Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. II, p. 1616
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
JOHN T. SELFRIDGE
One of the valuable farming properties in Washington township, Rice county, is that owned by John T Selfridge, who resides on section 28, not far from Sterling. Born and reared in the west, the spirit of enterprise which has led to the remarkable development of the Mississippi valley is manifest in his career. He opened his eyes to the light of day in Randolph county, Illinois, near Coulterville, on the 14th of November, 1845. His maternal grandfather, John Selfridge, was a native of Argyle, New York, born in 1798. He engaged in farming in the western portion of the Empire state, in Ohio and in Illinois, and died in the last named commonwealth in the fall of 1875, at the age of seventy-seven years, at which time he was residing in Randolph county. He wedded Harriet Smith, who was born in Vermont, and they became the parents of four sons, namely: Jason, Oliver, Francis and John. The mother died and the father afterward again married, having a son and daughter by his second wife. He also had a third wife, but there were no children by that union. His daughter, Josephine, is now the wife of William Anderson, of Sterling township, and she has four living children.
Grayson S Selfridge, the father of our subject, was born in New York, January 12, 1824, and is now living in Sterling, in his seventy-eighth years. After some years’ residence in Randolph county, Illinois, he came to Kansas in 1867, settling first in Crawford county, where he remained for five years. He afterward spent four years in Missouri and in 1876 came to Rice county, where he followed agricultural pursuits until January 8, 1884, when having sold his farm of one hundred and sixty acres six miles north of Sterling, he removed to the city in which he yet lives. He was for three years a soldier in the Union army during the war of the Rebellion. He enlisted in Perry county, Illinois, in August, 1862, as a member of Company C, Eighty-first Illinois Infantry, and, though in many battles, including the terrible charge of Vicksburg, where many fell around him, he was never wounded. However, he suffered from a sunstroke at Junetown, Mississippi, and being thus somewhat incapacitated for active field duty he was detailed as an orderly. He married Susan Woodside, a native of Kentucky, and a daughter of James Woodside. The wedding was celebrated in Illinois November 26, 1844, the groom being then in his twenty-first year, while the bride was eighteen years of age. Nine children were born unto them, five sons and four daughters. Among the number was Mary Ellen, twin sister of Jason Smith Selfridge, and she died on her fourteenth birthday. The other children of the family are: John, of this review; Robert J, who is living north of Sterling; Mrs W J Harrison; Eunice, the wife of George Danser, of Woods county, Oklahoma; Susanna, the wife of William Connery; William O, who makes his home south of Sterling; Jason, a railroad official living in Sumner county, Kansas; and George W, a resident of Sterling.
John T Selfridge, the immediate subject of this review, acquired a good common-school education in Coulterville, Illinois, and on the 10th of December, 1863, he put aside his text-books in order to enlist in the Eighty-first Illinois Infantry, as a member of Company C. He was then eighteen years of age and joined the service as a private. He was with his command for a year and a half and was then taken prisoner on the Cumberland river. Subsequently he was paroled, and at the close of the war received an honorable discharge. He now draws a pension of eight dollars per month, given him on account of ill health occasioned by his army service. He was a brave soldier boy, who wore the blue uniform with dignity and fearlessly defended the starry banner of the nation.
On the 1st of February, 1870, Mr Selfridge was united in marriage to Miss Lucretia L Whaling, of Rome, Pennsylvania, a daughter of Morris and Odella (Brewer) Whaling. The father was a member of the Union army for a few months and died in the service from the effects of an injury which he sustained, leaving to his widow the care of six daughters and three sons. She still remains true to his memory and is living in Rome, Pennsylvania, at the age of seventy-seven years. Mr and Mrs Selfridge began their domestic life in Gerrard, Crawford county, Kansas, to which place our subject had removed from Illinois in 1868. He learned the carpenter’s trade under his father’s direction and has always followed it to a greater or less extent. He took a claim of one hundred and sixty acres of railroad land in Crawford county, paying the company seven dollars per acre. After three years he sold the land and removed to Missouri, where he engaged in the operation of rented land for three years, and in May, 1876, a quarter of a century ago, he came to Rice county, Kansas. Here he owns one hundred and sixty acres of land, on which he carries on general farming and the breeding of cattle, horses and hogs. He finds the raising of swine and cattle the most profitable branch of his business, yet he always keeps on hand about twenty head of horses. He is cultivating a quarter section of land and has raised from four to five thousand bushels of wheat annually, sometimes having as high as from six to eight thousand bushels. He has diligently prosecuted his labors, and his well directed efforts have brought to him a comfortable competence.
In their home Mr and Mrs Selfridge have a picture on the wall representing five generations. The eldest is Mrs Susan Woodside, the maternal grandmother of Mr Selfridge, who died in Arkansas in her ninety-third year. The second is Mrs Susan (Woodside) Selfridge, the mother of our subject, and she is yet living in Sterling, at the age of seventy-six. The third is his sister, Harriet Selfridge, the wife of W J Harrison. The fourth is Mrs Mattie Huntington, a daughter of Mrs W J Harrison by her first marriage, and the fifth if Carl Huntington, her little son. Both Mr and Mrs Selfridge hold membership in the United Brethern church, and in politics he is a Republican, having been an Abolitionist in ante-bellum days. In 1882 he made a trip to the far west, visiting Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington, spending three months in viewing the scenes of that section of the country. His life has been quietly and honorably passed, and is characterized by fidelity to duty in all relations.