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Hon. Thomas L. Sellers (1855-1930)


Posted By: Dorian Myhre (email)
Date: 8/10/2018 at 20:07:02

From Nevada Evening Journal August 30, 1930 (page 3)



Des Moines, Aug. 30--INS--Judge Thomas L. Sellers of the municipal court will be buried here today with Masonic ceremonies. Services will be at three p. m. at a funeral home and interment will be in the Masonic cemetery.

Three associates on the municipal and district court benches will serve as pallbearers for Judge Sellers who died yesterday. They are Judges W. G. Bonner and O. S. Franklin from district court and municipal judge J. E. Mershon who served for years with Judge Sellers.

The other three pallbearers will be former municipal Judge Frank B. Hallagan, municipal Judge H. H. Sawyer and municipal Judge Ralph Powers.

While Judge Sellers was born in Illinois he came to Story county with his parents Mr. and Mrs. William Sellers as a boy, lived upon a farm in Richland township and later moved to Colo. When finally admitted to the bar he practiced law in Nevada for a few years, being associated with the late J. F. Martin in the practice. There are still many people in Story county who have a most kindly remembrance of "Tom" Sellers, who later became on the popular municipal judges of the city of Des Moines.

Tributes came from all corners during the day yesterday when news of Judge Seller's death was broadcast over the city. And many of the men, who mourned his passing were men who had stood before him and been went to prison, fined or perhaps just lectured.

One man told of an incident that a young lacy, depressed by a matrimonial failure, stood before him in open court and reviled him. Judge Sellers, he said, listened a minute and then calmly remarked, "in another minute, young lady, you'll go to jail." The woman immediately ceased speaking.

The incident is typical of courts over which Judge Sellers presided. Only once in his thirteen years on the bench id he ever wield the court's club--contempt. That was an occasion when a jailer and a bondsman argued in court before him. He sent the bondsman to jail and ended the matter.

Known as a man who desired to lift criminals to higher levels Tom Sellers was often consulted by mothers, fathers, wives and husbands who hoped to reform loved ones.

Judge Seller's character was revealed further yesterday afternoon when his will was filed for probate in district court.

Described by lawyers as "unusual," the jurist's last will and testament was penned in his own hand. Written a year ago, the will asked that his "casket be inexpensive and his funeral simple."

The document ordered that after all debts and funeral expenses were paid that estate be "distributed among the legal heirs in accordance with the law and statutes in force."

Another paragraph ordered that all debts owed him by any heirs be cancelled. Lawyers stated the will was unique in its construction and wording, yet very simple.


Story Obituaries maintained by Mark Christian.
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