Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Line 19.2, Charles Sellman, An Enigma

Little is known of Charles Sellman apart from the fact that he did own land in Maryland, a slave state. Southern records aren’t as meticulous as the ones kept in the Puritan controlled New England states. Church and state records were kept half hazardly in the South or often not preserved. Gravesites on farms and plantation weren’t always kept up and often just disappeared or the stones were damaged beyond repair or just disappeared.  If “Bible” records were kept, the book itself had to have been preserved over the centuries by the family and more often than not just disappeared.


Charles Sellman was born 5 August 1722 in Accomac, Accomack Co., Virginia, the son of William Sellman and his wife, Ann West

Married Elizabeth Gassaway the daughter of Nicholas Gassaway and his wife Elizabeth Hawkins, in 1745 probably in Accomack Co., Virginia

The children of Charles Sellman and Elizabeth Gassaway were:

1        Margaret Sellman born 1740 in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland. She married Joshua Hobbs.

2.      Anne Sellman, born 1741 at Anne Arundel, Maryland.

3.      Gassaway Sellman born about 1745  in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland and died in Frederick Co., Maryland on 27 May 1823. He married Francis Davis’ widow, Catherine and they had six children.

4.      John Sellman born about 1748  in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland. He married Elizabeth (Betsy) Phelps. They had six children. He died October 1816 in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland.


Charles Sellman died 20 December 1770 in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland


Charles Sellman grew up on his father’s plantation in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. He inherited “residue” of land at “Crosses Forest” according to his father’s will. “Sheep” were willed to his children, Margaret and Ann. Gassaway and John must have been born after their grandfather’s 1743 will. Elizabeth Gassaway Sellman inherited “clothing” from the will. He was also left land from his father-in-law’s will.  Slaves were left to Charles’ brother Thomas and to a sister and brother-in-law in their father’s will but not to Charles so it is very possible that Charles did not own slaves. But he was a land owner and he did live in Maryland where the practice of slavery was common among land owners. However I have not been able to find a will so it’s impossible to know for sure. Since he was not the elder son, his portion of land holdings was probably small and he may not have had to buy slaves. I also know little about Gassaway and John, Charles’ sons so if they didn’t owned slaves then the practice  may have ended with Charles in that line. Daughter Anne probably [see more on Margaret Sellman] died young and Daughter Margaret’s family was in Kentucky by the early 1770s. While Kentucky was a slave state I haven’t found evidence that the Hobbs were slave owners.



1. Will of Nicholas Gassaway of Anne Arundel Co., dated 18 Feb 1757

2. Will of William Sellamn of Anne Arundel co., dated 11 Feb 742/3 / 31st March 1743

3.  Early Families of Southern Maryland, Vol 2,”the Lawrence Family”

1.      Anne Arundel Gentry Vol 1 “The Gassaway Family.”