Carl Howel Wellman was born on October 4, 1893 in an unincorporated community of Wayne County, West Virginia, known for the production of potassium nitrate and named for its European reference … Saltpeter. He was the ninth child of David Henry Wellman and Kizzie Wilson Wellman. Carl had fourteen siblings. When he was 18 he married Bertha Bellomy, daughter of Samuel S Bellamy and Emaline Cross Bellamy in nearby Louisa, Kentucky. The couple had three children: Lucille Alice Wellman in 1913, Lucian Marell Wellman in 1915, and Garland Odell Wellman in 1918. They later divorced. When he was 40 he married Lillian Cleo Payne. They both are buried at Ashland Cemetery, in Ashland, Kentucky, though the graves are in separate sections.
Perhaps the most exhaustive discussion of the production of this Saltpeter is the 1862 Joseph LeConte text. He was writing with the express purpose of increasing production in the Confederate States to support their needs during the American Civil War. Since he was calling for the assistance of rural farming communities, the descriptions and instructions are both simple and explicit. He details the “French Method”, along with several variations, as well as a “Swiss method”.
In 1914, Carl came to Kenova, West Virginia, acquired property at 1213 Chestnut Street and built a two story frame structure at the rear. In 1916, he built a frame building on the corner of 13th and Chestnut and bought the building to the north. In 1925, he bought the two-story brick building on the southeast corner of 13th St and Chestnut. He was a barber and operated a hotel until 1954. In nearby Catlettsburg, Kentucky, during this time period a Wellman Barber Shop operated; perhaps this shop was Carl’s too.
Important events during his lifetime include the Spanish-American War (1898), Wright Brothers’ First Flight (1903), Ford Mode T manufactured, the Titanic Disaster (1912), the Great War, Women’s Suffrage (1920), the Great Depression and Stock Market Crash (1929) followed by his divorce from Bertha, the Holocaust, World War II, the Cold War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Civil Rights Movement.
Story-teller James A Rothgeb, Grandson