Bio: Selves, John (1840 - 1895)

Transcriber: Marianne



----Source: 1918 History of Clark County, Wisconsin, pages 260 - 261



John Selves, a pioneer of Clark County, now passed away, but who in early days, and up to the time of his death, was a well known and widely esteemed citizen of Grant Township, was born at Staple, County of Kent, England, May 16, 1840. He was about 4 years old when he accompanied his parents, John and Elizabeth Selves, to the United States, they settled in Buffalo, N. Y. There he grew to manhood and did what work his hands could find to do, finally learning the trade of brickmaker. In Buffalo, also, he was married, Aug. 5, 1962, to Sarah Buss, who was born Nov. 1, 1836, daughter of Richard and Catherine Buss. Her father, who was a native of County Kent, England, born April 6, 1800, came to this country when a young man, locating in Buffalo, N. Y., where he followed his trade of brickmaker.

In 1866 he came to Clark County, Wis., accompanied by his wife and family. His death occurred in this county in 1882, when he was 82 years old. Mr. Buss was a broad-minded man, in religious faith favoring the Presbyterian Church. He and his wife had eight children: Joseph, Sarah, Elizabeth, Charlotte, Mary, Martha, Phebe and Catherine. It was in 1860 that John Selves and wife came west with their family, their children being at that time William, Joseph, Elmer, Kate and Edward. The journey was made by steamboat on the lakes to Milwaukee, from which place they continued with wagon and team to Grant Township, Clark county. He and his family were accompanied by George Shumell, with his wife and four children. On arriving in Grant Township Mr. Selves bought eighty acres in Section 16. A little chopping had been done on the place to provide for a front yard, and a small piece of land plowed, but all the rest of it was covered with timber, and there were no buildings. For a while the family resided with Mr. Tom Huckstead until a log house, 18 by 20 feet, had been constructed, and which stood on the site of the present fine brick residence. Here they began pioneer farming with one cow and with everything to do and little to get. They often had to walk to and from Neillsville and hauled freight from Sparta. They had not been on the place long when one of their horses was killed by lightning, which was a severe loss to them in those days, but they got an ox team, and in time began to prosper, gradually clearing his farm from the woods. At first they got but little for their produce, selling their butter for 10 cents a pound and eggs for 6 cents a dozen, at which prices not much profit was to be made, but these conditions also improved, and he and his wife at last found themselves in comfortable circumstances. Mr. Selves died in 1895, at the age of 65 years, but his wife is still living and makes her home with her son, Richard, the present owner of the farm.

Their eldest son, William when 27 years old, was buried by the caving in of a well he was digging, the accident occurring Friday noon, and he was not extricated before the following Sunday morning, and in a few days was about as usual. Richard Selves, since taking over the homestead, has operated it successfully, and has increased the size of the farm by the purchase of forty more acres adjoining. In 1913 he built the brick house already mentioned, and has also erected a silo of 110 tons capacity. He keeps a good grade of stock, for which he finds a ready market, as well as for his crops. For eleven years he has served as township clerk, his father formerly served as treasurer and a member of the school board. 



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