Like many of the pioneers of Cloud county, Arthur Selleck, the subject of this sketch, is reaping in peace and comfort that which was sown in hardship, bloodshed and in misfortune. Many of the old settlers will remenber the brutal murder of his father, James Selleck, one of the most highly respected citizens of Solomon township in the spring time of 1871, which caused great excitement and indignation throughout the county at the time.
One Elmer Maxom was the guilty culprit, but this inhuman monster escaped punishment. James Selleck bought the relinquishment of his homestead from one Castile, who was the step-father of Elmer Maxom. With these two men Mr. Selleck had been hunting, and presumably they discovered that he had money on his person. The Sellecks retired for the night when young Maxom, who was only twenty-two years of age, asked to be admitted and given a night's lodging.
He was a neighbor and, supposing him to be a friend, the request was cheerfully granted and he was told to occupy the bed with Arthur, then a mere lad of nineteen years. About midnight, with the gun that hung on the wall over his bed, the murderer began shooting, Mr. Selleck receiving the bullet in the head over the right eye. Only one shot was fired and fearing his aim had not been a deadly one the fiend attacked his victim with an ax. Arthur reached for his gun to go to his father's assistance but found the murderer had preceded him and secured the gun. It was discovered that others had been outside to assist in case he was not equal to the heinous crime, for a hatchet which had been stolen from H.H. Spaulding was found outside the door. In various ways they had tried to make it appear that the culprits were Indians, having on numerous occasions related stories of the red skins' murderous attacks on the settlers thereby keeping the Sellecks in abject fear of a raid being made upon them. The robbers had been lying in wait for Mr. Selleck for some time and schemed various plans for the robbery. Maxom was caught and taken to Concordia and after a preliminary trial was placed in the jail at Salina, where, through accomplices, he made his escape and was never captured. Mr. Selleck lingered sixteen days and died May 8, 1871, at the age of forty-nine years.
James Selleck was a native of Ashtabula county, Ohio, and came to Illinois in 1850, locating in La Salle county. He had followed various vocations, was a carpenter, retail salesman, dairyman, etc. He was married to Eliza Strawn in 1854. Her paternal grandfather came from Germany and settled in Sandusky, Ohio, moving to Illinois when Mrs. Selleck was about three years old. Mrs. Selleck survives her husband and lives with her son Walter on the old homestead in Solomon township where they settled in 1869. Prior to settling in Kansas the Sellecks lived several years in Iowa. To Mr. and Mrs. James Selleck three children were born, Arthur (the subject of this sketch) and Walter, twins, and Louise Kate, deceased, wife of W.H. White, who died in 1885, leaving Nellie, an infant nine months old, now living with her grandmother.
Arthur Selleck and his twin brother, Walter, were born on a farm in Harrison county, Iowa, June 30, 1857. The father being killed when the brothers were boys, they early occupied places at the head of the household, giving all the assistance possible to the wife and mother who was rendered well-nigh helpless and has never in fact recovered from the shock of her husband's untimely death; thus their early education was limited.
Mr. Selleck lives on the old home place, his mother deeding him her share. He bought out the other heirs about twenty years ago. He also owns eighty acres of land cornering with the old homestead, just over the line in Mitchell county, and one hundred and sixty acres in Ottawa county. The home farm is among the finest in this region, and Mr. Selleck is one of the most practical and successful farmers and stock raisers in his neighborhood. He keeps a herd of about fifty head of finely bred Shorthorn cattle; raises hogs extensively and has made money more easily and rapidly in the latter than in any other industry. He has fed hogs that netted him $1 per bushel for wheat that yielded thirty bushels to the acre.
Mr. Selleck did the most sensible thing of his life when, on April 9, 1882, he married Julia Murphy, who is a refined, estimable and gentle woman. She is a daughter of James Murphy, who has been a farmer and resident of Cloud county since 1880. For the past five years he has made his home with his daughter. Mrs. Selleck is one of five children, all of whom are deceased but herself and one sister, Mrs. W.H. White, who lives on a farm near Beloit. A sister, Mrs. Dora Pendas, who had been failing in health for five years visited Mrs. Selleck with the hope of recovering, but she became hopelessly ill; another sister, Mrs. Rosa Schram, of Denver, was sent for, and arriving on the first Sunday in June was stricken with a sudden illness, dying four weeks later. The sister from Florida died October 12, 1892. A son and two daughters were deceased within the space of a few weeks.
Mr. and Mrs. Selleck have three interesting children, viz: Eva, nineteen years of age, is learning photography in Minneapolis, Kansas; Dora aged nine and Marie aged seven. Politically Mr. Selleck is a Populist. He is a member of the Sons and Daughters of Justice, Simpson Lodge, No. 131, Knights and Ladies of Security, Asherville Lodge No. 361.
The Selleck home is a pleasant one, a comfortable five-room cottage, standing on an eminence of ground which affords a magnificent view of the fertile lands and cultivated fields of the Solomon valley. The hospitality one receives from these kind-hearted people creates a desire to visit them again. One accessory to this farm seldom or never found in Cloud county is a natural reservoir of clear water fed by a large spring within a few yards of the door. The government stocked this water with carp, but not finding them desirable Mr. Selleck had them exchanged for cat fish which are rapidly growing and doing well.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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