1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Selma
SELMA, a city and the county-seat of Dallas county, Alabama, U.S.A., altitude 126 ft., on the right bank of the Alabama river, a little S. of the centre of the state, and known as the Central City. Pop. (1900) 8713, of whom 4429 were negroes; (1910 U.S. census) 13,649. It is served by the Louisville & Nashville, the Southern and the Western of Alabama railways. It has a Carnegie library, two parks and two Y.M.C.A. buildings. In the city are the Selma Military Institute (1907), and the Alabama Baptist Colored University (opened in 1878), which is one of the largest schools in the South owned and controlled by negroes, and has industrial, domestic, normal, collegiate and (especially) theological courses. The Society of United Charities supports the Selma Hospital (1889) for negroes and the Selma Infirmary (1890). The city has a large trade, principally in cotton (the chief crop of the surrounding country), and in lumber from the great pineries. There are cotton compresses, cotton warehouses, &c.; in 1905 the value of the factory products was $1,138,817. The water supply is obtained from artesian wells. The site was originally called Moore's Bluff, from one Thomas Moore, who owned a steamboat landing here about 1815. A town was established about 1817, and in 1820 was incorporated under its present name (from the Ossianic legend). Selma was first chartered as a city in 1852. During the Civil War it was the seat of Confederate arsenals, shipyards and military factories. On the 2nd of April 1865 it was captured by Federal troops under General James H. Wilson (b. 1837) and much of the city was destroyed by fire. Near Selma lived William Rufus King (1786-1853), a Democratic representative in Congress from North Carolina in 1811-1816, a member of the United States Senate from Alabama in 1819-1844 and 1846-1853, minister to France in 1844-1846, and vice-president of the United States from the 4th of March 1853 until his death on the 18th of April; and Selma was the home of John Tyler Morgan (1824-1907), a brigadier-general in the Confederate army in 1863-1865 and a prominent Democratic member of the United States Senate in 1877-1907; and of Edmund Winston Pettus (1821-1907), also a brigadier-general in the Confederate Army and, in 1897-1907, a Democratic member of the United States Senate.