Rollin J. Wells, son of Luke and Harriet R. Wells, was born at Moline, Rock Island county, Illinois, on June 24, 1848. He attended the public schools in Geneseo, Illinois, later going to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to the high school and university.
On December 20, 1870, he was married to Susan L. Little, daughter of Daniel and Mary J. Little, of Geneseo. He studied law in the office of Judge Waite, and in 1878 moved to Sioux Falls, Minnehaha county, South Dakota, and opened an office for the practice of law. A man of sterling character highest moral integrity, more than ordinary intelligence and ability, loyal always to the truth, he is one of Sioux Fall's most respected and honored citizens, and was for twenty-five years a leading member of the bar of the state of South Dakota. During the years when he was actively engaged in the practice of his profession, writing was his pastime, and many beautiful poems and dramas a fruit of his moments of leisure. Of his drama, "Hagar," published in is perhaps the best and most widely known. One of his shorter poems in this sketch. Of his five children, but one, the son Robert L. Wells, Illinois, being an electrical engineer in the city of Chicago.
A little more tired at close of day,
A little less anxious to have our way,
A little less ready to scold and blame,
A little more care for a brother's name;
And so we are nearing the journey's end,
Where time and eternity meet and blend.
A little less care for bonds and gold,
A little more zest in the days of old ;
A broader view and a saner mind,
And a little more love for all mankind;
And so we are faring adown the way
That leads to the gates of a better day.
A little more love for the friends of youth,
A little less zeal for established truth ;
A little more charity in our views,
A little less thirst for the daily news ;
And so we are folding our tents away
And passing in silence, at close of day.
A little more leisure to sit and dream,
A little more real the things unseen;
A little nearer to those ahead,
With visions of those long loved and dead ;
And so we are going where all must go,
To the place the living may never know.
A little more laughter, a few more tears,
And we shall have told our increasing years ;
The book is closed, and the prayers are said,
And we are a part of the countless dead:
Thrice happy, if then some soul can say,
"I live because he has passed my way."
—Rollin J. Wells.
History of Henry County
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