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The State Paper Wednesday April 2 1902 pg 5 col 2

W W Sellers Dead
One of the Oldest and Most Honored Men in Marion County, A Worthy Career.

Special to the State.

Marion, April 1---Mr William W Sellers, one of the oldest and most highly esteemed of our citizens, died last Friday after a long illness at the home of his son, John C Sellers, Esq., in the little town that bears the family name. His remains were buried with Masonic honors on Sunday in the churchyard at Dothan. The services in the church, which, overflowed with friends and sympathizers of the venerable decendent, were conducted by Rev Messrs. Tiller and Herbert, and an appreciative eulogy was delivered by Maj. J M Johnson.

Mr Sellers died the day after he had reached his 84th birthday, being just a day older than Governor Hampton. He was born March 27, 1818, in North Carolina, not far from the Marion County line. His ancestors belonged to the sturdy yeomanry that pioneered the settlement of this country and reclaimed it from the savagery of its aboriginal possessors. In early life his opportunities for acquiring an education were limited by his provincial environment, but he latterly surmounted this disadvantage by an independent course of persevering study, by which he attained a remarkable degree of proficiency in the classics. Coming over into Marion County he plied the vocation of a schoolmaster in the neighborhood of Old Hofwyl, where he married an excellent lady, Miss Martha Ann Bethea, a member of the large and influential family of that name. In 1849 he was admitted to the bar and for 50 years he pursued the practice of his chosen profession with conspicuous energy, ability and success. His last notable appearance as a lawyer was on the occasion of a hearing before the supreme court in a case which his venerable comtemporary and compeer, the late Chancellor Johnson, was the opposing counsel; and the singular juxtaposition of these eminent octogenarians was a subject of interesting newspaper comment at the time.

Mr Sellers possessed great force of character and a strongly marked individuality. He was the soul of sincerity and candor and a veritable antipode of whatever was false, deceptive and hypocritical. He was the incarnation of truth and plain dealing. He was nevertheless singularly patient and (*******unable to read)…his methods were direct and positive, his manner was gentle and amiable.

He was a faithful and zealous member of the Methodist church and was prominent in local Masonry, having been a Worshipful Master of Clinton Lodge at this place and of Mackey Lodge at Little Rock. During the war he was collector of the taxes in kind levied by this district by order of the Confederate government, and was a faithful administrator of his trust. In 1876 he was active in the movement to deliver the State from Radical misrule and led what was thought to be a forlorn hope in the effort to elect a Democratic solicitor for this circuit. Much to the surprise and joy of his friends and the advocates of good government, Mr Sellers was elected and for a full term he filled the office with signal ability.

As might be supposed from the foregoing delineation of his character, Mr Sellers was not given to seeking political honors, and had little of the ad captandum art that the average politician thinks necessary for his success.

He consequently did not figure in the political world, but nevertheless had a strong hold on the confidence of a large clientage and a numerous constituency of friends and admirers, who are grieved that his days are numbered, and that the kindly old gentleman will no more greet them with his benignant smile, and good natured discourse.

Mr Sellers occupied his last years in writing a history of this county with particular reference to genealogical details. The manuscript had been completed and his posthumous publication is looked forward to with a great deal of interest.

Mr Sellers had been a widower for several years. His surviving children are Hon John C Sellers, PB Sellers, Esq., W W Sellers, Jr., Mrs James Norton and Mrs T N Godbold.


Submitted by Carolyn Klear, 10 Oct 2003.

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