Saturday, April 27, 2013

Line 19: John Sellman, Indentured Servant

John Sellman came to the colonies as an indentured servant and died as a rich man. He is an example of the Puritan work ethic from the Southern viewpoint. He married his “boss’” daughter, a Huguenot, but ended buried in an Anglican Church yard.

John Sellman was born 1645 probably in Ludlow, Shropshire, England the son of William Sellman and his wife Margaret Holford
Married Elizabeth Brashears
John Sellman died 18 October 1707 in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland and was buried in St. Mary, Anne Arundel Co., Maryland

 John’s parentage has not been proved to a certainty nor has his place of birth. I don’t know where the parent names come from nor do I know where the “rumor” that John was born in Ludlow comes from. So that information must be taken with a grain of salt. Some researches think his wife may have been Elizabeth Lawrence rather then Elizbeth Brashears but to my way of thinking, (which may be a bit too romantic) Elizabeth Brashears is the better fit. I love the thought of a rich young girl falling in love with the family servant. After all this is about an American family, where a poor servant boy grows up to own over 900 acres of land.

John Sellman was also called “Jonathan Sellman” is believed to have been the indentured servant of his future father-in-law, Benjamin or Benois Brashears. He was a boy of 13 years. He moved to Calvert and then Anne Arundel County with the Brashears family where he continued to serve as a “custom servant” for about ten years. When he left the Brashears’ family he was given clothing, some farm tools and corn seed. He also had two warrants for fifty acres of land that he received from the Lord Proprietor. On 2 July 1675 John turned over one of his land warrants to Thomas Henge. In December of 1676, John Sellman and George Westall bought 175 acres called Covells Folly in Anne Arundel Country south of the South River and west of Flat Creek. By the time he died in 1707, John Sellman was land rich with over 900 acres. The once poor indentured servant now employed indentured servants.

 On 18 July 1707 John Sellman recorded his will. It was proved 28 Feb 1707 and is now at the Hall of Records in Annapolis, Maryland, book 12 page 205.  John died the next year on 28 February, probably at home.

My guess is that John had a Calvinist in his beliefs as were the Brashear family. He was buried in the Anglican Church in St. Mary’s City, which indicates that he probably practiced at the Anglican or Church of England lean in religion with a Calvinist tinge. Or he may have practiced it because it was the “safest” religion for a wealthy man to practice. Whatever his religious leanings were, he was buried in an Anglican church and his bones still lie there.

1.  "One Mississippi Family" by Ann Geoghegan ""
2. "The Selman page" htp://
3. "The Selman Family" by Walter L. McKeehan
4. John Warren,
6. [JSD] Internet, 2002, "Descendants of John Sellman"

My Sellman Line:

John Sellman b. 1574 in Shropshire Co., England m. Anne Fisher b. 1578
William Sellman b. 1613 in England m. Margaret Holford b. 1617
John or Jonathan Sellman  m. Elizabeth Brashears the daughter of Benjamin or
    Benois Brashears and his wife Mary Richford
William Sellman m. Anne West
Charles Sellman m. Elizabeth Gassaway
Margaret Sellman m. Joshua Hobbs