Thomas Everett Welles

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Thomas Everett Welles
Born November 24, 1855[1]
Mystic, Connecticut
Died November 26, 1914
Occupation Sea captain, civic leader
Spouse Caroline Brown Cobb
Parents Russell and Fannie Peabody Welles
Children Frank Welles
Ruth Alden Langford

Thomas Everett Welles was a sea captain, Mayor of Pensacola, and stakeholder in the E. E. Saunders Company.

Early life

Welles was born in 1855 in Mystic, Connecticut and was educated in the schools of that city. In his youth he was employed by Captain T. C. Cobb of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, who operated a fleet of ice-harvesting ships. In the early 1870s, Welles was the purser of a ship delivering ice to the Pensacola Fish Company, a leading fishing company in Pensacola. The owner, E. E. Saunders, was apparently so impressed by Welles that he offered to sell him a stake in the company. Welles returned to Massachusetts, where he married Captain Cobb's daughter, Caroline Brown Cobb, and borrowed money from him to purchase his stake in Saunders' company. Thereafter, he moved with his wife, first to Key West, before settling in Pensacola around 1878, at which time Welles began working for Saunders. Around 1883 Saunders reincorporated the company as the E. E. Saunders Company, with Welles as partner and manager. At the time, the E. E. Saunders Company employed over one thousand men, operated ice and fishmeal manufacturing plants, and had an annual payroll exceeding $100,000.[2]

Welles became very successful and in later years entered the banking industry, serving as vice president of the Citizens National Bank and a director of the Peoples National Bank. Welles was the president of the Good Government League, and a member of the Knights of Pythias, Woodmen of the World, and the Masons. Welles owned a home at Gadsden Street and 12th Avenue, as well as a large plantation in north Alabama.

Welles served as Mayor of Pensacola from 1903-1905. After E. E. Saunders' death in 1913, Welles bought his shares of the Saunders operations from his widow, and operated the company until his death in November 1914.


Thomas Welles is of English descent and has several notable ancestors:

Welles is also related to Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy during and after the Civil War.


  1. Armstrong, Henry Clay. History of Escambia County. St. Augustine: 1930. (digital copy)
  2. Pensacola’s Heritage at St John’s Historic Cemetery