Wells, Curtis (1840-1898)

The opening of the Union Bank (incorporated March 10, 1887) by Curtis Wells and others, May 1, 1887 marked an epoch in the business history of Redlands, as it was practically the beginning of business in Redlands proper.  Mr. Wells was born in Vermont, in 1840, and lived there until he came to California.  For several years prior to 1861 he was engaged in general merchandise.  From 1861 to 1866 he was in government service, in the quartermaster’s department, and during the last two or three years of the war, his office disbursed for army supplies in the aggregate nearly $40,000,000.


After the war, Mr. Wells spent a few years in the manufacturing business and in 1870 took up banking at Waterbury, and in 1882 at Burlington.  Coming to California in 1886 he passed the winter in Los Angeles and only in 1887 arrived in Redlands, finding only a few very primitive business establishments.  These were E. M. Wilcox’s blacksmith shop, B. S. Stephenson’s little jewelry quarters, Dr. Mack’s office and Juan Baca’s butcher shop.  Messrs. Wells, R. B. Lane, R. J. Waters and Arthur Sheppard agreed to build brick structures on three of the corners formed by the junction of State and Orange Streets.  The Union Bank, being at the time a small building, was finished and occupied first.  Soon after the fourth corner was occupied by the Sloan House.


Mr. Wells was married March 10, 1863 to Miss Frances Colbey, a native of Vermont.  Their only child is K. C. Wells.  Mr. Wells is a charter member of Redlands lodge No. 300, F. and A. M.


(Source: Illustrated Redlands, 1897, p. 8)