Leonard McKnight Sellers.jpg





     While doing research on my David and Sarah Sellers here in
     called the Cedar Springs Historical Society in Cedar Springs, Kent
     County, Michigan. They could not find anything on my David but
sent me   information on Leonard McKnight Sellers, owner of the Cedar
Springs  Clipper newspaper. This info was sent to them in 1997 by a
descendent  of
     Leonard (Mac) Sellers. It is in no particular order so hard to =

 Leonard's mother was Elizabeth Charlton LOCK.
 Father was Leonard Sellers of Franklin County, Pa., born 1811.
 Leonard had brothers Amos, Charles and James Franklin.
 Amos served  for more than three years with the 21st Penn.
 The letter says that this Sellers family was part of the third =
 generation of their line in Franklin County, Pa. Also says the
family  goes back to Philip Henrich Soeller.
 Leonard had a sister Rebecca who married Adam WINGERT and moved
west to  Colorado.
 Amos and Charles moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana for a short time,
before settling for some years in Monticello, Piatt County, Illinois.
Youngest  brother, James Franklin, also moved to Monticello, around 1870,
but soon  moved to Colorado. James was married to Eliza WEAVER, in
Monticello, in  1873. He and his wife moved to Beulah, Colorado in 1876. Leonard
had another sister Ann.
    Amos lost his wife and the mother of five of his six children, the
 former Margaret Ann RENFREW, in Monticello in 1886, then moved to

 Jasper, Missouri where he married and fathered a son, Orace
in  1903. Amos was then 60 years old. Three of Amos Sellers' six
 moved on to Colorado and then to Gray's Harbor County, in west
central Washington, around 1906. Amos' marriage ended in Missouri and he
moved  to Elma, Washington to be near those three children, about 1910.
He died  on March 7, 1922 at the National Soldier's Home in  Sawtelle,
California.  He was bured, with full military honors, at the Masonic Cemetery
in  Elma, Washington.

    Hope this helps someone.

 Susan in Michigan


Hello Marie,


Yes, that does sound like Paula and I when I started with your Sellers list. Oh, what fun!


I checked my (what can loosely be called) files and found the following letter that I recieved from the Cedar Springs Historical Museum regarding an inquiry I made about Leonard McKnight. However, since I know that he never married I just never followed up on it and he is not connected to my David Sellers. Most of what this letter says is already on your Kent County page but will send all of it and you can judge what to add. It should explain the name for Elizabeth. Also, I can very easily check the History of Kent County book when I am at the library next and I can look for an obituary. It seems that I once had the list of heirs from his will but cannot find it. Anyway, here is the letter that was sent to the Cedar Springs Historical Museum. I contacted them today and left a message and they will get back to me I am sure. After reading this over I think I will write to this fellow and see if the address is still good. He obviously has much to share and I wonder if he knows about our Sellers list. I am sorry that I neglected to do this years ago........the days go faster when you get older.


November 25, 1997

Museum Member:

I recently received a copy of the supplement to the 13 Mar 1997 edition of the Cedar Springs Post, in which my wife's great, great uncle, LEONARD MCKNIGHT SELLERS was prominently mentioned. It was a delight to read more about his life in Cedar Springs and about his legacy in the community. We look forward to visiting your museum and seeing the replica of the Cedar Springs Clipper's working office one day.

My cousins, of your town, (Cedar Springs) were kind enough to send the supplement to me as they are aware of my interest in family history. It seems quite extraordinary that both my wife and I, born, raised and married on the west coast, would discover, 30 years after our marriage, that we both had relatives who lived in Cedar Springs.

I thought it might be of some interest to share a little of the SELLERS' family history with you and that, perhaps, there might be sources for more information on "MAC" SELLERS which you could apprise me of. I was particulary interested in a statement in LEONARD'S biography in the book "History of Kent County" which described his primary role in caring for his aaging mother, ELIZABETH. I also have not seen any mention of a wife or children. The written history of LEONARD'S younger brother, JAMES FRANKLIN SELLERS, states that he, LEONARD, never married. Was he a life-long bachelor? Perhaps he wrote some articles regarding his mother (was her second marriage to MONTGOMERY, our family history records that her maiden name was, ELIZABETH CHARLTON LOCK?) or about his family and his life before he came to Cedar Springs.

I can relate several details about his brothers and their lives out west but perhaps I should start at the beginning.....there are details about his family's life in Pennsylvania which may be tied to history. I hope this letter will aid in discovering those details.

Referring again to the article about him on pages 435-439 of the History of Kent County, it is stated on page 436, that his father, LEONARD SELLERS, "lost his all by the rebel invasion of Stuart in 1862 and Lee in 1863, and who died"on 13 March 1864. Does MAC SELLERS ever discuss the details of his family's losses in Pennsylvania? Was his father's death tied to injuries sustained as a result of resisting the rebel armies?? Although LEONARD was so young that he saw very little fighting action in the Civil War, his two older brothers, AMOS (my wife''s great, great, grandfather) and CHARLES both saw extensive duty during the war. Did his brothers' experiences affect his actions in some profound way?? AMOS served for more than 3 years with the 21st Pennsylvania Calvary and was involved in many major Civil War BAttles. Did MAC SELLERS ever discuss his oldest brother's war experiences??

MAC SELLERS' father was born in 1811, in Franklin County, PA, so he was just 53 when he died. This SELLERS family was part of the third generation of their line in Franklin County, PA so surely they were prominent and landed. What became of this legacy?? The fact that they were affected by both the Stuart and Lee insurgencies, was extremely unfortunate and rare. It is a fact that there were very few Northern families whose lands were ever directly invaded by the south, let alone twice.

After the Civil War, his oldest sister, REBECCA, by then Mrs. ADAM WINGERT, moved west to Colorado. Both AMOS and CHARLES moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana for a short time, before settling for some years in Monticello, Piatt County, Illinois. Youngest brother, JAMES FRANKLIN, also moved to Monticello, aroung 1870, but was soon to move to Colorado. JAMES was married to ELIZA WEAVER, in Monticello, in 1873. He and his wife moved to Beulah, CO in 1876. MAC had another sister, ANN, about whom I have no knowledge. Another older brother died as an infant.

I have no further information on CHARLES, but AMOS, who lost his wife and mother to five of his six children, the former MARGARET ANN RENFREW, in Monticello in 1886, then moved to Jasper, Missouri where he married and fathered a son, ORACE SELLERS, in 1903. AMOS was then 60 years old. 3 of AMOS SELLERS' six children moved on the Colorado and then, finally, to Gray's Harbor County, in west-central Washington, around 1906. AMOS' marriage ended in Missouri and he moved to Elma, Washington, to be near those 3 children, about 1910. He died on 7 March 1922 while being treated at the National Soldier's Home in Sawtelle, CA. He was buried, whith full military honors, at the Masonic Cemetery in Elma, WA.

I hope you find this additional information on the immediate family of MAC SELLERS of some value. All of the information I have included is well researched and documented. Of course, I have much additional information on the many descendents of LEONARD SELLERS, Senior. Unfortunately, If MAC SELLERS left no descendants, then that information would probably not be of much value or use so I will simply state that it is available to any other researcher of historian who might have use for it.

I am happy to share this information with you and would certainly enjoy hearing further about MAC SELLERS. I have his ancestral line back to the ship "James Goodwill", which arrived in America from Germany, via Rotterdam, with his ancestor PHILIP HENRICH SOELLER (Sellers), on 11 September 1728.



I hope you can sort this out and use some of it Marie. I will get with you when I get to the library.

Susan in Michigan



Elmwood Cemetery, Solon Township, Kent County, Michigan

Sellers, Leonard McKnight.
 b. 1848; d. 1922; 50y. editor Cedar Springs Clipper.


Hello Marie,


The strangest thing....when I looked for Leonard's obituary there were two of them, one dated January 5, 1922 and the other dated November 13, 1922. Am sending both....


Grand Rapids Herald

January 5, 1922, page 1


Published Cedar Springs Clipper A Half Century----Was Forceful Figure in Western Michigan Activities----Went to California for Health.

CEDAR SPRINGS, Jan. 4--Col. L.M. Sellers, one of the most picturesque figures in Michigan journalism and politics for a half century, died yesterday in a hospital in San Diego, Cal., according to information received here tonight.

Col. Sellers was a Fremont voter, a lifelong republican and attended many state and national conventions as a delegate. At practically all the other conventions of his party, he was a spectator. Last winter, after observing his fiftieth anniversary as publisher and editor of The Cedar Springs Clipper, he disposed of his business because of failing health and went to California to visit his sister, who for many years was a missionary in China. He was post master here 6 years.

            G.O.P "WHEEL HORSE"

One of Michigan's republican "wheel horses," Col. Sellers was a dominant figure in western Michigan politics for many years. His trenchant pen was used to good purpose to further the interests of his party. His personality was forceful and vigorous and he enjoyed marked popularity in this section of the state.

Col. Sellers presided at the first public meeting ever addressed by former Sen. William Alden Smith. This was at Solon Center during a political campaign in which the former senator was touring the state with Lieut. Gov. Crosby.

Born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, Col. Sellers came to Michigan in 1869, locating in this village. His first work consisted of sawing logs and packing shingles. He made furniture evenings for his printing office and, in a modest way, The Cedar Springs Clipper came into being. Like other enterprises of its kind, its early years were marked with vicissitudes but the proprietor, displaying the energy, faith and determination that always had been characteristic of him, worked untiringly and unflinchingly, meeting all obstacles cheerfully and fighting every discouragement energetically. He never married.


Grand Rapids Herald

November 13, 1922, page 1



Veteran Cedar Springs Publisher Dies Sunday Following Lingering Illness--Gained Nation-Wide Fame as Bright Light in History of Michigan Republicanism.

CEDAR SPRINGS, Nov. 12.-Col. L.M. Sellers, one of the most picturesque figures in Michigan journalism and politics for more than half a century, died here this evening shortly after 7 o'clock. His death did not come as a shock to close friends, for the veteran had been in ill health for some time and for the last three months had been constantly under the care of a trained nurse.

Col. Sellers, familiarly known as "Mack" to his hundreds of friends throughout the state, was the publisher of the Cedar Springs Clipper for more than 50 years. He was one of the Republicans of the old school in Michigan and had followed the trend of politics closely for years. In campaigns that have gone down in history he was "the power behind the throne", and his strong hand was seen in the results of many elections. He attended many of the state and national conventions of his party as a delegate and at practically all the others he was a spectator.

              Sought Health in West.

The veteran politician presided at the first public meeting ever addressed by former Sem William Alden Smith. This was at Solon Center during a political campaign in which the former senator was touring the state whith Lieut. Gov. Crosby.

A year ago Col. Sellers didposed of his interest in the Clipper and went west to reside with a sister, hoping that his health would be bettered. While in the west an erroneous report was received here that he had died after an illness of six weeks in a hospital there. Shortly after this he returned to his home town and was banqueted at his modest home here by the most prominent men in the Republican party in the state.

Born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, Col. Sellers came to Michigan in 1869, locating in this village. His first work consisted of sawing logs and packing shingles. He made furniture evenings for his printing office, and in a modest way the Cedar Springs Clipper came into being. Like other enterprises of its kind, its early years were marked with vicissitudes, but the proprietor, displaying the energy, faith and determination that had always been characteristic of him, worked untiringly and unflinchingly, meeting all obstacles cheerfully and fighting every discouragement energetically. He never married.

No funeral arrangements will be made pending word from his sister in the west.


Susan Hallock [s.hallock@comcast.net]


History of Kent County, page 435


was founded in 1869 by L. McKNIGHT SELLERS as a weekly journal devoted to news, literature and politics. It has reached a very high position among the Republican weekly papers of the State, and gives promise of still extending its influence. It was established as a 24-column four-page newspaper, and was enlarged to a 48-column, (page 436 of History of Kent County book) eight-page journal, Jan. 1, 1876. The office gives employment to four men.

During the last half dozen years, the editor has been the chairman of the township Republican Committee, and member of the District Committee of which he is now Chairman, vice Hon. E.C. WATKINS, who has removed from the county. He is a member of the Kent County Republican Committee, and has been a delegate to all the county, Congressional and State conventions since 1876. In 1878 he was "delegate at large" from this district to the Congressional convention of that year.

LEONARD McKNIGHT SELLERS, editor and publisher of the CLIPPER, was born in Franklin Co., Pa., near St. Thomas, within three miles of the birthplace of James Buchanan, July 2, 1849. His father was LEONARD SELLERS, who died March 13, 1864, and his mother was ELIZABETH C. (MONTGOMERY) SELLERS, who is still living. Mr. SELLERS whiled away his younger days in the township schools, and later studied at the Fayetteville Academy, near Chambersburg, in Franklin county. In 1865 he enlisted in Co. L, 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry, for one year's service, which command was discharged in June of that year. The following reference to Mr. SELLERS is taken from the PUBLIC OPINION, of Chambersburg, Pa.:

"Although the people of Michigan know him as a Michigander, he is just as well and favorably known in this his native county, where he spent his boyhood days. After learning the printing trade in the office of the SENTINEL, Shippensburg, he earned in the harvest field sufficient money to pay his way to Cedar Springs, where, in the fall of 1869, his industrious habits soon gained him the confidence of the community, and where, under great difficulties, he earned sufficient means to purchase a press and start his paper. His journal has proven a remarkable business success, and it is one of the largest and most influential papers published in the county. He is a writer and politician of the Zach. Chandler school, and the sledge-hammer blows of the CLIPPER have been no insignificant factor in maintaining and achieving the splendid Republican victories of his adopted State. Owing to the misfortunes of his father, the late LEONARD SELLERS, of Fayetteville, an honest and indurstiou!

s farmer, who lost his all by the rebel invasion of STUART in 1862 and LEE in 1863, and who died in 1864, L.M. SELLERS has been the devoted son and main support of an aged mother. Such sterling characteristics bear excellent testimony to the worth of any man. Notwithstanding Mr. SELLERS' popularity in the county, he has never sought for any office, although his name was placed among the nominees for the Legislature in 1880, when he came within five votes of receiving the nomination. The only reason for his defeat at that time was due to the fact that Mr. RUSSELL, of Cedar Springs, was placed in nomination for the Senate. Cedar Springs, of course, could not govern Kent county.

It may be said with truth, that the young Pennsylvania printer selected the hamlet of Cedar Sprints while it was still centered in (page 439 of History of Kent County book) the wilderness. Even then he saw the place was destined to be a village, and resolved to act his part in hastening its destiny,--to grow up with the country. He came to the small village with a smaller financial capital; but that $5 which he brought wiht him to his new home taught a greater lesson thatn $5,000 could purchase, taught self-reliance and respect, and with these greater qualities than money, he entered on the life of a settler. His first day's work in Michigan was that of using the cross-cut saw and getting out shingle bolts,--the scene of his labors being what is now known as the WILLIAM EASTON farm in Solon township. The five succeeding days were devoted to similar employment, during which time he almost succeeded in working his experienced friend at the other end of the saw to death.

Subsequently he was engaged in packing shingles at the SLAWSON Mill, which occupation he followed until December, when he entered upon the preparation of a printing office. In those preparations for the publication of the CLIPPER, he worked day and night in a small room in an old building, made tables, type racks, and other furniture for his office. How his perseverance and industry conquered is best explained in the appointments of the office, the size and excellence of the CLIPPER, and the high esteem in which he is held by his fellow townsmen. As a public man few of his years have made greater strides toward prosperity. His political friends stand by him like a rampart, and even his political enemies admire him for his honesty and manliness on the public platform and in the columns of his journal. While still a boy he traveled 19 miles, over two mountains, to hear ABRAHAM LINCOLN, when he made his great speech on the field of Gettysburg in 1863. This journey was made on a!

 "capital" of 50 cents, a small haversack of provisions and a stout heqrt. Since that time he has been present at the great gatherings of the Republican party; was present at the convention that nominated the late President, and again at his inauguration in 1881. The editor of the CLIPPER is a self-made man in the true sense of the word, is broad in his views and always ready to stand by the right. We give M. SELLERS' portrait in this volume as a representative man of the county.


Susan in Kent County Michigan
Susan Hallock [s.hallock@comcast.net]