Richard Sellman did a great deal for Rochelle

Richard Sellman probably did more for Rochelle in its early history than anyone else. In the 1870s the Sellman brothers, Richard and Bob, came to the area from Maryland. Richard had 40,000 acres of land about six miles east of Rochelle where he built his three-story house. I was told that if you came by and had lunch with them, you had to have on a coat and tie. He would loan them to you if you were without. He called the ranch “Mountain Vale Ranch.” He ran 4,000 registered Black Angus cows, 8,000 sheep and 400 Morgan horses. Tom Mix, the star of western movies, bought his famous horse “Tony” from the Sellmans. In the early 1900s Richard constructed the Sellman building in Rochelle and sold everything a mercantile store handled’groceries, clothes, furniture, caskets, harnesses, buggies, wagons. He also had his own bank, the Sellman Bank which later became the Bank of Rochelle and then the Rochelle National Bank. I have heard that he donated over $500,000 to charities in McCulloch County. When I was a teenager, we used to go down to the Sellman house especially on Halloween because we had heard it was haunted. I think the Seward boys who lived on the ranch made it spooky. Richard Sellman, who most folks called Dick Sellman, died in 1925 and is buried in Brady’s Liveoak Cemetery. His widow sold the ranch to Johnnie White and it is now owned by Luther King. Gloria Barr today runs an antique store in the Sellman building in Rochelle. When movie star Tom Mix came to Rochelle to purchase Tony, that made two movie stars who have been to Rochelle. Dewey Martin, who was born in Katemcy in 1923 lived in Rochelle and attended the second grade here. He left town soon after that and ended up in Hollywood where he was in several films like “The Big Sky,” with Kirk Douglas, and “Knock on Any Door,” with Humphrey Bogart. Martin had the lead role in the “Golden Gloves Story,” the “Kansas Raiders,” and “The Thing.” In the mid-1940s I was in two movies in Brady. I was kicked out of the Brady Theatre by Morris Underwood for being too loud and a group of Brady boys threw me out of the balcony at the Palace Theatre at the midnight ramble. After I woke up, the only two I saw that gave me the jump were Joe McMurray and Pete Stovall.

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