History of Bucks County, Pa Volume 3 by William H. Davis
Names and Page # Index



JOHN DAVIS SELLS, of Hatboro, Pennsylvania, was born at Dublin, Ohio, May 4, 1857, and is a son of Dr. Holmes and Amy (Davis) Sells. His paternal ancestors were political refugees from the provinces along the Rhine and came to this country in the early part of the eighteenth century, settling in Virginia about 1750. His great-great-grandfather was John Sells, and in about 1780 his son, John Sells, Jr., moved out to the Scioto valley, in what was then called Virginia, and settled at a point about twelve miles from where the city of Columbus now stands, in the state of Ohio, county of Franklin. At this place his grandfather Charles, his father Holmes Sells and himself were born.

Dr. Holmes Sells was born at Dublin, Ohio, March 29, 1826, and finished his medical studies in Philadelphia at Jefferson College. He married, June 12, 1850, Amy Hart Davis, born June 24, 1827, daughter of John and Amy (Hart) Davis, and sister of General W. W. H. Davis, and began the practice of his profession at Dublin, Ohio, from which point he removed with his family to Atlanta, Georgia, in 1859, where he was proprietor of a large drug store and practiced medicine for many years. They were residents of Atlanta during its bombardment by General Sherman in the fall of 1864 and lived for six weeks in their cellar. Several shells struck the house and the kitchen was entirely demolished, the cooking stove being the only article of furniture uninjured. In the beginning of the siege a shell burst on the bed from which Mrs. Sells had recently risen, and the concussion threw her through a partially opened door into the yard. Dr. Sells was almost financially ruined by the destruction of his property during the war, and though entirely loyal to the Union he received no remuneration therefor. The family remained in Atlanta until the death of Dr. Sells in 1888. Mrs. Sells now resides with her sister at the old Davis homestead at Davisville. Dr. Holmes and Amy H. (Davis) Sells were the parents of two children: Charles Watts, born May 15, 1851, died September 9, 1862; and John Davis, the subject of this sketch. Charles Watts Sells had an extraordinary talent for music, and though dying at the early age of eleven years was quite a noted performer on the piano.

John Davis Sells was reared in Atlanta, Georgia. He entered Lehigh University, class of 1876, and finished his education at the University of Georgia, graduating in the class of 1876. He came north to live in 1877, and while residing at Davisville took up the study of law in the office of Hon. Harman Yerkes, at Doylestown, and was admitted to the Bucks county bar in June, 1882. In the fall of the same year he removed to Pottsville, Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, and being admitted to the bar of that county practiced law there for ten years. In 1893 he went to Washington to fill a governmental position under President Cleveland, which he retained for two years. 1895 he removed to Philadelphia and engaged in the iron and steel business, becoming associated with the Royersford Foundry and Machine Company, Inc., manufacturers of power transmission machinery, in which he has an interest, and is manager of the "power department" with offices at 43 North Seventh street. Mr. Sells resides with his family at Hatboro, Montgomery county Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Society Sons of Revolution, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Trans-Atlantic Society, and is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity. He married, June 6, 1889, Ella Lane Schofield, daughter of Samuel Lane Schofield, of Scotch Irish ancestry, one of the pioneer civil engineers in locating the original surveys of several of the early railroads of Pennsylvania. His early ancestors settled in Philadelphia about 1745. On the maternal side Mrs. Sells is a great-great-granddaughter of Michael Kauffman, one of the original settlers of Lancaster county. Mr. and Mrs. Sells have one daughter, Elizabeth Davis Sells, a graduate of Hatboro high school, who now attends St. Mary’s Hall, Burlington, New Jersey.

Text taken from p 327

Davis, William W. H., A. M. History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania [New York-Chicago: The Lewis PublishingCompany, 1905] Volume III

Transcribed May, 2002 as part of the Bucks Co., Pa., Early Family Project, www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/bucksindex.html

Published May 2002 on the Bucks County, Pa., USGenWeb pages at www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/

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