Aaron Wells and Lucinda Jones. His father was a pastor and the family resided in Monroe, Indiana.

At some point the Wells family moved to Portland, Oregon. The 1910 census recorded them at 1156 Salmon Street. Wells’ father was a church minister. Portland city directories listed the family at 574 Maiden Avenue in 1915 and 374 Marguerite Avenue in 1916.

When Wells signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918, he was a resident in Wichita, Kansas at 502 South Vine. He was a student at Friends University. Wells was described as tall, slender build with blue eye and light-colored hair. Indiana Authors and Their Books said Wells “received the A.B. degree in 1920”.

Wells has not yet been found in the 1920 census which was enumerated in January.

The American Friend, July 15, 1920, noted Wells’ marriage.

Wells-Rich—At the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Willis A, Rich, Emporia, Kansas, June 21, 1930, Charles A. Wells, son of Lindley A. and Lucinda E. Wells, of Wichita, Kansas, to Elsie Rich. The father of the groom, now of Greenleaf, Idaho, minister. Their home will be at 1415 University Avenue, Wichita, Kansas.
According to Indiana Authors and Their Books, Wells worked at the Wichita Beacon. Newspaper cartoonist Wells and his wife were counted in the 1925 Kansas state census as Wichita residents at 147 North Clarence. The enumeration was in the spring. Wells visited California in the fall.

The Oakland Tribune, October 28, 1925, published this item: “Rev. Charles Arthur Wells, who assisted Dr. Lowther in Wichita, will continue to assist him here. Wells will arrive late next week. He will have charge of religious education at the church. He was a former newspaper cartoonist, and has given chalk talk accompaniments to Dr Lowther’s Sunday evening addresses.”

In 1927 Wells traveled to Japan. On November 5, 1927 he departed from Yokohama and arrived in Seattle, Washington on December 14. The passenger list had his home address as 415 Market Street, Emporia, Kansas. At some point Wells moved to California.

The minutes of the Northern California Baptist Convention included an entry on Wells. “‘Chuck’ Wells, pastor of the Oakland 23rd Avenue church and a cartoonist whose work appears in 150 daily papers, gave the address to the young people. His subject was ‘They Still Fall in Love.’ He illustrated his talk with appropriate drawings.”

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Wells produced The Meadowlarks from October 22, 1928 to September 28, 1929 for the Central Press Association.

Baptist minister Wells and his wife were Berkeley, California residents in the 1930 census. The household included his parents, sister and a lodger. They all lived at 2324 Haste Street.

Wells and his wife traveled to England in 1931 and 1933. Their home address was 152 Madison Avenue in New York City.

Wells’ second marriage occurred in Chicago, Illinois, On July 12, 1934, he married Elizabeth Boykin. It’s not known what happened to Wells’ first wife.

Wells illustrated his book, Pink, the Travels of an American Revolutionary in Russia (1935), which was written with his wife. Wells’ The Great Alternative, an Examination of Six Pressing Concerns in Today's World was published in 1951.

In 1936 Wells visited Japan again and was accompanied by his wife. On their return they arrived in Seattle on September 17. From there they made their way home to New York City at 395 Riverside Drive.

In the 1940 census, Wellsm his wife and four-year-old son lived in Scarsdale, New York at 16 Greenacres Avenue. Self-employed Wells was a writer and lecturer.

Some Quaker Families, Scarborough/Haworth said Wells passed away May 1976 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. According to the Social Security Death Index, Wells’ last residence was Washington Crossing, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

—Alex Jay


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