Bela Wellman

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Bela Wellman
Born(1819-12-17)December 17, 1819
Attleboro, Massachusetts
Died January 31, 1887(1887-01-31) (aged 67)
Fruitvale, California [1]

Bela Wellman (December 17, 1819 January 31, 1887) was a California Gold Rush merchant who formed the wholesale grocery firm of Wellman, Peck and Company. [1]

California Gold Rush gold rush from 1848 until 1854 in California

The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The news of gold brought approximately 300,000 people to California from the rest of the United States and abroad. The sudden influx of gold into the money supply reinvigorated the American economy, and the sudden population increase allowed California to go rapidly to statehood, in the Compromise of 1850. The Gold Rush had severe effects on Native Californians and resulted in a precipitous population decline from disease, genocide and starvation. By the time it ended, California had gone from a thinly populated ex-Mexican territory, to having one of its first two U.S. Senators, John C. Frémont, selected to be the first presidential nominee for the new Republican Party, in 1856.


Early years

Bela was the tenth of eleven children of Lot Wellman and the third born to his second wife, Rebecca (Cole) Wellman. Lot was a cooper and a great-great-grandson of Puritan Thomas Wellman, who immigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony about 1640. [1]

Cooper (profession) maker of staved vessels such as barrels

A cooper is a person trained to make wooden casks, barrels, vats, buckets, tubs, troughs and other staved containers from timber that was usually heated or steamed to make it pliable. Journeymen coopers also traditionally made wooden implements, such as rakes and wooden-bladed shovels. As well as wood, other materials, such as iron, were used in the manufacturing process.

Thomas Wellman was born in about 1615 in England and died at Lynn, Massachusetts on 10 October 1672. He was among the early settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and progenitor of the Wellman family of New England. At age 21 he traveled from London to Barbados in 1634 or 1635 aboard Hopewell as part of a mass exodus of Puritans called the Great Migration.

Massachusetts Bay Colony English possession in North America between 1628 and 1684

The Massachusetts Bay Colony (1628–1691) was an English settlement on the east coast of North America in the 17th century around the Massachusetts Bay, the northernmost of the several colonies later reorganized as the Province of Massachusetts Bay. The lands of the settlement were located in southern New England in Massachusetts, with initial settlements situated on two natural harbors and surrounding land, about 15.4 miles (24.8 km) apart—the areas around Salem and Boston.

Bela left home at age 12 to work on a farm in Plainfield, Connecticut. After farming through the summer, he was able to attend school through the winter and became a clerk in a country store. He formed the cotton textile firm of Lamphier, Wellman and Company of Baltimore, Maryland, in 1842, and became a cotton wholesaler in New Orleans, Louisiana. Recognizing the business opportunities of the California gold rush, he sailed from Panama on 17 August 1849, and arrived in San Francisco on 8 November. [2]

Plainfield, Connecticut Town in Connecticut, United States

Plainfield is a town in Windham County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 15,405 at the 2010 census. The town comprises four villages: Plainfield, Moosup, Wauregan, and Central Village. Each village has their own respective United States Post Office and fire department. The entire town is serviced by the 860 area code.

Cotton plant fiber from the genus Gossypium

Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the genus Gossypium in the mallow family Malvaceae. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. Under natural conditions, the cotton bolls will increase the dispersal of the seeds.

Textile Material produced by twining, weaving, felting, knotting, or otherwise processing natural or synthetic fibers

A textile is a flexible material consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibers. Yarn is produced by spinning raw fibres of wool, flax, cotton, hemp, or other materials to produce long strands. Textiles are formed by weaving, knitting, crocheting, knotting, felting, or braiding.

Wellman, Peck and Company

Upon arrival in San Francisco, Bela erected a building on Kearny Street using lumber he had shipped with him from Panama. He established an auction and commission business in the building under the name of B. Wellman and Company and soon specialized in groceries. The business continued after the building on Kearny Street burned in 1851. Wellman formed the partnership of Verplanck, Wellman and Company in 1861, and the company was renamed Wellman, Peck and Company when John M. Peck purchased Verplanck's interest in 1863. By 1880 the company employed 30 men in a Pacific importing and wholesale business amounting to two million dollars annually. [2] The firm was California's largest manufacturing wholesale grocer in 1941, when it sponsored the Wellman Valor Award Medal for acts of bravery by Californians. [3] The company marketed coffee, green beans, and marmalade as Wellman "Flavor Famous" Foods through the first half of the 20th century. [4] The large red neon WELLMAN COFFEE sign was a mid-20th century San Francisco landmark from San Francisco Bay. [5]

Coffee Brewed beverage

Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted coffee beans, the seeds of berries from certain Coffea species. The genus Coffea is native to tropical Africa and Madagascar, the Comoros, Mauritius, and Réunion in the Indian Ocean. Coffee plants are now cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in the equatorial regions of the Americas, Southeast Asia, Indian subcontinent, and Africa. The two most commonly grown are C. arabica and C. robusta. Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. Dried coffee seeds are roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor. Roasted beans are ground and then brewed with near-boiling water to produce the beverage known as coffee.

Green bean vegetable

Green beans are the unripe, young fruit and protective pods of various cultivars of the common bean. Immature or young pods of the runner bean, yardlong bean, and hyacinth bean are used in a similar way. Green beans are known by many common names, including French beans, string beans, snap beans, snaps, and the French name French: haricots vert.

Marmalade fruit preserve made from the juice and peel of citrus fruits boiled with sugar and water

Marmalade generally refers to a fruit preserve made from the juice and peel of citrus fruits boiled with sugar and water. It can be produced from kumquats, lemons, limes, grapefruits, mandarins, sweet oranges, bergamots, and other citrus fruits, or any combination of them, even though the original Portuguese marmalade is produced only from quince.

Life in California

Wellman assisted organizing the San Francisco Committee of Vigilance, and two alleged murderers from the Hounds gang were hanged on his property. [2] The Hounds were former Mexican-American War soldiers from New York City who hounded Latin American and Chinese people through thievery and extortion. [6]

San Francisco Committee of Vigilance

The San Francisco Committee of Vigilance was a vigilante group formed in 1851. The catalyst for its formation was the criminality of the Sydney Ducks. It was revived in 1856 in response to rampant crime and corruption in the municipal government of San Francisco, California. The need for extralegal intervention was apparent with the explosive population growth following the discovery of gold in 1848. The small town of about 900 individuals grew to a booming city of over 200,000 very rapidly. This overwhelming growth in population made it nearly impossible for the previously established law enforcement to regulate any longer which resulted in the organization of vigilantes.

The Hounds were a nativist or anti-foreigner gang of San Francisco which specifically targeted recently arrived immigrants, particularly Hispanic Americans, during the California Gold Rush of 1849. They were West Coast counterparts of New York's Bowery Boys,

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States and thus also in the state of New York. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Bela married Ruth Anna Harker at Monterey, California on 18 May 1862. They had eight children born in San Francisco. Their eldest son, William Bela Wellman (born 7 June 1864), became the senior member of Wellman, Peck and Company after his father died in Fruitvale, California, on 31 January 1887. [1] The Bela Wellman memorial grove was established in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park in 1944. [7]

Monterey, California City in California, United States

Founded on June 3, 1770, Monterey was the capital of Alta California under both Spain and Mexico until 1850. Monterey hosted California's first theater, public building, public library, publicly funded school, printing press, and newspaper. Monterey was the only port of entry for taxable goods in California. In 1846, the U.S. flag was raised over the Customs House, and California became part of the United States after the Mexican–American War.

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is a state park of California, United States, preserving old-growth redwoods along the Smith River. It is located along U.S. Route 199 approximately 9 miles (14 km) east of Crescent City. The park is named after explorer Jedediah Smith, and is one of four parks cooperatively managed as Redwood National and State Parks. The 10,430-acre (4,220 ha) park was established in 1939 and designated part of the California Coast Ranges International Biosphere Reserve in 1983.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 Wellman, Joshua Wyman Descendants of Thomas Wellman (1918) Arthur Holbrook Wellman, Boston pp.69-72,224-225,309&429
  2. 1 2 3 Alonzo Phelps, Hubert Howe Bancroft, George Davidson, Oscar Penn Fitzgerald, and Joseph LeConte Contemporary biography of California's representative men (1881) A.L.Bancroft and company pp.384-389
  3. Nashel, Jonathan Edward Lansdale's cold war (2005) University of Massachusetts Press p.27
  4. Patrin Yearbook Santa Rosa Junior College - Class of 1947 p.130
  5. Ford, Robert S. Red Trains in the East Bay (1977) Interurbans Publications ISBN   0-916374-27-0 p.207
  6. "The Challenge arrives through the Golden Gate". Era of the Clipper Ships. Retrieved 2011-01-05.
  7. "Dedicated Groves". Save the Redwoods League. Archived from the original on 2009-02-04. Retrieved 2011-01-05.