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November 14, 2001
Shirley Auten ( is looking for records on the ancestors of her great-grandmother, Mary Jane Sell Auten, 1850/51-1910.  Shirley's family records show that Mary Jane was born 6 August 1850 or 1851, possibly in Owen Co., Indiana or in Ohio; daughter of a John B. Sell.   Mary Jane married on 14 March 1869 in Putnam Co., Missouri to George Sylvester Auten, 1844-1906.    George and Mary Jane Sell Auten had seven children, and lived all of their married lives and died in Putnam County, Missouri.

Dick Sell found the family of John B. and Elizabeth Sell on the 1860 Census in Lafayette Twp., Owen Co., Indiana, Vandalia P.O.; page 261:  "John B. Sell, age 41, born Ohio, farmer, real estate of $5000, personal estate $600; Elizabeth, age 47, born PA; Israel Sell, age 18, born Ohio; George C. Sell, age 17, born Ohio; Joseph D. Sell, age 15, born Ohio; Julian (male), age 13, born Ohio; Mary Jane Sell, age 9, born Ohio; and Sarah E. Sell, age 4, born Ohio."

Also recorded in Lafayette Twp., Owen Co., Indiana in 1860, on page 259 is:  "Israel Sell, age 64, farmer, born PA; Catherine, age 60, born PA; Charlotta Wasson, age 19, born Bavaria; and William H. Newport, age 18, born Ohio, laborer."

And nearby in Morgan Twp., Owen Co., Indiana in 1860, on page 203 is:  "Benjamin Sell, age 69, farmer, born PA; Elizabeth, age 61, born PA; and Adam Kefauber, age 7, born Indiana."

Additional searches by Dick Sell yielded the information that Israel Sell first purchased land in Owen County, Indiana on 4 April 1848.  And that he is listed on the 1850 Census in Lafayette twp., District #84, Owen Co., Indiana; page 22 as:   "Israel Sill, age 55, farmer, RE $3000, born Pa; with Katherine, age 51, born Pa; and Eve Smith, age 71, born Pa."     (We had missed him on previous searches because his surname is recorded as Sill on this record!!   Could the Eve Smith age 71, living with Israel and Catherine Smith Sell perhaps be Catherine's mother?)

Owen County Cemetery records include the following:
In the Vandalia Methodist Cemetery, Lafayette Twp.: in Section 9:
"Israel Sell, born 2 Nov. 1794, died 9 July 1862, age 67 years, 7 months, 17 days."
"Catharine, born 18 August 1799, died 13 June 1889, aged 89 y., 8 mo., 27 days."
In the Splinter Ridge Cemetery, Lafayette Twp.: in Section 2:
"Elizabeth Sell, wife of John"   ("stone down")  
This notation indicating that the stone is not readable, instead of dates, is unfortunate, leaving us to guess that this Elizabeth Sell is the wife of the John B. Sell above.

The families of this Israel Sell, 1794-1862, and his brother Benjamin Sell, 1790-1870, are recorded in Part 32 of our Celle History (CD#2, Volume II, pages 82-85).    Our discussion there includes the theory that this John B. Sell, born about 1817 (age 33 in 1850, but age 41 in 1860), is most likely the son of Benjamin and Mary Fowler Sell.   This theory is based on:

First, Benjamin and Mary Fowler Sell were married in 1817, and on the 1820 Census they are listed with two sons under age ten in their household.

Second, family records of their third son, George Custer Sell state specifically that George was born 10 April 1824 in Carroll Co., Ohio, the third son and fifth child of Benjamin and Mary Fowler Sell.  

Third, Israel Sell and Catherine Smith were married in 1818, but the 1820 Census records them with a household of only two: husband and wife, both ages 16 to 25 years.     However, by 1830 Israel's family includes two males ages five to ten years, and his wife is listed as age 20 to 30.

In 1840 Israel is listed as age 50 to 60, with one male age 15 to 20, a female 70 to 80, and his wife is still listed as age 20 to 30!

John B. Sell married on 31 October 1839 in Carroll Co., Ohio to Elizabeth Pearch, who was probably the mother of at least the six children listed on the 1850 and 1860 Census records of his household.
So, if John B. Sell was born BEFORE 1820, as all of these records suggest, he was most likely the son of Benjamin and Mary Fowler Sell.   However IF he was born AFTER 1820, he could have been a son of Israel and Catherine Smith Sell.

John and Elizabeth Pearch Sell did name their eldest son Israel.      And John and Elizabeth are living near Israel and Catherine Smith Sell in Owen Co., Indiana by 1860.

On the other hand, Israel and Catherine Smith Sell apparently moved to Indiana by April 1848; and John and Elizabeth Sell were still in Ohio in 1856 when daughter Sarah E. Sell was born (according to the 1860 Census).     Benjamin Sell's wife, Mary Fowler Sell, died in 1853 in Tuscarawas Co., Ohio.   And Benjamin Sell is listed on the 1860 Census in Owen Co., Indiana with a wife named Elizabeth.    When and where did Benjamin remarry?    Before or after he moved to Owen Co., Indiana?     Did Benjamin and son John move to Indiana at the same time  about 1856 to 1860?

Benjamin Sell died 24 Feb. 1870, age 79 years, 3 months, and 16 days, according to his tombstone in the Washington Cemetery, Washington Twp., Richland Co., Ohio.   Was he still living in Indiana when he died?    Or had he returned to Ohio to perhaps live near or with one of his eleven children.    Is there a probate record for him in Richland Co., Ohio or in Owen Co., Indiana?     Is there an 1862 probate record for Israel Sell in Owen Co., Indiana?

We have believed for sometime that this Israel and Benjamin Sell were the sons of John and Anna Maria Sell, baptized at the Christ Church in Littlestown, Adams Co., PA.
Benjamin Sell's tombstone birthdate is 8 Nov. 1790.
Israel Sell's tombstone birthdate is 2 Nov. 1794.

The Christ Church baptismal records show a birthdate of 8 Nov. 1790 for Benjamin Sell, and a birthdate of 22 Nov. 1794 for Israel Sell.   

Can ANYONE prove that these are NOT the same individuals?

Can anyone help us locate probate records and/or obituaries for Benjamin Sell, 1790-1870; and or for his brother Israel Sell, 1794-1862?     We need to find some certain proof of the names of ALL of their children!

There is a John B. Sells recorded on the 1880 Census of Barada, Richardson Co., Nebraska; page 390A, as follows:  "John B. Sells, age 63, born Ohio, farmer; both parents born Ohio; wife Susan Sells, age 36, born IN, both parents born IN; son George Sells, age 38, born Ohio; son Ishim Sells, age 14, born IN; daughter Martha Sells, age 11, born MO, at school; son Elliot Sells, age 7, born MO; daughter Birtie Sells, age 6, born NE; daughter Hannah Sells, age 3, born NE; and daughter Susan, age 8 months, born NE."

IF this is the same John B. Sell(s), this record appears to suggest that he remarried after his wife Elizabeth died in Owen County, Indiana; moved west and had another set of children.   Since son George is older than John's wife, Susan, he is obviously NOT her son.  

Finally there is a John B. Sell who died 25 Sept. 1900 at Springfield, Bon Homme Co., South Dakota.  His death record gives his birthdate and place as 29 Dec. 1817, Tuscarawas Co., Ohio.

Can anyone locate any additional records for this family to help us prove that all of the records cited above belong to the same John B. Sell?   (Note: this birthdate is ten months AFTER Benjamin and Mary Fowler Sell were married!)

Please email me at :
John B. Sell >?  Benjamin and Mary Fowler Sell > John and Anna Maria Sell
From Owen Co., Indiana > Tuscarawas Co., Ohio > Littlestown, Adams Co., PA