century association biographical archive

Earliest Members of the Century Association

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Joseph C. Wells


Centurion, 1853–1860

Full Name Joseph Collins Wells

Born 11 July 1814 in England

Died 20 July 1860 in North Atlantic, At Sea

Proposed by William Young

Elected 3 December 1853 at age thirty-nine

Archivist’s Note: He died of natural causes aboard the steamship SS Kangaroo near Liverpool while en route there from New York. Not to be confused with the architect Joseph Morrill Wells (1853–1890).

Proposer of:

Seconder of:

Century Memorial

More than a passing mention seems due to the excellence of Joseph C. Wells, less long connected with us, and less generally known among his associates. Proficient in the science of his profession, and fortunate in its practice, he has linked his name with the higher purpose and finer taste that adorn several of the ecclesiastical buildings of the country, and many of the recent commercial structures of New York and the rural homes of its neighborhood. Not only do we rejoice in this public tribute to his reputation, but we are everyday conscious of the completeness and zeal with which his abilities were devoted especial service, in the construction of our halls of meeting. It is not unbecoming his memory to receive, nor our gratitude here and now to offer the tribute elsewhere paid to his great predecessor, Wren, and to say, “Si monumentum quaeris, circumspice.” Yet such are not the best things those who have gone have done for us, nor the best we offer their memory. Their place with us is deeper in nature than the level of intellectual sympathy, for it rests, with all who knew them, thoroughly, on integrity, honor, and affection. And while we cherish with pride the lustre shed by character even more than by achievements like theirs upon our association, let us remember that no sincerer proof could be offered of our appreciation than a watchful care that none among us aim below their standard of worth and work, and that none less worthy inherit their vacant places.

Augustus R. Macdonough
Annual Meeting Minutes, 12 January 1861