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Robert my Father

By Tracy Self

Seawolf…. he said,
His voice like a growl,
It assaulted the ear,
Like an unearthly howl.

The clerk staggered back,
At the man he beheld,
He stammered and blinked,
Like he’d been assailed.

Fear stalked his mind,
"Do I dare repeat ?
He cleared his throat,
His voice an entreat.

He said, " Sire if you please,
I don’t wish to offend,
But what was the name,
Repeat it again ?"

The large man just stared,
At the clerk trembling there,
Then he seemed to soften,
And started with care.

" It appears I offend,
I mean it not to be so,
My name is Seawolf,
And to the New Land I go."

The clerks narrow face,
Split into a grin,
He wrote the name down,
With his well sharpened quill pen.

He turned to watch him,
As he strode up the plank,
That led from the dock,
Onto the great sailing ships flank.

So many I’ve seen,
Caught up in their vision,
Of freedom and land in the New World,
When they view reality some lack decision.

But there strides a man,
Rushing towards the dream he is seeking
With a look in his eye, Saying,
" From the far horizon my future is peeking."

"Oh Robert my father,
Where do you hide,
For the sake of posterity,
On what ship did you ride ? "


This is dedicated to Barbara Ann Peck Who inspired it in me.

Tracy L. Self December 31, 1998


by Sherrie Chard

Julia A. Chitwood was born Nov. 1833 in Illinois. She arrived in Oregon on October 1, 1853 with her father's wagon train. William Selph was born in Nashville, TN on April 1, 1828. He crossed the plains on his way to Oregon in 1848. Julia Chitwood and William M. Selph were married on the 26th day of September A.D. 1858.

Their Marriage Certificate Reads: Territory of Oregon County of Polk This is to certify that the undersigned, a Minister of the Gospel, did on the 26th day of Sept. A.D. 1858, join in lawful wedlock W. M. Selph and Julia A. Chitwood with Their Mutual consent in presence of Jefferson Chitwood and R. A. Ray witnesses H. M. Waller. Recorded Dec. 23, 1858

William Selph had a ferry over the Willamette River near Salem, Oregon. He and Julia had four children, at least three of them born in the area. From the Salem Town area (now known as Salemtown, located in Polk County) the family moved to Sams Valley, Oregon, located in Jackson County. In [the Census of] 1870 he is listed as a Farmer.

Julia A. Selph died at Sams Valley on July 8, 1873 and is buried in the tiny cemetery there. On her tombstone it says--"she was a kind and affectionate wife, a fond Mother, and a friend to all." William Selph later lived in Jackenville, Oregon for a while. He was in Kerby, Oregon when he died on Nov. 3, 1912 and is buried at Kerby beside Mononi A. Morrison.


Adah Melbridge--born July 16, 1859 at Salem, Oregon; died Aug. 11, 1949 at Jefferson, Oregon--is buried at Oregon Pioneer Cemetery at Salem, Oregon.

Edgar--born 1860

James Omby--born April 2, 1862; died at one year of age from diphtheria Oct. 19, 1863--is buried in the Oregon Pioneer Cemetery at Salem, Oregon.

Cynthia A. M.--born Nov. 22, 1865; died Aug. 23, 1888. She is buried at Sams Valley, Oregon next to her Mother. This sweet little poem is inscribed on her tombstone: "Fold her O Father in Thine arms and let her henceforth be a messenger of love between our human hearts and thee."

Edgar Selph left home when quite young with some horse traders. His sister, Adah, worried about him a lot, but he acquired an education and became the Judge of Los Angeles County, California. Adah, his sister, liked his nice little wife. Edgar and his wife had two boys, Ewald and Raymond.

Ewald Selph grew up to become Secretary to the president of the Philippines. He came home on the Gripshome when that ship evacuated a lot of Americans from the Philippines at the start of WWII.

Raymond Selph worked for [the author's grandfather] Crook Epperly at the Columbia Mine. He also attended college at Oregon State and was a big football star while going there.

William Selph had a 665 acre homestead in Polk County, Gold Precinct [as of the] 19th day of June 1860.


by Vic Weals

NOTE: This article first appeared in Vic Weals' column in the Knoxville Journal on Thursday, June 5, 1952. It was contributed to this page by Walter Self Barnes with permission of the author.

Seventy-five years of memories, as recited by L. P. Self, the man they belong to:

L. P.'s oldest recollections are of the tales told by his grandfather Louis L. [Lewis F.] Self, at the homeplace in Greeneville. And Louis Self's proudest memories were of his young years as a tailor's apprentice.

The Man [sic] he learned the tailor's trade from was Andrew Johnson, who later was to become president of the United States.

Young Louis [Lewis F.] after a short time put aside his needle and thread for the more profitable business of running a general store near Greeneville. [Note: the location of the store should be Embreeville, pos. Washington Co., TN. This Co. is nextdoor, N.E., from Greene Co.--WSB]

That was in a day when many storekeepers "traded" with their customers in the true sense. And Louis had a good customer who ran an iron furnace in the mountains nearby.

The pigs of iron that Louis took in trade kept piling up in a corner of the store until he one day decided to build a flatboat and float them down to Chattanooga.

He sold the iron at Chattanooga, and along with his brother who had made the trip, built a smaller skiff and floated on down river - through Northern Alabama, back up into Tennessee and on up into Kentucky following the current of the Tennessee River until it swept them into the Ohio.


Down the Ohio River and into the Mississippi and finally they put ashore at a place in Arkansas, where they took a job as teamsters on a mule train to the frontier.

They enjoyed that job while the Western Prairies were new to them. Then when the novelty wore off, they started back, on foot, headed for Greeneville once more.

But on the long walk home they heard talk of the new steam railway just completed in Alabama - the first railroad in the South.

They'd like to see that, they said to each other. So they made a wide detour, several hundred miles out of their way and every step of it walking.


At last they came to the town that was the end of the line for the iron horse. And Louis, who lived to be more than 91 years old and talked about it to the last, would say:

"Don't you know that when we went in one end of town, that dad burned thing went out the other!"

That was in the 1830's, however, when trains made a top speed of about four miles per hour. The Self brothers could trot faster than that, and trot they did, until they overtook it on the other side of town, and finally were able to see the new marvel they had traveled so many hundreds of miles to see.


The boys soaked in that sight - never forgot a detail. Louis [Lewis F.] in later years often would recall that the rails were made of wood, with a thin iron strip fastened to the top of the wood for a running surface.

These strips sometimes would come loose and curl up at the ends. When they did, they were called snakeheads, and a man always rode the front of the engine, on the lookout for snakeheads, ready to run ahead and hold them down until the train passed over.

Louis [Lewis F.] Self lived until early in this century, long enough to see a great progress in railways and locomotives.


L. P. [Lewis Percy] Self was a young man in his twenties when he came to Knoxville in May of 1901. Went to work then for the old Knoxville Electric Co., keeping books and walking from house to house collecting light bills.

He's been in the electrical business in some form or another ever since.

L. P. remembers the early days of radio, when the price of sets was so high that television now looks cheap in comparison. When he was running an appliance store on Gay Street, he recalls that one day he had a big radio set in the doorway.

A woman stopped to look at it and asked the price. L. P. told her it was $575.

"At that price it ought to have wheels on it so you could ride it to church on Sunday," the woman snorted as she stomped away.


It was in the 1920's, before there was a station in Knoxville, that a fight was to be broadcast from KDKA in Pittsburgh. Self had a radio at home, one of the few sets yet installed in his neighborhood.

He invited about 30 friends over that evening. They turned the set on about an hour before the broadcast, and music came in as clear as a bell.

But as the time for the fight neared, the static got worse and worse. "It finally got so bad we couldn't even hear the bell ring between rounds," L. P. recalls.


I said "75 years of memories," but L. P. won't be 75 until October. He still comes to work on Church Avenue every morning, and stays all day, six days a week.


by Kay Self Stevens, "A Yankee Self"

Claude Self and Elizabeth Dober met at the insane asylum in Jacksonville, Illinois. That was always a family joke and one of Grandpa's favorite lines, so I'm told. {They both worked there at the time.} Claude also worked for his stepdad, Lambert Hastings, on the farm, where they raised Percheon horses and hay. Claude's daddy, George Preston Self, a farmer, died when Claude was pretty young. The story goes that they had had some company and he was seeing them off on the train in Jacksonville, Illinois, and when the train began to move and pick up speed, he jumped off and he must have ruptured something because he became quite ill and died after suffering extreme pain for several days. Claude's nickname was "Bud". He went to the Central Christian Church in Jacksonville. Rev. R. F. Thrapp was their minister. George Preston's dad was James Harvey Self, Esquire. He was considered a prosperous farmer of his day. His father was Presley Self who was also a farmer. Presley and Julianna moved with their family from Fayette County, Kentucky in 1831. Presley's daddy was Charnock Self who was born in Virginia and moved to Kentucky by 1790 and raised his family in the Fayette County area. Claude Self was a farmer. He was a homesteader who moved up from Woodson, Illinois, where he was born, to Ada, Minnesota, when the railroad began to offer free transporting of all your worldly goods including livestock and machinery on the train, to come up here to Minnesota and settle in the NW Territory. Grandpa bought 160 acres from the railroad. They must have planted trees as soon as they got here, as there was quite a grove running a full half a mile to the east, where the old pasture land was located. He built a grand two-story house with a big front sitting porch, a barn, a pigbarn, a poultryshed, a granery and dug a potato cellar, erected a corn crib, and with his trusty old horseteam began to farm this acreage. The story goes that Grandma hated it up here and never did warm up. When Grandpa Claude died, she took him back to Illinois and buried him in the family plot and then packed up her things and moved to Seattle, Washington, where it was warmer. The only thing that remains is the house and granery now. My dad, Orval Self, farmed this same farm for over forty years before he retired. They built a garage and erected several steel grain bins on the place. They also got rid of the outdoor toilet in the sixties. That was Mom's idea. He hated to do that because he always went out there when we had a house full of company. I can remember when we got electricity and water in the house. It was in the late forties sometime. Sometime in the early fifties, we got a television and we had one station to watch from our local area. We used to sit and watch the test pattern for an hour before the actual television shows came on. I just paid a fortune for an old Alladdin kerosene lantern, similar to the ones we had on the farm. I wonder what happened to all the "old stuff" we used to have and use on the farm. It must have sold on the farm auction when retirement came around. "The Farm" was always the gathering place on Sunday's after church for the many members (14 bros and sisters) of my mothers' family to eat, visit, and catch up on the local happenings. My mother was a Norwegian, 100%, so we always had plenty to eat. She could make food stretch to feed a multitude, no matter how many showed up. Jello was always on the table. Green Jello with grated carrots and a dollop of mayonnaise or red jello with bananas and a spoon of cream over the top was normal fare. My dad, Orval, loved fried chicken. We grew our own chickens so there was always plenty of chicken to go around. My grandpa and grandma had brought enough of the southern traditions with them that followed through in our eating habits. Mom faithfully learned all these tricks of southern cooking so fried green tomatoes and radish sandwiches were among our favorites. Mom's rommegrot just never quite caught on like the fried chicken. She made the best relish in Minnesota, though and I have adapted it to the southern chow-chow (hot) that is so popular in Kentucky. Since I married a Kentuckian, I needed to learn all the southern traditional foods including BEANS. The first time I ever fixed beans, I was in tears before the day was over. I soaked a big pot of navy beans overnight and began to prepare them just like my Mom used to, by adding ham and bacon, molasses and brown sugar and cooked them until they were done and they smelled marvelous, I thought, until my husband got home, and took one look and smell and asked me what in the world I had done to the beans??!! He was used to the pintos with ham hocks and onions and hot peppers and garlic with fried potatoes and cornbread. I was broken-hearted, of course, and promptly learned how to fix beans the southern way but he also learned how to eat them the northern way too and likes them, second best. That's how come we have been married for over 36 years. Tying up with a Self ain't all bad, you know.


by Larry R. Brown, July 12, 1997

From the estate settlement document dated July 14, 1849 we know that it is for Isaac Self Snr after the death of his wife, Nancy. We can conclude from this that Isaac died before Nancy. The document does not mention the words child, children, or grandchildren. It instead says "heirs" and from the document itself we can see that some of the heirs listed are children and some are grandchildren. We cannot tell from the document if the children and grandchildren are natural or adopted, but each heir is given equal status. It appears that grandchildren are fisted only if their parent who was a child of Isaac is deceased by July 14, 1849.

Children are each given approximately the same amount of money. Grandchildren are given their parent's share divided by the number of children that child of Isaac Self Snr. had.

So from the document we can conclude that Elijah Self Snr., Vinson Self, John Self and Celia Self, wife of Jonathan Moreland, are children of Isaac Self, Snr. and they are still living on July 14, 1849. Isaac Self, Jr. is also a child, having already gotten his share of the estate and apparently still living on July 14, 1849.

The other children listed are deceased by July 14, 1849. They are William Self (with his children listed), Betsey Ware (whose children are listed), Job Self (whose children are listed), and Becky Burlison (whose children are unknown to the court and of course not listed.)

In the settlement of the estate document there are two Williams, two Vinsons, two Isaacs and two Elijahs listed. What we cannot identify from the document is exactly which William Self, for example, is a son of Isaac Self Snr. But we have important clues. We have the names of his children. Also we know that daughter Celia married Jonathan Moreland and that Betsey married a Ware, and Becky married a Burlison. We also do not know if Isaac Self Snr. had more children who may have been deceased by July 14, 1849, If he did they apparently had no heirs to inherit part of the estate.

Another important point to make is that the document does not say if Nancy is the mother of these heirs of Isaac Self, Snr.

A War of 1812 widow's pension for Rebecca Self in Blount Co., Ala. Says that she was the widow of William Self, that he married Rebecca Ware in Rhea Co., Tn. July 1, 1811. There is a list of their children with dates of birth. That list coincides almost exactly with the list of heirs of Williams Self in the estate settlement document. The differences have been explained by further research. For example Nelson Self is listed as John in the pension application and listed as John N. in other documents. Further the pension document says that William died August 3, 1846. We do not know his date of birth. Census records give his date of birth as 1790/1800. Also census documents give Rebecca's date of birth as about 1793. We have one child of Isaac Self Snr pinned down and some important clues to find the others.

A Jonathan Moreland is on census of Jefferson Co., Al from 1830 to 1850. In 1850 we see that his wife is Celia. She was bom about 1792 in North Carolina. This evidence is circumstantial, but suggests we have the correct child of Isaac Self, Snr. Further Jonathan Moreland is on many other Self documents and I think is important in building a case for some of the other children and grandchildren.

The War of 1812 pension application for Jacob Ware says that he married (1) Elizabeth Self in Rhea Co., Tn. August 18, 1813 and that she died in August of 1842. She is buried in Ware Cemetery, Clay Community, Jefferson Co., Ala. Her tombstone has been vandalized and dates cannot be read. The 1830 and 1840 census shows a female in the household of Jacob Ware to have been bom 1780/90. It shows no female bom 1790/1800. The tombstone for Jacob Ware says that he was bom in 1792. It appears that Betsey was slightly older than Jacob. What we have here is not proof that this is the daughter of Isaac, but is best available evidence and we are building a case in that direction with marriage in Rhea Co., Tn. Also Jacob Ware's second marriage was to a woman who was a niece of Catherine Taylor who married Elijah Self

It required more research to pin Becky down. A Rebecca Henson married Mchael Burleson in Jefferson Co., Al. Sept. 8, 1822. Also in Jefferson Co. Mchael Burleson was the administrator of the estate of Solomon Henson. In Rhea Co., Tn. December 18, 1815 Rebecca Self married Solomon Henson. Becky was bom 1790/1800. Again this is not definite proof, but best available evidence.

A Jobe Self married Peggy Burleson Jan. 16, 1824 in Jefferson Co., Ala. According to Burleson family research, William Self and Timothy Self are living with Burleson family members related to Peggy in the 1850 census. Since there are no other Job Selfs in the area of Jefferson County at the correct time period, I tend to believe this is the correct one.

The other children of Isaac Self Snr. are more difficult to pin down and here is where the difference of opinion among researchers comes in. The following is strictly my opinion based on the above information.

We know that the Presley Self (1763-1855) who was in Blount Co., Al. In 1830 had a son, John. We also know that Isaac Self Snr. had a son John. There is only one known John Self in the Alabama area who could be a son of either man. That is the John Self bom about 1805 in Tn. He married Cassey Vann July 3, 1829 in Jefferson Co., Ala. I am listing him as a son of Isaac Snr, but he could very well be a son of Presley. This Presley is believed to be a brother of the Isaac Self Snr under discussion.

There appears to be only one Vinson Self who is of the correct age and location to be the Vinson listed in the estate document as a son of Isaac Snr. That man is Vinson/Vincent G. Self who married Louisa Loggins January 9, 1819 in St. Clair Co., Ala. Territory. He was bom about 1798 in Tn. This VinsonNincent apparently moved from Jefferson Co. to Blount Co., Ala. in the 1830's and was the father of the Elijah Self who founded and named the community of Selfville. However, the Self name of Isaac is not carried forward in Vincent Self's line.

There are several Isaac Selfs in Alabama in the 1800's. As many as three could be a son of Isaac Self Snr. Isaac Self Jr sold land to Isaac Self Snr in 1839 in Jefferson Co., Al. and apparently moved out of the state. According to the 1830 census he was born 1800/10, This Isaac Self married Patsy Miles December 14, 1820 in Jefferson Co., Al. The above mentioned Presley Self also had a son named Isaac.

There are at least two Elijah Selfs and one Eli Self in Alabama of the correct age to be a son of Isaac Self Snr. Eli is mentioned on the 1816 Alabama census as having one male in the household over 2 1. He is also on an 1821 muster roll for a Blount Co., Ala. Mlitia unit. One Elijah Self is on the same 1821 muster roll and was in Blount Co. records in 1818. The Eli Self moved to Arkansas and seems to have always been called Eli in the records. I believe him to be a cousin, not a son of Isaac Self, Snr. An Elijah Self married Polly Henson May 10, 1812 in Rhea Co., Tn. with Jonathan Moreland as bondsman. And in Jefferson Co., Ala. in 1837 in Jefferson Co., Ala. Elijah and Polly Self give permission for their daughter, Emiline to marry. I believe this Elijah Self to be the son of Isaac Snr, but one problem with this is the lack of documents for him. I have found him on no census. He should have been in Alabama in 1830 so the census takers missed him unless he was living in the household of a relative.

There is also a difference of opinion among Self researchers on the children of Betsey Ware. Some have problems with her having children with the surname of Self. It is true that I have not seen a marriage record of her marring a Self, but many marriage records have been lost over the years. It is clearly stated in the estate settlement that Elijah and Nathaniel Self are her heirs. We know that Betsey was married to Jacob Ware from 1813 until her death in 1842. So, the two Self men listed as her heirs were born before 1813 and after 1800, probably after 1805? The most likely chain of events is that Betsey Self married another Self sometime after 1800 and he died before her marriage to Jacob Ware.

Nathaniel is not a common Self name before 1800. The earliest Nathaniel Self I have found is a Nathan/Nathaniel Self who married Ursula Burleson in 1816 in Rutherford Co., Tn. He bought land in Marion Co., Al. According to the 1850 census he was born about 1891 in North Carolina. Therefore he is too old to be a son of Betsey. The only Nathaniel Self of a correct age to be a son is the Nathaniel Self who married Parmelia Loggins August 19, 1824 in Jefferson Co., Ala. Major Loggins gave permission for Parmelia and Jonathan Moreland, guardian for Nathaniel Self gave permission for him. This document says three things about Nathaniel. First, his father was deceased, second, he was under the age of 2 1, and third he had a relationship to the Isaac Self Snr family because of the Jonathan Moreland connection. Census records show that Nathaniel was born about 1804/05 in Hawkins Co., Tn. Other documents show him to have been in the 1836 Indian Wars in Florida, that he lived in the Clay Community area of Jefferson Co,, and that he and Elijah Self bought land together at one time. This Nathaniel Self is the likely son of Betsey Ware by an unknown first husband.

An Elijah Self (1809-90) married Catherine Taylor November 22, 1827 in Jefferson Co., Al. He was a prominent Methodist clergyman. Documents and family tradition say that he came to the Clay Community of Jefferson Co., Al. in 1817 and remained there the rest of his life. Family tradition says that his father was also named Elijah, but does not mention the name of his mother.

Naming patterns of children and grandchildren show a close association with the Isaac Self Snr family. Many Self researchers have him listed as a son of Isaac Self Snr. I thought so too at one time, but now I think he was a grandson, the son of Betsey Self Ware and an unknown first husband, possibly named Elijah Self. Also there is no other Elijah Self associated with the family that fits this narrow birth range (1805-13) for Elijah, son of Betsey. It was a common pattern in the 1800's for a man and wife to marry young and have a large family while in their 20's and 30's, and sometimes early 40's. If a man married a younger woman he might have children into his 50's and rarely after age 60. According to the 1830 census Isaac Self Snr was born 1750/60 and Nancy, his wife was born 1760/70. In 1809 Isaac would have been aged 50/60 and Nancy aged 40/50. It is unlikely that the Elijah born in 1809 is their son.

The two children of Betsey Self and Jacob Ware were John N. Ware born about 1819, who had a son named Henderson, and Hulda born about 1825. She married Calvin S. Morrison June 24, 1840 in Jefferson Co., Ala. Hulda had a son she named Elijah Morrison. Elijah Self (1809-90) had a son he named Nathaniel Henderson Self. Also the name of Henderson Self is carried for several generations in the above Vincent/Vinson G. Self line. One grandson is named Nathaniel Henderson Self Several researchers have suggested that Nancy, wife of Isaac Snr, had the maiden name of Henderson. That is quite possible, but I have seen no documentation to support that claim.


by Linda Pack

Southern families who care about each other make a point to get together as often as possible. Some people say that Southerners are more family-oriented than others from outside our realm. I do not profess to know if this is actually true, but the Southern tradition of family reunions would seem to support this. I thought about this while standing around in the shade at our last Self Reunion in May of 1995. I noticed what a fascinating family we have! The members are not only fond of each other, but generally friendly to those who came into our family by "writ" instead of by birth. My daddy would have said, "Bringing new blood into the herd is how they developed the Santa Gertrudis." It is wonderful to have such wonderful in-laws come into our "herd" and add new blood. Our family has spawned a lot of successful people from all walks of life. We have had business men and women, salesmen, merchants, teachers, shoe repairmen, boot makers, farmers, ministers, veterinarian, secretaries, bookkeeper, armed forces members and so on.

The event that brings the Self family together for their reunion occurs every other Memorial weekend (normally the last weekend in May) at the City Park in Stephenville, Texas. And they don't come just to eat! It is to greet those we love and to meet the new in-laws! It is to look at the new babies and not just to see whose eyes they have but to get a glimpse of the future in their eyes! Mostly, it is to keep in spiritual touch with those who attained their own earthly immortality by being part of a family we all believe in!

(This article was first published in the Sea Wolf Sentinel, the official publication of the descendants of George Washington Self and Margaret Ann (Miller) Self. The reunion was held this year on June 1 in Stephenville, TX.)


by Sherry B. Bell

"Baby, are you messin' with that mule?" "No Grandpa, I ain't doin' nothin' to that mule!" The question was asked several times, and each time my mother, then about six years old, gave the same reply. This early thirties conversation was between James Ambrose Self, born in Henry County, Virginia on April 22, 1868 and my Mom, Shirley Ann Self Bennett, born in Rockingham County, North Carolina on December 13, 1927. Grandpa Self would take Mom on mule rides and while he led the mule down the dirt road, she would tickle the mule's ears to make him shake his head. Every time the mule shook his head, Grandpa jerked on the rope and told the mule to behave, and then ask my Mom if she was sure she wasn't doing anything to the mule. I learned from an older cousin that Mom was likely Grandpa's favorite, probably because he saw a little of his cantankerous nature in her. Through the magic of Internet we share names and dates and perhaps a few stories like this one. How exciting it would be to pass along a memory to match each name as far as history can take us, but who could have known that so many would become obsessed with the past, perhaps because the present leaves us to question our future. I'd like to offer some insights I've discovered which I suspect many will identify with, and invite you to share your memories while we journey together through the lives and times of the Self family. James Ambrose Self is the furthest I personally remember into my Self heritage. He was my Grandpa's Dad, and as did most of my relatives, grew up not far from where our first Robert Selfe from England settled. He worked on the family farm, attended school, and then married Anna Mae White on December 21, 1887 in Rockingham County, North Carolina where I live today. I'm told she could be descended from Pocahontas, but I've yet to research the possible link through the names White and Hankins. James owned a large farm and saw mill, worked for the railroad, and was a Surveyor of roads and Justice of the Peace. His last job was Supervisor of Plant Maintenance for a large factory. James was a respected man who enjoyed visitors to his home. He was a good storyteller and as implied earlier, a bit eccentric. Anna went to Nebraska as a young girl on a covered wagon, returning to Virginia after a few years. Rumor has it that those descended from this particular family get their love of dancing through her in that she said she danced to music around the campfire every night on the wagon trail. She is remembered as an extremely gentle and kind lady who always spoke with respect of others. She died in 1953 when I was one year old and James died in 1959 when I was seven. They had ten children and 32 grandkids of which I'm aware. One of the children was my beloved Grandpa, George Dewey Self, Sr. who was born August 26, 1898 and was married on August 12, 1919 to my Grandma, Hallie Rivers Barksdale who was born April 29, 1903; both now deceased. Ultimately our dedicated and qualified Webpage Editors will have my lineage files, as well as any you may send, available for viewing, so I won't continue with specific ancestry. I would; however, like to point out some fascinating traits that are repeating in the information being submitted to this site. Apparently the Selfs have several strong genes which continue to exist through the descendants. In each generation of my research I have found men who fought for the freedom which we enjoy, from the World Wars to the American Revolution. I've also noted, at least in my direct lineage, that they survived these trials to live, quite often very long lives. I understand old age is showing up in many reports. The Selfs are definitely hardy people, and many had large families even during the time before modern medicine had saved us from some of the hardships they endured. Not knowing how to put this delicately, I will only say that intimacy was enjoyed in every Self marriage I've known about. This explains the large families and even multiple marriages, with some having outlived one or more spouses. A rather amusing common factor seems to be a love of chocolate, let me emphasize, LOVE OF CHOCOLATE! Now, shall we talk about stubbornness, argumentative dispositions; oh, let's just call it determination. The Selfs wrote the guidelines for proper debating tactics. There's a saying, though I don't know who said it, that states "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything"; well, a Self will surely stand for what he/she believes in, to the level of insanity. I've heard tales of my Grandpa's brother's political disputes ending in fist-fights among themselves. Did I mention fiery tempers? Does slow to anger, quick to kick a lawn mower sound familiar? The only person I can't out-argue is a male Self, even one who is just Self through his mother's bloodline, like my son. He will argue all day only to agree to my original view, once he has worn me down and won the battle. He's my pride and joy, but I win very few differences of opinion with this one. Speaking of him, a quality that skipped me but which he got double doses of is an absolutely incredible analytical mind. He's like so many Self descendants who are highly intelligent, excelling in Math and anything mechanical or computerized. Something which I was surprised to learn might well be a characteristic of some Selfs is that of being the black sheep in the family. More often than not, each family seems to have one; not by choice but rather almost as if fulfilling some design in the family order. I'm not suggesting worthlessness, but rather the tendency to make wrong choices and humbly accept that for some reason "bad luck" seems to precede still another lesson in life. Also, as proven by the fact that Selfs are found all over the United States and elsewhere, they are noted for having what is referred to in my family as "itchy feet" or feeling that the grass is always greener in another place. Those who do not possess this characteristic usually are more inclined to need family closeness and familiar surroundings, but I suspect when this occurs it is just a different bloodline influence from another branch of the tree holding a Self down to earth. Something obvious in our former relatives and which continues strong in my family today is a firm Christian faith and honest character, beginning with some of my ancestors who came to this country specifically to escape religious persecution. One of the most endearing traits my Grandpa had, which I happily inherited, was his ability to stay young at heart. He loved life, was always a wonderful companion for kids, and even after spending almost twenty years as a semi-invalid due to a severe stroke, kept his faith and never ever failed to greet me with a smile. I can see him in my memories, and what greater legacy than to be missed not just by family but indeed all who knew him. Finally, evidence supports majority opinion that the Selfs are downright good-looking people; handsome men, beautiful women, and cute kids, plus you'll never forget the twinkle in the soft blue authentic Self eyes, even though I've got my Grandma's brown ones. Long live the Selfs and those who love us; now seize the day and get better acquainted!


by Larry Brown

By way of introduction my name is Larry Brown and I have been doing research on the Self family for about twenty years. Yes, you can call me an old timer, but I am not an expert on the Self family.

The following story was sent to me by Homer Self of Hornbeck, La about 1988. He got the story from one of his cousins, Minnie Gordon March, born in the 1890's and granddaughter of the couple involved. Homer did Self research for about forty years. I have edited the information he sent me. He died in 1993.

This is to his memory.

Job Self married Mary Jones in Franklin Co., NC in 1806. She was 1/2 Cherokee Indian. They had several children together including Nancy Jane and James. After Mary died Job married Tamer Stringfellow and had several children with her. Sometime in the 1820's the family moved to Autauga Co., Al. and bought land.

In 1836 Mordica Jones visited the Self home with two of Job's kinfolk. They were working on a wagon train, helping to move some Indians from Ga or Fl to somewhere "away yonder", either Ar or Ok. Mordica and Nancy Jane fell in love and wanted to marry, but Tamera was against it. Remembering Nancy's Jones connection and knowing that Mordica was part Indian, Tamera thought they might be kin. Mordica tried to explain to her that was not possible because he was part Creek not Cherokee. Tamer said, "An Indian is an Indian and if they have the same name they are kin." Job had no particular objection to the marriage, but left all that up to his wife.

Mordica knew he would never change Tamer's mind so one night he and Nancy ran away. He opened the horse stables and let the horses out so he and Nancy would have a head start. Next morning Tamer discovered they were gone and sent her brother James after them as soon as he rounded up a horse. James caught up to them after two days. James was mad, not because they wanted to get married (he understood that), but because of the way they went about it. Thinking of his sister's honor James asked Mordica how they had spent their nights. When Mordica said he and Nancy had been together, James replied, "I've a good mind to kill you, but, by God, you're going to marry her now where you want to or not!" So they were married. James stood up for Nancy in their father's stead.

Nancy said that Tamer never spoke to her, Mordica or James for more than three years after that. Mordica was "black as an ace of spades and meaner than a rattle snake" but he and James became good friends. Mordica never crossed James and James made sure that Mordica was good to his sister.

(EDITORS' Note: Among his other accomplishments, Cousin Larry Brown is the co-author [with Edna Earle James] of the book Self Heritage, c1984. This book is a genealogy of the descendants of Isaac Self, Sr., born 1750/60, probably in NC, and d. in Jefferson Co., AL. It has formed the basis for most of what we know about this branch of the family and contains pictures and facsimiles of documents. To obtain a copy of this book, write to the publisher, The Gregath Press, at P.O. Box 1045, Cullman, AL 35056-1045. However, because it is technically out of print, there may be a long delay even if the publisher is able to supply it.)


by Tim W. Seawolf-Self and Barbara Ann Peck

We can trace our family tree all the way back to Olde Robert Selfe--well, almost. See, there's a couple of generations between Thomas and Job that get a little fuzzy. We're pretty sure that the connection is through William Self and his son Elijah, but there don't seem to be any documents to prove our theory. We live a long way from the North Carolina and Georgia homes of our ancestors, and even if we were able to go there, we might discover that "the courthouse burned down and all the records before 1900 have been destroyed."

Sound familiar? Lack of proof is one of the greatest frustrations for most Self researchers. And the problem is made worse by the fact that members of our respective Self families often lived in several different states during their lifetimes and many children were born while their parents were just passing through one area on their way to another.


Recently, the Los Angeles Times presented an article concerning the discovery of a 9,000-year-old skeleton in a cave near the village of Cheddar, located southwest of London. Through the modern miracle of DNA testing, scientists at Oxford identified a local teacher as a direct descendant of this ancient Stone Age male now known fondly as the "Cheddar Man."

DNA testing is a routine procedure most often used in producing evidence relating to criminal investigation, such as that presented in the O.J. Simpson trial. Another test is used in "paternity suits" where the identity of a child's father may be in question. The comparison of DNA samples from the tooth cavity of "Cheddar Man" to cheek swab samples from the school teacher was basically similar to these tests.


All human beings contain a similar "base sequence" of DNA molecules which distinguishes them from members of other species. But each individual person, with the exception of identical twins, has a slightly different set of specific sequences that are repeated a varying number of times, thus making the DNA of each person totally unique. This singular "genetic code" is a much better means of identification than fingerprints because it's found in every cell and can't be easily destroyed. Scientists can even extract DNA samples from the skeletons of those long deceased, such as that belonging to "Cheddar Man."

Once the DNA is extracted, it's cut into tiny fragments by means of a "restrictive enzyme" and separated into bands. The band pattern is transferred to a nylon membrane and eventually to an X-ray film which is developed to display the "DNA fingerprint." The "fingerprint" resembles a barcode. This process is then repeated several different times in order to reduce the probability that two unrelated people may have identical "barcodes."


One exciting implication of the use of DNA testing in the "Cheddar Man" discovery is the possibility of its application to genealogical research. In cases where concrete proof of ancestry in the form of documentation is unavailable, it's tempting to envision doing the same kind of comparison between oneSelf and one's assumed ancestor. After all, if a connection can be made over a span of 9,000 years, surely it would be possible to produce the same conclusions when the time elapsed is only a few centuries.

In researching this article, I've learned that because of the almost infinite amounts of specific sequences and repetitions of genetic code, it might be possible to discover just which branch of a family you belong to. The distinctions may be so fine that one could differentiate between descent from one of several siblings. Instead of working backwards from our present-day generations, we could take a DNA sample from a deceased person of a certain surname or geographic location and compare it to samples from all others with that name or living in that particular area. The "Cheddar Man" experiment may open up many new possibilities for finding our ancestors.


There are still a few barriers to the utilization of DNA testing for purposes of genealogical research, and these obstacles make it a totally impractical solution at the present time.

First, there is the expense. All medical and scientific tests are fairly costly today, and most DNA testing is limited to criminal investigations and questions of paternity. The number of people who could afford the initial high cost of performing these tests on themselves and their ancestors for purposes of genealogical research would probably be so small at first that the fees for the procedures would be exorbitant. And, if the results were inconclusive or disappointing, people would not be willing to spend a great deal of money to obtain them, and thus the costs would remain high.

Then, there are practical, ethical, and legal considerations. The gravesite of your ancestor would have to be located. Once it was found, you would have to decide if you truly wished to disturb his rest. If so, then you would probably have to obtain permission from the authorities to exhume the body in order to procure a DNA sample from the remaining tissue. It seems obvious that you would have to be almost positive of your relationship to that person before undertaking all that is involved just to extract your ancestor's DNA.

Finally, there are the limits of technology itself. A friend of mine once agreed to submit to a "blood test" to prove that he was not the father of his girlfriend's baby and therefore not responsible for its support. To his relief, the test showed that he was not the child's parent. His girlfriend demanded to know how positive the test results were. She was told by hospital staff that the test could definitely prove who was not the father, but it could not conclusively prove who the father really was. This incident took place almost thirty years ago, but while we've made great advances towards understanding the mysteries of genetic coding since then, we still have a long way to go. For example, the test used to determine the relationship of the English school teacher to "Cheddar Man" was done on "mitochondrial DNA," which is inherited through one's mother's ancestry. "Nuclear DNA," the DNA form common to both sexes, is not yet easy to extract from bones beyond a certain age. Thus, if "Cheddar Man" had had a family surname, it would definitely not be the same as the one belonging to the teacher.


The "Cheddar Man" experiment has opened the door to some fascinating implications for future genealogical research. Someday, our descendants may not have to piece together old documents and agonize over the frustration of never knowing for certain who their fifth great grandfather might have been. Rather, they will check their own DNA to see if it matches that of their suspected ancestor and provide a barcode in place of a will or a deed to serve as evidence of their ancestry. That day is still a long way off, but at the rate that technology is advancing, you may find your Self sooner than you think.


Montalbano, William D. "Briton is Kin of Stone Age 'Cheddar Man.'" Los Angeles Times, Sunday, March 9, 1997, p. A1, A15.

"Solving Crimes With Genetic Fingerprinting." Editorial Research Reports, v. 1, no. 24, June 30, 1989, p. 354-363.


by Linda Pack

There is no place as wonderful and peaceful as a trip down memory lane. For some, "reunion" is as simple as a long distance phone call. For others, it is remembering family reunions. But no matter what they are called, the common theme is "remembering." "Remembering" what our relatives looked like the last time we saw them and how much they have changed. Seeing who has lost weight (not many), who has gained weight (most), who looks older (most), and who (thanks to the miracles of modern science and modern make-up) looks younger than they did when we last saw them.

"Reunions" mean shaking hands and getting lots of neck-hugs. They always bring a chance to swap tall tales. Through the years some of those tales seem to get taller and taller! But watching those who tell the tales, you realize it doesn't really matter! Those things "remembered" were probably not half the fun as "remembering" them now!

"Reunions" inevitably mean lots of pictures to look at later. Pictures of loved ones that were here at the last reunion, but never will be with us again. And we think back to when we last saw them and for a moment, we wish we could talk to them again. Would we say anything different? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had some sort of warning system when we were with someone for the last time. Nothing dramatic, no flashing light, no ringing bells, just a brief moment of intuition! Something that would make us stop and look at that loved one and really see them. I realize that such a system would be too painful and that it is better to just take life as it comes. The very fact that we have no such warnings makes it all the more important to seize every opportunity to see our loved ones as often as possible.


Memories of a Confederate Soldier

by A. B. Self

A. B. Self, Company "C" 30th Alabama Regiment, was born on January 28th, 1843

I volunteered on January 10th, 1862, in the War between the states, my first experience in war was at Talladega, Ala. guarding the federal prisoners the first battle that I was in was fought at Fort Gibson, Miss. and the most noted battle that I was in was fought at Bakers Creek, on May 16th, 1863. I was on the skirmish line as a sharp shooter at that time, I was in regular battle all day until two o'clock in the afternoon, there I was wounded in both hands, and I was almost exhausted from the loss of blood and was very weak, in trying to make my escape I mired down in the [gap in original]...and couldn't get out by myself, there came a good old soldier along, W. M. Dobbins, and pulled me out of the mud. My blood has stained a great deal [gap in original]...our American soil, my bones go to make up the particles of earth of our [gap in original]...ern Land.

I was captured at Bakers Creek and was a pri[gap in original]...War three days, and was never treated any better by our own men [gap in original] the federals, I thank the good ladies of Mississippi for their [gap in original]...o me, also the ladies of Alabama, they fed me like a child when [gap in original]...a helpless condition. After being duly exchanged as a prisoner of w[gap in original]...returned to my command at Demopolis, Ala.

I was appointed Post Master for the 30th Alabama Regiment, and as a Post Master I was always found at my post, and made many glad hearts as well as sad ones when I came with the mail, I would holler "come boys and get your mail" and I would see men coming from every direction, a letter from Father, Mother, Brother or Sister and of course our sweethearts.

At Franklin Tenn. I rode over the battle field where there was 1400 dead men lying, 700 of the enemys and 700 of our own men. I was in the battle at New Hope Church [gap in original]...

After being a soldier for three years and four months we surrendered at Soursberry, N.C. in April, 1865.

I am now 63 years old, I have fought a good fight and kept the faith. Henceforth there is a town laid-up for me and all my comrades in arms. I trust that we all will meet in the sweet bye and bye.

Note: the following letter accompanied this article.


Abel Beaman (A. B.) Self was the 5th child born to John Self and Synthia Deerman (John Self was married 4 times and the father of 27 children). His grandparents were Francis and Lydia Self, early settlers of Benton (later Calhoun) County, Alabama. A. B. was born 28 January 1843 in Benton County and was raised on a farm.

During the Civil War, he enlisted at age 19 in Company "C" of the 30th Alabama Regiment at Talladega, Alabama. He saw service in Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina.

Returning from the war, he married Lizette Pamelia Barr, 11 November 1866, and they lived on a farm at Coldwater in Calhoun County, Alabama. The farm was approximately 1 mile NW of the present Coldwater Springs Pumping Station of the Anniston Waterworks. There is now a road in that area of the county named "Self Road."

A. B. was a Methodist and attended church at the Coldwater Methodist Church. Clyde Leslie, a former Coldwater resident, remembers A. B. riding a horse to church, sitting erect straight as a board on a pretty horse (prior to this, he came in a buggy). The pastor would call on Brother Beaman Self to lead the prayer at the beginning of the service and it seemed he surely prayed 15 or 20 minutes.

A. B. and Lizette were parents of 10 children, 9 sons and 1 daughter. Most of the present day Self families in the Coldwater community are their descendents.

They lived all their lives at Coldwater in Calhoun County, Alabama. Lizette died 7 April 1914 and A. B. died 6 June 1922. They are buried in the Coldwater Baptist Church Cemetery.

[Signed]Walter Jones...May 20, 1991


by Leigha Self Dinsmore

Before I begin my story, I'll get the facts straight. I'm the great great granddaughter of Silas Nathanial Self of Virginia. Silas had a son (one of many) named James Mastin Self, he in turn had a son (again one of many) named Aubrey Lee Self. Aubrey Lee had 2 wives and a total of 15 children. One of his children is my daddy Noel Ray Self. My daddy told me, since I was too young to remember it, that Aubrey Lee had a peculiar habit with his grandchildren. My daddy told me, that the day I was born my grandfather Aubrey, uncurled my little fingers and put an old silver dollar in my little fist. Aubrey did that with all his grandchildren. I still have that coin, and my sister has one too.

Eccentricity may run in the Self family, but as far as I can tell, it's always been an eccentricity based on love and joy of life. My grandpa Aubrey died when I was but 6 months old. But his wife, my grandma Zeddie Wilma, she lived a good long life. We kids all called her 'Wimmy' and as far as I can recollect the grownups did too. Wimmy and Aubrey they ran a country store, and I have an old faded picture of one of my uncles standing in the store drinking a coca-cola out of those old green bottles. I can remember, speaking of uncles, my father has a brother named John Silas. But being young, we couldn't pronounce it right, and we called him John Jalis. Funny how you remember things like that. My daddy has 11 brothers and sisters, so I had plenty of aunts and uncles to play with. I remember them shooting bottle rockets out of those old coke bottles, and one of them would catch a firefly, stick it on my finger, and tell me I had a blinking ring. I remember sucking on honeysuckle flowers for its sweet flavor, and I remember always being surrounded by family. I remember when Aunt Julia would babysit me and my sister, she'd play records for us and we'd sit outside on lawn chairs in a big circle everyone talking and laughing. One thing in particular sticks out in my mind, is a song or more like a nursery rhyme, that I've never heard outside of Virginia. Maybe someone else out there has heard it? It goes, "Pickin up pawpaws put em in a basket, pickin up pawpaws put em in a basket, pickin up pawpaws put em in the basket ....something something" I can't remember the last line. I'm not even sure what a pawpaw is! A fruit maybe? I remember my daddy bringing me to see the house he grew up in, but being that young, I was more interested in the bright orange tiger-lily flowers that thrived there. Looking back, I'm surprised 12 kids could have fit in that house. But, they made do, and most of them hunted to supplement the family dinner table. Ah, but it was wonderful being a child in the Self family, always surrounded by lots of people who loved you and watched over you. My fondest memory is going over to Aunt Janie's house with my parents and playing with my cousins until we were too tired to move, then lying down with my sister on a big pile of blankets in the kitchen, drifting off to sleep lulled by the voices of the adults as they played cribbage at the kitchen table.


by Sherry B. Bell

Sherry's Poem

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This page was last updated on February 17, 2015