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Dr. Adam Sellers (1802-1894)

Image and transcription contributed by Arne H Trelvik on 25 June 2004
The Western Star, dated 15 March 1854 (obtained from the Warren County Genealogical Society Obituary Collection)

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Death of Dr. Adam Sellers

Dr. Adam Sellers, one of the oldest and best known residents of Lebanon, died at his room in the VanNote property, on Broadway, Tuesday afternoon at 1 o’clock, in the ninety-second year of his age. Death came as the result of no particular illness, but from a general failure of vital powers, brought on by Dr. Sellers’ extreme age. He has been exceedingly feeble for some time and the end was not expected.

Dr. Sellers was born near Lebanon, July 4, 1802. He was the second son of Peter and Blanche Sellers. His father was a native of Germany, who settled first in Virginia and afterwards, in 1789, moved to what is now Warren county. Dr. Sellers was one of four children, three sons and one daughter. The latter, in after years, became the wife of William Cameron, who, in partnership with John McLean, published the Star in the early days of the present century.

Dr. Sellers, about the time he attained his majority, visited Virginia. In 1824 he was converted at a Methodist camp meeting and joined the church in whose communion he died. One year later he was licensed to exhort. He joined the Ohio conference in 1826. In 1828 he was ordained deacon by Bishop Roberts and in 1832 was ordained elder by Bishop Emory. He intended to devote his life to the ministry but owing to some throat trouble his voice failed him and he was compelled to abandon his chosen calling.

He accordingly entered the mercantile trade at Springfield, with his father-in-law, only to lose everything in the financial crisis of 1837. He then turned his attention to medicine and in 1840 graduated from Worthington Medical College. For a few months he practiced at Newark but in the fall of the year he came to Lebanon and from that time to 1879 actively practiced his profession here. In the latter year he withdrew from practice and he has divided his time between Lebanon and his son’s home in Cincinnati. At one time he was president of the Lebanon Medical society.

Dr. Sellers was married twice. His first wife, Miss Mary A. Nixon, lived but a few months after the marriage. In 1833, he married Miss Nancy Colbert Bretney, who died in 1873. They had two children, a daughter, who died in 1862, and a son, William B. Sellers, of Cincinnati.

The Funeral services will be held this Thursday afternoon at one o’clock, in the Methodist church, of which he was such a faithful and consistent member. They will be conducted by Rev. J. P. Porter, who will probably be assisted by other ministers who were friends of Dr. Sellers. The remains will be interred in the Lebanon cemetery.

FOOTNOTES: [a place to add additional information that you might want to submit]

29 Jun 2004 Michael Sellers Very curious that the 'author' of the Obit listed his mother as "Blanche". Could it have been a nickname? I think we have pretty much established that Dr. Adam's mother was Elizabeth Runkle. I believe the actual Guardianship papers in the courthouse there would prove that. Elizabeth Sellers married Malachi Swift and she was the guardian of the children after first husband, Peter Sellers, had died.
13 Jul 2004 Michael Sellers I came across a small item that again points to Dr. Adam's mother being named Elizabeth and not Blanche. Wanted to briefly forward it in case it was of some interest....

In the Library of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia, there is a collection of Sellers Family Papers 1815-1852 stored there that claim to include "estate accounts, receipts, promissory notes, deeds, notices, and a power of attorney related to the Sellers family of Augusta and Rockingham Counties, Virginia".

There is a brief description or overview of the items listed online. Of the 17 items listed as being part of the collection, item #14 reads, "Power of Attorney, (2 p.), 26 May 1834, granting Isaac Sellers the authority to act as agent for Elizabeth Swift and the estate of Margaret Runkle (1776 - 1834)".

As we've already seen, Dr. Adam Sellers' mother, Elizabeth, remarried to Malachi Swift after the death of Dr. Adam's father, Peter Sellers, in 1807. Dr. Adam stated in his letter that he was sent to Virginia about 1823 with power of attorney by his mother and heirs to look after "their interests in Grandfather Runkels’ estate". It appears his mother once again gave power of attorney to an extended family member to look after her/their interests with the passing of Margaret Runkle back in Virginia in 1834.

I believe the Margaret Runkle that passed away in Virginia in 1834 was Elizabeth's mother. I believe Elizabeth did have another sister besides Christina who was named Margaret Runkle who died August 30, 1859 in Virginia. Ironically, the Margaret Runkle who was Elizabeth's sister was the mother of the Isaac Sellers to whom Elizabeth wrote and gave Power of Attorney. Thus, Isaac Sellers was Elizabeth's nephew and it would've been quite natural for her to charge him, as a male member of the family, with such family duties as Power of Attorney for her. So, it would appear that Dr. Adam's father, Peter Sellers, Peter's first cousin, Jacob Sellers, and Jacob's brother, Daniel Sellers, were the husbands of the 3 Runkle sisters, Elizabeth, Christina, and Margaret.

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This page created 25 June 2004 and last updated 7 February, 2005
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