Arthur James Wells (1888-1969)

By Cilisa Irvin


Arthur James Wells was born one of four children on May 16th, 1888 to James and Fannie Wells. James Wells worked as a salesman on a streamer to provide for his four children Rufus, Adella Timothy and Arthur James Wells in the Tanner Creek and wards corner areas of Norfolk, Virginia. Arthur J. Wells was well educated although prior to serving in WWI his occupation was a bricklayer. Wells attended Henderson Normal institute a division within Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia and Ferris Institute in Michigan, later Wells attended and graduated from Northwestern in Chicago Illinois. Wells also received training at Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia.

Wells enlisted on October 1st, 1917 as private medical reserve S.A.T.C (Student Army Training Corps) in Chicago Illinois while still attending Northwestern University as a dental student. Wells did not travel during his service but did serve his community as a Dentist in his private dental practice.

After returning home to Norfolk, Virginia in 1922 at the age of 32 Wells married Susie Geneva Wells from Norfolk, Virginia. From their marriage, three children were born Geneva Wells, Juanita Elizabeth Wells, and Arthur J. Wells Jr. At age 53 in 1942 Wells again enlisted in WWII as a dentist. Wells again returned home to Norfolk, Virginia and continued worked in his dental office until his death on December 2, 1969, from colon cancer. Wells was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Norfolk, Virginia.


“Arthur James Wells” World War I History Commission Questionnaire, Library of Virginia

United States Census, 1900-1940

“Arthur James Wells” Virginia, Death record, 1912-2014 

“Arthur James Wells” U.S., World War I Draft registration cards, 1917-1918

“Arthur James Wells”U.S., World War II Draft registration cards,1942