In my last entry, I explored the life of my great-grandmother, Kathryn Hunter, and I expanded a little on her mother Katherine Landrigan. The Landrigan family is, to say the least, an enigma, and Katherine's older brother John is no exception.
John A. Landrigan was born March 17, 1865 in Charlottetown, PEI to James Landrigan and Mary Ann MacAulay. John had three siblings: Nellie (b. 1869), Katie (b. 1872, my great-great grandmother) and a younger half-sister, Mary Ann Murphy (b. 1883). John's father was twenty-three years older than his mother, and in 1874 James died, leaving behind his widow and three children. Mary Ann Landrigan left for Boston with her three children in June of 1879. The family came to Winthrop, Massachusetts, where Mary's younger sister Catharine Boylan was living with her husband and two daughters. Mary remarried, but her husband left in the early 1880s, leaving John to help support his three younger sisters. He married Elizabeth Hines in the spring of 1890, and they had their first (and only) child that fall.
|Landrigan family, 1900 US census.|
|Death of Elizabeth Landrigan, 1904. The last known |
mention of John A. Landrigan before his 1909 name change.
(Note John Landrigan's mother-in-law: Ann Welles)
From there, finding more about Richard Wells was simple. He married Julia Belle MacGillivray on November 27, 1909, a mere two weeks before he changed his name. Of course, on the marriage record he had already assumed his new identity, so it was likely that Julia was unaware of John Landrigan at this point. Furthermore, Richard Wells had four more children, as evidenced by the 1930 US census:
|Richard Wells (a.k.a. John Landrigan) and family, 1930 census.|
I got in touch with Rita Annabelle Wells son Richie (who happened to be named for his grandfather) and learned quite a bit about what happened to my uncle after 1909. The family was aware of John Landrigan, and family lore suggests that he changed his name around marriage so that he could find a job more easily, as Irish prejudice made this difficult in the early 20th century. Richard Wells was a loving father, and in 1933, he died, just after his youngest son turned 13. There was an old family rumor that he had gone back to Canada in the 1900s and tried to incite a rebellion, but I have yet to find any evidence to confirm this.
Julia Belle McNeil-MacGillivray-Wells-Grant died in 1972 at age 89 after her third marriage. Richard Wells' last child, Rita, died in 2004, and he currently has living grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, and great-great-great grandchildren. Like the rest of his family, Richard Wells was, to say the least, and interesting character.