Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Obituary of F. P. Sellers

Belvidere Intelligencer, July 3, 1863
As I recently posted, I determined through Y-DNA testing of a male cousin that my Sellers grandfather's father was not the man my great-grandmother married.  Because of that, I've decided not to do much more research on the Sellers line.  I figure researching my adoptive line back to 1615 is nothing to sneeze at.

There's some completed Sellers research, however, that I haven't posted yet.  I wrote about my discovery of the online index to the Belvidere (New Jersey) Intelligencer and the obituaries it revealed, including that of my 3x-great-grandfather Franklin P. Sellers.  I was touched by it, as I learned that his death occurred apparently because he became ill while trying to connect with his son Cornelius while the latter was in the hospital during the war.

Cornelius was admitted to the hospital at Fairfax Seminary in Virginia on June 14, 1863.  The information in his compiled military service record says that he was treated for anemia, although his commanding officer, General Robert McAllister, noted on June 10 that Cornelius was suffering from typhoid fever.  He returned to duty on July 2.

McAllister also wrote that a doctor was to let Cornelius' father know about his illness and to come see him.  According to his death notice published on July 3, 1863 (above image) and his long obituary of July 10, the two men barely connected before they lost track of each other, and then F. P. Sellers became too ill to see Cornelius again.  This was ironic, because the obituary says he went to bring his dying son home, and Cornelius survived and lived several more years.

The copy of the obituary I received is poor-quality images on multiple pages, so scanning it isn't practical.  Instead I've transcribed it below, complete with the interesting word "pursavering."  As often happens after someone dies, especially when the death is sudden and unexpected, F. P. Sellers seems to have become a saint.

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The Belvidere Intelligencer, Friday, July 10, 1863

Our last issue contained the announcement of the death of MR. SELLERS, Editor and Proprietor of the Intelligencer.  The sad and unexpected event, would come almost as sorrowful to his numerous friends, as it did to his bereaved family.  Some three weeks before his death, he left home, upon almost an hours notice, to bring, as he feared, the dying form of his son, from the Army of the Potomac.  On his journey thither, he encountered the confusion attendant upon the movement of the army, and fell in with the object of his search, who was being conveyed to one of the District Hospitals.  The father and son became separated, by some misfortune or misdirection, and MR. SELLERS was detained in Washington for a week or more, pursavering his almost fruitless inquiries.  The son was at length reported as an inmate of Fairfax Hospital, and the father as unable to visit him, on account of illness.  The intense anxiety which he endured for those days of search, and the necessary care felt for his interests at home, together with a diarrhœa induced by the change of climate and water, prostrated his system beyond recovery.  The brief interview with his son was gladsome but final, for the father who rushed to the relief of his child, encountered and fell upon the perils, which he, too confidently, hoped to avert.  The intelligence of his illness was from the first alarming, though as usual hopeful.  In a partly convalescent condition, he was removed to Philadelphia, to the house of his brother.  Here he was somewhat nearer home, and had all the attention the relatives and friends could bestow, but the disease had taken too firm a hold of his system, and he died before any of his own immediate family could reach him.

MR. SELLERS, as all who had any intercourse with him could readily discern, was a kind and agreeable man.  Every one will also as readily assent to his integrity, and honesty of purpose.  His connection with politics carried none of the peculiar arts or intrigues of politicians built into his character.  He was remarkably exempt from the practice of the frauds and trickery so common among men.  He had no relish for the strifes and contentions, the bustles and tumults, the bickerings and animosities, and all the angry warfare, in which the management of a country paper is often required to participate, in order to repel.  The five years spent in Belvidere, he often used to say, were the most arduous and trying of his life.  A man of uprightness of motive, he almost withered under the constant defamation inflicted upon him, and the malicious sport of others, perhaps proved the indirect cause of his death.

MR. SELLERS had reached the grand climacteric of human life, and had borne his full share of its burdens, and perils.  He was a native of Bucks Co., Pa., learned his business in an office where Hon. Simon Cameron was a fellow apprentice, and conducted a Temperance paper in Doylestown, in his native county many years with marked success.  He thence removed to Lambertville, N. J., where he pursued his calling in the editorship of the Lambertsville Beacon, and in October, 1858, became the Proprietor of the INTELLIGENCER.  His efforts to render the INTELLIGENCER worthy the patronage of the intelligence of the county, and make it alike serviceable in combating political untruth, are too well known, and too numerous to need recalling.  From the first outbreak of the present rebellion, his whole heart was interested in its suppression.  His loyalty no man could question, and his earnestness in advocating a policy, which would procure a restoration of peace, was surpassed by none.  Entirely void of the ambition of place, or public life, he would assist to the extent of his ability any one who deserved it.  He lived on the noble principles of Woolsey's experience : "Let all the ends thou aimes't at be thy country's, Thy God's, and truth's ; if then thou fallest, Thou fallest a blessed martyr."

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