Saturday, February 16, 2013

Line 18.2 Elizabeth Brashears: A French Accent to Faith

Elizabeth Brashear Sellman was of French ancestry but born in the New World. She never knew the buzz of the big city. Her world was open farmland and small villages that served as areas of business and social life. Her “social life” probably centered around the family’s church, which for many in the new world formed their world. However, being a child of Maryland, she was probably exposed to more then just the Huguenot way of viewing Christianity. 

Elizabeth Brashears was born Nansemond Co., Virginia, the daughter of Benjamin and Mary Brashears
She married 1. John Sellman. Secondly, she married 2. Dr. William Nicholls.
She and John Sellman had:
1.      John Sellman born 1680 in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland and died there 1716. He married Martha Goss, the daughter of William Goss and Hester Gassaway.
2.      Elizabeth Sellman born 1682 in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland and died 1706. She married William Grey.
3.      Margaret Sellman born 1684 in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland and died there  May 1762. She married Benjamin Williams.
4.      Mary Sellman born 1686 in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland and died there around 1710.
5.      William Sellman born 22 January 1688/89 in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland
6.      Ann Sellman born  in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland
7.      Robert Sellman born  in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland
8.      Benjamin Sellman born  in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland
9.      Ruth Sellman born  in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland
10.  Lawrence Sellman born in Anne Arundel Co. Maryland
Elizabeth Nicholls died 18 October 1707 in St. Mary's City, Anne Arundel Co., Maryland. She was buried 20 October 1707 at All Hallow Parish, Anne Arundel Co., Maryland.

Elizabeth was probably born about 1654 in either Nansemond County or Calvert County Virigina because she was listed as a “headright” on Benois (Benjamin) Brasseur’s land records when he moved from Virginia to Maryland. Only people not born in Maryland were eligible for land and Benjamin received 50 additional acres of land in Maryland for Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s sister Mary was not listed, which probably means she was the only one of Benjamin’s children to be born in Maryland. However, in 1663, Elizabeth was the last named child in her mother’s will. Wills at the time listed children by their age, oldest to youngest. “Mary Brasseur, widow of the Clifts” filed her last will and testament on 25 May 1663 recording: "I give and bequeath to my daughter elizabeth three heifers, called and known by the names of Christmas, Cole and Nutt with their female encreae, to be delivered unto her at such time and when she shall accomplish the age of sixteen years or day of marriage, which shall first happened;” Since at best Elizabeth was 9 years old, she may or may not have actually been the youngest child.

Elizabeth married twice, first to John Sellman by whom all her children were fathered and secondly to Dr. William Nicholls. John Sellman came over from England with Elizabeth’s parents as an indentured servant with Elizabeth’s family and was many years older then Elizabeth. However, they had a long marriage, lasting thirty-eight years. John owned over 900 acres when he dies, so Elizabeth was well off as a widow. I haven’t been able to find much on her second husband other then his name.

Little is known of Elizabeth beyond her birth, marriages and death. She was most likely raised with a strong Calvinist background, speaking both  French and England. John Sellman may have had a leaning toward the Puritan teachings rather then the Anglican church teachings. However, in the end, Elizabeth was buried in the cemetery at the “All Hallows Church”, an Anglican Church. This may have been due to her second husband’s influence or merely because it was a covenant church to attend. The lovely red brick building was build in 1710 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969. The old register of burial contains an entry for “Eliza Nicholls, widow, 17 Jan 1728/9.” No gravestone remains and some family historians believe she may actually have been buried in Baltimore.

1., Ancestral File v. 4.19
2.  "One Mississippi Family" by Ann Geoghegan ""
3. "The Selman page" htp://
5. Will of Mary Brasseur, mother by Cheryl Grubbs