Bio - Pen Pictures

resides upon the Mission road, in the Orchard School District, about five miles north of San Jose, where is situated his tract of fourteen acres. Eight acres of this productive land is devoted to orchard culture, and comprises the following trees: 300 peach, 200 "Bureau Hardy" pear, 170 Bartlett pear, 80 Winter Nelis pear, 60 cherry, and 50 apricot, besides a few plum, apple, fig, persimmon, and English and black walnut trees. This orchard is in full bearing, and very productive, as the few facts which we mention about the crop of fruit prove. From sixty cherry trees, the fruit has realized an average of $150 per year for the last four years, while 100 Bartlett pear-trees, occupying but little more than one-half an acre, have yielded $3.00 worth of fruit per tree each year for the same length of time. Six acres of the land is used for pasturage.

        Mr. Selby was born in Callaway County, Missouri, November 24,1834. He is the son of William and Julia (Turley) Selby, natives of Kentucky, who emigrated to Missouri at an early date, and were among the pioneers of that State. His father was a carpenter as well as a farmer, and in both industries the subject of our sketch was trained. He was eighteen years of age when, in the spring of 1853, he left home to make the overland trip to California. He reached Santa Clara County in the fall of the same year, and soon located in the redwoods, where he worked for about a year. During the following year he hauled redwood, and fenced in 150 acres of land in the Berryessa District, which he rented and in the working of which he spent about a year.

        In 1856 he rented 150 acres of land from Colonel Jacques, about one and a half miles northeast of Berryessa. Later he rented and afterwards purchased 150 acres just north of Berryessa, upon which he lived for four years. In 1860 he sold this farm, and took up his residence upon the property upon which he now resides. In addition to the cultivation of his place, Mr. Selby engages in contracting and carpenter work.

        The subject of our sketch was united in marriage, in 1856, with Miss Sarah Brelsford, whose parents are residents of Indiana. To them have been born seven children, of whom five are now living. Their names are: Mary, the wife of William E. Trimble, of Berryessa; Emma, Edwin Abel, residing in Milpitas; William H., Lizzie L., the wife of W. E. Coombs, of San Jose, and G. Wray.

        Mr. Selby is a man whose life of industry and integrity has won the respect of a large circle of acquaintances. He is deeply interested in the welfare of the Southern Methodist Church, and was one of the organizers and founders of the church of that denomination in Berryessa in 1857, being also one of its first Trustees. He now creditably fills the position of School Trustee in his district. In politics he is a Democrat, but liberal and conservative, especially in local politics.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.

Pg. 438

(Sarah Elizabeth Brelsford)
came to California with Judge Rhodes family in 1854

Bio- Sawyers


MRS. JOHN S. SELBY.--An estimable pioneer who is doubly interesting as a successful woman of affairs is Mrs. John S. Selby, who was Miss Sarah Elizabeth Brelsford before her marriage. She was born on October 2, 1840, the daughter of Charles and Mary (Ball) Brelsford, and lost her father when she was a little girl, after which her mother married for a second time. Grandfather James Ball, both a farmer and a carpenter, came from Kentucky to Bloomfield, Green County, Ind., and reared there his family; and at the same place our subject first saw the light of day.

In 1854, Miss Brelsford came to California, accompanying the family of the late Judge Rhodes of San Jose, and two years later she was married to John S. Selby, a native of Callaway County, Mo., where he was born on November 24, 1834. His parents were William and Julia (Turley) Selby, natives of Kentucky who were attracted to Missouri and became some of the earliest settlers of the Iron State. William Selby was also a carpenter as well as a farmer; and so it happened that John learned the carpenter's trade and also followed agricultural industries.

In the spring of 1853, when John Selby was eighteen years old, he set out from home to cross the continent to California, and having reached Santa Clara County in the fall of the same year, he then went to Marin County and worked in the redwoods district and remained there for a year. Then he came to San Jose and leased land in the Berryessa district and then bought and fenced in for himself some 150 acres of land in this district. In 1860 he sold that farm and moved with his devoted wife to the Mission Road, in the Orchard School district, about five miles north of San Jose, where he had acquired some 100 acres, but he sold part of this and besides his own land, some fourteen acres, he leased twenty-six acres. Eight acres he devoted to orchard culture, and had peach trees, several varieties of pear trees, cherry trees, apricot trees, besides some English black walnuts, persimmon, fig, plum, and apple trees and all kinds of berries, showing the fertility of the soil. He devoted the remaining six acres of the land to pasturage, and in addition to cultivating his fine farm, engaged in carpentering, often taking contract work. In 1906, at the ripe old age of eighty-two, Mr. Selby passed away, full of honor and rich in friends. He was a member of the Board of Supervisors of Santa Clara County, elected in 1892 for one term of four years, serving there as a broad-minded Democrat, and for a number of years was the president of the Pioneer Society of Santa Clara County.

Seven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Selby. Mary became Mrs. William E. Trimble of Los Gatos; Emma J., now deceased, was Mrs. R. B. Roberts of San Jose; William H. Selby, living in Naglee Park; Lizzie Lee married W. E. Coombs and resides at San Jose. The fifth is George Wray, an oil man of Santa Barbara County; a child also died in infancy, and Lulu passed away at the tender age of four. In 1908 Mrs. Selby sold the ranch and bought a place in Naglee Park, where she lived until she received her injury, when she sold out. In 1917 Mrs. Selby had a fall in which she broke her right arm, and this has since been a serious handicap, although she is still remarkably active for a woman of eighty-one. She is also an earnest, highly-esteemed member of the Pioneer Society, and of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. She resides with her granddaughter, Mrs. Waltz, at 132 Balbach Street, San Jose, the center of a group of very devoted friends.

Transcribed by Joseph Kral, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,
 published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. 483