1885 Dakota Territory census records show H. N. Wells (age 23, clerk, born in Minnesota) with Hannah Wells (age 20, born in Ohio). The couple resided in Grand Forks, Dakota Territory.
H. N. Wells. It is seldom that the people of the community receive such a shock as was felt by the people of Grand Forks yesterday when the death of H. N. Wells became known. No longer in his youth, Mr. Wells was, nevertheless, in the prime of life and ordinarily in excellent health, and apparently destined to life for many years and to continue his career of usefulness which has characterized his entire life. Most of the business life of Mr. Wells was spent in the city of Grand Forks. For many years a resident of the city, by his splendid qualities, he earned and received the respect and affection of all who came in contact with him. Earnest, industrious, progressive, public spirited, he embodied in an unusual degree the distinctive qualities of good citizenship. Modest in demeanor, quiet and unobtrusive, he nevertheless occupied a prominent place in every movement for the progressive growth of the city. In him, earnestness and persistence took the place of aggressiveness, and there is probably no movement for the betterment of Grand Forks which has not been promoted by his faithful labor and unremitting attention.
Prominent as he was in the affairs of the city, Mr. Wells had not been an office holder, except on occasion, his chief service in this capacity being as a member of the board of education. In that capacity he was known, as always, as a faithful and diligent worker, always attentive to the public interest and deeply concerned in the work in which he was engaged. During the past two or three years he had devoted special attention to the Boy Scout movement and in general to the development of high ideals among the boys of the community. His departure will be a distinct loss to this movement of Grand Forks and it will be difficult to find a man who will be able to devote as much time to that work as did Mr. Wells.
The business life of Mr. Wells has been ideal. His property accumulations have been the result of his own diligent efforts. He has never been addicted to display. He has maintained his credit with unscrupulous attention to all his obligations, and he may fairly be characterized as a model on which the young business man may form his own career. His death will be regretted by all who knew him and the vacancy which he leaves will be an exceedingly difficult one to fill. (Grand Forks Herald, Saturday, July 16, 1921, Volume XL, Number 211, Page 4)
H. N. WELLS IS TO BE LAID TO REST SUNDAY. Pioneer Resident Passed Away Following Short Illness. Funeral services for H. N. Wells, pioneer resident of this city, who died suddenly at his home at the Hotel Northern at 3 o’clock Friday morning, will be held Sunday afternoon in the parlor of the Hotel Northern. Complete arrangements have not been announced as members of the family are waiting for the arrival of his brother, C. A. Wells of Chicago, who is expected to reach this city this evening. Pneumonia, which developed Wednesday night after Mr. Wells had suffered for two or three days with a cold, was the cause of death.
Mr. Wells was one of the prominent and successful business men of this city, having owned and operated the Hotel Northern for a number of years. He was born at Faribault, Minn., and, while a young man, went to Crookston where he worked as a day clerk in the old Cameron House, which was operated by Mr. and Mrs. Topping, uncle and aunt of Mrs. Wells. Later he was connected with the Ingalls House. He was one of the two managers of the old Hotel Dacotah which was burned some years ago. He managed hotels in Moorhead and Casselton and after a six years’ stay in the latter city, came to Grand Forks to take over the Hotel Northern.
The deceased was very active in all civic matters, especially boys’ work. He served several terms on the board of education, and made a very good record as one of the directors of the city’s educational institutions. Of late he had been very active in Boy Scout work and it was due to his unceasing efforts that Grand Forks secured a second-class council. Mr. Wells was selected to be the first scout commissioner in Grand Forks. His interest in the boys’ organization never failed, giving the greater part of his time to securing proper advisement for the youths of the community. It was chiefly through his efforts that the Grand Forks Rotary club erected the summer camp at Lake Union for the boys.
He is survived by his wife, three sons, one daughter, one sister and one brother. The sons are: Edgar Wells of Sacora, New Mexico, president of a school of mines at that place, and Theodore and Kenneth, both of this city. His daughter is Miss Dorothy Wells, and his sister Mrs. George Wilder, both of this city. C. A. Wells, the brother, resides in Chicago. (Grand Forks Herald, Saturday, July 16, 1921, Volume XL, Number 211, Page 10)