Charles S. Wells

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Charles S. Wells, 1867 Jackson, CA - 1925 Summit, NJ - in the 1880 census - in the 1920 census



Professional Teams

Sacramento Wheelmen Victorious.

STOCKTON, April 24. - The relay bicycle race between Sacramento and Stockton wheelmen was won by the former. Time, 3 hours 9 min. 23 sec. Stockton's time was 3 hours 22 min. 7 sec.. A large crowd was awaiting the result. The names of the Stockton wheelmen were: Wulff, Swain, Bargeman, Lillie and Inglis. The Sacramento riders were: L. S. Upson, C. S. Wells, C. G. Demerritt, George Hudson and W. A. Dexter.

CHAT ABOUT THE CYCLE. - The San Francisco Club and What It Has Done. - Results of Yesterday's Races - The Coming League Meet - Ladies Who Ride the Wheel. - The San Francisco Call, 25 Apr 1892, Mon - Page 8

The Capital City Wheelmen are to be congratulated on the success of their racing meet. It developed several surprises, and brought to the front a new racer, Charley Wells of the home club, he was entered in five races, winning three and being second in the other two. He captured the novice race on a horse track in 2:40, something almost unprecedented.

CHAT ABOUT THE CYCLE. Voting for Division Officers Now in Progress. 24 Oct 1892, Mon The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, California)

One of Sacramento's speediest riders is C. S. Wells, who is a native son of the golden West, having been born in Jackson, Amador county, in 1867. Wells weighs 195 pounds, when in condition and is almost six feet tall. He was one of the winning team in the road race between Sacramento and Stockton. His first track experience was at the Alameda track on May 30, 1892, but he did not prove a winner. Later in the year Wells rode a mile in 2:34 1/4 and was timed the half in 1:10 3/4. At San Jose, on November 24th, Wells rode a dead heat with Alexander for second place in a mile race won by Wilbur Edwards. He also finished second to Edwards in the five-mile race. Great things are expected from Wells this year, as his improvement last year was something out of the common.

C. S. Wells born in Jackson, CA 1867 29 Apr 1893, Sat San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, California)

Though Charlie Wells has joined the Olympic Athletic Club he will continue to represent the Bay City Wheelmen on the track and road.

Charlie Wells, Olympic Athletic Club, Bay City Wheelmen 17 Mar 1894, Sat San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, California)


Charles S. Wells' Fast Ride Over the San Mateo Course

HIS TIME WAS 12:05 1-5.

California and Imperial Cycling Clubs' Races at Central Park.

Charles S. Wells, the crack class B racer of the Bay City Wheelmen, made a successful attempt at lowering the coast five-mile road record yesterday, and had the conditions been more favorable would doubtless have come well within the world's record for the distance, of 11:19. As it was, however, he brought the time down to 12 min. 5 1-5 sec., beating by 8 seconds J. E. Edwards' record of last Sunday.

The trial was made over the stretch from San Mateo to San Carlos. This course was in perfect condition a few weeks ago, but has lately become somewhat dusty and rough. Wells was further handicapped by a strong headwind the first three miles of the distance, and under these adverse circumstances the wonder is that he did so well. It was only his grit and remarkable endurance that brought him through,

The start was made promptly at 2:30 P. M. on the county road, just outside San Mateo, where a large crowd had assembled. To assist and encourage the rider, tandem pacing was introduced, the team that led him from the start being H. F. Terrill and T. A. Griffiths. A terrific pace was set and Wells was soon out of sight of the starting point. Two miles down the road another tandem team was put in, ridden by S. B. Vincent and E. Languetin. Being fresh they made the gait equally as fast as the other team, which, by the way, contrary to all precedent, kept right up and continued to assist in leading Wells along to glory.

A mile and a half from the finish the third team, Archie Reid and Sanford Plimmer, [Plummer] swung in front of the fast moving bunch, and led them a merry chase toward the end of the ride. It was a very pretty sight as the three flying tandem teams hove in sight, with Wells tacked on so close behind the last one that it appeared like a triplet. They came on without a swerve and dashed across the line, where a throng of wheelmen and spectators had congregated. The timers clicked their watches and it was over. On comparison it was found Wells had made the ride in the time stated, 12:05 1-5. The riders were going so fast they went a quarter mile down the road before they could come to a stop.

After the ride all returned to San Mateo, where the watches held at the start and finish were compared, and the following certificate was handed to Wells, that he may make claim to the coast record:

SAN MATEO, June 8, 1895.

This is to certify that Charles S. Wells was started from scratch at San Mateo at 2:30 P. M. this day and finished at five-mile post at San Carlos at 2:42:05 1-5 P. M. Net time, 12:05 1-5.

Watches were all compared and found to agree exactly, both before start and after finish.

Timers at start - Ernest D. Douglas, George F. Neece, George P. Wetmore.

Timers at finish - Edwin Mohrig, H. F. Wynne, James Joyce Jr., James W. Harvey.

Terrill and Griffiths, the tandem team who rode the entire distance with Wells, claim the tandem road record for the coast for five miles. Starting three seconds behind him they finished two seconds ahead, and were timed at 12 minutes flat.

NEW FIVE-MILE RECORD. - Charles S. Wells' Fast Ride Over the San Mateo Course - The San Francisco Call, 10 Jun 1895

The Bearings, by Cycling Authority of America, October 10, 1895

A telegram was received by the Bay City Wheelmen yesterday which comes to them in the nature of the most pleasant surprise they have had in some time. It is to the effect that four of their racing men have been signed to go on the National circuit for the Syracuse people — Wells, Terrill, McCrea and Lacy. Here is the message:

St. Louis, August 9, 1895.

Bay City Wheelmen, 441 Golden Gate avenue, San Francisco, Cal. — Knippenberg signed Wells in Chicago yesterday to manage Syracuse National circuit team of Wells, Terrill, McCrea and I.acy, a Bay City quartet. Will winter at San Jose.

A. F. Shapleigh Hardware Company.

Terrill is now on the circuit for the Syracuse firm. Wells recently went East to make some arrangements tor himself, with the above favorable result. McCrea and Lacy are two of the fastest riders in Southern California, members of the Bay Citys, and will start East at once. Knippenberg is the Syracuse agent in Los Angeles, also a member of the Bay City Club.

This will make one of the fastest aggregations on the circuit and they should be very successful. Terrill has not been riding for two months owing to a fall he received some time ago. The reception the "Syracuse Bay City quartet" will receive from their club members on their arrival here in November when the circuit reaches San Francisco will be an ovation, and the club is very jubilant over Wells' fortunate combination.

THE WHEELMEN. San Francisco Call, Volume 78, Number 71, 10 August 1895

Several big bicyclers arrived from the East yesterday and put up at the Baldwin Hotel. They were: E. C. Bald of the Columbia team, his trainer Asa Windle; Tom W. Cooper and his trainer, James Temple, of the Monarch team; Charles M. Murphy and trainer, W. B. Young, of the Humber team; E. S. Kiser and trainer, H. B. Gleezen, of the Stearns team; Charles S. Wells and W. A. Terrill of the California Giants, and F. Ed. Spooner, cycling correspondent for a number of Eastern papers.

Charles S. Wells and W. A. Terrill of the California Giants 31 Oct 1895, Thu The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, California)

As a sort of experiment Mr. Shafer decided to send Wells out behind the sextette for the three-quarter mile record of 1:17. This is considered a star record and although this was the first record trial of the big six seater, the boys determined to see how fast they could push it. Wells was looking fine and told the pacemakers to do their worst, and to shake him if they could. In former trials the pacing has been done with two machines, but today the sextette went the whole distance, virtually a mile and a quarter as they commence to get up speed a quarter of a mile before they reach the tape. They sheet [sic] by the timers and are off. The first quarter is out in 25 2-5, the half in 51, the three-quarters in 1:15 2-5, breaking all world's records for the distance by almost two seconds After receiving a rub-down, the boys again went out and carried Wells the mile in 1:41 4-5, breaking the Coast record of 1:46 and coming within 1 2-5 seconds of Berle's record. The finish was very exciting and the spectators shouted themselves hoarse.

Wells sets record behind sextette at Coronado 22 Feb 1896, Sat Los Angeles Evening Express (Los Angeles, California)

It's worth pointing out that the San Leandro Triangle course gets a mention in the Washington, D. C. Evening Star.


Wells Covers Twenty-Five Miles at San Leandro in Fast Time.

The annual twenty-five-mile road race of the California Association Cycling Clubs took place over the San Leandro triangle. Thousands of wheelmen from San Francisco and adjoining cities assembled to witness the event, which promised to be a record-breaking affair, as such men as "Charlie" Wells, J. E. Edwards, Frank Byrne and Floyd McFarland were on the scratch mark.

Wells, who had just returned from Coronado, was not in the best condition for record breaking, but he showed his superiority over his fellow scratch men and won the first time prize in the fast time of 1.11.50 2-5, with comparative ease, lowering the record about two seconds. The race was won by Harry Noonan, a dark horse, from Santa Rosa, who started from the limit mark.

The race was replete with accidents, hut no one was seriously hurt. The scratch men were heavily handicapped and at no time had they any chance of winning place prizes.

Wells Covers Twenty-Five Miles at San Leandro in Fast Time. 24 Feb 1896, Mon Evening Star (Washington, District of Columbia)

Those assured include the following: Charles S. Wells, the California Giant, a rider well known on Eastern tracks last year. Wells did little in '95 until after the circuit started West from St. Louis, when he surprised the riders by several clever wins. He is a man of 208 pounds' weight, and a great sprinter. ... Five men of the above party - Wells, Winesett, John Edwards, Macfarland and Coulter - are among the largest men on the track, being all near six feet, and the first three about two hundred pounds in weight.

RESULTS OF THE CIRCUIT RACING Charles S. Wells 31 May 1896, Sun The Times (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Charles S. Wells was the hero of the six days of Indoor racing at the Mechanics' Pavilion last spring, and his performances at that date stamped him as one of the best riders, if not the best rider, or indoor races in this country. He rode at that time a mile from scratch in a handicap in 2:12, and did the first half in 1:04. a wonderful performance for a big man on an elght-lap track. Wells has as yet to meet his equal on the indoor oval and the battle between the California giant, as he is known, and the crackajacks from the Eastern indoor tracks in their first meeting will be worthy the attendance of every lover of cycle racing of Nashville.

Charles S. Wells 03 Aug 1896, Mon The Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee)

Charles. S. Wells.

The pride of Northern California is big Charlie Wells, of San Francisco, who rejoined the circuit recently, after an absence of nearly a year. Wells is a giant in build, strong as an ox, with a lightning sprint and a whirlwind finish that has landed him at the tape a winner over some of the best riders in the game. As a handicap man he has few equals, and at indoor riding and on small tracks he has made a most favorable record for himself.

When big Charlie Wells, the California giant, appears on the track, some one is pretty sure to remark, "There goes 'Piano Legs' Wells." This seems to be a sobriquet that comes naturally to any and everybody's lips, and Wells has become so used to it that he almost looks for the shout every time he comes out on the track.

Charlie Wells "Piano Legs' Wells" 16 Sep 1896, Wed Wilkes-Barre Times (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania)


Is the largest racing man on the path, weighing when in condition for competition, 198 pounds. He has been on the path for several years past and is known throughout the United States as the "Boy Wonder." Wells always puts up a good race and has won more places than any other coast rider. He has followed the National Racing Circuit for two years past and has a record of a mile in 1:40. At Sacramento in October, 1894, Wells was the first coast rider to put the mile mark under two minutes; also rode two miles, standing start, in record time, 1:13, and one-half mile in 0:32. Of late he has devoted all his time to competition and is at present in fine form. Some lively work may be expected of him on Saturday next.

AMERICA'S GREAT WHEELMEN They Will Ride on Woodland's Track To-Day 06 Mar 1897, Sat The Record-Union (Sacramento, California)

Charlie Wells. known as the California giant, has never weighed less than 194 pounds when in condition. When Wells saw Lehr, the German champion, train down from 207 to 173, he commenced to think that he had been riding too heavy. Wells is now training hard, and will try to bring his weight down to the lowest possible figure.

Charlie Wells losing weight 30 Jan 1898, Sun The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts)

Charlie Wells, "Bob" Terrill and Harry Terrill of this city have not begun circuit chasing yet. Wells makes his home in New York and takes in all the meets roundabout for 200 miles or more, returning with his prizes won. Last week Wells and Harry Terrill won a tandem race from the best men in the country. Arthur Gardiner and his team mate, James Bowler, were in the race, but fell easy victims to the big Californians, who practically sprinted the mile, riding the distance in 1:55 4-5. Wells, aside from his racing, devotes some of his spare time to pacing the middle distance cracks. "Bob" Terrill is permanently engaged by one of the largest organizations here, and is captain of his team, which does pacing for Fred Titus and Edouard Taylore. Harry Terrill takes in all the roundabout meets and is fast making for himself a name, and very seldom loses out in securing a prize. His brother "Bob" does not engage in racing, at present, but as the season advances will in all probability be seen on the path again.

Charlie Wells in New York Terrill brothers 02 Jul 1898, Sat The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, California)

Big Charlie Wells, the Californian who has many friends and admirers in Salt Lake was in the 100-mile race with Lawson in San Francisco. At one time during the race it looked as though he would gain a lap on the bunch which would have been equivalent to winning the race. He lost to the Swede by only a few lengths

Big Charlie Wells, John Lawson, 100-mile race 28 May 1899, Sun The Salt Lake Herald (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Otto Ziegler, who came east with Charlie Wells from California in '94 and snowed under the eastern men in the championship at Denver, is a beer bottler in San Jose. Wells is a newspaper man, a career for which he fitted himself by hard work, after quitting racing. Walter Foster is now the eastern representative of a large street sign advertising company of the Pacific coast, with offices in New York. Wilbur Edwards, ex-champion of the coast, is employed in a bank at San Jose.

Charlie Wells is a newspaper man. 27 Jan 1901, Sun The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts)

Mr. Charles S. Wells, the old-time California giant, will have charge of Nelson on the trip which will close May 16 In Paris, after which the youngster will hasten back to America to take up his work on the national paced circuit.

LITTLE JOE NELSON STARTS FOR EUROPE. 01 Mar 1903, Sun The Buffalo Sunday Morning News (Buffalo, New York)

Charles S. Wells, the "California Giant," developed his ability to beat Bald, Cooper, Murphy, Klser and other stars by riding for the Bay City Wheelmen in the great team relay races run annually on the Coast.

GOSSIP OF THE WHEEL Charles S. Wells "California Giant" 29 May 1904, Sun Detroit Free Press (Detroit, Michigan)


Al Weinig, who deserted the bicycle for the ring in 1898, has found his way to the West and will box a ten-round go with Arthur Collins at Los Angeles. Wienig is in the light heavyweight class and while he has never reached the top he is a pretty good scrapper.

The first real knockout administered to Weinig was at Montgomery, Ala., during n national circuit bicycle meet. Someone had stolen the racing shoes belonging to Charlie Wells of San Francisco, and when time for the next professional race was called the California giant tried to hold up the race until he could locate his shoes. In those days races were run without waits and men had to be on their marks. Wells was left out. Shortly after Wells happened in the training room of Weinig, who joshed Wells. The result was a fight, and the first pass made by Wells he hooked a stiff right to Weinig's jaw and made the trainer run for a bucket of water.

RIGHT TO THE JAW SETTLES ARGUMENT. Charlie Wells 29 Sep 1908, Tue The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Charlie Wells, "Piano Legs," is a commercial photographer.

What the Old Time Racing Stars Are Doing 03 Dec 1916, Sun Salt Lake Telegram (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Charlie Wells, the bicycle racer who was at one time the star of the Bay City Wheelmen of this city, has written a pathetic letter to Frank Carroll, chairman of the oldtimers' bicycle day scheduled for next Sunday at Golden Gate Park.

The aforesaid speedster is now a sedate business man of New York and spends his time managing a big concern which takes pictures of things instead of participating, which must be some satisfaction to Charlie, who is no longer a boy.

This is what he says: "Regret exceedingly it will be impossible for me to attend bicycle round-up and races in San Francisco on Sunday. Would be happiest moment of my life to meet old comrades again on wheels. Please express my regrets to Walter Foster and the rest of the boys."

Charlie Wells was one of the biggest men that ever won fame on a wheel. He was as big as his brother Ed, who played guard on the Reliance Club football team of Oakland, and made a name for himself in that department of sport. Wells was the man deputed to ride the last relay for the Bay Citys in the years when the 100-mile race around the bay was one of the big sporting events of the year.

For the past fifteen years he has been a resident of Detroit and New York, but that he has not forgotten his old friends of his youth is shown by the regretful tone of his telegram of non-acceptance, received by Carroll yesterday.

Charlie Wells, the bicycle racer who was at one time the star of the Bay City Wheelmen 05 Apr 1916, Wed The San Francisco Examiner (San Francisco, California)

Autoist Killed By His Own Car

SUMMIT, Sept. 1 Charles S. Wells, known at the "California Giant" a quarter of a century ago, when he broke professional bicycle racing records, was killed yesterday when he attempted to stop an automobile from rolling down hill after releasing the brakes.

Wells, after a career as secretary of the New Jersey Auto Association and newspaper work, had turned to commercial photography and made, his home with his partner F. E. Spooner of Baltusrol Hill.

Spooner with Wells as passenger had stopped in front, of his home when fire broke out under the hood of the car. Spooner rushed off to get water while Wells smothered the fire. Wells then released the brakes to It th can roll away from a pool of burning gasoline. The car crushed him when ho went to the front in an attempt to stop it. He was about fifty years old and is survived by no near relatives.

Autoist Killed By His Own Car Charles S. Wells 01 Sep 1925, Tue The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey)

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