David & Sarah Moris Sellars Obituaries in San Jose, California


Anyone trying to find the obituaries for David Sellars and his third wife Sarah Morris Sellars in San Jose might want to read these notes.


On Friday, July 22nd, 2005 this writer went to the Martin Luther King, Jr. library at 150 East San Fernando street in San Jose. The library is said to be the largest and newest library of it's kind west of the Mississippi river. The resources of both the city of San Jose as well as San Jose State were put together to make this huge library possible. Working with the reference librarian on floor two and then searching microfilm rolls on the lower level of the library and then searching through the 5th floor's California room I have found the following items of interest regarding the David Sellars family to report:


This was my third attempt to find the obituaries for both David Sellars and his third wife Sarah Morris. The obituaries just are not there.....of that I'm convinced now. There were four newspapers that could have published those obituaries and only two of those papers are housed on micro-film at this library. I  couldn't find the San Jose Herald 1866-1913 or the San Jose Mercury-Herald 1884-1913. The two I did look at were the San Jose Weekly Mercury 1851-1903 and the San Jose Daily Record 1890-1895. In the San Jose Mercury missing from the roll is 7-22-1884 through 1-23-1885 making it impossible to locate Sarah Morris Sellars here. In the San Jose Mercury also missing is the 9-20-1884 issue which could also be where Sarah Morris Sellars was located. David Sellars and Sarah Morris Sellars are not mentioned in the newspapers for the ten issues immediately following their deaths.


Both of the available newspapers have had an index prepared by the genealogical society going back to 1910. It is necessary to look into the microfilms if you want an earlier obituary. The gleanings from this paper's obituaries is pitiful.......really lacking. Very few dates of deaths are entered in these papers in the earlier time period before 1910 and for those few that did get entered....not much in the way of genealogy.....just a date of death, age, name. The papers in San Jose didn't seem to be interested in reporting this information. Modesto and Stockton were doing a far better job of reporting details in their obituaries. And if there is still a possibility of finding an obituary for David Sellars it will be in the Modesto newspaper as he died while on a visit to Henry Miller's ranch on March 2nd, 1891 in nearby Salida, California. I will put this on the agenda for my next trip to Stockton and Modesto.


I believe a last will for David Sellars is located in the office of the Clerk-Recording office at 70 West Hedding on the corner of first street. The records there go back to 1850 {408}299-2481. While this wont give us the names of David's parents.....it probably will give us some new names to work with.


Quite a large collection of California materials exist on the 5th floor of this library called the California room. I spent all day looking through shelves and drawers and I will need to return for at least two more visits to go through all of this. On this trip I did find some interesting items regarding David Sellars. The following items were searched:


History of Santa Clara County, Sawyer C 979.4 S 27h C3

Pen pictures from the garden of the world Foote Calif.979.4 Foote

History of Santa Clara County, Ca. Alley, Bowen & Co. c979.4 A43

1890 Great Register of Calif. voters Vol 3 Ni-Z ref. Cal. 929.3 Calif.

Note: In the latter I found the following:


Pg. 431

Frank Sellars, 21, birthplace Ca.residence San Jose; county Santa Clara; Registered Sept.27, 1888 on pg. 121

Thomas Jefferson Sellars; 30;Ca; 516 Jones; SF; Oct.15,1890, D38-p3

Robert A. Sellars;29;TN; Anderson ;Shasta; June 16,1890; 86

William C. Sellars; 39; TN; Dennis; Fresno; Aug.14,1888; pg.80


Also searched was:

An index to the bio's in 19th century California county histories 979.404/Parker

San Jose City Directories 1870 to the present. C910 S22. These directories were helpful as the following was discovered:


1870 San Jose Directory:


David Sellars, occupation as a jobwagon; dwelling 575 Marliere, San Jose, California {Note: My records indicate that David also had approximately 140 acres of a small ranch in Santa Clara. The inventory for this is included with these notes.



1878 San Jose directory on page 222 the following was found:


David Sellers, vegetable dealer, residence 580 Marliere

Jefferson Sellers, machinist, residence 580 Marleire, between San Salvador and William street

Thomas Sellers, machinist, res. 580 Marliere

William C. Sellers, laborer, res. 580 Marliere


1882-1883 San Jose Directory:


C.W. Sellars, laborer; residence  e s Thirteenth between Santa Clara and St. John

David Sellars residence       ""

W. C. Sellars, hunter, residence  ""


1884 Directory:


David Sellars, res. Webster nr Santa Clara, East San Jose

Chas. W. Sellars, carpenter, res. Webster nr. Santa Clara, east San Jose


1889 Directory:


pg. 358 David Sellers, residence 429 Marliere


1892 directory:


pg. 423 David Sellars, died March 7, 1891 {actual date was March 2nd, 1891}


I'm told that alot of Santa Clara county history also exists in another new library in Santa Clara at 2635 Homestead.


The Daivd Sellars inventory list, probably made about the time of David Sellars death in 1991, was inserted into Catherine Sellars' bible. That inventory list along with excerpts from a manuscript I'm currently working on entitled : The Adventures of the Robert Miller family are as follows:


~ Several generations banded together in California ~


Henry Miller's father-in-law, David Sellars, wrote to Henry Miller..... "I am in a peck of trouble {myself}, the mortgage on my house & lot will be due the 7th day of next month and no money.....Charles Jones {his son-in-law} hadn't sent any money yet and Landon so sick and weak that I have but little hope of him ever getting well and I can't tell when I can {letter excised here}  there, we had two doctors {letter excised here} today & they have both come" {Letter excised again}.


David's trip to the Salida Ranch had improved his health. "My back has got much better and my health is good enough {so that I can} eat the chicken & drink some of the Butter Milk."  David lamented that he would gladly return to the Salida ranch were it not for Landon's poor health. Landon expressed regrets that he "wasn't well enough to come up to see you all....and that he lacked the means to return "but poor folks have poor ways & that is my fix at present".


~ David Sellars peddled fruits and vegetables

 in the area that was to become Silicon Valley ~


In 1871 Henry's father-in-law David Sellars at age 73 was living in San Jose and peddling fruits and vegetables for a living. David added in his letter to Henry ".....I can make from a dollar and a half to two dollars a day...." His wife Sarah Morris Sellars was bringing in an income making quilts. The Sellars would send boxes of grapes and other assorted items to the Miller family  to be picked up in the small town of Modesto. The Sellars owned a ranch which in David's later years was rented out. David complained of "feeling crowdid a little too much" and that his wife Sarah kept too many boarders at the ranch and he desired to come and stay some time at the Miller ranch if he "could rent out his horses".


San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley is situated near the head of the Bay of San Francisco on a long, low, fertile, and beautiful valley, from which a large amount of vegetables and fruit were grown and taken to the mines. The Santa Clara ranches achieved world wide significance as they shipped wheat and other grains giving the place the nickname of the "Garden Valley of the world".


A two page inventory and property description of the Sellars ranch property and household goods was found between the pages of Catherine E. Sellars {Miller family bible. It does appear to be an inventory of David Sellars ranch in Santa Clara county, California. The stationary is embossed with the name of "Carrolton" and is transcribed as follows:


~ David Sellars Estate ~


South East  Section 32

Township 2 South Range 8 {North West quarter of Section 5 in Township 3 South of range 8 East containing 140 acres


6 Horses

2 Mules

2 Colts

2 Cows & Calves

1  2 year old Heffer

Cash ond Hand

Check for One Hundred Dollars

1 Sow & ten pigs

2 Plows

1 half Healter

1 4 Horse wagon

1 Spring Waggon

8 Harnes


Improvements $150

House Hold & Kitchen furniture

Black Smith Tools

1 Shot gun

Chickens & ducks

Grain ond hand

6 Shears in ware Hous

1 Sewing Masene {Machine}



In 1872 Henry's son, Henry Miller, Jr. at the age 12 had his eye put out. There had been sickness in his family for quite a long while including Henry himself complaining of failing health.


David Sellars daughter, Mary Adaline Sellars, Bohannon suffering from marital problems was living at Henry's ranch with her many children in the early l870's. In May of l872 the Bohannon's left the Miller ranch in Salida to live in Chico. They found a home in the south east part of town. The Bohannon's home had five good sized rooms and rented for $20.00 per month. The Bohannon's acquired a telegraph machine in their home in the winter of l872 and Mary's children "were learning to read by sound". Mary was sewing by day in families with expectations of opening a dress shop in the Spring of l873 in Chico.


~ Catherine Miller starts a new family Bible ~


The Bible was printed by the A.L. Bancroft and Company, Publishers of San Francisco, California. The title page "The Coomplete Domestic Bible containing the Old and New Testaments, together with the Apocrypha, Concordance, and Psalms of David in Metre. The Bible was published in l873. The Apocrypha includes: I. Esdras {hath chapters};  II. Esdras; Tobit; Judith; The Rest of Esther; Wisdom; Ecclesiasticus; Baruch, with the Epistle of Jeremiah; The Song of the Three Children; The Story of Susanna; The Idol Bel, and the Dragon; The prayer of Manasses;

I. Maccabees; II. Maccabees.


An interesting reference note by the Bancroft publishers in the Bible states that "the whole sum and number of years, from the beginning of the world until the end of the year of our Lord God 1873, are 5,847 years, 6months, and the said odd ten days."


In handwritten black ink on a small sheet of paper is written "The Miller Bible is to remain in the family - when I no longer have use for it it is to go to my cousin Mrs Harold A. {Janet} Rogers of Stockton, California. If Janet is deceased or unable to be located then the Bible is to go to Janet's son - Harold A. Rogers, Jr. 4655 Emerald Street, Capitola, Ca., 95010 - signed by Mary Ann Shull". Mary Shull is the daughter of Robert Edward Lee Miller {1866-1954} the sixth child of Henry and Catherine Miller.


~ More about the family bible ~


The Catherine Miller family Bible is 31/2 inches thick, about ten inches wide and twelve inches in length. The cover was originally dark black but has a lackluster black and brown appearance today. The cover is entitled Holy Bible in a gold paint and the cover is heavily sculptured. The Bible was about ten handwritten letters carefully placed within the Bible for their safeguarding. Written in Catherine's handwriting on the first leaf "L. Miller McCanns Bible. Left to her by her mother C. E. Miller".


At page 87 also refered to as 1 Maccabees, the Apocrypha is to be found a one page handwritten document that appears to have been written in about l858 with one addition made to that family registry in l884.


                                                                                      Scans of the Catherine Miller Bible XXXXXXXX

                                                                Scan of the Robert Miller registry XXXXXXXX