Dr. T.L. Sellers was pioneer physician in Andalusia

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 3, 2003

Dr. Thomas L. Sellers is the ancestor who moved the Sellars family to Covington County. Records suggest he came to Andalusia during the early 1880s. His medical services were advertised in the Covington Times News in 1886 as Dr. T.L. Sellers, Physician and Surgeon. His obituary on January 13, 1913, included a statement that he and his wife had moved to Red Level from Holmes County, Florida, some 25 years earlier. It is interesting that he and his second wife died only a week apart.

Dr. Sellers was the son of Elijah and Emma Abigail Sellers, natives of North Carolina. He was born in 1797 and she, in 1801. They reared at least the following four children: Thomas Leonard, b. 1832, d. 1913, m. (1) ca 1854 Nettie Braxton (2) ca 1865 Mittie Anne Andrews; John; Martha, m. Gardner Simmons; and Liddie. No further information is known to this writer about the children other than Thomas L.

In the 1870 Census of Covington County, there was an Elizabeth Selers/Sellers enumerated in the home of Caroline Loveless, a head of household who was 24 years of age with two young children.

Dr. Thomas L. Sellers has been credited with owning and operating the first pharmacy in Andalusia. The store was located on Crescent Street.

According to family legend, sometime around the beginning of the War Between the States, Dr. Sellers's family persuaded him to remain at home and protect the family and care for any wounded. During the war a group of Confederate soldiers passed through and upon seeing Sellers to be a strong, young man, decided he must be some kind of deserter. They killed all of the livestock and burned the house and all the family's homeplace. Out of his anger and resentment of this treatment, Dr. Sellers went and joined the Union forces and served as a medical doctor during the remainder of the war.

By the end of the war, his first wife had died, and he married a second time circa 1865. Dr. Sellers and his first wife, Nettie, had the following children: Dorcus, m. Jeff Pierce; Dora, m. Daniel Peterson; Mary, m.? Barden; Priscilla, b. ca 1863, m. William Peterson; and Emma, m. ? Turner. Dr. Sellers and his second wife, Mittie, had two children: Emma Abigail, b. ca 1866, d. 1937, m. Lawson Turner; and Simeon Moses Lafayette, b. 1868, d. 1940, m. ca 1889 Ida Adelle Mason.

Dorcus and her husband, Jeff Pierce, reared the following children: Ernest, Burn, Herd, John, and Myrtle. Dora and her husband, Daniel Peterson, had the following children: Leonard, Walker, Nettie, Ethel, and Lena. Mary and her husband, ? Barden, reared the following children: Josie, Essie, Carlie, Callie, and Pearlie.

The youngest son, Simeon, was labeled with eight given names. It is understood that his mother had eight close friends who all wanted to name the new baby boy, so she allowed each to submit her name of choice. Thus, the infant's name became Simeon, Moses, Lafayette, George Washington, Stephen, Samuel, William, and Edward Sellers. The only official name to be registered was Simeon Moses Lafayette. When he reached manhood, Simeon was married circa 1889 to Ida Adelle Mason, daughter of Charles and Elizabeth (Beasley) Mason of Red Level.

Simeon and Ida reared the following children: Charles L. Sr, b. 1890, d. 1988, m. 1917 Mary Lois Mitchell; Mary Lillian, b. 1892, d. 1975, m. 1909 Monroe Rabren; Daisy Ola, b. 1894, d. 1981, m. 1917 Malachi E. Rabren; William Jefferson, b. 1896, d. 1965, m. Willie Pearl Ogletree; Stella, b. 1898, d. 1979, m. 1914 Robert A. Hutcheson; Minnie, b. 1901, d. 1975, single; James Simeon, b. 1903, m. Magnolia Moore; Millie Ruth, b. 1906, m. Royce Grizzle; and Henry Damascus, b. 1909, d. 1963, m. Myrtice Greathouse.

The youngest daughter, Emma Abigail, and her husband, Lawson Turner, reared the following children: Rosie Lee, Thomas, Annie Lou, Mae, Hasty, Joseph, Ernest, Flossie, Asa Lee, and Ella, b. 1900, d. 1989.

The next generation in this family is represented by the grandchildren of Simeon. His oldest son, Charles L. Sr., and Mary Lois reared their family in the Red Level community. Charles owned the first "help yourself" grocery store in Red Level, which was located on the site of the old Foshee Milling Company. He opened the Pure Food Store in 1928, and it was liquidated in 1941. Charles had earlier worked in the local drug store from 1915 to 1928 where he served Doctors Smith, Terry, Ealum, and Jordan. He recalled in an interview that he attended the Fairmount School in Red Level in 1898. Professor Bush was the teacher in the one-room school where he used the Blue Back Speller.

Charles and Mary Lois reared the following children: Charles L. Jr., b. ca 1918, m. Rose Harper; two Infants, b.&d. 1920; Thomas Allen, b. 1922, m. Pat Egan; Hugh Moffett, b. 1927, d. 1974, m. Maxine Susie Garvin; and Mary Lois, b. 1930, d. 1981, m. Jerry Bailey.

Lillian and her husband, Monroe Rabren, son of Henry and Martha (Fuqua) Rabren, reared their family in the Cedar Grove Church of Christ community on Brooklyn Road. Their children included the following: Alonzo, b. 1910, d. 1972; Roscoe, b. 1912, d. 1973, m. Lena Smith; Andrew, b. 1914, d. 2000, m. Inez Palmer; Earl, b. 1922, d. 2001, m. Eva Rae Palmer; and James Damascus, b. 1929, m. Mary Ann Harris.

Daisy and Malachi Rabren, reared their family in the Adellum Baptist Church community on Brooklyn Road. Their children included the following: Mallie Quinton, b. 1919, d. 1978, m. Elsie Tillery; Willie Simon, b. 1920, m. Lila Gray Gomillion; Daniel Damascus, b. 1922, d. 1971, m. Lucille "Sally" McGhee; Gafford Alton, b. 1924, m. Syble Kelley; Stewart Alfred, b. 1925, m. Bryl Barnes; Roy Herston, b. 1927, m. Betty Hobbs; Maggie Dell, b. 1929, d. 2003, m. William "Bill" Chapman; Reva Nell, b. 1931, m. (1) Emmett McLendon (2) Clyde Heath; Marzell, b. 1932, m. William Cecil Parrish; and Uel Durham, b.&d. 1935.

William Jefferson and Willie reared two daughters, Virginia and Roxie Ann.

Stella and her husband, Robert Hutcheson, reared their family in the Loango community where he worked in timber and she was a seamstress at Alatex. Their children included the following: Claude Winston, b. 1915, m. Rachelle ?; Ina Mae, b. 1918, m. Maurice Donaldson; Wilson John, b. 1919, d. 1985, m. Lyndell Owen; and Eloise, b. 1920, m. Frank Grady Dunlap.

James Simeon and Magnolia lived in Andalusia where they reared their only son, Donahue.

Millie Ruth and her husband, Royce Grizzle, lived in Montgomery where they reared the following children: Winsta, b. 1929, d. 1930; Mary Tom; and Barbara Ann.

Henry D. and Myrtice had a daughter named Fay.

Although their relationship to the above family is not known, there was a Henry B. Sellers who was an early settler in Covington County. In 1901, he homesteaded 80 acres of railroad land in the Opp area. Also, Lloyd Sellers owned and operated Dean's Pharmacy in Opp. Emma Lee Petrey, sister to Dr. Paul Petrey of Florala, was married to a Sellers. There were also early Sellers settlers in the McKenzie community near the Covington County line. E.C. was Postmaster of the McKenzie Post Office; J.L. was one of the first city councilmen in the early 1900s; and J.P. was an early citizen.

Anyone who might have additional information on these Sellers, the family of this sketch, or corrections to the above is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 21361 Rabren Road, Andalusia, AL 36420 or Email: chthom@alaweb.com

Sources for this column included research by Rex Everage, James D. Rabren, and Reva Rabren Heath and family information shared by Marzell Rabren Parrish and Jon Sellers.


The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 6, at the Andalusia Public Library. Guests are welcome.