A little Wells Branch history…
Submitted by Mark S. Miller
This was, at the time of settlement, at the edge of, but part of, Comanche country. The pioneers who settled here knowingly moved into the territory of the most feared, violent, successful, and vigorous defenders of their land ever known among Native Americans – the Comanche. The Comanche’s skilled and viciously persistent approach to territory acquisition and defense displaced the Tonkawa who lived here before the Comanche onslaught and before the settlers. And so, the Tonkawa became strong supporters of the Texians that settled here, joined the cavalries and helped hunt and counter attack the Comanche. During a time when the Comanche were winning against settlers, and killing or driving them off in large numbers, the pioneers in Wells Branch stood their ground, defended their homesteads, rallied and manned counter offensives, and helped hang on to the foothold in Texas that eventually became the state capital and heart of Texas.
It was the Well’s Branch of Walnut Creek, which flowed nearly year round with water that attracted the first settlement of the Wells family in the late 1830s, just south of what’s known as Wells Branch today, which resulted in the naming of the stream here. Wayman Wells received numerous land grants for his service in the Texas Revolution as did J.P. Whelan, the recipient of a 320-acre grant for our area for his military service.
The original settlers of Wells Branch were tougher than the toughest and most aggressive warriors ever known, the Comanche, and their legacy was handed down to us, and is the spirit of Wells Branch, and the Central Texas area in general, to this day.
WBNA Note: We’ve had several requests for the history of our area and we wanted to get something in for the Homestead Festival. We’re still researching the history and there will be more to follow. In the meantime, please see the following sites for information on local settlers.
For more on:
Capt. Nelson Merrell
Stories of the early settlers of Wells Branch can be found in an interesting book on the residents of Merrelltown (Wells Branch today): “True Tales of Central Texas as told by Willie Kemp”
If you’ll access the following link: http://www.worldcat.org/title/true-tales-of-central-texas/oclc/5507487, it will give you the location of the nearest copies. WBCL does not own a copy.
I do have a personal copy that I’m willing to loan out. Respond in Comments if you’d like to borrow it and I’ll be in touch.