Frank Peter Wells – 1996 Inductee

The businessmen who flocked to Osborne County in the 1870s often lasted only a few years before moving on.  Not so Frank Peter Wells–the business he began stayed in his family nearly a century.  Frank was born January 28, 1850, in Cortland, New York.  At the age of five his parents moved to Illinois.  Frank attended high school and graduated from the Woodbury Preparatory College at Polo, Illinois.

In 1869 he went to Iowa for two years, and then it was on to Blackhawk, Colorado, where he worked as a miner, a pharmacist, and in the post office.  Nine years later he joined a brother in operating harness shops at Brookville and Marquette in Kansas.  In October 1879 he came to Osborne and opened the Wells Harness and Repair Shop, which he managed for the next fifty-seven years.  In time his son Frank Edward, and later his grandson Max, managed the business.  Between them the family owned the business ninety-one years.

Frank married Mary E. Fultz on November 10, 1879, at Marquette, Kansas.  They raised six children:  Mary (Dottie); A.; Charles; Nettie; Wallace; and Gertrude.  In Osborne Frank was elected to the city council and was prominent in planting the first trees in the city park.  In 1884 he was elected a member of the local school board, a position he held for twenty-six years.

From 1913 through 1916 Frank served two terms as Osborne County Register of Deeds.  He was active in civic and social circles, particularly the Masonic Lodge, of which he was a member for fifty-three years.  Frank Wells took care of the needs of two generations of Osborne County settlers and farmers until he passed away June 9, 1936, in Osborne and was laid to rest in the Osborne Cemetery.

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