Stephen C. Selman, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Stephen C. Selman

STEPHEN C. SELMAN. For all time will our American republic owe a debt of honor and gratitude to the brave "boys in blue" who followed the nation's flag on the battle-fields of the south and loyally fought for the preservation of the country's integrity. Among the veterans of the Civil war now residing in Porter county one of the prominent and highly esteemed citizens is Mr. Selman, who is one of the representative farmers and stock-growers of Morgan township and whose entire life has been characterized by the spirit of loyalty that prompted him to go forth in defense of a righteous cause when armed rebellion menaced the Union, and as a soldier he was a representative of the state which has been his home from his boyhood days. He is a native of Germany and has observed the best of the traditions and customs of his fatherland, the while he has entered fully into the spirit of the nation that has been the stage of his activities from the time of his youth. Through well directed endeavor he has won merited independence and prosperity and as one of the sterling citizens of Porter county he is well entitled to recognition in this publication.

Stephen C. Selman was born in the province of Posen, Prussia, on the 13th of December, 1841, and is a scion of a family whose name has long been identified with the history of that section of the great empire of Germany, his parents having both been born in that province, where the mother died when he was a lad of about seven years. He was the sixth in order of birth of four sons and three daughters born to John and Dora Selman, and the original spelling of the family name in Germany was Selmer. All of the children are still living, and concerning them the following brief record is consistently entered: August, who remains in his native land, is in the national mail service of Prussia and as a young man he served in the Prussian army; Wilhelmina is the wife of August Sitz, a prosperous farmer of LaPorte county, Indiana; Martin, who is now living retired in the city of Valparaiso, Indiana, was a member of a New York regiment in the Civil war and in the battle of the Wilderness he received a wound which necessitated the amputation of his right leg; Augusta is the wife of Daniel Schultz, who is now living retired in the city of Dallas, Texas, his vocation during his active career having been that of wagon-maker; Amelia is the wife of Daniel Arnold, of Seattle, Washington; Stephen C., of this review, was the next in order of birth; and John is one of the progressive farmers of Porter county, where he is the owner of a well improved place of one hundred and twenty acres in Center township.

John Selman, father of him whose name initiates this review, was engaged in agricultural pursuits in Posen, German, until 1848, when he came, with all but the eldest of his motherless children, to America, the voyage having been made on a sailing vessel and having been of seven weeks' duration. He landed in the port of New York City and thence came to Indiana. He made Michigan City his destination and there he passed the residue of his life, a man of integrity and industry and one who ever commanded the respect and confidence of all who knew him. He came to America without capitalistic resources and made for his children the best possible provision, his energy and good judgment enabling him to become independent and prosperous in the country and state of his adoption. He was about seventy-five years of age at the time of his death and both he and his wife were devout members of the German Lutheran church, in the faith of which their children were carefully reared.

Stephen C. Selman was a lad of seven years at the time of the family immigration to America and he has been a resident of Indiana during the long intervening period, which has been marked by earnest and effective endeavor on his part. His educational advantages were limited to a somewhat irregular attendance in the common schools of northern Indiana and he early learned the lessons of practical industry. His first wages were earned when he was but twelve years of age and were represented in the princely stipend of four dollars a month. At the time of his marriage his financial resources were summed up in the amount of two hundred and sixty dollars, but he had strength, determination, industrious habits and indomitable ambition, so that he was amply reinforced for fighting the battle of life, notwithstanding the seeming handicaps of earlier years.

When the dark pall of the Civil war spread itself over the national horizon Mr. Selman, who was then nineteen years of age, was among the first of the youth of Indiana to tender his aid in defense of the Union. In July, 1861, in response to President Lincoln's first call for volunteers, he enlisted, at Valparaiso, in Company I, Twentieth Indiana Volunteer Infantry. After due preliminary discipline along technical lines the regiment was assigned to the Army of the Potomac, under General McClelland, and proceeded to Washington, D. C. Mr. Selman endured to the full the vicissitudes and hazards of the great conflict between the north and south, as is evident when it is stated that he participated in more than sixty engagements, including battles and skirmishes. His regiment was assigned to the Second Corps of the Army of the Potomac and among the leading engagements in which he took part may be noted the battles of Bull Run, Antietam, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. He continued in the ranks of the nation's defenders until the close of the war and was present at the surrender of General Lee, at Appomattox. On the second day of the sanguinary battle at Gettysburg, Mr. Selman received a severe wound in the right foot, but he would not consent to go to the general hospital and resumed his activities in the ranks as soon as he had sufficiently recuperated to render this possible. His military career was one of signal gallantry and faithfulness, and few citizens of Porter county can show a record of more effective and loyal service as a soldier of the Union during the climacteric period when the very life of the integral nation was in jeopardy. Mr. Selman participated in the Grand Review of the victorious troops in the city of Washington, and he well recalls the incidents of that memorable occasion, when the worn and jaded soldiers, ragged and unkempt and with blood-stained flags, marched down Pennsylvania avenue, showing well the effects of their self-sacrifice in the great conflict which had finally been crowned with victory for the Union arms. He received his honorable discharge on the 16th of July, 1865, and once more set himself to the winning of the victories of peace. He has retained a deep interest in his old comrades in arms and is one of the appreciative and valued members of Chaplain Brown Post, No.6, Grand Army of the Republic, in the city of Valparaiso. While in the ranks of the Union army he cast his vote in support of President Lincoln and he has ever since given unfaltering allegiance to the Republican party, to the principles and policies of which he has given an intelligent and loyal support.

On the 31st of March, 1864, while home on a furlough, Mr. Selman was united in marriage to Miss Tennessee Markham Baum, and they have one son, Frank William, who remains at the parental home and who is a skilled machinist by trade. He was employed for some time at Garrett, Indiana, and is now associated with his father in the work and management of the home farm. His first presidential vote was cast for James G. Blaine and he has ever since remained loyal to the cause of the Republican party. Mrs. Selman is a native daughter of Porter county and a representative of one of the honored pioneer families of this section of the state. She was born in Morgan township, on the 25th of August, 1842, and was the fourth in order of birth of the four sons and one daughter of John and Miriam Queen (Gallagher) Baum. The only other survivor of these children is Niles Lafayette Baum, a resident of Valparaiso, this county. John Baum was born in Pennsylvania, where his family was founded in an early day, the lineage being traced back to staunch French origin and the original orthography of the name having been LaBaum. After his removal from the old Keystone state to Ohio John Baum omitted the prefix from his surname and in Ohio and Indiana the present form of Baum has been retained. He served in the Seminole Indian war in Florida and in 1835 he came from Ohio to Porter county, Indiana, where the Pottawatomie Indians were still much in evidence and when this section was little more than a wilderness. He purchased one hundred and eighty acres of timbered land, erected his primitive log house and began the herculean task of reclaiming a farm. In this little log house Mrs. Selman was born and she recalls in pleasing reminiscences its elemental accommodations and facilities, including the ladder of pegs on which the members of the family ascended to the loft, which provided sleeping quarters. Her educational advantages were those afforded in the subscription schools of the pioneer days and her memory is a veritable store-house of information concerning the development and upbuilding of this now opulent section of the old Hoosier state. Her parents continued to reside in Porter county until their death and her father was a Jeffersonian Democrat in his political proclivities, her mother having been a devout member of the Presbyterian church. For several years after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Selman lived on rented land, and finally, by industry and good management, they were enabled to purchase one hundred and sixty acres, in Morgan township. This they have developed into one of the fine farm estates of the county and here they now have an attractive home in which they are enjoying the gracious fruitage of former years of earnest toil and endeavor, the while they are favored in having the high regard of the community which has long represented their home and to the furtherance of whose best civic and material interests they have contributed their due portion. In purchasing their homestead they assumed an indebtedness for the major amount of the purchase price, but the years of application soon relieved them of this burden and enabled them to lay the solid foundation for their present generous prosperity. They are numbered among the well known and popular representatives of the old pioneer stock in northern Indiana and it is a matter of gratification to be able to present in this historical work a brief record concerning them.

Source: Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 881 p.
Page(s) in Source: 609-613

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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