(A much larger version can be seen by clicking on the photograph.  It is VERY large.  If you are  using a  dialup connection
 and/or a slow computer, attempting to access the larger version of the photograph is not recommended.)

This photograph was taken at the reunion of the family of Richard M. Sellars at his home to the NE of Cairo, Grady County, Georgia, on 20 February 1916.  R. M.'s first wife who was the mother of his children, Mary Ann Haven, had died on 18 January 1892.  He had married his second wife Missouri Lester West Harper, widow of Levi Harper, on 4 December 1898... and though I don't know the exact date he probably had divorced her by the time this photo was taken.  (A photo of R. M. Sellars and Missouri Harper in happier times can be seen by clicking here.  R. M. reported their separation to the congregation of Long Branch Baptist Church on 12 December 1912.  She asked for a "reconcilliation" at a meeting of the same church (of which R. M. was the treasurer) on 13 July 1918, but the only result was that R.M. was charged with and expelled for "contempt of the church". 

Back in the days when R.M. lived there, of course, there was no street address.  But the house seen in the photo stood at what is now 2502 GA Highway 188 N, Cairo, Georgia.  However, that house burned down while no one was at home, and justly or unjustly some opinion in the Sellars family was that Missouri Harper burned it for spite.  This is an unfortunate measure not only of how far her and R.M.'s relationship deteriorated, but also of how little regard some of her stepchildren had for her; however, so far as I know no charges were formally pressed against her nor was she tried and convicted for arson.  In other words... this was an opinion that lacked actionable evidence.  A new house was built on the same spot and R.M. lived there till he died on 15 January 1926.  Many people these days probably know the "new house" as the home of Jimmie and Maggie Strickland Sellars, both of whom are now deceased.  Jimmie was the adopted son of R. M.'s son Daniel L. Sellars and his wife Lizzie Harper.  Lizzie was a daughter of Missouri Lester West (yes, R.M.'s second wife) and Levi Harper.  So far as I know, Daniel and Lizzie are not in this photograph.  Is that a further indication of the rift between R. M. and Missouri...?  Probably, but I don't really know.

The woman sitting to the right of R. M. in the photo is his sister Martha A. ("Matt") Veal, widow of Virgil Asa Veal, Sr., of DeKalb County, Georgia, and the woman to the left of R. M. is her daughter Lizzie Veal.  R. M.'s father, Jacob Benjamin Sellers (sic), and R. M.'s oldest brother, George Washington Sellars (sic) joined the 51st Georgia Infantry Regiment in Dooley or Calhoun County, Georgia, in 1862.  Jacob Benjamin died almost immediately thereafter.  George W. was wounded at Funkstown, Maryland, during Lee's retreat from Gettysburg in 1863.  He died from his wounds about a year later, in Georgia.  R. M.'s mother, Georgia Ann Joiner, died the same year his father died, 1862.  The children of Jacob Benjamin and Georgia Ann scattered.  At age 14 R. M. ran away from home... probably his maternal grandparents' house, and joined the 11th Georgia Infantry Regiment in Hawkinsville, Pulaski County, in 1862.  One of R. M.'s younger brothers, Alford Sellars, was raised by Virgil Asa Veal, Sr.'s uncle, Benjamin Franklin Veal, in DeKalb County.   So far as is known, other than Matt and Lizzie Veal, the people in the photo are R.M.'s children, his children's children, and their spouses; but many of the people in the photo have not been identified at this point.  In the following list (as well as above), all references to direction are from the observer's point of view:

Front row, L to R - (1) Unknown  (2) Unknown  (3) Unknown  (4) Unknown  (5) Unknown  (6) Herman Esker White [my father]  (7) John Louie/Lewey [known as "Louie"] White (8) William Charles [known as "Willie"] White, Sr.  (9) Unknown  (10) Unknown  (11) Freeman Maze Sellars  (12) Unknown  (13) Unknown

Second row, L to R - (1) [maybe?] Pauline Hudson  (2) Unknown  (3) Unknown  (4) Unknown  (5) Unknown  (6) Clyde Ross

Third row, L to R - (1) Grady Hudson  (2) Narcissa Sellars [wife of Grady Hudson]  (3) (close behind the smaller girl) Annice Vaine Griffin [wife of Green Wesley Wynn]   (4) LizzieVeal [daughter of Aunt Matt Veal]  (5) R. M. Sellars  (6) Martha A. [called "Matt" or "Mattie"] Veal [Richard M. Sellars' sister]  (7) Unknown  (8) Annie Lee [Last Name Unknown]  (9) Unknown  (10) Georgia Ann Sellars [wife of John Thomas Ross]  (11) John Thomas Ross

Fourth row, L to R - (1) Odessus Sellars

Fifth row, L to R - (1) Henry M. Sellars  (2) Mary [Last Name Unknown] [wife of Henry M. Sellars]  (3) Mary Florence [usually known as Florence] Sellars [wife of James S. Griffin]  (4) James Elbert [known as Elbert] Sellars  (5) Alice Paulina [known as "Aunt Pliner"] Singletary [wife of Elbert Sellars]  (6) Evy Sellars [wife of Henry Pyles]  (7) Charles Henry White  (8) Martha Bama [usually known as Bama] Sellars [wife of C. H. White]  (9) John Thomas Sellars  (10) Laura Wynn [wife of J. T. Sellars]  (11) Maudie Sellars [wife of Fred R. Harris]  (12) Wesley [usually known as Wes] Sellars

(Original identifying information obtained from Herman E. White in the 1980s was supplemented with information received from Louise Snowden in a letter dated 9 April 1998.  This was further updated on 27 April 1998, and corrected to add Lewey & Willie's nicknames on 3 March 2004.)

If anyone viewing this disagrees with any of the identifications, can identify any of the "unknowns", or has any additional information "of any way, shape, manner, or form"... or just wants to yell at me something about Missouri Harper one way or the other, please contact Richard White ( rw@pone.com ).  In my own defense, however... I don't make this stuff up.  I'm not that imaginative.  If you have different information, and/or a different opinion, let me know and I'll write it down too.

NOTE:  Many family members have copies of this photo.  The images seen here were made from the best copy that I have available to me, which was my grandmother Martha Bama Sellars White's copy.  Even in it faces are indistinct and some eyes have vanished into shadow.  An original photo may not be accurate in every detail, but I believe that the best I have is a copy made from a copy, not from the original negative... and as copies are made from copies, each "generation" loses detail.  Somewhere out there someone may have a sharper copy, made from the original negative.  If so, and if you have it and read this PLEASE contact me at rw@pone.com and help me get a crisper image distributed to the family.  The image is an "odd shape" by current standards and in at least one particular set of copies that my father had made in the late 1950s or early 1960s (and distributed to family members some of whom have since no doubt further made copies of it), Wesley Sellars and the front porch of the house were cut out of of the photo altogether.

This page was created by Richard White, Tallahassee, Florida, 29 April 2005.