Page:Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography (1900, volume 5).djvu/487

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SELLSTEDT SEMMES

abroad, was elected to the American philosophical society in 1804, to the National academy of sciences in 1873, and correspondent of the Societe d'eneouragement pour l'industrie Rationale in 1875. At the formation of the Fail-mount park commission in 1867 he was appointed a commissioner for five years, during which time all of the land now comprised in this great park was purchased by the commission. He was active in the organization of the World's fair in Philadelphia in 1876, and was at the beginning vice-president of the management. In 1868 he was elected a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, and he is a director of several railroads. His publications include short papers and discussions on technical subjects.


SELLSTEUT, Lars Gustaf, artist, b. in Sundsvall, Sweden, 30 April, 1819. For several years he followed the life of a sailor, but came to the United States in 1834. and in 1842 settled in Buffalo, N. Y., where he still (1888) resides. Soon after his arrival in that city he began to paint, and during his studies profited much by association with Thomas Le Clear and William H. Beard. He has devoted himself chiefly to portraiture, his works in that line including Solomon G. Haven (1856): George W. Clinton (1862); Millard Fillmore(1869); a portrait of himself in his studio, one of his best works (1871); Sherman S. Rogers (1873); William G. Fargo and Isaac Verplanck (1874) ; Benjamin Fitch (1883) ; and Grover Cleveland (1884). He has also painted a few marine and genre pictures. Since 1858 he has exhibited frequently at the National academy, where he was elected an associate in 1871, and an academician in 1874. In Buffalo he has held office in the Fine arts academy since 1863.


SELWYN, Alfred Richard Cecil, Canadian geologist, b. in Somersetshire, England, in 1824. He was educated privately, and continued his studies in Switzerland, and in 1845 was appointed assistant on the geological survey of Great Britain. In 1852 he was made director of the geological survey of the colony of Victoria, Australia, in 1854 and 1859 he examined and reported upon coalfields and gold-fields in Tasmania and South Australia, and he acted in other important capacities until he left Australia in 1869, when he went to Canada and succeeded Sir William E. Logan as director of the geological survey of that country. He has contributed to and edited twenty volumes of annual reports of the geological and natural history survey. He was pensioned in 1895.


SELYNS, Henricus, clergyman, b. in Amsterdam, Holland, in 1636 ; d. in New York city in July, 1701. His ancestors were clergymen in the Reformed church in Holland for a century previous to his birth. He was educated for the ministry, and in 1660 was sent to this country by the classis of Amsterdam to become pastor of the Reformed Dutch church of Breukelen (Brooklyn). To supplement his salary, he was also permitted to officiate on Sunday afternoons at Peter Stuyvesant's farm, Bouwerie (now Bowery). New York, where he taught negroes and the poor whites. He returned to Holland in 1664, but in 1682 accepted a call from the 1st Reformed Dutch church of New York city, of which he was pastor until his death. He was on intimate terms with the most eminent men of his day, and was the chief of the early ministers to enlarge the usefulness of his church, and to secure for it an independent and permanent foundation under the English government. He and his consistory obtained, in May, 1696, the first church charter that was issued in the colony. Although his original work that has been preserved is scanty, he wrote much, and Cotton Mather says of his poetical powers that "he had so nimble a fancy for putting his devout thoughts into verse that upon this, as well as upon greater accounts, he was a David unto the flocks in the wilderess." He collected all the records of the New York Reformed Dutch church to the date of his own ministry, and transcribed them with his'own pen. This volume is still extant and in good preservation in the records of the Reformed Dutch church of New York city. His only publications are "Poems," translated from the Dutch into English by Henry C. Murphy, and printed in his "Anthology of the New Netherlands" in the collections of New York historical society, and a Latin poem (1687) prefixed to some editions of Cotton Mather's "Magnalia."


SEMMES, Alexander Aldebaran, naval officer, b. in Washington, D. C., 8 June, 1825; d. in Hamilton, Va., 22 Sept., 1885. He entered the navy as a midshipman, 22 Oct., 1841, attended the naval academy at Annapolis, and became a passed midshipman, 10 Aug., 1847. He was promoted to master, 11 Aug., 1855, and to lieutenant, 15 Sept., 1855. During the civil war he rendered creditable service in command of the steamer “Rhode Island” on the Atlantic coast blockade in 1861, and in the steamer “Wamsutta” on the South Atlantic blockade, during which he conducted numerous engagements with forts and batteries on the coasts of Georgia and Florida, where he captured several blockade-runners in 1862-'3. He commanded the monitor “Lehigh” in the bombardment of Fort Pringle, and participated in the operations at Charleston until that city surrendered. He co-operated with Grant's army, fought the Howlett house batteries, and was present at the fall of Richmond in 1865. He was commissioned a commander, 25 July, 1866, promoted to captain, 24 Aug., 1873, and stationed at the Pensacola navy-yard in 1873-'5. In 1880 he was president of the board of inspection, after which he was commandant of the navy-yard at Washington. He was commissioned commodore, 10 March, 1882, and was in command of the navy-yard at the time of his death, but had left the city on account of his health.


Appletons' Semmes Raphael.jpg
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SEMMES, Raphael, naval officer, b. in Charles county, Md., 27 Sept., 1809; d. in Mobile, Ala., 30 Aug., 1877. President John Quincy Adams appointed him a midshipman in the U. S. navy in 1826, but he did not enter upon active service until 1832, the intermediate years being spent in study. In 1834, after returning from his first cruise, he was admitted to the bar, but decided to remain a seaman. In 1837 he was promoted lieutenant, and in 1842 he removed to Alabama. At the beginning of the war with Mexico he was made flag-lieutenant under Com. Conner, commanding the squadron in the Gulf, and in the siege of Vera Cruz he was in charge of one of the naval batteries on shore. He was in command of the U. S. brig “Somers” on the blockade