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Murder of Fred Sellers, and his mother's sad letter, 1911


Posted By: Sharyl Ferrall
Date: 11/10/2008 at 00:06:39

Sorrowing Mother Thanks All for Aid

In a pathetic and tear-stained letter to Andrew Hoye, Mrs. Ada Sellers, mother of Fred Sellers, the baker's lad who was shot here last spring, thanks everyone for the kind treament that they have given her. Sellers was shot by a Montenegrin who is now in the federal jail awaiting trial. The two were playing cards and as the result of a little altercation, the young lad was killed. Friends of the young man took charge of the remains, and a fund with which to sent the body Outside to the mother was raised. A balance of $300 was sent to the sorrowing widow. The letter follows:

Des Moines, Ia., Aug 15, 1911
Dear Friends:
Your most welcome letter was received some time ago. I have tried to answer several times but have had to give it up, as the tears would blind me so I could not see. Please forgive my seeming negligence.

I have thought of you all daily, yes, hourly, for I know my poor boy has never left my mind since this terrible thing happened. Oh my, why did it happen? If the poor soul who did this awful deed could only know what sorrow he has caused, he would suffer remorse enough to atone for his terrible work.

Oh, my poor boy! The remains arrived on the 23d of July and he was buried beside his sister in the Woodland cemetery. His father is buried in Boone in an uncle's lot. The Eagles here were very kind and took charge of the remains.

They wouldn't let me see him, although I would have liked to look upon him just once more. When I think he has gone for ever I believe that I shall go wild. I often wonder what will become of me now if I live to be old.

Of course, I have my other children, but Fred seemed to take his father's place and I depended upon him so much. I got a letter from him since his death that was mailed on June the first and he told me of his plans for my welfare and said he would be home this fall and be with me again. Oh, dear, how little did he think that would never be.

Oh, dear boys, if you have a mother, don't forget her and always try to be with her or near her at least. I suppose that by the time you get this, you will know something of the fate of that poor fellow who killed my boy. I hope they do not hang him for that would do no good.

What were my poor boy's last words and did he know that he was going to die? And, oh, did he suffer much? I wish I could have been with him in that awful hour. I will send you a picture of him soon. I received the money and am so very thankful to you all. I took some of my furniture out of storage and am living in my own home again.

I think hourly of my boy and it seems impossible to think that he will never be with me any more, although I suppose it was all for some good purpose that God will explain some time. Hoping that you will write me again and once more trying to thank you for all your kindnesses to my poor boy and me, I will bid good-bye. The children join in sending our sincere thanks to all.
Respectfully yours,
Mrs. Ada Sellers
1513 West Grand Ave., Des Moines, Iowa

P.S. Should any of you ever come to Des Moines, be sure and make my home yours. I think I have read your letter over a thousand times, so be sure and let me hear from you. God bless you and be with you all is my prayer.

~source: Fairbanks Sunday Times
Fairbanks, Alaska
September 10, 1911


On the stage leaving tomorrow morning will be Chief Deputy Marshall P.G. Charles and Special Guard Val Diebold with three federal prisoners who are being taken to Outside institutions for further detention, two for McNeils island and one for the Mt. Tabor insane hospital. The two prisoners are Boriso Rakoceviche, who was sentenced to a term of 25 years for the killing of Fred Sellers and Joe Barry, of Fox, who will serve a two years sentence for an attempt to bribe an officer. The third, an insane patient, is Melvin Seversen.

~source: Fairbanks Daily Times
Fairbanks, Alaska
January 28, 1912


Notes: This is from the census index, so I'm not sure if all of the following were enumerated in the same family unit, but it does show both Fred and Ada:

1895 Iowa State Census index; Boone, Boone co. Iowa
Second Ward

Clemmens L.V. Sellers, age 30, b. Ohio
Ada M. Sellers, age 34, b. Ohio
Nellie V. Sellers, age 10, b. Ohio
George G. Sellers, age 9, b. Ohio
Fred S. Sellers, b. Ohio, age 7
Margaret Sellers, age 3, b. Ohio
Leonard Sellers, age 13, b. Boone co. Iowa
Josephine Sellers, age 12, b. Boone co. Iowa

No queries please! I'm not related to this family, just thought the news article was one that might be of interest to Boone co. researchers.

Find your ancestors in the news!

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